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Reflection – Annie Wolf Mendoza

by on November 30, 2007

This class has been my favorite throughout the quarter; I have learned more than I have in any of my other classes. It has also been the most time and effort-consuming, but as the saying goes, whatever you get out of something depends on what you put into it. I have gotten a lot out of this class because I invested the time and put forth the effort (which has not so much been the case with some of my other classes). I made more effort to do well in this class because I saw a great deal of value in what we were learning. In fact, this class has made me realize that management is the track I would like take in my career. I haven’t decided exactly what type of management or the field in which I would like to work, but I know that working with and leading people is what I want to do.

Beyond my own personal effort, I also contribute the success of this class to many of its aspects. One is the overall organization and structure. I find it much easier to learn and succeed when I know exactly what is expected of me. Change is something I am perfectly capable of handling, but if too much change occurs and new expectations are not documented well I find it difficult to keep track of the assignment requirements. I am not interested in following assignment requirements for the sole purpose of getting a good grade. Requirements often force one to learn something new and if they are not clearly documented somewhere then they can’t be followed and nothing new can be learned.

Another aspect of the class that led to its success was the book review assignment. When I first saw that we had to read another book in addition to the two assigned for the course I was a little discouraged. I didn’t know how I would find the time to do all the reading for the class. However, the book I chose was extremely useful and I ended up learning a lot that I wouldn’t have learned just by reading the assigned books. I also benefited from looking at my classmates’ book reviews. A number of people have told me that they enjoyed their books as well. In fact, I plan on reading a few of them over winter break.

A third part of the class that contributed to its success were the videos of CEOs describing the different problems they have encountered in their careers. Often it is hard to apply what is being learned in a classroom to the real world. In academia the answers are all laid out making it seem that all one has to do is follow the steps listed in a book or a paper in order to solve a problem in a real-world situation. However, those who have tried to take what they have learned in school and apply it in their work know that it can be much more difficult than that. The videos not only showed what kinds of problems might come up for managers, they also showed how some of what we have been learning in class can actually be applied. They also demonstrated something else I think is really important: there is no perfectly right or wrong way to go about solving a problem. Sometimes the approach a person takes fails. Even if all the steps listed in a book are taken, the approach may fail. It is reassuring to know that there is no direct correlation between never failing and being a successful manager.

As I mentioned above, this was my favorite class this quarter. I found it a very valuable use of my time. I think it had the right mix of reading, writing, and videos. I think if this class is run in a similar fashion next year, it will also be valuable for the students taking it.

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