Archive for the 'School Results' Category

Today is the beginning of the end of the semester for me. Tonight I take the final for my public finance class.

I’m pretty terrified.

Yes, I have - of course - put time into studying. I’ve read darn near the entire textbook, and I’ve attended every class and done a good job on all the homework. The problem is going to be the format of the test - which will be the same as that of the midterm.

Now on the multiple-choice midterm, I had the second-highest grade in class. I was only one point behind, too. However, the problem is that the midterm (and final) were written by the authors of the textbook. Our class discussions have been helpful (and I have pages and pages of notes) but the questions asked are truly obscure.

For instance (and I’m generalizing here):

“This phrase” is an example of:
a) something
b) something else
c) a third thing
d) even a fourth option

I’ve never heard of “this phrase”. I even went back to the book (as did the person who got the highest grade on the midterm) to try to look up the answer. We looked up all the different things that could be the answer, and still never found it. That makes it a little difficult - even on a multiple choice test.

I’m looking forward to this test, though… because after I take it, it’ll be done.

The presentation is given. I got to say things like “and we derived this number using math” and “using a regression analysis of advertising revenue in the radio broadcasting industry”. I think we did well.

In fact, the professor even challenged us on our pricing strategy. “What if your competitor lowered their prices? Could you lower yours?” “Yes,” I replied. “What would that do to your break-even time?” Feeling a challenge, I said, “I haven’t done that analysis… but I could get that for you in a few minutes. I’ll even do it on screen (my laptop was hooked up to the projector) for an ‘A’!” He laughed and replied, “I can’t promise the ‘A’, but I’d like to see it.”

And, as my team fielded a few more questions, I whipped out Excel, ran a new product adoption model given a new market size, plugged that in (and changed the price)… and had an answer in about 5 minutes. I felt awesome.

The professor - known to the students as being skeptical and challenging to present to - simply said, “Good job.”

Well, the summer results are in:
For the “Enterprise Architecture” class, I got an “A”.
For the “Internship for Credit” class, I earned a “Pass”. (The class was pass/no pass, though I could have petitioned to take it graded should I have been so possessed, which I wasn’t.)

So technically my GPA for the summer was a 4.0. HA! Contrast this with one particularly rough summer as an undergrad where I managed to earn a 0.5 GPA. My, how times have changed!

So, most of my grades have been posted for Spring semester. I’m pretty happy; it appears my overall GPA (3.68 from last semester) should only move up or down by .02 - which is pretty good, for me. So here’s what I know thus far (with bizarre course titles translated in parenthesis):

Managing Exchange (Global Business): B

Finance and Macroeconomics: B+

Managing Organizations (Ethics): A

Managing Processes and Information Systems: A

Integrated Professional Development (Strategy): A

I’m still waiting on my grade for Statistical Inference and Modeling, but that should be pretty decent. So, with my overall GPA above a 3.3 (the minimum cutoff to keep my scholarship) it appears I will be coming back next semester.

School is done. I have, for better or for worse, turned in my last final.  (Finals were actually the LEAST stressful part of this semester!)  PaCE is over.  I am, officially, on summer break.  I’m really hoping for a 3.3-ish GPA this semester… finance was definitely my weakest class, though I think I did all right in Statistics, Information Systems, and “Managing Organizations”.  We’ll see.
Now I have to find an internship for the summer.  Yes, I’m looking.

So I got the feedback for my IKEW session today. It wasn’t good, but I really just don’t care. I was interviewed for 40 minutes and - maybe I missed something - but I did terribly. My feedback included comments like, “Lacking a comprehensive and integrated analytical framework to link various elements of strategy” and “Good enough, but often hesitant, not always having the facts at hand. Additional confidence would probably come if you kicked your preparation up a notch”.

And those were some of the nicer comments.

You know what? I read the case we were supposed to prepare many times. I did hours and hours of preparation for it. I really hope that - despite the overwhelmingly negative feedback - I passed. ‘Cause I’m NOT doing it again.

I had my solo IKEW session today.  I got the opportunity to sit down with two professors and discuss - in depth - a business case for half an hour.  Actually, my session went to 40 minutes.  It was tough; sometimes I felt like they were looking for an answer I didn’t necessarily have or just didn’t understand the meaning of their questions.  Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure I passed.  I guess if I don’t I’d have to take a remedial class before school starts next semester.  I put in plenty of time studying for it, so I think I did all right.

However, one of the professor’s opening salvos was, “So, I read your blog…”  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don’t use names in what I write.

As I mentioned before, I signed up to be a writer for Atkinson Management Today, the program’s small publication - though I didn’t manage to finish my article in time for last semester’s issue.  And, if you recall, I became the Editor-in-Chief of said publication in January.

So, it is with great pride (and relief) that I announce to the general public (that’s both of my readers) the completion of the Spring 2007 issue of Atkinson Management Today - complete with my article!

Now that it’s done, of course, I have a great deal of work to do before next semester.  We want to figure our a new format for it, we’re considering moving into print as well, and we have to figure out how we’re going to recruit writers for our next issue.   But those are problems for another day, I’m just going to revel in this for a moment.

Enjoy.

In the ongoing drama of super-curricular extra work, in our first year at Atkinson we have to get ourselves a Microsoft Excel XP Specialist certification. The total process, thankfully, takes only about an hour and a half between the practice exam (highly recommended) and the actual one. I took my test yesterday and scored a 90% - quite the disappointment for me, though only 70% is required to pass.

The test is highly structured and demands answers in very precise (and, let’s face it, bizarre ways.) We were given a series of 15 questions that involved doing stuff on various worksheets. You’re actually penalized for knowing shortcuts in Excel during this test since your actions as well as the results are tracked. So while I only got 90% of the test right, I’m absolutely convinced that my results were 100% correct.

I mean, let’s look at some of the things I’m now certified to do:

  • Insert, delete and move cells
  • Check spelling
  • Save workbooks using different names and file formats
  • Modify row and column settings
  • Insert and delete worksheets
  • View and edit comments

While this list isn’t comprehensive, I knew how to do all of it before taking the test. Seriously, this certification isn’t anything I’ll ever put on my resume because (for me) it would be out of place among the “5 years supporting Microsoft Office in an enterprise environment” and “1 year programming Cicso routers”. Yeah… I’m also certified to run the Excel spell checker…

No sooner had I written my last post about midterms then I got them both back (in the span of 2 hours!)  For my statistics class I got a 95/100 (I lost 4 points on the last questions where I simply wrote down a number with no facts behind it because I was out of time) and for my Information Systems class I got a 52/60.  Now that second one’s less than ideal, but apparently the mean value for the test scores was 39, with a standard deviation of 9 points.  So that leaves me somewhere in the upper 16% or so and - while there’s no specific letter grade attached - should be pretty all right.  I’d have done better, too, except one question was a trick question - and I was tricked.  That kinda irritates me, since my answer was completely correct… for a different question.  Sigh.

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