Coming down the stretch.
This one sounds a wee bit technical so grab that computer geek and keep him warm.
Disciplined thought is often based on analytical models: simplified, quantitative depictions of a complex reality that allow you to focus your attention on a few key issues. Management runs on numbers and models. Whatever your current level of modeling skills, improving those skills is a key to success. Even if you never construct models yourself, as a manager you will be a consumer of them; to be an intelligent consumer, you must know from experience the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative models. The base-level course focuses on models built using spreadsheets and, in particular, concentrates on optimization of spreadsheet models. A more advanced option focuses on the use of discrete event simulation to model phenomena subject to random influences. And if you have very strong modeling skills, two options explore the use of quantitative models in specific contexts. One concerns the use of models and analytics for the control of manufacturing supply chains; the second concerns their use in revenue and yield management, as practiced by, for example, the civilian airline industry.
Any time I see "discipline" I shudder knowing there is math and statistics and perhaps a professor who does not have English as the primary language involved in this type of class. If it turns out to be all math this one could be a bear. Just read the second sentence--"simplified, quantative depictions of a complex reality" and that scares me. I'm all for making things simple but this doesn't sound simple to me. So, all you liberal arts majors out there, watch out for this one.
One note--the course description says "Even if you never construct models yourself, as a manager you will be a consumer of them." Let's get one thing straight right here. Academics like to pump students up by calling them managers. If you get an MBA you will not go into any company as a manager. You will go in as an analyst or assistant where you can't do any real damage right off the bat. You will be doing the 'model' or analysis or whatever grunt work they assign you so don't gloss over the details. Pay attention to detail because that is how you learn the business.
Two to go.
Markets and the business environment are increasingly interrelated; conversely, the profit-maximizing activities of firms often give rise to issues that involve governments and the public. As a business leader, you will need to participate in complex decision-making involving the legal, political, and social environments of business. This area considers the strategic interactions of firms with important constituents, organizations, and institutions outside of markets. Beyond the base-level course, an extended option of the course uses analytical models to enhance your understanding of political institutions, while a second alternative concentrates on business law.
This could be pretty good. It is highly dependent on the professor. The writer of the course catalog is right--you will deal with government regulations, a lot. I dealt mostly with the tax code trying to figure out what we could or couldn't do. Didn't do much good. The tax code is pretty illogical. The group that deals with the government the most is HR so I always tried to avoid those people.
Finally, near the end.
This area addresses basic managerial issues arising in the operations of both manufacturing and service industries. You will learn about the problems and issues confronting operations managers and gain language, conceptual models, and analytical techniques that are broadly applicable in confronting such problems. The base-level course gives a broad introduction to operations. If you have some background in the subject, you can elect a course that is focused on business process design. If you have a very strong background, you may choose an alternative that is focused on the latest developments in global manufacturing.
This is an important class that is not important because you can't bring a manufacturing plant into a classroom. So you end up with a lot of arrows beginning with raw materials, then assembly, then packaging, then warehouse. Most executives never even see a plant because they are located in the boonies or overseas. Because I was in international I saw a lot of plants and loved them. It's fun to actually see what you are selling being made. But as far as the class room goes, this one is just to be endured.
Well, that is it. The first year explained. The second year is just electives based on the core courses so no need to go there. Plus the second year is spent looking for a job so not that important. I really can't say if a MBA is worth the money or the time. Actually, I can. It may not be worth it but if you want to get ahead, it helps since corporations value them. If you really want to get ahead, start your own business but that is a whole different subject.