Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Indian and an Italian walk into a bar...

Into week 2 and the pace is really starting to pick up. Group assignments are coming in, and we need to be on the ball to make sure they get done. Meanwhile, reading for some of the other classes is piling up (ex. six 10+ page PDFs for IM to read tonight), but I'm finding myself spending too much time on Quantitative Methods. I guess this makes sense since it’s the "hardest" subject this block, but I think it’s more because I'm still in a reactive mode, rather than proactive... reading the chapters after classes / on the weekends. Let’s see how much I can catch up with this weekend; ideally I'd like to spend some time reading the next chapter, because I know regression is going to be pretty tough. I spent a part of last Sunday helping a classmate revise some previous QM material, and found that that process really helped clarify my own understanding of the topics, maybe will continue that this weekend as well.

Our group work is getting better as we go along, and I think we'll be a lot more effective in the future. Since this the first assignment and we all want to do well, there's a bit too much flailing around, which I'm definitely guilty of as well. One of my group members made a good suggestion, to sit down after we've handed in the assignment and review our performance, how we can improve in the future, how each person performed, etc. We've been doing similar peer reviews for other activities, and it’s really helped. Today was also the first meeting of SASCO, the student activities committee for the MBA. Bounced around a lot of good ideas, how we may want to structure the events / committee, budgets, etc. Honestly, I'm a bit wary of how much time it may end up consuming, but still, I think it’s a great opportunity to get people involved, allow the various wives / partners to interact with the MBA class, organize fun evenings to relax.

So, our group was working on our QM case study today, pasting charts from Excel into Word, writing up analysis, etc. I pasted in the first chart, and was about to move on when my Italian colleague said "No no no, it does not look right, you should paste it in bitmap format." To which my response was "But bitmap takes up too much space and memory, I think this looks ok." We discussed it for a bit, compared both the Excel table and the Bitmap image (along with JPEG and GIF). I will admit that the Bitmap image did look the clearest and of the best quality, but found the stereotypical reactions pretty amusing. I mean, you really can't script it better, the Italian from the textile industry talking about image quality and the Indian IT guy talking about technical specifications. We ended up going with the Bitmaps, and I think its one of the best examples thus far of what I'm really enjoying about the course. I'm learning so much from my peers in so many different ways, and I think a big part of that is keeping my mind open and trying to pick up on the different ways we all approach problems. It truly is "buono".

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