January 25, 2013

What do MBAs learn in business school?

When I joined Weatherhead, I knew I wanted to graduate from the program with the ability to apply business concepts learned to drive positive impact throughout my career. While just beginning my second semester, I have been impressed by the program’s inclusion of practical exercises that tie material covered to real business situations in all of our courses. In our Management Perspectives and Dialogues course, we have the opportunity to engage with Senior Leadership at various organizations and discuss strategic issues that they are evaluating. My favorite session was with Progressive Insurance. Among the topics discussed was how improvements in technology, such as the introduction of self-driving cars, will impact the overall landscape of insurance product needs and how Progressive should position itself for the future. It was exciting to directly engage with decision-makers within the organization and share our thoughts on the issue, as well as learn how they approach thinking through such topics. These sessions have proven to be insightful and applicable as my classmates and I move onto careers where we will have to make decisions in the face of ambiguity. 
Inside a Weatherhead classroom

In our accounting course, we worked in teams to evaluate a company’s annual 10K financial report to assess the firm’s financial health relative to peer organizations. Prior to taking this course, I remember being intimidated by 10K reporting. However, through working on this project, I recognized how much I had learned over the course of the semester. It was exciting to understand what to look for and interpret within the financial statements to draw relevant conclusions about the firm’s performance. This skill will definitely be pertinent in my career and I will be much more confident when attending company meetings where 10K financial reporting is being covered. 

In our Finance course, we had the opportunity to work in teams on case study assignments. Working through the details of cases in a collaborative environment allowed us to address the various complexities of the situation. In one instance, I entered a group meeting with one recommended course of action for the case and left the meeting with a completely new perspective that offered a clearer picture of the situation. Working in team settings to reach a consensus on recommended actions and submit deliverables together is a skill that is needed in the workplace. It will be beneficial to apply leadership and collaboration skills gained by working in our LEAD teams of individuals from various backgrounds. The exercises that we have done thus far have been insightful and I am looking forward to my continued development as a Weatherhead student.

Mireille Thomas, MBA, 2014