Spring Quarter Courses

Here I am, staring into the bittersweet 10-week end sprint, the final Spring quarter of my Stanford year. Coming out of the academically intense Winter quarter you kind of want to replicate the feeling of a whirlwind, yet at the same time leave some space to deal with the inevitable prep for re-entering the real world soon. Here’s what lies ahead:

Core classes:

  • OIT 262Operations (Erica Plambeck). The final Sloan core class, yet very different – we’re scattered between 6 sections I think, people could choose between times as well as more basic and advanced levels. As I’ve never read anything formal on operations (especially when it comes to supply chains and manufacturing), decided do go for the plain vanilla.

Electives:

  • MKTG 365Marketing Analytics (Sridhar Narayanan). As our core marketing class was heavily tilted towards the softer side of branding and story telling, I figured it would be good to look into a more quant approach to the field. Promises to be a demanding and practical take on what and how to do with the loads of channel data modern businesses sit on. Regressions, I’ve missed you.
  • OB 322Networks (Sharique Hasan). My final organizational behaviour class will also be on the analytical side, looking at how (informal) social networks evolve and what impact they have on the inner workings of an organization. Something that has been very core to Skype, not only as a peer-to-peer software product, but as a geographically scattered organization to an absurd extent since the early days.
  • STRAMGT 351Building and Managing Effective Sales Organizations (James Lattin, Peter Levine). A class not on how to sell, but on how to build an org that sells. Channels, B2B, B2C, SaaS, VARs, incentives – the works.
  • STRAMGT 353Entrepreneurship: Formation of New Ventures (John Morgridge, Charles Holloway, Rob Chess). I super-rounded this class based on reputation and got in. Still slightly dizzy from the never-ending parade of who’s-who-in-Silicon Valley guests in all the entrepreneurship classes I’ve had in last 2 quarters… maybe would have traded it for something else for broader variety at this point, if I had a strong replacement candidate. (And I just now realized what a sorry example of a first world problem my last sentence was, once I wrote it down… sorry.)

So there. No more finance this time, which I actually grew to quite like in Winter. Nothing from across the street, which has proven to be quite hard to manage to benefit. Every class slightly out of my comfort zone, will not be just about breezing through. Could potentially have many “I wish I could [have] fit THAT one in too!” regrets, but not spending any cycles on those. Life is good.

Other:

Classes I also considered by ended up passing on for various prioritization and scheduling reasons:

  • STRAMGT 355 – Managing Growing Enterprises. About building teams, managing performance, hiring & firing, etc. Would have really loved to do this, but never made it higher than #30 in waiting lists for any section. Have already agreed with profs in one section to allow me to sit in for a few sessions.
  • STRAMGT 359 – Aligning Startups with their Market. All about getting the product-market fit right, in the no-bullshit Rachleff & Barnett style. Massively oversubscribed, as expected – should have probably superrounded it higher.
  • GSBGEN 521 – Managing Under Uncertainty. How to build plans, develop feedback loops, compensate & motivate managers when the environment constantly changes?
  • ECON 291 – Social and Economic Networks. This one sounded a slightly more academic take on what I hope to get out of OB 322 above.
  • LAW 401, 465 – Venture Capital I & II. Would be another attempt to understand how lawyers think (when you need to work with them through deals), but probably too much unit effort for just that cause.
  • OIT 367 – Analytics from Big Data. Advanced MBA class on big data, data mining. Fun with Matlab and R, etc. I hope to get a more appropriate dose of this from more narrowly focused  Marketing Analytics above.
  • MGTECON 364 – Motivation in Theory and in Practice. One thing that I will miss from this year is a good HR class on recruitment, compensation, motivation, etc. The items have been scattered across different classes (from generic org behaviour to the upcoming Sales Orgs), but haven’t refreshed an overall framework.

See also: