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The good news? I keep learning. The bad news? I’m not sure it’s exactly what the powers-that-be at Darden had in mind….

Management Communications: I’m a drama queen. Ok, this may not truly be a “learning” since it’s been suggested once or twice in my pre-Darden life, but I didn’t think people would catch on quite so quickly here. It’s all because we had to give a 2 minute speech in Management Communications class about leadership… I thought my speech was fairly low-key on the theatrical scale, but one comment about dramatic pauses led to accusations of being a drama queen. What?!? My response? “You can call me a drama queen, but only if I can wear a tiara…” Maybe they’re onto something with that label…

Decision Analysis: “You are all wrong,”says my DA professor. Indeed, Decision Analysis is the quantitativest class I have – therefore, for me, the scariest, most intimidating and ridiculously hard. Business decisions? I’m ok with those… from the gut, usually. Sometimes from the hip, in fact, but gut-decisions usually work out peachily for me. But ask me to manipulate a complex Monte Carlo model and I’m terrified. As far as I’m concerned, Monte Carlo is an old-school Chevy or, preferably, somewhere I’d summer… hello, Monaco! So we use fatty fat spreadsheets in DA, and then this wicked awesome tool called Crystal Ball, which then spits out squillions of scenarios and graphs them. The graphs look something like this. Thing is, depending on your assumptions, everyone in the class could have a different result when analyzing the same data, and likely does. And, according to the professor… we are all wrong. Sometimes.

This was generated by my Learning Team for an assignment.

Even I do not know what this means?

Even I do not know what this means?

The caption is there because one of my Learning Team members speaks English as well as other languages, and he has the charming and adorable habit of beginning statements with “Even I….” instead of “I….”. For example – “I did not do the reading” becomes “Even I did not do the reading.” It conjures visions of grandeur, but he does not have a haughty bone in his body – just the way he learned the language. So it’s become a kind of joke among us – “Even I…” is our new LT catchphrase. “Even I did not get enough sleep last night” and “Even I could not decide between chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin.” Try it. It’s fun.

Leading Organizations – Vanilla Ice is wiser than we all thought. LO is a class about leadership, managing people and situations with people involved. This is the class that every single Darden alum I’ve talked to says they wished they paid more attention to here, since they need these skills daily in the real world of work. In any case, we’ve been doing a module on collaboration and the effects in the workplace of positive & negative collaboration. This Friday, after not a lot of sleep and a technical note (Dardenspeak: technical note means something you’d find in a textbook vs. an actual case) explaining dealing with political situations, I thought it’d be a great idea to summarize the content for the class – in the immortal words of Mr. Ice, I said “All you need to know about today’s reading is: Stop – Collaborate & Listen.” Who knew Ice had such strong soft skills?

Operations – What’s the optimal batch output? Cookies, of course.In another stroke of brilliance on Friday (remember, even I did not get enough sleep on Thursday night), I had my hand up to explain something to a classmate. However, before the prof called on me, he asked what the optimal batch output is. You see, we were talking about job shops vs. flow shops, and optimizing operational efficiency and reducing bottlenecks, and the question came up because, depending on the circumstance, batch processing vs. individual processing can make a big difference in throughput. So, the professor asked the question, called on me, and i am temporarily bewildered, and i feel the class waiting for me to come up with the answer, the pressure’s on, I said… “um… ah… [unintentionally dramatic pause as mind blanks]… COOKIES!” Which is funny in itself, but considering my nickname is also Cookie, and this blog is mbacookie, well, it just fits.