Willamette MBA

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Looking Ahead: Spring Registration

Like many MBA students, I love planning ahead.  During my undergraduate experience, registration week was always my favorite part of each semester, and so when this spring’s registration date was announced earlier this month, I was understandably excited.  It isn’t enough to enjoy the case studies and midterms that I’m currently dedicating my life to; I need to know which case studies and midterms are going to be consuming my every thought next semester as well.

During undergrad, I based my course selection on two things.  First, I had to fulfill general and major requirements.  Second, I always made sure to avoid early morning and Friday classes.  In the Atkinson Program, I was automatically enrolled in the three required class (PACE 2, Operations, and Economics/Finance), and there aren’t any Friday classes offered at all.  This time around, I had to apply a new tactic to choosing classes: research.

In the career portion of PACE 1, students are required to conduct ten informationals with business professionals in order to learn more about the job market and different career options.  During these meetings, I always asked if my interviewee had any recommendations regarding types of courses to take during my time at Atkinson (assuming I was interested in the line of work we were discussing).  Questions like, “What kind of classes will I be expected to have taken if I apply for a job at this company?” and “Is there any coursework that will help me stand out from other candidates?” and “Should I become as specialized as possible in this field, or does your company value a broader skill set?”

Getting these answers from business professionals is a great way to get a feel for what kind of classes will help you get ahead in a certain field.  However, these professionals don’t know the professors or the syllabus of the various classes.  For advice on specific classes, I turned to second-year students and the faculty themselves.  They were able to let me in on how heavy the workload was in different classes, what kind of teaching style was used, and those who know me well could tell me which ones I am most likely to enjoy.

My research directed me toward Integrated Marketing Communications with Russ Yost and Competitive Intelligence with Sean Campbell.  I was satisfied with my well-thought out decision, but nervous about getting into the class – my logic being that if I concluded that these were the two best classes, wouldn’t everyone else?  Luckily this wasn’t the case, and by registering right on time I had no trouble getting into my top picks.  It turns out that not everyone is interested in the exact same thing, oddly enough.

Now that spring registration is behind me, all I have to do is complete all of my final exams and projects so I actually have the chance to take these classes that I signed up for.  Of course, by the time I make it to winter break, I’ll probably already be trying to plan for the fall!

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