Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First Day of Class: MBA



My first class of my MBA program wasn’t quite what I expected. I say that, but I may be lying a bit – I didn’t have fully formed expectations.

I was in grad school before, for English at Kansas State University.  One of the first classes I had to take there was English 801, Introduction to graduate studies in English.  The point of the course, though often unspoken, was to justify the existence of graduate study in English.  The secondary point was to establish skills that may have been lacking from undergrad in terms of research and argument.  It was a good class for me, mainly because I had gotten by my undergrad on brains and charisma, and had in fact only written one serious paper over the course of four years. I actually dropped two classes in part because I didn’t want to write “for real” papers.  I should have, since they were the only philosophy and history classes I ended up attempting.  I guess business has a way of not needing justification in a way that English would die for. 

I digress though.  My first class for my MBA at Concordia University – Chicago, was nice.  It wasn’t lecture and I talked to the people in my class but I remember no names. (That right there is my biggest social weakness, or at least the biggest one I am aware of.)  The structure was more informal than I was expecting. I’m glad I didn’t wear a suit.

The class is leadership, and in it we brainstormed in our groups  about the qualities that made a bad manager; many people shared their stories inefficient, indifferent, and ineffective managers.   We eventually shared that list with the class
But here’s the thing. We then turned that around and looked at the positive qualities a good manager has, and that was harder to put into words.  I have had some good managers, people who were kind and supportive and good at their jobs and who wanted to make me better at what I did, not just for the immediate need of the company, but because they cared about me as a person.  I normally don’t like starkly demarcated gradients of power, but sometimes the people who are your superiors are in charge of you are not there just because they have been marking time longer.  I think I often confuse the person with the position, and as a subordinate I don’t like that when the person is not a fit for the position.  However, take it for granted when they are.  I need to come back to this, as it feels like an egg that is slowly cracking.