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Second-Year Elective Teaching at Duke

I recently completed teaching the second-year decision science elective Professional Decision Modeling at Duke's Fuqua School.  Students work in teams to value an industrial asset involved in a spin-off negotiation.  The case evolves over the six week course as it did in the nine-week project from which the case was adapted.

Second-year MBA elective teaching allows me to see just how far students come from their tentative return to the classroom for pre-orientation quant skills courses that I teach at Dartmouth and Cornell.

Those early days are as much about the social challenge of becoming a student again  as they are about the quant mechanics of Excel, finance, accounting, etc.

When students walk into my second-year class, they have had a full first-year curriculum learning individual disciplines in short case-a-day immersions.

The challenge in my consulting practice course is to integrate across disciplines as needed and to stick with one problem for many weeks.  Students will need ad hoc integration and project management skills to yield results in their post-MBA jobs.

I teach students additional decision science skills for modeling large problems, doing simulation of future scenarios, and optimizing resource allocation.   Teams are responsible for pulling in their learning about finance, accounting, negotiation, and strategy from other courses.

Perhaps the strongest lesson this year for my Fuqua students was just how hard it is to craft a compelling presentation with less than one hour to cover hundreds of team hours of effort.  The temptation is great to tell decision makers everything you've done but the most effective presentations focus on what the decision makers need to know to share your insights about the path forward.

The students were terrific, worked hard, and generated very professional results.  Fuqua's physical plant has been upgraded from last year with the completion of Breeden Hall, which houses the new library among other improvements.

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2009 at 10:44AM by Registered CommenterPeter Regan in , , | Comments1 Comment

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