Entries in Dartmouth (24)
Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business purchased MBA Math subscriptions for all incoming students for the sixth year.
In a major re-design prompted by Tuck's revised core curriculum and my experience with prerequisite mbamath.com lessons for the Cornell 3-day course, all incoming Tuck students completed eight online mbamath.com lessons. Learning this material before coming to campus freed up considerable space for new, more advanced material in this year's 5-day quant skills course at Dartmouth's Tuck School in late August.
About 65 incoming first years participated. Beyond the core lessons from previous years, I wove the ongoing financial crisis into several lessons, expanded the statistics coverage to support a redesigned stats core course, pushed into accrual accounting issues, and examined real financial statements after learning the debits and credits of basic transactions.
And we still found time mid-week to paddle canoes and kayaks on the Connecticut River.
Five second-year TAs, all of whom were math campers the previous year, eased the new students into Tuck.
Having recently completed several months of classroom teaching at Cornell's Johnson School and Dartmouth's Tuck School after supporting the intense summer online MBA Math rush of incoming students, I can now gather my thoughts. I am taking a break this year from teaching Professional Decision Modeling at Duke's Fuqua School during winter term.
Instead, I'll be refining and extending the MBA Math online course using ideas that have emerged from classroom teaching.
I taught the 5-day quant skills course at Dartmouth's Tuck School to 70 incoming first years in late August. This was the ninth year of being students' first Tuck professor, trying to set a good example for those that will follow. I tinkered with the syllabus, using last year's student and TA feedback to prune out some material and make room for some additional accounting coverage and a closing session on the ongoing credit crisis that connected back to much of what students learned during the week.
Five second-year TAs dove in to ease the new students into Tuck.
Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business purchased MBA Math subscriptions for all incoming students for the fourth year.
Anne Thompson, a first year student at Dartmouth's Tuck School, reports:
At Tuck the policy is "whatever makes life easier in the real business world is what you should learn how to use in school." This means that most of us use excel and there are no classes that require the use of a financial calculator, however, for the students who already use financial calculators they are free to continue to do so. As for exams, most are open notes and laptops/calculators available for exams -- the one exception to this is Capital Markets class, which requires all exams to be taken without any notes.
Here is a testimonial from Anne Thompson, a first-year student at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and member of the MBA Math Board of Advisors, about her pre-MBA use of the MBA Math online quantitative preparation course:
As someone who hadn’t solved a math problem since high school I owe my admission to the Tuck Class of 2009 to MBA Math. During the admission process I relied on MBA Math as an additional indicator of my quantitative abilities. In preparing for the first year core curriculum at Tuck, going through MBA Math again provided me with the confidence and the necessary tools to stay up-to-speed with my classmates.
Professionally I have spent the past six years as a non-profit fundraiser – first for a small arts-based non-profit in New York City, and then on a larger scale as a major gift officer for Yale University, my own alma mater. In my job I relied on Excel more as a recording tool than as a partner in solving complex calculations and valuations. The MBA Math program helped ease me into the “language of business school” and allowed me to see the value in developing basic proficiency in key areas. This is not to say that the Tuck core curriculum was made easy after taking MBA Math, but rather it was made manageable and I had a familiarly with the material that allowed me to come up the learning curve faster during the term. MBA Math, and Professor Regan in particular have my full endorsement!
Tuck School of Business purchased MBA Math subscriptions for all participants in the Back in Business program. Participants will focus on spreadsheets, finance, and accounting to reinforce their quantitative foundation before starting the Back in Business program whose goal is to facilitate reentry of professionals into the workforce.
I returned to my MBA home base at Tuck to teach the 5-day Pre-Enrollment Program, affectionately known as math camp, to 55 incoming first years. The coverage is similar to the online MBA Math course, with lessons in finance, accounting, economics, statistics, and spreadsheets. In each of 4 or 5 sessions each day, I introduce some concepts and lead students through sample problems before students then work individually through similar problems. Second year teaching assistants and I roam the room to assist with questions. The "watch-a-few then do-a-few" approach highlights areas of confusion and boosts confidence incrementally as students eventually can generate correct answers.
The second year TAs Jason, Alasdair, and Lindsay did a fantastic job grounding the week in what first year students will really need most and also in keeping the summer in math camp with some fun had-to-be-there performances.
Away from the classroom, many students explored the campus and surrounding area, including some canoeing and kayaking on the Connecticut River just a few minutes' walk from Tuck. International students were having an orientation course across the hall, an Outward Bound group was sailing in coastal Maine, and a Tuck Builds group was doing some construction projects in the Upper Valley area.
They're all in the midst of Decision Science and Accounting right now with summer most definitely over.
Although it seems as if summer just started, the surge in student quant prep activity reminds me that MBA program kickoffs are on the horizon.
I'll be teaching a 3-day MBA Math course at Cornell's Johnson School in three weeks and a 5-day version at Dartmouth's Tuck School three weeks after that.
In between, I'll be doing a first-ever 3-hour MBA Math finance workshop on August 17 as the kickoff to MBADiversity's third annual symposium in Philadelphia. The Wharton School has graciously provided a classroom for the workshop's expected 135 prospective MBAs. You can learn more about the symposium at the MBADiversity site.
Blogging has been slow while I've been getting admitted students ready for their summer pre-MBA quantitative preparations. Cornell (Johnson), Dartmouth (Tuck), and Washington St. Louis (Olin) have purchased MBA Math subscriptions for all incoming students. Georgetown (McDonough) will do so in the next day or so.
Separately, admitted students from dozens of MBA programs have found their way to MBA Math on their own in recent weeks and are working through the twenty-two lessons covering Excel spreadsheets, finance, accounting, microeconomics, and statistics. Students subscribing in the past six weeks will be attending the following prominent MBA programs in the fall: Boston College, Carnegie Mellon, Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Georgia Tech, Harvard, INSEAD, London Business School, MIT, Michigan, Purdue, Rice, Rochester, USC, Stanford, UT Austin, Wake Forest, William and Mary, and Yale.
Discussion boards and regular office hour online chats provide communication between students and me and among students.
Tuck School of Business purchased MBA Math subscriptions for all incoming students for the third straight year.
Here is a testimonial from Tumi Adebiyi, a second-year student at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and member of the MBA Math Board of Advisors, about her pre-MBA use of the MBA Math online quantitative preparation course:
I come to the Tuck School of Business with an engineering degree from the University of Michigan and work experience at Ford Motor Company within three functional groups. As a Manufacturing Engineer, I developed expertise in logistics, supply chain management, and the launch of new warehouse operations. I then transitioned into marketing. Within marketing at Ford, I was responsible for helping in the development and management of the 2004-2005 Ford Motor Company African American Corporate Communications Campaign. Finally, I transitioned to finance within Ford where I worked on Sarbanes Oxley compliance and financial controls on inventory management.
At Tuck, a general management MBA program, I am gearing my studies to have a focus on my future career in finance. When I applied and was accepted at top MBA schools my quantitative background fooled me into thinking that advance preparation was not needed. After sub-par performance on a pre-enrollment assessment exam that focused on MBA math concepts, I quickly turned my focus to the MBA Math online tools.
MBA Math was the cornerstone of my MBA preparation because it:
- Was extremely comprehensive. Having all of my information housed in a central location and having my progress tracked in a central hub allowed me to travel to other countries during my summer without interrupting my studies.
- Offered me a variety of dynamic learning tools. The online lectures were very clear and direct and the reference guides served as a quick reference during the problem solving exercises.
As a result of my preparation using MBA math, I started off my MBA career with the solid understanding that was needed to thrive in my fast paced MBA program. I even referenced MBA Math during my first term at school when I needed to quickly refresh my understanding of key concepts.
Here are some comments from a Tuck first year, who looks back at the fall and winter terms.
Given my background (Chemistry Undergrad followed by pharmaceutical manufacturing) I will try to describe my approach and what I would do differently.
Pandora's Box. Tuck sends a big box of pre work material, to me the box was frightening and just looking at it filled me with fear. I decided that because accounting was first and the book seemed reasonable I would start with it. The accounting book is pretty self explanatory and a good warm up.
Hindsight is 20/20. What I wish I had done sooner was back up what I had learned by reading the other accounting/finance material. I looked at MBA Math too late, and looking back the content is really good. I would recommend that for anyone coming from a non quant or non business background to look at their MBA syllabus and at the very least do the MBA Math sections that apply to the first term. For me those would have been accounting and working with spreadsheets (decision science).
You, Yes You! The first term is so overwhelming that any preparation you do up front will be worth it. If you are like I was and ignoring the pre- work material then you are exactly the person who should be doing it!
Searching for Elusive First Year Equilibrium. One of the sections that I did from MBA Math was economics. Being familiar with the basics such as supply and demand curves and how they shift provided me with a solid foundation, if you haven’t got it by the first micro econ class you will be left behind.
Finance Basics Not Covered in Class. The most fundamental thing I learned at math camp was understanding the concept of NPV & perpetuities and being able to apply it. That stuff was never really taught in class and I was so glad I had gotten to grips with it before hand.
Algebra Algebra Algebra. Algebra was not a problem for me but do make sure you are comfortable manipulating equations and substituting variables as you will do this all the time.
Listen Up, Becoming a Student Again is Tough. One last thing, it is actually worth listening to the MBA Math lectures and practice learning from lectures. MBA lectures will be more interactive but it is a skill to listen and process information for any significant period of time.
Since I teach the pre-term math camp at Tuck, I'll state that the need is minimal. I take 15 minutes to explain what problem calculus helps you to solve (e.g., what is the maximum profit?) and to remind students how to take the derivative of a polynomial. This coverage is included in the MBA Math course. Students use this minimally for marginal analysis in microeconomics and some second-year teaching assistants report that it comes up again minimally in finance for bond yields.
Let me add a second-year Tuck student's perspective:
1. Does your program suggest brushing up calculus skills before starting the first year?
Tuck does not emphasize a need to brush up on calculus.
2. Does your program provide any calculus pre-term teaching? If yes, is it done on campus?
I don’t recall calculus pre-term teaching as a part of the Tuck pre-term program. [Peter: I didn't make a lasting impression in my 15 minutes!!]
3. Have you used calculus in your MBA studies? If yes, in what classes?
I have not used calculus extensively. I used my past strength in math to understand some of the micro-economic concepts taught using calculus but the class was not taught using a calculus based method.
4. If yes to some of the above, would you recommend that prospective students interested in your program brush up on calculus before starting or just refresh their memories on the fly during their coursework? If you suggest advance prep, would you give it low, medium, or high priority relative to other pre-MBA preparation needs (e.g., spreadsheets, accounting, finance basics).
I suggest for students who did not take math in undergrad to refresh all of their math skills. I think that algebra is more important than calculus. Algebra is at a high priority and calculus is at a medium priority for students that fit into this category.