Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

The MBA Journey continues

Two more classes complete.  These were two of the top three I was looking forward to.  Managing Change last term was a horrible disappointment.  

Strategic Management this term was slightly better.  The instructor at least appeared to have an interest in instructing so that helped 😂.  While the course wasn't quite as useful as I'd hoped since much of it was covered already in other classes, it was still interesting.  The first paper was a waste of time really, but the second one was a good learning exercise.  It may even have been practical in a smaller org, but by focusing on RBC it's highly unlikely I'll ever be determining RBC's overall strategic approach.  We could do it for a single line of business; arguably I could've used the PMO which I *am* responsible for.  But that's not nearly as much fun ;)   If you're gonna dream, dream big.  

The one significant objection I had to this course was being graded both on a forum post and our response to a forum post.  If you're going to grade me on a post, make it part of an assessment.  And responding to other people's posts is essentially a giant waste of my time.  It took a TON of reading of really pointless posts before I found one with enough meat to respond to in any worthwhile fashion.  And while there were several comments on my post, they were all of the "this is excellent" or "I hadn't thought of that" variety.  Which would be an ego boost if it was anybody I knew or whose opinion I cared about.  But it was complete strangers and not at all helpful in evolving or challenging my thinking.  So yeah - found that super ignorant, which in-turn made it very hard for me to engage with the rest of the course.  I understand what they were trying to do, but really - that kind of learning comes organically through the chat groups and random zoom chats.   And THOSE conversations really have helped my learning.   But that's not something profs have access to to mark so they do this kind of stupidity.   This paper took me twice as long to write as it should've mostly cause I was bored and dis-engaged.  Almost every aspect of it has been covered already in another class.

Side note - if you ever end up in a situation where you have to write the SAME thing a dozen times but can't repeat yourself verbatim -- Quillbot is awesome!  lol such a thing didn't exist when I was in uni, and I definitely can see it being used for nefarious purposes.  But I have zero issue with using it to rewrite my *own* writing.  lol.

The other course I was taking was Artificial Intelligence for Business.  It was the primary reason I chose AIB for my MBA and also the *last* course I got to take.  I was super-disappointed that my favourite prof so far, who was supposed to teach this class, left the school right before this term started :(   The replacement was good and enthusiastic, but nowhere near as good as the person who was supposed to teach it.  The course itself though was *excellent*.   Partially, to be fair, that's because I have a significant interest in it, but also partially because all the material was current, there was a wide variety of sources, and the assessments were relevant.  The only piece I didn't care for is part of one of the assessments included an implementation plan.  Now for me, this is easy marks.  But I would've greatly preferred spending those marks on learning more about AI strategy than writing up what was essentially a project agreement for a project that will never happen.  I didn't use the bank for this one - I don't have any line of sight into their AI strategy and I suspect in some areas its fairly advanced (I was somewhat surprised that the financial industry is one of the leading adopters of AI).   So I made use of a smaller semi-fictionalized company that I've used for other projects that similarly needed less-scope than RBC offers.   But yeah, this one was definitely one of my favourites.  Maybe not as immediately relevant to my real life as some of the others, but super interesting.

And now I'm done coursework!!!   All that's left is the mini-thesis.  It's nothing compared to my other Masters level work for sure (I mean really, it's an eight-week effort.  How big can it be?).  The biggest challenge for me will be picking a topic -- I know broadly it'll have to do with Leadership (we had to select the subject already, from a finite list), but more than that I really haven't decided yet.  Hopefully I'll think of something interesting so this isn't a completely horrible eight weeks.

AIB administration continues to be pretty horrific.   The very senior people are awesome and will go out of their way to solve problems.  But they seem to be one-off solutions unfortunately, and that attitude doesn't trickle down.  For instance - they still aren't able to provide webinar times that don't conflict with one another.  This isn't hard.  I did it for every class the entire term as an example last time around and it took me less than ten minutes.  And for reasons I don't understand, while every class to date has been during the work week, as per all schools ever, for this one it looks like it's going to be on the weekends?  It's either going to be Fri nights at 9pm or Sundays at 5:30.  And that's IF we even get a time that works for Canadian students -- that has been guaranteed for every class, but apparently not for this one.  So we shall see.  I will be very glad to see the end of this.


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