Saturday, July 24, 2010

Term 1: Check Point (exams and FAP)

More than half of the first term is gone… we have had 3 mid-term exams since the second weekend in SF and finally, we now have two weekends (end of July and mid-August) without worrying about any exam. Then, the finals will arrive at the end of August. What a packed term! And it will get worse in term 2, 3, 4 …

When I evaluate how well I did in the exam, I cannot help but using the equity theory learned from the management class: was my output/input ratio above or below my expectation? If not, did I study efficiently? Did I spend the extra 80% of time to get the extra 20% of score? Of course, sometimes I tend to compare my output/input ratio to others’ – “too competitive”. But more than often, I would self-correct since comparing with others will never make me happy. The ultimate goal is to learn and apply the knowledge, at the same time, maybe improve exam tactics. Study partnership definitely helps, even if you understand one concept better than other people, explaining it to them make your own understanding deeper. Knowing others got a better score with your help is much more satisfactory than getting a higher score yourself. And when I am the person being helped, I feel very grateful for the great classmates I had the honor to meet in Wharton.

The biggest project for me this term is FAP (field application project) since I convinced my learning team to conduct the study in my organization. If you really want to do it in your organization, the key is to convince your upper management to sponsor FAP before you start at Wharton. Since the project lasts for less than three months, a quick start is crucial. After that, you will work with your organization and your learning team to define the scope and approach. Our data collection is mostly done via phone interviews and competitive analysis. Of course the highlight of the project was meeting the president of my organization – half of my team travelled to Seattle for this. It is an eye-opening project not only for my learning term who did not know much about my organization before, but also for me. I got to know many people in my organization and learn about cultural differences outside of my team. Coordinating the entire project is not easy at all, and I probably spent 20 hours just to arrange all the appointments and internal data collection. Not everyone will understand the importance of the project, and you really have to believe what you are doing and continue doing it especially when people refuse to participate for various reasons. Believe that you can make a change is the key to success of FAP, or to any other endeavor in life.

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