Archive for November, 2011

5 CSUF MBA Courses I’m Looking Forward to Taking

It may sound lame, but there are a handful of courses that I am excited about taking for my CSUF MBA.  I have four elective courses I need to take over the next four semesters.  The majority of those will likely be finance classes (which is my current concentration), but I have some flexibility to take a few in other subject areas.  Here’s a list of the five courses I am most looking forward to taking at Fullerton:

  • Entrepreneurial Finance (Finance) – One day, I would like to start and run my own business.  I am not sure yet what it would be, but I feel entrepreneurship is a great way to be successful in our new economic climate.  Funding a new venture, obtaining financing, and managing cash flow are some of the most important considerations entrepreneurs must address.  Cash is the fuel that powers all small businesses, and managing that fuel is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can possess.  I would hope this course would lay some groundwork for those skills which I could then test and refine once I start my own business.
  • Seminar in Investment Management (Finance) – One thing that has become clear to me in the last three or four years is the importance of knowledgeable and competent investment managers.  The large, rapid swings in the market since the onset of the financial crisis have severely damaged countless retirement accounts, and people need valuable investment advisors in their corner to combat this challenging investment climate.  The course description does not specify whether the topics address corporate or individual investment management, but many of the principles it covers including portfolio management, risk evaluation and investment criteria would benefit anyone working in either of those fields.
  • New Venture Leadership and Management (Management) – I do not expect this course to provide me with all the insight I would ever need to start my own business.  I would hope though, that because it encompasses organizational development and human resource management, it would highlight the legal and regulatory issues that new ventures need to address.  I believe simply having awareness of these issues would be a huge personal benefit when starting a new business.
  • Comparative Management (Management) – The American way of doing business is not the only way of doing business.  And increasingly, companies are expanding their operations overseas and marketing to international customers.  As a result, it is important that managers understand the cultural, political, legal, and economic differences that exist in markets all over the world.  I personally expect that I will be exposed to international customers at some point in my career, and would benefit from an early exposure to the many differences found in the international marketplace.
  • Marketing New Ventures (Marketing) – My hope is that this course will help me develop a strategy for analyzing potential new business ideas.  The class covers market analysis, competitive analysis, costs of starting a business and launch feasibility.  These skills and strategies would help me determine whether a business idea is worth pursuing, and would be a great starting point for developing a well-rounded business plan, as well.

Here are a couple of articles that I found interesting this week:

“New Studies Show Pitfalls of Doing Too Much at Once” – This article was particularly informative for me, because I (like I assume most people) try to multitask in an effort to be as productive as possible.  However, considering excessive multitasking can lead to loss of concentration, attentiveness and gaps in short-term memory, I have been attempting to cut down on my multitasking (particularly at work).  Do you find yourself multitasking at work in an effort to be as productive as possible?  Do you notice any lapses in your work performance (positive or negative) when you multitask?

“5 Easy Steps to Your Own E-Commerce Startup For $100” – This blog post, by Martin Zwilling, was an encouraging read considering my interest in eventually starting my own business.  What I find particularly inspiring is the fact that a startup can get off the ground with as little as $100 – there are few financial excuses for getting a startup off the ground.

Petition for Classification and My Delayed Registration

Spring registration at CSUF began for me on November 2, 2011, yet I am currently six days late registering for classes.  It is not because I am lazy or do not have access to the internet.  It is because I was not expecting to need to change my classification status after just my first semester in the MBA program.

Let me back up a bit and explain.  CSUF’s MBA program requires students to complete approximately 19 courses, and these courses are divided between pre-requisites, unrestricted courses (pre-classification), and restricted courses.  The four pre-requisite courses include business calculus, statistics, information systems, and managerial communications.  These courses must be completed by the end of a student’s first year in the MBA program to successfully complete the first part of the graduate degree.

The next group of classes each student must complete consists of the unrestricted courses.  These courses, along with the pre-requisites, must be completed before a student can enroll in any restricted courses.  I consider the unrestricted courses to be the “core” of the MBA program.  These consist of management, accounting, economics, and marketing classes that help lay the groundwork for the restricted classes.  Students can waive pre-requisite and unrestricted courses if they have completed the equivalent coursework during their business undergrad studies.  I enrolled in the CSUF program and was pleased to wave ten courses thanks to my undergraduate coursework.  I must take a couple of replacement courses to ensure I complete enough units to graduate, but this allows me to tailor my course selections to better fit my career aspirations.

Once the pre-requisites and unrestricted courses have been completed, then several forms have to be filled out.  These forms change the student’s classification status, which will then allow the student to enroll in restricted MBA courses.  These required forms include the Concentration / Elective Approval sheet, the Replacement Course Approval sheet, and any necessary evaluation forms.  These forms, once completed, establish each student’s individual MBA study plan.  (It should be noted that the concentration and replacement courses can be changed even after the forms have been completed – just contact the graduate program staff to update the specific form).

Once all of the above steps have been completed, then the student can petition for classification change with the CSUF New Admit Advisor.  The completed petition should be emailed, which allows for faster processing.  The whole system still seems a little slow, as it takes approximately four to five business days to complete.  (Update: I received an email confirming my classification approval five days after submitting the form.  However, now I have a hold on my account because I need to provide to Health Center with proof my immunizations are up-to-date.  This is turning into a challenging semester, and classes have not even started yet).

The disappointing thing about the classification requirement is that I am fully aware of it now, but will not ever need to complete the petition while in the CSUF MBA program.  Ideally, I would like other students to be aware of the requirement, so that it does not sneak up on them like it did to me.  It is not that I was not aware of the requirement – I just was unaware of where I stood with regard to the courses I had waived and taken.  Hopefully, this will bring to light the petition for classification to other students, who can avoid the registration issues I have dealt with this semester.

Here are an interesting articles I read this past week:

“Is An Ivy League Diploma Worth It?” – This article relates nicely to my previous post about rising tuition and student debt levels.  It takes a little different perspective and focuses mainly on undergraduate students, but the main message it the same.  I am wondering, if students start choosing less-expensive state schools over private institutions, will those private universities need to reduce their costs to remain competitive and attract students?