Sunday, February 8, 2009

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin

The Darden learning experience is about learning real and relevant business cases through a class discussion, but it's also about taking the integrative business approach, constantly reminding one to look at the bigger picture.

And it really works.

I'm not sure if the professors have gotten better or if we did, but the discussions are just better.
Maybe it's the fact that people are now more concerned about finding a summer internship or perhaps people figured out that grades don't matter; at least not as much as they thought they did. There are almost no people, who are talking just for the sake of talking, thinking that it would increase their participation grade. And this makes for a focused, flowing class discussion.

I've had a few classes lately that had great discussions and the professor allowed the discussion to go in the wrong direction, but we've figured it out and corrected ourselves as happens a lot in the case method. Although it was an interesting discussion, we were seventy minutes into it and yet, no conclusion. I was starting to question what if at all have we learned during the class. We were summing up what information we've managed to discover using tools we've learned in this class and in the previous quarters and we've narrowed it all down to three courses of action the company can take. But which one will they take? 

In a real business situation you'll need to come up with a recommendation. And you'll need to present it in a manner your audience will understand, justify it and defend it just like we do in class every day.

In order to make this decision we had to tap in to material and experiences we've learned in a Strategy class. Then we knew what the company would have chosen to do. But we did not agree. Some people thought the company should take one direction and others thought it should take another. However all agreed about the company's goal. We combined what we've learned in parallel and previous courses without even noticing we did it, took a step back and fell into the CEO's seat (thank god he wasn't sitting there at the time) and then we understood. It all came together. In Hebrew we have a saying: "The token has dropped" - an expression from the 80's that refers to the public telephones we used to have that required special tokens to operate. When the call would go through, the token would drop.

In the end of the day, what matters is that when you come to a business situtation and when you'll have to make a decision, you'll have all the tools you've learned, you'll have all the different companies' experience from the different cases and you'll remember the discussions you've had, the wrong turns you took. 

Most importantly, you'll be able to take the CEO perspective and understand and integrate all the different divisions of the business and until you actually become a CEO, you'll be able to explain and defend your decision.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A day in a life

I recently have talked to prospectives who have not visited Darden. In my opinion, telling about it will never match up to a visit here, but I do realize that it doesn't always work out.
So if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video would be worth thirty thousand words. If you have not yet watched Bill Gray's (- a second year at Darden) Day at Darden, I encourage you to do so.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The best professors in the world - Sing it with me

Yesterday I found out that there are still a few gems in C'Ville I haven't had the pleasure of drinking in as the Dardenite TNDC crowd crammed up the Bel-Rio - Bar, live music and more important: food after 22:00! Having Fridays as reading days this Q makes TNDC much more attractive when examining the go no-go decision tree. The jewel in the crown last night was the faculty band (featuring students as well). 

Check out the link to see my strategy professor can do more than talk. 
Feedback Form