Thursday, February 16, 2006

Summer Semester 2005 Mod A - Org. Behav.

I was interested in three concentrations at BYU in the business school. 1) Information Systems 2) Finance and 3) Organizational Behavior. I really enjoyed the OB class at BYU. It was probably the most confrontational of all the classes I took at BYU. The reason it was confrontational was because of the teacher and his assistent. The teacher was Bonner Ritchie. He was a lot like LaTurner ... he liked to talk. He didn't lecture; he just got up there and shot the breeze for 3 hours a week. He was a Democrat and an open-supporter of Clinton. Utah (and particularly BYU) is very conservative and Republican and so for obvious reasons, there were a lot of debates. I remember him saying that Clinton was a great president except for the unfortunate event in the Oval Office. It was almost unbelievable listening to Bonner go on and on about Clinton.

But, what was even more interesting was Bonner's TA. I don't remember her name, but she was probably in her mid 30's at the time, had blonde hair, attractive and ultra-liberal (think Tina Fey with blonde hair). She had just earned a degree at Berkeley and was at BYU for either an MBA or PhD. One time, Bonner was off on a negotiation in the middle east or something and the TA was teaching. Some discussion we were having spurred the topic of affirmative action. Boy ... that set off the fireworks for the rest of the class. The big debate was whether affirmative action was racist in and of itself or was it really helping minorities. A few students had the TA flustered and she was visibly riled up about the whole conversation. For me, it was pure entertainment ... it was like watching Sean Hannity debating with Al Franken.

Anyway ... Bonner's lectures had more to do with ethics and equality and how to treat people. Besides the lecture, we had labs where other TA's would get into the textbook part of the course. We had to write up papers and we discussed in smaller groups Bonner's lectures. It was a very interesting class ... I can honestly say this about the class ... I never slept in it.

Organizational Behavior

OB Cox-style wasn't any less dramatic than Bonner's class. Our teacher was Mel Fugate. There weren't any liberal or conservative slants in the class, but there weren't any dull moments. The first day was a lot like my very first day of school ... in 1st grade. He had rules up the wazoo! He could have had a separate course on just the rules of the class. If there had been an exam about the class rules, I don't think I would have passed it. It would have been like taking a bar exam. On top of the rules, he took a whole 10 minutes and discussed the proper pronunciation of his last name! He even began the last-name discussion with a question ... "how do you pronounce my last name?" A few raised their hands ... foo-ga-té ... fyou-gate ... and my personal favorite ... fugg-it! There was a big laugh about that one. We just called him Mel.

The class content was decent. He had us reading a buttload of material. The bad thing about the reading was that he quizzed us on it! Most teachers will assign reading material from the textbook, but after about 3 chapters, you just skim over the chapter and still understand what is going on in the lecture. But Mel was a nazi about reading the textbook. We took 3 quizzes over the textbook reading. It was crazy ... it was like we're in high school all over again ... and he treated us that too.

His lectures were very funny. He was a great presenter and I never fell asleep in his class. For one lecture, he brought in Robin Pinkley. She is my negotiations teacher right now. But in Mel's class, she discussed negotiating your salary. I didn't like it at the time, but now that I look back, it was a cool lecture. That class and the rave reviews of her negotiations class are the reasons I'm taking her class now.

Another lecture I really enjoyed was his presentation on leadership. He had us read a few articles besides the chapter in the textbook. I remember writing down a few notes on that subject. It was from that lecture that I decided to take the leadership class. Hopefully they will offer it this summer and I can take it.

I don't remember what we did for the final. I think it was an open book final, but the book really wouldn't help us if we didn't study beforehand. Overall, it was a good class. I got an A- in it.

Spring 2006 Update

Negotiations was last night. We did the Working Women case. I was the seller ... we were trying to sell 100 episodes of a popular sit-com to some local TV stations in Chicago. My partner was pretty level-headed and proved to be a really good negotiator (in my opinion). She just looked like a negotiator. She was very cool and calm. The two opposite of us were good to work with. The one guy reminded me a little of Johnny Weir (since the Olympics are on right now). We were shooting for $2.5 million net. We started off with an offer a little above that. We finally had to work with the other team and ended up with just over $2 million. We weren't going to settle for anything below two mil. The negotiation took almost the whole time. Robin didn't even get a chance to lecture.

Modeling ... I still need to find some credit data. I'll be doing that while I'm working on a server build today.

Chess Update

I didn't play chess last night. Yesterday, I was poking around all the chess blogs out there. I was curious why Man de la Maza named his blog as such. His whole blog has a quixotic theme to it. So part of my day yesterday I was reading up on the history of Cervantes novel Don Quixote. I found that it is considered by many to be the best novel ever written. When I was at BYU, I'd walk down the halls of the JKHB and see all these posters about Don Quixote. I always thought it was just some obscure old novel ... never really paid much attention to it. But after reading about it yesterday, I thought that I might be interested in reading the actual book. So I took some money I received from my birthday and bought Edith Grossman's translation of Don Quixote. I also bought another book that I had heard was really good ... The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. After class last night, I made my lunch, watched a little TV and then delved into Quixote. Judging by its size, I think I'll finish right about the time I'm done with school and just in time to follow in the footsteps of Man de la Maza ... which, by the way, is a play on words of the play Man of La Mancha which is based on Don Quixote.

The 2/16/06 puzzle ... 57. ...? Well ... I see that the black bishop can fork the two white rooks ... don't know how that could be done successfully. Maybe Rg3+ will allow the bishop to be placed at d4. How about this ... Rxd5+ 58. cxd5 Rg3+ 59. Kc2 Bd4 ... that doesn't make a whole lot of sense ... the fork can be easily broken.

The answer is Rg3+ 58. Kc2 Rg2+ 59. Kb1 Rxb2+ 60. Kxb2 Rxd5 0-1. OK! Not so bad. I had the right idea, but just needed more time to adjust how to accomplish it. I don't take more than 3 or 4 minutes on these puzzles.

Today I don't have class. If I get my credit data today, then maybe I'll have more time to play chess (or read Quixote).

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