I have a confession. I am nervous about business school. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been a student. Thanks to the GMAT studying isn’t the distant memory it once was. However, studying for one exam doesn’t compare to managing a full course load, especially when that course load is focused on the subjects that gave me fits in undergrad. I have a healthy fear of stats and economics, fueled by complete disinterest and my brain’s inability to make sense of concepts like marginal revenue=price and correlation coefficients. Whether I like it or not the only way to an MBA is through these subjects. Since I am spending my summer happily unemployed, I figured it would be a good idea to face my fears head on and get reacquainted with stats and econ and introduced to case studies and Excel modeling before school starts in September. Enter Manhattan GMAT Pre MBA bootcamp.
I’ve been a big fan of Manhattan GMAT for over a year as their strategy guides were instrumental in getting me through the quant portion of the GMAT. When I found out they were offering a 16-hour program focused on all things business school I was all in. The bootcamp meets at Manhattan GMAT’s New York office for four 3-hour sessions during which incoming 1st year students get a crash course in all of the topics we will encounter at school.
Before bootcamp began the work started. Upon registering I received an Excel primer, the course textbook, Case Studies and Cocktails, and a syllabus detailing each week’s assignments. Seeing that there was reading assigned for the first class let me know that this bootcamp was the real deal. According to the syllabus, each class would cover a different academic subject and the first two would be my old nemeses: statistics and microeconomics. Last week I made it through the first two sessions. The verdict: There’s a thin line between love and hate and bootcamp may have dragged me over the line when it comes to stats and econ.
Bootcamp is less about teaching us how to DO these quant heavy subjects and more designed to show us how to USE these disciplines to solve business issues. I think that’s what was missing all those years ago when I was first introduced to these subjects. It was all numbers, no context. In bootcamp we are learning through the lens of a case study about a new product launch in the tech space. Thus far we have used statistics and economics to determine the launch price of this new product. Giving a real world application to concepts like standard deviations, confidence intervals, marginal revenue, and price elasticity makes them far more interesting and useful. As we evaluated survey data during the statistics lesson I could clearly see how I could have used this knowledge in my career. I even wondered if my former company’s marketing department ever employed these methods to set pricing and promotion strategies. If they did they may have done a better job predicting what people would pay for some of our recent product launches that were great in theory but not in practice.
I still have two more bootcamp sessions this week. We are tackling finance (eeeek!!), accounting, and valuations, three more business school stalwarts that strike fear in my heart. I was very conscious to stay away from these classes in undergrad for fear my transcript would be littered with F’s. However, I have the feeling it’s not going to be as awful as I once thought it was. If the statistics and microeconomics lessons thus far are indicative of what is to come then I can see that my years of work experience have exposed me to these subject areas in practice much more than I initially realized. I may not know the theoretical terms but I know the concepts when I see them. I am only halfway through bootcamp so I may be overly optimistic, but I feel more confident now that I will not flunk out of Booth after my first semester. I’ll let you know how I’m feeling after this week’s classes.