ISYS6621: Challenge Accepted!

Seeing a variety of students from diverse backgrounds on the first day of class – juniors, seniors, and even MBA students that I did not expect to take a class with – I wondered why everyone decided to take this two-and-a-half-hour-long course on a Wednesday night.

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Me during the first hour of class

My reason was simple: I needed one more elective to finish the ISYS concentration, and this course’s professor had the best course evaluation out of all the courses available. Literally, the scores were so high throughout the past few years that it made me wonder what’s so great about this course that made students fall in love with it. For this reason, I immediately signed up for the course without hesitation at 9AM on the first day of senior course-picking date.

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YASS

My best strategy to have a good academic journey has been picking a good professor prior to considering the course material (of course, it has to be somewhat related to my field of interest), and choosing this course followed that game plan as well. However, when I heard Professor Kane saying, “If you are a type of student who puts everything last minute and pulls an all-nighter right before the final exam, you will not succeed in this course,” I got so scared that I started looking for other ISYS electives to switch into in the middle of the class. That sentence described my study habit very accurately, and I believed my time would be spent miserably if I stayed in his course (I am still worried a bit). The course load seemed quite a bit as well, and the nature of the course definitely did not seem to allow “last minute prepping” to earn a good grade in the class. Definitely not an ideal type of class for my study habit.

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Me during the second hour of class

Well, the fact that you are reading this blog post means that I made a different choice than what I initially considered on the first day of class. There are few reasons behind this. One, I’ve always been so eager to change my “hyper-procrastinating” study habit since the beginning of my freshman year of high school. Yes. High school. It’s been 7 years or so, yet I still struggle with it (as I say this, I started writing this post during late afternoon of my assigned blog post day). After having a few internship experiences, I realized that this habit must change in order for me to finish my daily tasks and be a trusted, valuable asset of the team. Of course, this will not change quickly, but taking this course will force me to move towards the direction that I’ve always wanted (I will try my best, Professor! :)).

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Me before any exam/essay due date

Two, the course material seemed exciting, mainly because I’ve always wanted to understand what a successful, effective application of technology in a workforce looks like in a real-world scenario. It seemed like a course that enables me to navigate what I am particularly passionate about in the tech field, which is also new to me as I’ve preferred receiving a set, strict learning materials and objectives outlined by the professor. I believe that the best way to grow and learn is to challenge myself and try something new, and this course encompasses that aspect both logistically and academically.

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Me as I write this post

And lastly, I loved Professor Kane’s enthusiasm about the course. And not to forget, even the TAs! I served as a TA for Portico last semester as I very much enjoyed the course and sincerely liked my professor, but I’ve never seen any group of TAs that were so excited and passionate about the course (including myself indeed). Positivity is so important in enhancing my learning experience, and I could feel that the course is surrounded by full of positive energy from both the professor and TAs. I think these 3 reasons are more than sufficient to make me not only stay in the course but also be excited for the experience.

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My perception of Professor Kane & TAs’ energy

Regarding the assignments, Twitter is certainly new (other than the tweets Donald Trump posts about North Korea and immigration), but WordPress I’ve used before for an international accounting course in Colombia and Chile through BC. I think integrating these platforms as part of the course requirement is a great and creative way to provide students a unique, unconventional way of learning beyond typing notes verbatim from a powerpoint lecture. It fits the title of the course Social Media and Digital Business as it literally uses social media as part of its core learning tool. It also challenges typical beliefs about social media being simply a waste-of-time invention from technology since it can be an amazing learning tool if used wisely (although it is true that social media such as Facebook and Instagram can waste our time, the term social media is way beyond than simply those apps). One of the goals I have for this class is that by the time I finish this course, I want to proudly say that social media is a great learning tool and make that claim applied in my daily lives instead of wasting my time reading news feeds about pointless topics. I also look forward to reading my classmates’ blog and tweet posts!

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Another objective I have for this course is learning how technology will impact the financial services industry in the next 10+ years (beyond simple payment/transaction methods), specifically demystifying cryptocurrency and its role in the financial world. I will be presenting this upcoming Wednesday about ripple, which serves both as one of cryptocurrencies and digital payment network for financial transactions. There is so much information about this topic, but an interesting thing about ripple is that it’s not mined like other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Although I am not an expert, I hope my upcoming presentation adds any sort of learning experience to you all (if anyone who reads this blog post knows about this topic and wants any interesting topic to be discussed or has a specific question, feel free to comment and I will try my best to incorporate it in the presentation!)! I plan on pursuing a career path in banking/financial services in the next few years, and application of technology in finance always fascinates me.

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I’m sure there are lots of excitement yet nervous feelings about this course for everyone in the class. I think this is good because it will keep us on our toes! I hope my input adds value to my classmates’ learning experience and look forward to hearing their insights as well in the next few months!

Thanks for reading :)

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Jo Oh the Bro / Jobabes121

3 comments

  1. This post resonates with me. I studied engineering in undergrad and am now focusing on finance in my MBA so probably >90% of the classes in my education career involved memorizing math formulas and cramming for tests. Coming in to the class I had no idea what to expect, other than the course description had some cool topics that interested me (AI, IoT, blockchain, virtual reality). I was definitely freaking out after day 1 when I learned about the course deliverables and considered switching out. But I regrouped and convinced myself this course will be a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and grow.
    I know a bit about Bitcoin and Ethereum, but less so about Ripple, so I’m looking forward to your presentation!

  2. I, too, was impressed by the diversity of the class on the first day. By the time you complete the long list of required courses and have the opportunity to take electives BC, it seems you see all the same faces. It is going to be interesting to hear the perspectives of both graduate and undergraduate students coming from all different backgrounds and disciplines. After hearing Professor Kane’s warning on the first day, I was also a bit intimidated but have chosen to take the same path as you. In my opinion, it is never too late to try when it comes to self-improvement. We can all procrastinate less; we can all challenge ourselves in a new way. While it may take time to grow accustomed to this unique course style, I believe it will be rewarding. Like you, I have heard overwhelmingly positive remarks with regards to Social Media and Digital Business as well as Professor Kane.

  3. I definitely agree with the “take the professor” strategy. The irony is that I only know that those types of students don’t do well in the course is that I was that type of student too. To be honest, the procrastination really did hurt my career early on, and I’ve since mended my ways. If I can help you procrastinate less, that may be the most valuable thing I teach you all semester. That, and I really do enjoy teaching the course. I don’t think you’ll regret staying!

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