When I drove to class on Wednesday night it hit me for the first time that I have been attending BC for my part-time MBA for two years now. To say that time has flown by would be an understatement. When I first joined the MBA program in January 2019, I started by taking only one class to ease my way back into the flow of doing schoolwork. I now am taking three classes per semester and I feel like I have somewhat mastered the ability to balance school, work and my personal life. Of course, being able to work from home has made this balance easier, as the time that would normally be devoted to a commute can be put towards other activities. The pandemic has made many things more difficult, but it has actually made my progress towards completing my MBA easier in a sense.
The process of beginning a new semester has become routine at this point. The week before classes start is when the Canvas website for each class becomes available. I use this time to comb through the syllabus to identify what will be required over the following three months and anticipate what I need to do to succeed. Most classes follow a general outline of a midterm, final exam, group project and some homework. It became clear almost immediately that Digital Transformation would be a much different style of course.
The first thing that jumped off the page to me was that there would be no midterm or final exam. For someone who dreads but usually performs well on exams, this excited me. Another thing that stood out to me is that we will be using Twitter as our discussion board for the class. While I haven’t sent out a tweet in years, I use Twitter every day to read through news on sports and business. Having Twitter be a main component of our grading scheme will be something that I have to get used to, but my initial feeling is that it will be a fun exercise.
When I first saw that blog posts will be worth almost half of the grade in the class, I was a little anxious. I think I’m an adequate to good writer, but as someone who works in and generally takes classes focused on finance, it is something that I have not put into practice much at all since being an undergrad. After our first class I feel better about the nature of the blogs and how they can be used to explore our interests. I think it will provide an opportunity to do research into topics that I have been wanting to learn more about, but I have not gotten around to yet. Having this process count towards academic credit should be something that is viewed as a win-win. On my drive home, I already thought of a handful of ideas that could be worth looking into and hopefully that list continues to grow.
There were a couple topics that Professor Kane mentioned that we will cover this semester that grabbed my interest. The first was blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I bought Bitcoin in 2017 when it seemed like everyone else in the world did when the price got to about $20K. The level of knowledge that I had back then is about the same as it is now, which is very limited. What I do know is that Bitcoin functions through blockchain technology. I have tried to learn more about how blockchain works but I have had a difficult time understanding it. Almost daily it feels like I hear that blockchain is going to “change everything” and power decentralized finance. I hope this class can make that concept more clear and potentially help my ability to make investment decisions.
Another topic that I look forward to learning more about is machine learning and AI. The readings and videos on the topic that I have seen outside of class have only made me feel progressively worse about how it will impact the world as we know it. The consistent takeaway that I have had seems to be that AI will replace the need for a large number of jobs in the near future. It is scary to think that the skills and knowledge that I have obtained through decades of school could be rendered useless if a company is able to get these abilities from a computer. I am hopeful that this class can ease my worries regarding this or at least shift my thinking on how AI can be positive for my job and for society as a whole.