Truthfully, I was a bit apprehensive about the first class and was definitely one of those people who contemplated dropping the course. I think the syllabus was one part of that, another part being that this is my first in-person MBA course. Having sat through the first session though, I am feeling better about the content and potential outcomes of this course, which was hopefully the point of the in-depth coverage of the syllabus.
A bit about me – I did my undergrad at the Boler College of Business at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. You can see my very real photo on the wall in the accounting department (below), but I was a business management and human resource management major. My business management capstone was a bit like this course and focused on management in an ever-changing economy. Our final papers were on concepts like the Internet of Things and Big Data, so the concepts of this course were familiar to me. Unfortunately, the capstone course was 8 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the professor was not always clear about their expectations. I struggled in this course to make sense of the goals and to focus on the content if I did not make enough time to stop for coffee.
Since graduating in 2017, I completed my first graduate degree through the Masters in Higher Education program at Boston College in 2019. Though the program was straightforward, I had one particular class that allowed you to pick from a list of assignments, assign the percentage of your overall grade to which assignments, and select your due dates for your assignments. It was a drastic change to the amount of autonomy I was used to in any collegiate courses. While not technically related to this course, it is important to note that this experience has prepared me to be okay with some of the unknowns of the structure of this course.
I am grateful for the time we spent hashing over the details of this course as well as the flexibility it will provide for me to dig into the things I am excited about. I serve as a Resident Director at Boston College so education and the residential student experience are really my passion areas. I am excited to talk about digital transformation in the scope of higher education, which can be very progressive environments but may also be slow to transition to more effective processes for the sake of tradition. I am also excited to see how managers of people are most effective in spaces that embrace digital transformation and technological advances. While I have not met everyone in our course yet, it seems like we have a variety of experiences and guest speakers coming to present that I am hopeful for some great discussions.
Some of my expectations for this course will be to challenge myself to see how this applies to my work. While working in residence halls with 800 sophomores may not have a clear example of digital transformation, I know it is present in all of the work we do. I also teach a course in the spring semester about multicultural leadership, so anything I can bring from this course about being comfortable with the unknowns of digital transformation may be helpful content for our students.
Expectations of myself and my classmates will be to focus on maintaining the inherent dignity of each person (a very catholic thing to say). More specifically, I am simply uninterested in perpetuating stereotypes or making assumptions or generalizations about any group of people in the classroom spaces I am in. I hold myself accountable for not saying or doing those things and also to speak up if I hear them. In my role as a Resident Director, I help my Resident Assistants learn how to disrupt those behaviors in their community so I feel intrinsically obligated to do the same.
I think in a different life, I could have worked in Information Technology Management, so I am really excited to dive into the content of this course and to hear about how each of my colleagues interacts with the subjects we will be covering.
PS: I truly love baking, so I’m very happy to begin baking for class next week. I think I have perfected Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, but also happy to bring something more allergen friendly, depending on who we have in the class!