Bidding for Spring

It’s a pretty chilly morning, but that’s not why I’m thinking about spring…it’s actually time to bid for spring semester classes!

After the first year of all-required core classes, your schedule becomes (almost) completely wide open. Since the Berkeley MBA is a general management degree, there are no set classes for concentrations. This means you can go as broad or as deep as you want, in whatever interests you.

This semester, I took negotiations, strategic brand management, and Problem Finding / Problem Solving (a required 1-unit design thinking course) and as I look to the options for the next semester, I’m realizing how few classes really remain. Since each semester is 6 units, and most classes are 3 units, I really only have 6 more classes to take, so I need to pick wisely!

I find so many classes appealing, it’s actually really hard to decide. As a second year, I get 1,500 points to allocate to my first choices of classes – third years get 3,000. There are two rounds of bidding for spring – so if you don’t get into the classes you want the first round, you get another chance for the second round. Plus, most classes have an add/drop period once the semester starts, so you get a third chance to get in off wait lists as well. The amount of points required to get into a course varies each semester, depending on what’s offered and student interest, so it’s hard to know exactly how to bid. But I was able to get into my classes on the first round last time, so I’m hoping my luck will hold for the spring!

Tonight we have a presentation on electives during the dinner break – so we’ll get to hear from various professors about the classes they’re offering – so we can decide wisely. I already have some thoughts on what I want, but I’m definitely keeping an open mind!

-Jennifer Caleshu

Light at the end of the tunnel.. and it’s NOT the train!

Not exactly sure how it happened, but I find myself in May, with three weeks of class remaining. The process for bidding for Fall 2010 classes has come and gone, and was actually a rather interesting experience. Being a Cal undergrad, I was expecting something similar to the old “Tele-Bears” phone dial-in system where students used a phone to code in desired classes. Yeah, shows you how long ago I was an undergrad, doesn’t it?

Now, we use a system of point allocation, and I found myself using my years of experience bidding for items on eBay to optimize my point allocation across my classes of interest. It’s actually a fairly equitable system, or perhaps I only think that because I was able to get into the classes that I wanted. Of course, I knew better than to even try for certain classes I knew were going to be popular, such as Prof Ho’s Pricing class and Prof La Blanc’s CFM class.

With bidding now behind us and class schedules set, it’s with a tinge of regret that I see the conclusion of year one fast approaching. I’ll be remaining on the Tuesday/Thursday schedule next fall, a coincidence that the electives I wanted to take happened to fall on these days, I know my fellow Gold cohort members may not be. Hopefully, I’ll still see them on occasion on the days I happen to share class with them, but I that won’t be the case for everyone. I don’t doubt the quality and of the other students I’ll be in class with, and indeed, my fellow non-Gold classmates of 2012 are all great, as are c/o 2011 folks I will share classes with, we have a camaraderie among our cohort that I treasure and will miss.

I certainly feel that our group has coalesced into a tightly bonded group in a way that I did not expect part-time students to. After all, we are all local, have established networks of friends and family, not to mention a full-time job. I did not expect to form such tight friendships with my classmates. Yet only 8 months since orientation, I feel a very tight sense of camaraderie with everyone.

It’s certainly a feeling I hope continues through the remaining time we share here at Haas, and well beyond.