One of the most useful things I’ve learned in school is the helpful phrase “it depends.” Amazingly, there are remarkably few “right” answers, even in disciplines where you think there might be (finance, accounting, operations). Sure, there’s often a ‘right’ numerical answer, but often the way you get there or how you interpret it is up for debate.
This says to me why business school matters now – especially at Haas. One of our core values is “question the status quo” – something that I think everyone needs to do as we face the very difficult problems of the 21st century. So it’s reassuring that even in school we’re being taught to question our assumptions, to realize that you can interpret the same ‘facts’ differently. This is a creative approach to problem solving, and it’s an absolutely essential skill for leaders.
This quarter has been the most challenging yet (which is why you haven’t heard much from the first-years on the blog!) with intensive courses in finance, operations and leadership communications. And yes, there are some days where if you asked me if I were enjoying my year, I might say “it depends” – for example I’m writing this on a Friday night and then I’m going to go work on a finance problem set. Ah, student life!
But it’s heartening to know that the future leaders of America and beyond aren’t willing to settle for black and white, but know that we live in shades of gray, and our education at Haas reflects that.