The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind as I traveled back to the East Coast and almost immediately started my second year of business school. This time around, my diet of classes consists entirely of electives, so I’ve been able to tailor my course schedule more closely to my oft-idiosyncratic interests. After a fair bit of juggling, I ended up with the following lineup:
- Business Process Reengineering. A brand-new course taught by a visiting professor specializing in operations research, BPR focuses on mapping processes graphically and effective systems design in the context of business. The frustrated software engineer inside of me finds this all very exciting, particularly given my work this summer helping to develop logic models and ecosystems for the performing arts. While not specifically centered on the nonprofit sector, I’m optimistic the lessons from this course will transfer fluidly across such boundaries.
- Program Evaluation. Taught by professional evaluator Beth Osborne Daponte, Program Evaluation explores the principles behind rigorous assessment of impact in a nonprofit context. The class involves a substantial team consulting project with an actual organization, for which we’ll develop a full-fledged program logic model and evaluation strategy by the end of the semester.
- Elements of Choral Technique. My one School of Music class this semester is taught by Jeff Douma, the director of the Yale Glee Club (of which I used to be assistant conductor, back in the day). It’s going to be interesting woodshedding scores and practicing mixed meters again. Apparently I’m supposed to demonstrate some keyboard skills too. We’ll see how that one goes!
- Behavioral Economics and Strategy. Oh, Behavioral Econ deserves a blog post of its own. Remember how last year we learned all this stuff about how markets are supposed to work, and it all just seemed a little fishy? Well, it turns out that there is lots of evidence that markets don’t actually work that way at all, at least not in the context that I like to call “reality.” So now we are told that neo-classical economics is right, except when it, you know, isn’t. I am determined to crack this nut, folks. By mid-October my goal is to be able to tell you what the hell is going on in this crazy field once and for all.