Thursday, December 22, 2005

ECN 502 - Managerial Economics

Okay - this post is long overdue, but hey - better late than never! I actually started this a good while back (10/24/05), but then Financial Accounting came along ... but that's for another post. ;-)

This course was really great - but it also kept me really busy! So, I didn't get any post in during the middle of the course, as intended - so this will be both a detailed review of the course, upon having just completed it.

Managerial Economics. Hm. So what's it all about?
Managerial Economics is not designed to "make you into an economist." Rather, the course is designed to provide you with the basic platform for all managerial decision making.
So, that said... Some background. This was our second class. For me, it took notably more work than the previous course, as was anticipated. I haven't had an Econ course in a good ... probably 5 years or more. I like Economics - as described by a classmate, it's a unique blend of history, psychology, and math, all of which I enjoy - but it's been a while since I studied it. So, I anticipated heavier time spent on this course, and that turned out to be a more than accurate prediction. ;-)

Faculty Interaction
We had two professors teaching this class - Drs. Burgess and Chade. Both of them were really great. Dr. Burgess demonstrated his commitment to us by posting the first week or so of the course from his villa on St. John. *drool* I guess maybe he does know a thing or two about economics! ;-)
Anyhow, Dr. Burgess taught the first two and half or three weeks of the course, and then Dr. Chade took over. Both professors were very prompt with the message boards - they both seemed to really enjoy helping us understand - always the mark of a good teacher. Many different anecdotes, stories, examples - anything to help the material sink in.

Peer Interaction
The peer interaction for this course really jumped up for me. We were to work in our sub-teams on the weekly homework assignments. My group's interaction on the task was so-so - some of my group was very excited to work together to get it done, others rathered to go it alone. That concerns me some for future classes, where our team interaction will play a larger role in the course, but so it goes. Past that, I also really got to know even better and communicate with other members of my cohort outside of my team, which has been quite nice.

Thus far, this was probably the best course in terms of discussion of topics in the forums, in my view. This was primarily due to the content of the discussion. Where the discussion of the previous course was a bit more applied/problem based (e.g. "How do you do XYZ again?"), the discussion here was much more rounded, in terms of tackling implications of the topics. Economics as a subject lends itsself quite naturally to discussion, but I really appreciated all the different anecdotes and examples that were shared and discussed on the board, from people's "day jobs". To me this highlights yet again the benfits of a part-time program - online or otherwise.

First off, I had Macro and Micro Economics in my undergrad curriculum, in addition to Engineering Economy, which is more "applied", in the sense of valuing projects, present value, etc. Granted, my undergrad econ classes were early in my collegiate career, so my memory may be a bit spotty - but I swear that we covered the high points of a full semester of Micro econ in the first week. Phew!

The course covered 5 basic topics (e.g. modules):
  1. Foundations of Economics
  2. Supply, Optimization, and Market Structures
  3. Optimal Firm Decisions
  4. Pricing with Market Power
  5. Strategy: Game Theory for Managers
In addition to the modules, we also studied a number of individual firms by way of publications - Polaroid, American Airlines, etc. It was quite interesting to see the "real world" implications of the material.

As noted in other posts - the final was quite difficult. I did have a request to post some of the final, but I don't think I'll be able to do so - I will say that it was roughly half multiple choice, and half free response. The multiple choice was definitely tricky, but the free response was where it really amped up. However, I definitely appreciate the rigorousness - I wouldn't have it any other way. ;-)

Great course. This really reminded me of - or showed me - how much I enjoy the subject. I guess you could say it's the mark of a good course if it changes how you think about things in your day-to-day life - For whatever reason, I didn't get that effect out of my undergrad econ courses, but after this course, I definitely find myself thinking more "economically" day-to-day. I don't mean "cheaply" - I've always been cheap - but the economic reasons and reasoning behind decisions - in the news, at work, otherwise. I now follow several economics blogs in my regular news feeds - Adam Smith Lives, Cafe Hayek, EconLog, Marginal Revolution, and William Polley. Anyhow - highly recommended!

1 comment:

sfhdweb said...

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