Sunday, February 22, 2009

More on Required Classes

The last post was to address what the professors seemed to concern about. This post is what I think needs to be improved.

First, I thing there needs to be more emphasis on risk management, especially in light of recent economic events. We don't actually deal with a whole lot of risk and uncertainty in our business classes. The most the business core ever really requires students to understand is the concept of "standard deviation" in our advanced quantitative classes (to you non-UIC people, that means math classes!) with a bit of sensitivity analysis in IDS 355 Operations Management.
I had never heard the term "Sharpe Ratio" before my Finance 472 real estate class.
Business majors need to have an understanding of how to handle uncertainty, because no plan survives first contact with the enemy/the economy. UIC should pay some more attention teaching us that. I would suggest some more effort in looking at risk in different ways, much like finance classes look at profitability of projects in different ways.

Second, Econ 221 Intermediate MacroEconomics should be a required course. Business majors should have a more solid understanding of macroeconomics than what it is offered in Econ 130. Specifically, they should be more aware of the debate between Neo-classical economists and Keyensian economists, since both have arguments that apply at different points in time. Econ 221 provides a higher level of analysis than Econ 130, and pays attention to these debates. Understanding the arguments should lead to a better understanding of the economic environment underlying the business environment, hopefully beyond "tax cuts=higher growth!" and "No, government spending=higher growth!" kind of thinking.

Third, it seems the business core pays little attention to ethics. It is rarely mentioned beyond the passing phrase "ethics are good" and "don't be Enron!" with some attention paid to the subject in Management 350 (which mostly seems to be a Business Law course, so ethics are not exactly the topic of the class). Perhaps a 1 hour per week class on ethics with a workload similar to BA 100 would be a good idea, or requiring every student to attend to an ethics workshop prior to graduation.

Finally, I would reevaluate IDS 200. This is not meant to offend the professors, but I remember so little about the class that I wonder how much it actually accomplished. This may be a result of my own bias (I have never taken an IDS course beyond the required curriculum). However, from what I recall, it seems that the topic of the class was the effect of digital technology on the business environment. This is a topic that is hammered to death in every class, and I think discussing the effects of the Information Revolution is better addressed in those general classes than having a class specifically devoted to the Information Revolution. Eg: I think I can learn a lot more about the role of IT in marketing while attending a marketing class than studying it in IDS 200.
Of course, there ARE some aspects of the class that aren't covered in other ones...there was a lot more specific information on types of networks and different programming languages, for instance. To be certain, students lose something if we don't teach them this, but I am not sure what it is.
I'm not saying we should drop the class. I simply think it needs to have some more attention paid to it.

No comments: