Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On the Weakness of Cohorting

It's official, my last two finals are turned in, and with the assumption that they're both good enough to pass, I'm officially done business school.

Putting the emotions aside for a minute (because I still don't know 1. how I feel and 2. how I'm supposed to feel), all of a sudden it's a huge amount of stuff off my plate.

I just went through my blackberry and deleted all the school-related emails left in my inbox and I'm down to just 11 emails! (spoke too soon, now it's 12, but still)

I sat around this afternoon and wondered what to do with my time...I still have a number of unread books (and a $30 credit to amazon that should get me a couple more). Of course, I could be spending time trying to find an apartment in Manhattan, but I'd really like to procrastinate I little more on that arguably important to-do.

One of the things I did want to do is look over the classes I took during my time at UChicago. One of the major differences between UChicago and other programs is that here you're allowed to go completely nuts with your own class schedule. Lots of business schools put you into groups, cohorts, or mini-cults of around 60 people, and you spend your entire first year with them in a regimented program schedule.

I'm sure that's nice if you never took a business class before, or if you really want to get to know 60 people really really well, but it always seemed crazy to me. What if they're all losers who sit around and do things like analyze their schedule in excel (oh, wait)

I thought about that again as I looked over my class lists and wondered, how many different people did I have the opportunity to take a class with during my first year, as opposed to a fixed number of 60???

10 minutes of data collection later and I had my answer.

In my two years at UChicago, I have taken at least one class with 733 different people! If we assume roughly equal distribution over both years, that means I had class with 367 different people in my first year as opposed to 60.

You could argue that I didn't form very deep bonds with most of the people in my classes, and you'd probably be right, but I would argue that more opportunities to meet more different people really gives you the chance to find those you ultimately click with.

Sure, the bigger number of classmates also exposed me to a larger number of ignorant and/or self-centered people...but I guess that's a big part of the real world too.

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