Friday, January 29, 2010

Could a class be so much fun ?

It was Fall 09 that I enrolled myself into a course called Engineering Administration taught by Dr.Zerda. The first day I entered the class, I saw this well dressed lady commanding enormous respect and exuding confidence. She has a very positive aura. She detailed us on coursework and plan for rest of the semester. I liked having one of my courses to be non-technical and value-adding in nature. This class delivered that and more. Have you felt that you don't want to miss the class not because you will not understand it later, but because you will miss out on learning, miss the wisdom sharing and most importantly miss out fun?

I looked forward every Monday and Wednesday to be there at the discussion. Time flew by and we hardly knew. Dr.Z never stopped anyone from speaking and never reacted to occasional class chatter. It was such an adult environment, she would encourage views from every single person plus she would treat everyone with respect and demonstrated professionalism in her interactions. That's a rare find in any school setting, rare especially for someone like me who comes from a country where teacher student relationship is sometimes more master-slave type even into graduate school years.

One of the important events in the course was to get Mr.Jonathan Moody to speak to us and share his experiences as Engineering-Manager. It was one of the kind experiences. Mr.Moody gave us an impromptu talk about his career and life. He talked about his subordinates, people he had interacted with and companies he worked for. For the first time after coming to this country I felt how similar all of us are, operating with similar needs, emotions, fears, expectations, insecurities and hopes. Also I saw how unbiased and welcoming Americans could be.

Another significant memory from the course was the book ' Leadership and Self Deception'. When it comes to books, unless it's a fiction, some of us need increased impetus to finish the book. Dr.Z planned a quiz in order to make us finish the book. This book transforms you. I learned lessons for life.

Further the Game Simulation simulating business environment was an experience which makes me look business news in CNBC in a more informed manner. I can finally understand terms and appreciate how businesses are built. The class coincided with CNBC's great shows like Executive Vision, Biographies, Stories of Walmart, Google, Interviews with Warren Buffet etc.

The final business presentation was a hit for our team. I got to work with wonderful team-mates with inspiring work ethics.To wind it all up nicely, Dr.Z planned a dinner potluck at her residence and most of us were there. Dr.Z was a warm host. She is young at heart and very active for someone of her age.

This class would be one of my important classes in my program and I would recommend it to anybody from any background. At personal level, EA would stay in my memories for days to come.


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