Thoughts on UGBA 10

When I first entered Cal as an intended business major, all I heard was how crazy UGBA 10 was. UGBA 10 is one of the prereq classes for Haas. Because of this, it’s known as a “weeder” class, aimed at differentiating the business kids from the not-so-business oriented kids.

I came into the spring semester with these facts in mind, and after a semester of late night study sessions with my ABA buddies and hours spent on essays and PowerPoints, I have to say that the class is grossly overblown.

Sure, it’s a great introductory class. I feel that I’ve learned so much more about the different aspects of business. The material was interesting, too. Stocks, how to run a company, entrepreneurship, plus many more potential career pathways.

The professors weren’t bad, either. Dave Robinson was an amazing lecturer, due mainly to his experience and preparation. His lectures flowed smoothly, and he was great with examples.

He was a jerk if you got on his bad side, but I’ve learned from the mistakes of other less fortunate students: don’t be stupid and he won’t annihilate you with his British sarcasm and iron fist. Don’t eat in class. He hates that.

The other two professors, Banks and Himelstein, were good, too. Banks was an interesting lecturer, and even though Himelstein wasn’t as good, he was very approachable and enthusiastic.

The course was run according to five three-week long “modules,” each module concentrating on a specific business area. There was one essay and one module exam per module, aimed to test students on how well they learned the material.

That’s where the problems begin for me. The tests show NOTHING about how well a student would do in the real business world. Questions were based on the book and whether you attended lecture. Anyone with a decent memory could study and ace these tests.

The papers were no better. Always capped at two pages, these papers were the typical “cover these terms in the rubric we made up” sort of papers. They felt very restrictive and did not encourage innovation at all.

The discussion, at least mine, reminded me of when sharks went on a feeding frenzy. The atmosphere would always turn cold during the hour, and students would compete for the instructor’s approval. Hands constantly shot up, and it would take ages to be called on.

Finally, the students themselves. There were some pretty obsessed students. I don’t blame them. Who wouldn’t go crazy if they were ranked THROUGHOUT the year? Miss one question on a test or essay, and suddenly, hundreds of kids would be ahead of you in the rankings, destroying your chances for an A.

My verdict for UGBA? Everyone just needs to chill. I strongly believe that discussion sections can have a more laid-back atmosphere, where students can learn just as effectively. I know this because my other good discussions are like this.

The class needs to place a better emphasis on real-world application and testing students based on their business-savvy, not on their brute memorization skills. Of course, this is an idealized and not practical view, mainly because UGBA 10 is a weeder class of 500 kids.

And last, the professors need to place less emphasis on rankings, just to keep the sanity of some students. I honestly don’t think the business world is this cutthroat in every company, and I wouldn’t want to work for a company that encouraged rankings and memorization over teamwork and innovation.

These are just some of my thoughts on UGBA 10…I’ve enjoyed the class overall, mainly because I feel that it introduced a wider array of business topics. However, there are definitely issues that if fixed would make the class infinitely more enjoyable and educational.

Fishbone diagram UGBA 10 with Glen at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.

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