A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.

5/07/2006

The Devil is in the Details

I applied to Haas Business School a few months ago. I’ve been thinking that it’s time to get a Masters and I wanted to focus on business. I’ve read so many business books and I’ve worked so hard to learn how to start and run a company that I thought it was time to get that official piece of paper that validates my experience. Today I took two waiver exams: statistics and college math. And I find myself very disappointed in Haas.

Haas is supposed to be one of the top business schools in the country which suggests to me that they would practice good business techniques in attracting students/customers. I try very hard when putting together ANY material for customers/prospects to make sure that it is always as professional and “perfect” as I can make it. That means that I triple-check everything I write and if I’m worried about how it will be received, I ask someone to review it. My impression of Haas got a bit of a blow today when the first sentence of the first question left out a ‘that’. I didn’t think too much of it but I did file it away. It was later in the exam, after I saw one problem that looked like the test creators had used the wrong equation, when I started getting worried, and then a little later two answers had obvious typos:

c) 0.6.37
d) o.643

Notice the extra period in c and the little ‘o’ in d? Not that big a deal I know, but this is Haas. Later in the exam was a section about stocks and returns, but in the answer sections to the associated questions the e) answer referenced mid-term exams and finals. What the hell?

I’m pretty sure I failed the stat exam and, for me anyway, it wasn’t the typos, bad sentences, and general unproofed test that did it. I didn’t study probability enough and I hadn’t even looked at hypothetical formulas.

I spent the time between tests walking around Haas and thinking about what I just saw. Really, what kind of impression am I supposed to take away from a test that Haas didn’t bother to proof? Right now I have zero confidence that Haas even knows what the correct answers are. But more importantly I’m worried that if I am accepted will Haas be a good investment? The Evening & Weekend MBA program will cost me $80,000, time away from my kids, and stress. On the plus side I’ll have increased my business network, padded out my knowledgebase, and I’ll have my MBA.

Is the stats exam a reflection of the quality of a Haas MBA or is it an isolated incident? Someone certainly dropped the ball. I’ve had some offers from Haas grads to talk about their experiences there. I’m going to be taking them up on it. And I’ll be sending an email to the woman who interviewed me. I suspect that everyone will tell me what a great experience it was and how they learned so much.

I may not get accepted and all my worrying about this will be for nothing. But if I am accepted I need to know that it will all be worth it.

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