Case Family in Hong Kong

Spring Semester Begins – Reflections of the Fall

Posted in Daily Life Blurbs by jpcase01 on January 30, 2008

The spring semester begins on January 31st. The picture above is a photo of our management class last semester. Last semester I had a courses on research methods in organizational science, consumer psychology and the reform of the legal system in China. I had no background in any of the subjects so I learned bunches. I wanted to share some reflections on last semester. I usually enroll for one extra course and drop the most difficult or any that have professors I will have difficulty learning from, and this was a smart decision last semester as it helped me to avoid one class that would have been a bear. Generally the classes are small and all the professors knew my name; not completely different from the States, but maybe a bit more hospitable here. The quality of education is on par with, if not above, that in the States, without the egos. All the professors here have graduated from universities that I wouldn’t even be able to get into in the State; ie. Stanford, Indiana, Texas etc. Almost all the other students are using their 2nd or 3rd language and the classes are almost all taught in English, lucky for me, but outside of class you’re more likely to hear mandarin or cantonese spoken over english. During the semester we host top management researchers from around the world in to give seminars and workshops on their current work. Last semester we had professors from Ohio State, Tulane, Brigham Young, England (a few), Singapore and Hong Kong.

Overall the work load was very difficult, I usually spent up to 8 hours a day during the week preparing for class (reading, writing, summarizing, theorizing, critiquing). You’re learning how to do good “research” as much as you’re learning a field. The standard vernacular consists of anomalies, paradoxes, conundrums, constructs, models, frameworks, variables, relationships, causality, mediators, moderators, theories, hypotheses, datasets, correlations, significance etc. The main performance measure in the field of management research is publication in top tier journal so the saying is “publish or perish”. Writing skills are very important and I still have long way to go. Analytical skills are also very important in that the large majority of work published is based on empirical findings (not case studies), so it’s important to learn how to work with datasets and to run statistical analyses (using software packages) to prove or reject the validity of hypothesized relationships. This semester I will be taking classes on organizational theory, experimental design, and empirical analysis. As I look back on the first semester I think of the saying, “the more you learn, the more you realize that you don’t know.”

Jason

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