After a year spent what can only be described as riding a roller coaster at warp speed, the last thing you might want to do is ride it again for another two weeks. You'd have to be a bit odd & quirky, and have an insatiable thirst for adrenaline and adventure, or in my case, have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and adventure. After about twenty-one intense courses in the core areas of business (okay, so maybe some of those courses were two-part courses, but they still felt like twenty-one trials!), with some mind-numbing concepts, plenty of all-nighters, and very little sleep, the last thing I thought about was diving straight into another course for two weeks, and that too just three days after the last exam of my first year. However, during a Rotman MBA Electives Fair at the end of March, we had the opportunity to learn about the different Electives available for our Second Year, not only from the Professors who would be teaching them, but also from the Upper Years who took those courses. From the mind-numbing Electives selection exercise (there are so many great choices, and it's so hard to limit yourself to ten!), came one course that I was extremely curious about (it came highly recommended by the Upper Years), and when I learnt that it would be offered during the Summer Intensive term, I just had to do it, even if it was right after the Q4 Exams.
Professor Sarah Kaplan picks one organization for each edition of "Corporation 360" and we stick with that corporation (in our case, Nike) for the entire duration of the course, through Observation, Reflection and Conversation, analyzing it inside out and all around, in short, we do a 360 degrees analysis of an organization, an exercise many of us may be called upon to do after our MBA. We looked at the different functions of Nike - strategy, human resources, supply chain management, marketing, finance and accounting - across the course of its corporate history and business trajectory. Not being a particularly sporty person, I was concerned about my ability to immerse myself in a sports corporation, but the extent and variety of readings certainly helped me understand Nike better. Be warned, you will have an immense amount of reading to do, but it's all essential, and not doing the readings will have you looking like a deer in headlights during the class discussions! While unusual, considering our previous courses, it was refreshing to use a case study of one company, and look at all the stakeholders to see the company, in very many different ways, all interlinked with each other, and using them to take different lenses & understand trade-offs better. It cut across a lot of what we learned in our core courses, with integrative questions to develop a holistic view of the corporation, and also highlighted the necessity of cross-functional teams, instead of being siloed in. As in life, so it is in the corporate world - not everything is black & white, but somewhere in between - the grey area - and this course allowed us to start embracing it.