Liberal Arts (Business Pre-Grad Intern) Junior Dustin Earnest
A widely accepted definition of an Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. I feel that Intellectual Entrepreneurship is a remarkably fitting name for the course that I have just experienced. Through the entirety of the course I was in control of organizing and managing my education experience. I was exclusively in charge of what I got out of the class. If I wanted to learn or experience something all I had to do was take the initiative. Together my mentor and advising staff member were an incredible wealth of knowledge that was mine to utilize.
I did my IE with Dallas Griffin a graduate student in the McCombs School of Business. We focused on current business happenings along with exposing me to Graduate School. The freedom of the program was probably the most important part of its success. The people and time constraints that regular everyday class puts on the learning experience were not a factor. I have been in classes where I never exchanged words with the professor and only had contact with one other classmate. The simple fact that I can sit down for lunch with my mentor (professor) for an hour and find things out that I really want to know, is priceless. What other class can you have an hour long one on one session multiple times a week with your professor? I really enjoyed the flexibility of study allowed. I learn a lot of information about the topics that truly interested me.
There was other learning along the way that was suggested but I was still at the helm of my learning experience. This flexibility allowed for my mentor and I to get the most out of this course. For example, at the beginning of the course my mentor and I thought that a written summary every other week of an article that I would read, or he would assign, in IBD (Investors Business Daily) or any of the other business publications would be sufficient. After the first few summaries the process slowly developed into an educated discussion. We felt like this was a better and more sufficient way of learning. One reason making this method more adequate was that I could tell him how I interpreted the article and at the same time ask him further question while he in turn told me how he felt about the article and what he learned from it. We would converse back and forth learning much more about the topic and making me think at a higher level.
The readings that I was assigned was from three different subscriptions. One reading was The Economist which is a magazine, another Barron's and the last was IBD. Through reading the articles in these business publications I felt like I was being exposed to the real world. I started to understand economic/business jargon, which was a big step towards understanding many articles. The economy is in a very vulnerable state right now which makes it a unique time to learn. Many mistakes are being revealed in the business world and it is a perfect time to learn from them. The fact that the presidential race is occurring simultaneously to our economic let down has made me expand my learning into politics and the impact that it has on business. Through my readings and discussions I feel much more comfortable with the business realm.
Dallas toured me around the McCombs School of Business. I am currently in the process of transferring into the Business school so this tour was very informative. Through his privileges I got to go into places of the business school where only the graduate students are allowed. One particular event that stuck out in my mind was getting to use the Bloomberg system. This system is an information system that professional analyst and fund managers use to do business with. I have a great interest in pursuing a career in investments and stocks. Bloomberg gives you up to the second quotes and news. It is a vast database of information that helps investor compare and analyze stocks based on different dimension of a company. It also has the capacity to produce countless graphs and charts to aid you in your research. To have the access to this type of system and have some one teach me how to use it was an impressive experience. Dallas manages parts of the industrial and chemical sectors of a multimillion dollar fund as part of his graduate student experience. He showed me the software that he uses to manage his part of the fund when he doesn't have physical access to Bloomberg. He has software on his laptop that could give you almost the quality of information that Bloomberg would be able to give you. The hands on experience that I gained from this is incomparable to anything else I could have learned in a traditional classroom setting.
The issue of admission to Graduate School was of course a well exercised topic of discussion. I learned that you could take the GMAT or the GRE in order to qualify for admissions to graduate school. There is no specific bachelor degree that you must obtain to be qualified for the MBA program. This was revealed in meeting some of his classmates which ranged from former pilots to mechanical engineers. He warned me to investigate the school I would want to attend and ask them specifically about their prerequisites. Dallas suggested that I get books now about preparation for the test and then as my test time gets closer to maybe take a course. The test is $250 and you are allowed to take the test once a month with a maximum of about 6 a year. He told me that six months was plenty of time to prepare for the GMAT. A huge topic between Dallas and I was how he managed things between football and school. This is where I felt he was the only person qualified for mentoring me. I am currently a football player and plan on entering graduate school before my eligibility is over. Understanding how he balanced the two will pay large dividends in my academic career.
There were two large events that acted as midterm and a final for my IE. The first event which was essentially a "midterm" was touring the business recruiters around Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletics Center. This experience gave me contact with future business recruiters and gave me insight to how they interact with each other and Dallas. I believe that this experience will lead to greater confidence when dealing with them in the next couple of years. During the tour Coach Brown gave a talk to the group about the business side of football. I had never before thought of the business aspects of football and the things they do for marketing and maintaining. Hearing these words gave me a different outlook about coaching and large football programs. It made me realize the parallels between the two and how I fit into the big picture. The grand finally of this course was having the privilege to sit in on one of the stock pitches for the fifteen million dollar MBA investment fund LLC that Dallas is apart of. I was at liberty to ask about anything that was unclear and argue any point that I felt was wrong. This was a very exciting experience that made me really attracted to graduate school specifically the MBA program.
The Intellectual Entrepreneurship program that I was a part of this semester made me realize the importance of taking charge of what you learn. The freedom and flexibility that this course nourishes is very valuable. Letting the student take his learning experience into his own hands gives the student a chance to see what he really wants to learn about. I plan on taking the self learning initiatives that I learned in this class and applying them to my future courses in order to fully extort my learning experience at The University of Texas.