MGMT 237, Management of Technology, is a course taken by all M&Ts in the spring of their sophomore year. The course screams M&T as it delves into key aspect of technological innovation and the strategic moves used by technology companies to innovate in their markets. While M&Ts do take courses together this is the first time where you walk into the classroom and recognize ever face in the room, which makes the classroom environment more exciting and comfortable. Active discussion forms the backbone of MGMT 237 and Professor Saikat Chaudhuri (who also happens to be an M&T alum!) does a fantastic job in bringing everyone into the conversation, introducing new concepts and pushing us to think deeply and critically when contributing. As you would expect with 55 or so exceptionally bright minds that happen to be equally passionate about technology companies, the quality of the classroom conversation is some of the best I have seen.
In my opinion there are three major factors that distinguish MGMT 237. Firstly, Professor Chaudhuri does an exceptional job in helping everyone understand the concepts behind technological innovation and explain why companies make strategic moves and initiatives. In order to do so he also ties in current news from technology companies and encourages us to evaluate why the companies are making those moves by using what we learn. Learning to evaluate strategic moves like this is truly eye opening in understanding how technology companies work and definitely changes the way you do read news from technology companies. Second, the cases used in the course are a fantastic way to learn, as by doing and discussing each case you do understand each new concept better. The companies the course looks at ranges from 3M & Timex to Microsoft and Apple! Finally, the papers in the course urge you to pursue topics and technologies you are interested in. The individual paper is based on strategic evaluation of a novel technology of your choice. M&Ts choose exceptionally interesting topics ranging from carbon nanotubes to wireless charging. The paper serves as great way to learn about new technologies and their trajectories from your friends. The team paper brings together M&Ts interested in the same industry. Working in an all M&T team was exceptional as team members found it easy to understand each other and every team member can contribute about a different aspect of the industry. By the end of the team paper everyone was a whole lot more informed on the industry of choice.
MGMT 237 is applicable to all M&Ts irrespective of career path. Those interested in consulting and financial services benefit tremendously from understanding how the companies make decisions. M&Ts who wish to work at technology companies understand the strategic rationale and real options available to spur technological innovation. The course concepts and take-aways are also highly applicable to any M&T starting a technology company. MGMT 237 has to be one of my favorite classes at Penn and truly defines the M&T experience.
Shahaab is a current M&T junior in the Class of 2014. He studies Electrical Engineering within Penn Engineering and concentrates in Finance, Management, and Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the Wharton School. In his free time he is involved with Club Squash and the Wharton Small Business Development Center.