Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

More on Classes and Exams | September 29, 2009

One of the more difficult adjustments I’ve had to make at CBS has been dealing with the final exam as 100% of the grade policy. For a class like Corporate Finance, where the exam will cover most, if not all of the material presented in the readings and lectures, this is fine. We as students know what to study and where we need to focus, and then we just have to perform at exam time.

But for my other three classes, this is a much trickier proposition. Both International Logistics and Strategic Risk Management require individual 15-page papers. The topics of the paper are pretty much left up to us, as long as they have something to do with Logistics or SRM, respectively. There’s very little in the way of guidelines and structure. As a result, going to class and doing the readings for these classes is truly optional, and when I do the readings, I interpret every word through the prism of whether or not that particular article or chapter in the text will help me write my final.

This approach is a complete 180 from how we learn and cover material at NC State. Almost every class has a variety of projects that receive grades, whether those are midterm exams, presentations or other assignments. The courses are much more structured, and students know from the first day what exactly will be expected of them throughout the semester. That’s not necessarily the case in Copenhagen. For example, here is an excerpt from an e-mail we received from the administrative office regarding our finals:

Automatic Exam Enrollment Exam enrollment is done automatically in the courses you have in your course enrolment status. Don’t panic if you do not see all your courses in the exam enrolment status at this point. However, please contact the course secretary if your courses do not show in your exam enrollment status at the latest two weeks before the exam is set to take place. Before then – don’t worry.

If we had to wait until two weeks before the exam date to figure out when, where, and how the exam would go down, I know many people back at home who would be freaking out.

So it will be up to me to take more control of my schedule here and navigate the assignments the Professors have laid out for us. Fortunately, I already have some interesting ideas for my Logistics and SRM exam papers, and I feel like I’m up to the challenge. While this can be a frustrating experience at times, it’s much more similar to a non-academic environment. In business, managers are expected to be pro-active and to not simply wait for direction from upper management.

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