3 of My Favorite Courses

a student standing on her desk to emphasize her point during a class discussion in one of my favorite courses
A heated discussion during an oligopoly exercise in economics class

Let’s take a closer look at three courses from the MMS: FOB program that really made an impact on me. 

Spreadsheet Modeling and Decision Analysis

Not sure how many music festival tickets your company should sell on a Saturday with unpredictable attendance and unknown weather? Can’t decide if you should take a job offer because of many layers of uncertainty? You’re in the right place.

Spreadsheet Modeling and Decision Analysis is hands down one of the most intriguing and applicable classes I took at Fuqua. Using Microsoft Excel and a few modeling plug-ins, this course aims to help students develop “a systematic approach to model and analyze complex decisions so we can avoid the various pitfalls to which we as humans fall prey.”

I personally found this course incredibly helpful because it breaks down complex questions into pieces and guides students to address difficult and uncertain factors in decision-making with logic and numbers. I hope future students will find their journey in this course as challenging, yet rewarding as I did.

Foundations of Management and Organizations

Can a philosophy class possibly be included in a business school curriculum? Here it is.

Foundations of Management and Organizations aims to “prepare you to be an effective leader, group member, and manager of others regardless of your career path and to be a good analyst of how best to organize people.”

What’s fascinating about the class is that besides the managerial, psychological, and sociological knowledge offered, it also teaches you ideas highly useful in life. Examples include how having people on your team who disagree with you will help the entire team, and why constantly developing one’s worldview is important for overcoming biases. By hinting at and revealing the wisdom hidden in scenarios common in the workplace and in life, this course offers you many “Aha!” moments of epiphany. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself understanding many things you never considered before. Whereas other classes make you smarter, this one makes you wiser.

Fundamentals of Business Economics

“Dude, I’ve taken economics three times before. Why do I have to take it again at Fuqua?” Honestly, that was my first thought when I saw this course. But after only one week in the class, I began to enjoy and value it.

Fundamentals of Business Economics covers concepts of microeconomics and serves as a foundation for the courses in finance, marketing, strategy, and accounting, among others, that come later in the year. What separates it from all my previous economics courses is that it really brings theories into the business setting by integrating highly relevant real-world events with the course topics and analyzing them using economics and business knowledge.

Even today, I still vividly remember all the bundle pricing examples, price discrimination schemes, and the Disney-related jokes that Professor Ryan McDevitt told us.

Kingston Liu, student blogger in the MMS: FOB program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Kingston Liu

MMS: FOB, Class of 2018

I'm Yilin “Kingston” Liu from Beijing, China. After running too many regressions and making too... Read More

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