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As an Economics major at UC Davis, it is oddly fulfilling to me that I am able to deal with a large set of data on Excel, learn about the nitty-gritty of a decision-making process, and develop an analytical mindset that will be useful both personally and professionally. However, something else seemed to lack. Ah, yes. The thirst to cultivate better soft skills; to find an environment where I’m constantly challenged to speak up, implementing relevant practices for good group dynamics, and conduct myself professionally as I would in a proper working environment.

In my first two quarters here, I noticed similar waves of positive comments circulating this particular class that I have never heard of. It was described as “something along the lines of a micro-MBA”, “a class that will change your life”, and “a class that you have to take while you’re in Davis”. Having been through seven weeks of said class with little prior experiences in the business industry, I’d say, YES—if you’re remotely interested in understanding business processes or how communication in and out of the workplace works, this is a class you absolutely need to take.

To justify my argument, here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this class:

  1. Fail fast and learn fast

    We’re all humans—born with the innate fear of failure and rejection. Three zones exist in this class: the comfort zone, learning zone, and panic zone. We are all encouraged to be in the learning zone and feel comfortable failing. If you’re not, chances are you’re cozying up in your comfort zone which leaves you in a state of stagnation. Fail fast, because that sets you in motion; fail fast, because it provides clarity; fail fast, to get you closer to your goal.

  2. Speak with confidence

    Presentations in MGT120 feels more like a conversation with the professor, and I can safely say that the days of reading off of PowerPoint slides are over. What’s your main insight? How did you get from point A to B? What’s your reasoning? The conversations are crafted in the way that you are able to communicate your ideas succinctly and be more articulate with your thoughts. Being aware of your crutch words (uhm, ahh, so…) also makes a huge difference in your delivery and your overall tone.

  3. Not everyone gets a slice of pizza

    “It’s not personal, it’s business”. The very core of leadership, confidence, and being able to confront your teammates in situations that will put both of you in a state of uneasiness. The key is to learn to navigate the conversation in a way that is both motivating and constructive.

  4. Business Frameworks

    There are a total of 20 frameworks covered in this class, none of which I’ve heard of in workshops or daily conversations. However, once you learn the fundamentals, you’ll start noticing the different types of frameworks that are commonly used by companies and learn how they are applying it in their business practices and making key decisions based off of these frameworks. Personally, it has changed the way I read company news as I now constantly screen and identify the frameworks at work and analyzing how their decisions are being made and why.

    Disney+ vs Netflix – what are some frameworks that you have identified?

  5. You can stop using your phone in class now

    MGT120 is taught using the Socratic method, which means there is always a cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals in class. That may sound intimidating now, but fear not! You will still be able to learn so much from the stimulating conversations between students and the professor and at the same time slowly regurgitating the information and stimulating some critical thinking on your own. And since there’s so much going on in class… there’s really no need to hide behind your phones anymore.

The best part of this class for me is definitely the diverse perspective, personalities, and voices we have in a class of 90. Everyone here is so inspiring and are definitely open-minded to observing and learning from you, in growth, mindset, business, and in life. The picture below sums it all.

And to incoming summer interns: you’ll not regret taking this class in Spring. If anything, MGT120 will help you understand your work ethic, communication style, and also your employer better in order to reap the maximum benefit out of your internship program.