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I Look Forward To My Saturdays???

Back in January, when I first decided to apply to the MSC Communication program, I would refer to this blog often to get an idea of what exactly I was signing up for. One alum said “I look forward to my Saturdays” and I remember really questioning that statement. What about a 9-5 schedule on the most wonderful day of the week was worth looking forward to? After having a successful first day this past Saturday, I completely understand what she meant.

For an international student having just graduated from college a year ago, the MSC Communication program appears daunting on paper: the subject matter, the experiences your classmates are bringing to the program, and the real worldliness of it all. However, within the first hour of our core class, Leading Collaboration with Professor Leslie DeChurch, I was comfortably settled and excited for the ball to roll. My classmates are professionally diverse, of different ages and hometowns, and are among the nicest people I have met. We were thrown into teams from the get-go and had a great time maneuvering our activities: building the tallest tower with spaghetti and figuring out supplies to take with us if we were stranded on the moon. The bustle of teamwork made the three hours fly by.

Of course, it would be unfair to not mention the lunch hour where we got to socialize over great food. Given the professional emphasis of the program, I expected to have our interactions be defined by where we work and what we do. With only internships under my belt, that can be a different road to maneuver. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the case at all. Everyone is interested in learning about you beyond your professional capacity and whether you have had 20 years of experience or you are just starting out in the real world, everyone is on the same page and is keen to learn. It helps that our classmates also have a sweet tooth.

My elective for this quarter, Foundations of Strategic Communication Management with Professor Randall Iden, rounded off a great first day. In our first session, we learned the importance of crafting good mission statements, which, in all honesty, I had always taken to be a string of bubblegum words to promote a company’s image. It was much more interesting than I thought it would be. Teamwork beckoned again and we set to work on crafting a concise and all-encompassing mission statement for the course that we will adhere to for the rest of the quarter.

As an international student, we also attend a seminar on Wednesdays. It’s a cosy class—just 11 of us—learning how to use data to make informed decisions. In a world with so much data, learning how to discern the important numbers and how to communicate them effectively will definitely come in handy. In our first class, we learned about how fraudulent scientific research can wreak havoc in a community. Our point of discussion was a research paper in 1998 that linked the MMR vaccine to the incidence of autism in children. Wakefield Lancet’s paper was retracted around 2002 but continues to trigger a debate about vaccinations. It goes to show that something as complex and far-reaching as scientific research should be subjected to governance.

All in all, a Saturday well spent and a great first week of classes!

Madhurya Manohar

MSC Class of 2017