5 Lessons I Learned from MGT120

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 personally and professionally. However, there is something else I seem to be lacking. Ah, yes. The thirst to put myself in situations where I’m expected to speak up constantly and conduct myself professionally as I would in a proper working environment.

In my first two quarters here, I noticed similar positive comments circulating about this particular class that I never really knew about. They were something along the lines of “it’s a mini-MBA,” “a class that will change your life,” and “a class that you have to take while you’re at Davis.” Having been through six weeks of said class with prior experiences in the business industry, I’d say, YES — if you’re remotely interested in 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 feel more like a conversation with the professor, and I can safely say that the days of reading off of PowerPoint slides are non-existent in this class. 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 is confidence and being able to confront your teammates in situations that will put the both of you in a state of uneasiness. The key is to learn to navigate the conversation in a way that is both motivational and constructive.

4. Business frameworks

There are a total of twenty 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 analyze how their decisions are being made and why.

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 chew the information yourself and stimulate 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 phone anymore.

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

Image Credit: Hello I'm Nik