The unofficial grades for fall term have been posted. Somehow I made it through with three A’s and only one B despite all the obstacles I’ve had to overcome this semester. Like, not realizing that I wasn’t supposed to take four courses in one semester while working a fulltime job. I’ve dropped it down to three classes next semester so I don’t have a nervous breakdown and don’t kill Brian. I wanted to finish my MBA in three semesters and received a rude awakening. That may be possible if you don’t work at all and you just focus on your studies. However, it’s not realistic for someone like me who actually has to work to pay the bills. You live and learn.
Anyway, it was such a relief to receive a B in Operations Management (DS 850). That class is so horrible. It was the first business class that I thought I might fail in. It was the only class I had this semester that required so much effort. It was so challenging, in fact, that it almost discouraged Ray from pursuing his MBA. In all my other classes the learning came very naturally with minimal effort on my part. Minimal effort is all I can afford to exert right now for school because work is requiring a lot out of me as well; which is really difficult for me because I don’t like turning in mediocre homework and projects but this semester the quality of my school work is just not at the level I would like it to be. To all the potential employers who might be reading this, I just want you to know that I am very much capable of superior A-plus work. I just spread myself too thin this time is all. I learned my lesson, though.
Operations Management was such a struggle. I was lucky to have made a B in the mid-term. To give you an idea of how difficult the final exam was, the professor Dr. Barut declared it “open notes” (meaning you are permitted use all your notes and cheat sheets), “open book” (meaning referring to your textbook or any text reference is permissible), and “open computer” (and when we say “computer” we are not referring to calculators, we really mean laptops and notebooks PC fully capable of accessing the internet) and I still thought I would fail it. How scary is that?
Luckily for me and, I suspect, almost everyone in the class Dr. Barut made us an offer we couldn’t refuse so I expect no one actually had to edure taking the exam from hell. Here’s how it came down…
On Wednesday I went straight to the Wichita State library after work. I had ask Ray if I could study with him. He said he and Olga were meeting at the library and they didn’t mind that I joined them. Ray was there first, then I showed up. Olga arrived shortly after. A cram session commenced. Ray performed some last-minute tutoring on the stuff I should have been learning during the second part of the semester.
Bret, one of my classmates in Marketing Analysis (MKT 803; we were actually in a group together along with Chad and Thuy), joined us. Four other people from the class showed up. There was much moaning and groaning except for a couple of Spirit engineers in the class who felt the exam would be a piece of cake. One of these guys got a 780 on his GMAT so the confidence was not without merit. I believe it was the same guy who set the curve by achieving a score of 97 on the mid-term. I only got an 87 on that exam, even with the curve, so you see I’m pretty low on the class pecking order. Operations Management is clearly not one of my strengths. But I digress.. Having known that is is likely that someone will ace the exam and the prospect of not getting helped by any kind of curving, the possibility of me passing the exam and actually keeping my B began to look grim. I started bracing myself for a C and, God forbid, maybe having to take the course again (which might actually be helpful seeing that I’m not so confident about the knowledge I’ve gained, or lack thereof).
At any rate, the time came and we had to trudge to Clinton Hall to our doom. It felt much like a death march to me. Of course, I knew there were at least two people who were indifferent. I’d have to say though that most of us were reluctant to take that final exam to say the very least. As Dr. Barut handed out the two-part exam I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach. As expected, the exam was a head-scratcher. The first part of the exam consisted of five (yes, only five) multiple choice questions. However, each question was about a page in length. For the answers, there were five choices (A through E) each of them written in the form of a paragraph and they all sounded right to me. The second part of the exam was the problem which we had to solve. However, this isn’t like any word or story problem that you’ve ever seen. The problem was laid out in two full pages printed front and back. It was a lot like a case study rather than a problem that you would do on an exam. I really didn’t think the hour and fifty minutes allotted for the exam would be enough, but then you have to do what you have to do. I figured that I’d just try to complete what I could and hope for the best.
As we all started working on our exams Dr. Barut announced that he had run out of copies of something (I was seriously afraid that there was a third part because I barely had enough time to complete the first two parts as it was), and that he’d making some copies and would return in about fifteen minutes. The room was silent except for the sound that Windows makes when you first turn on the computer. A few of the students in the class booted their computers up before class started. They were smarter and better prepared. I guess the rest of us were hopeful that maybe we wouldn’t need to Google for exam answers. Not that it would be there, anyway, but you’ll never know. So you have computers booting from various parts of the room.
I read through the first part of the exam and then read the second part. I had planned on tackling the second part of the exam first because it would be worth more weight. However, after reading it I thought I would do the first part first so I read through the first part again. All the while I’m thinking, what a horrible, horrible exam! I’d rather be getting a root canal.
As I start working on the first part of the exam, Dr. Barut returns with a stack of papers. He said, “Now that you have started working on the exam and have seen what it is like, I have an offer to make you. In my hand are the grades you’ve earned this semester. The document will state what you need to score on the final exam in order to improve your grade by one level or to maintain your present grade in the course (if there isn’t any hope of upgrading; which was the case for me because I would’ve needed to achieve a 200% on the final to get bumped up to an A; of course, I’m exaggerating but you get the picture). If you are happy with your current grade, write your name in the space provided, sign the form and return it to me. I need both parts of the exam and the form back.” I continued to work on the exam as he started handing the forms out. It was hard not to notice the relieved reactions around me, though. I was curious about what my document contained but I pretty much knew it already. I knew that I had a B going into the final exam and I felt a glimmer of hope. I’ll come out with a B in this class after all!
When he handed me mine, it stated I needed a 66.67% on the final exam in order to maintain my B. As I fully expected, there was no possibility of getting an A in the class. That was a given. I also knew that that there was a great chance that I would not get a 66.67% on the exam just by virtue of how unprepared I was. My fulltime work schedule and fulltime course load just doesn’t afford me enough time to study for everything. Studying for Operations Management, my least favorite class, usually got put on hold. I knew that if I took the exam, I might very well get a worse grade than I already had to start with so I was more than happy to take him up on the offer. I wasn’t alone. Everyone pretty much felt the same way. It was like a load had been lifted off our shoulders. It was the best Christmas present ever.
I walked to my car feeling very relieved. I had come face to face with failure and I survived. I excitedly called Brian while I was driving home. I told him everything that just happened. He said, “You know someone out there is looking out for you.” I know exactly what he means. I have gotten very, very lucky on many occasions. It can’t be all coincidences. Either I am one very lucky girl or there is a God — and he loves me!