After seven weeks of hard work and adjusting to being students again,  the MGJW Fellows have completed Data Analysis, Communicating for Results, Leadership Development  and Ethics (LDE), and Accounting classes.  The four class, seven week session structure is a new concept at the College of William and Mary’s Mason School of Business.  Previously, classes from different sessions overlapped one another, resulting in students juggling  multiple subjects in different sessions.  The new session structure is shorter but represents a more concentrated effort to both learn the material in each class and demonstrate mastery of the concepts.  All classes offered qualitative and quantitative skills that the Fellows can use to become senior leaders in the military.

Accounting focused heavily on understanding debits and credits, double-entry bookkeeping, and becoming technically proficient in recording accounting journal entries.  The Fellows were also given the opportunity to work in small teams, analyze a real company’s balance sheet and income statements, and craft a presentation to the accounting professor on their recommendations for their respective company.  This project was highly beneficial because it gave the Fellows an opportunity to use the knowledge obtained in accounting to work together and formulate a proposed solution for the company.  

Data Analysis is a quantitative class where Fellows learned the basics of probability, normal distribution, binomial distribution, and hypothesis testing.  The capstone of the course was a multiple regression project.  Students were given a data set and instructed to use MiniTab to create a regression model and explain why their model was useful.  Learning the basics of multiple regression involved understanding how different independent variables can predict the response of a dependent variable.  Conducting regression testing and understanding the model concepts will undoubtedly help support decisions that are backed not by just intuition and experience, but statistical analysis as well.

All of the Fellows have extensive leadership experience, however, Leadership Development and Ethics (LDE) gave the Fellows insight to leadership principles in the civilian sector.  There are many similarities and differences.  The Fellows completed five complex leadership quizzes based on assigned course readings.  In addition to the quizzes, the Fellows also had the choice to attend leadership forums and participate in online leadership exercises sponsored by the Harvard Business Review.  The Harvard Business Review modules offered self-development instruction on topics such as project management and goal-setting, which only aided in improving leadership abilities.

Communicating for Results began with a presentation skills assessment.  The Fellows were given a case to study and instructed to prepare a short presentation that would be delivered to the professor.  These assessments were used to place Fellows and other students in the business school into breakout groups with other students who had similar presentation skills.  Many of the Fellows have extensive experience presenting, however, it was still a great opportunity to present in a civilian environment.  After the assessments were complete, the Fellows were placed in breakout groups that met three times per week.   Each breakout session contained a different presentation curriculum.  Presentation tasks included an impromptu presentation of a picture that you were shown only for a few seconds and selling an object of the student’s choosing to the rest of the breakout group.  Communicating for Results gave the Fellows a chance to sharpen their presentation skills and assist other students that did not have as much presentation experience.