musings on music and life

October 8, 2015

Coursera Business Foundations Specialization

Filed under: education — Tags: , — sankirnam @ 2:17 am

So I’m currently taking the aforementioned series of courses on Coursera. They are offered by the Wharton School of Business, at the University of Pennsylvania. I finished the first course, Introduction to Marketing, in August, and am currently taking Introduction to Operations Management. I’m paying for Verified Certificates for all these courses, so that I can hopefully get something tangible out of this; hopefully this will help when I apply to MBA programs in the future.

The Marketing course was very good overall. The quality of the video lectures was excellent, and the topics covered were enthusiastically discussed by the professors in the course. I was under the impression that this was a “softer’ subject, in the sense that there is a lot less quantitative data research in these fields, but I was pleasantly surprised. The lecture did touch on the concept of the “Long Tail”, which was first discussed by Prof. Chris Anderson (UCLA). I’m also re-reading Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan now, and he also mentions the long tail concept and discusses it in length there.

I do have a few gripes, however. The course covered the market segmentation concept “PRIZM”, and one of the quiz questions asked how PRIZM segments markets. The way PRIZM works is not through “geographic” segments, and yet that was the answer! The really correct answer, which was actually discussed in detail in the video lectures, is “demographic” segmentation!

Also, check out these spectacular gaffes from the final exam:Screenshot 2015-08-27 15.23.58

I guess the course admins and the professors were feeling generous, so they improved the odds of getting that question correct from 1/4 to 1/3!

Screenshot 2015-08-27 15.25.04

I remember reading a lot of confused and angry posts from students on the course discussion forums about question 40. The correct answer to the question is there, but it is still hugely misleading to see “Correct option 3” and “Correct option 2”. Hopefully Coursera has fixed this in the future iterations of the course.

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