My Favorite Class: Negotiation Management

Monday, January 25, 2016

I don’t want to sound contradictory, but my education within the Carlson School of Business during my University of Minnesota Part-Time MBA has benefited from concentrated, specific business classes, as well as a general breadth of classes that diversify my business learning. Currently, I am more than half-way through my Part-Time MBA, and have absolutely enjoyed classes so far. I’d like to give you a glimpse into my favorite class so far: MGMT 6004: Negotiation Management. This class isn’t a part of the core requirements for my Operations concentration, but instead was an elective I chose to take last semester.

Negotiation Management was a unique class in that the dynamic of the class was constantly shifting. The professor of this class did a great job at shifting the methods and a technique used to apply negotiation concepts, and rarely was one class similar to another in that regard. While each class featured a new negotiation that we participated it, the cases and scenarios had a different approach each week. For example, one week we would watch videos from to understand different negotiation techniques. This included scenes from popular TV shows and well known movies. Once we discussed and brainstormed how those concepts could be applied to the real world, we would pair off and negotiate a case with a partner. Another example is we sat through a class learning about group negotiation techniques, and had a week to prepare with our groups before negotiating with other groups. There were several distinct negotiation scenarios that we learned throughout the semester, and the methodologies used to teach us how to prepare for these was very interesting.

Each week the negotiations were tracked by the professor, and results were recorded and shared back to the class (this was done anonymously and didn’t impact our grades). This gave us an opportunity to see how our negotiation techniques were improving week over week. Further, we had assignments to write about negotiations that we took part in outside of work (e.g. buying a car, or negotiating with an employee, or a persuasive conversation with a family member etc.) and critique how we did based on the concepts we were learning in class. It was great that the professor to the time to read through these reports, and gave impactful feedback on ways that we might improve.

During the entirety of the class, I felt like I was learning skills that I would be able to apply not only in my working career, but in my personal life as well. The class was completely focused on personal development of these skills that the assignment and pre-class preparation work to read cases and materials did not seem like a chore. The class was fun, and learned a lot more than I anticipated. I look forward to more electives that get me excited, and open up avenues of interest for me to pursue even further in my spare time. If you get a chance in the Carlson MBA program, I would whole-heartedly recommend taking Negotiation Management. You’ll be glad you did!