Friday, December 2, 2016

Final Blog

The governance decision made by the syllabus that class attendance is not mandatory was an interesting notion not only in this class but in classes that have similar policies.  At the beginning of the semester it was easy to make it to every class with the early motivation for school but as the semester went on that motivation tended to dwindle.  It did not dwindle in the effort I put towards the class but justifying going to class became more difficult.  Being a first semester junior, I had a lot of challenging courses this semester and when there would be an exam in another class on a Tuesday or Thursday it would be hard to justify spending an hour and a half in class opposed to an hour and a half of studying.  By no means does this reflect my attitude towards the class nor prioritized it over others but I was lucky enough to have a good amount of friends in the class too so if I missed a class every once in a while my friends could fill me in on what happened during that session.  However, throughout this semester this class has taught me that this behavior can be unacceptable in the real world because a boss will not care about your excuses from outside distractions.  This class has taught me how to organize, prioritize (based on opportunity cost), and resolve conflicts in order to accomplish all your goals. 

Most of my classes I have taken before in which class mandatory attendance was required as a part of your grade, I would take a different approach to these classes.  At the end of the day, you are at school to learn and grow as a person and the main way to do that is going to class and interacting with your professors and peers.  However, this is a results driven world and the results at a university comes via your final grades.  No where on a résumé can you write your class attendance but one of the main things focused on a résumé is your GPA and that is why I believe students make more of an effort to go classes that have attendance points.  By no means do I justify this notion but it is the harsh reality of a lot of college students and I fall victim to it every now and again. 

Going to class when it is not mandatory is valuable life lesson to learn because it teaches you that things you do not want to do in the short term can end up helping you in the long term.  For example, if I were to not go to class but still complete all the blogs and homework assignments, I could seemingly slide through and get an acceptable grade.  However, I would not have truly learned all the values and intricacies of the class in which I could discuss with a future employer during an interview.  I also believe that not making class mandatory can actually help a student because if you are making the voluntary decision to attend class than you are most likely going to pay more attention in class since you are there on your own will. 

On the flip side, voluntary attendance can have negative effects because students can start to diminish the value of the class based on their peers’ actions.  If someone were to go to class everyday but see the overall attendance is dwindling, it will become difficult for that person to continue to justify going to class because they could get in the mindset of, “if they do not have to go, why do I have to go?”.  However, I do believe this goes back to my early point of having a mature perspective on your education and not allow others to influence your decisions of doing the responsible thing (attending class). 

The second governance decision made about allowing students to use electronic devices during class is one I think should be used throughout the university.  Most students like to take notes on their laptops and different computer programs that are available now that make it easier to keep your school work organized.  I am one of those people that like to use this method because I like having my school work for all my classes on just one laptop instead of scattered out across different folders and notebooks.  I do see the argument that these devices can be distracting to the user and others in the class but once again, this relates back to my point on maturity in your academics.  Everyone in the class is around 20 years old and just a short few years away from joining the real world where maturity is expected in all professional settings.  Having a personal electronic device in class should not be a problem for the age group we are at because each individual should take their personal academics seriously and respect that others are too; thus, an individual using a laptop should be able to be mature enough to not distract themselves or others.   

To conclude and tie all these things together, allowing for voluntary attendance and for the use of personal electronic devices forces the student to decide if the voluntary action is worth the end reward.  In this case, and many other cases, the action is worth the reward.  I believe you made these governing decisions because this is a 400 level class in which the students should be at a mature enough level to make the right choices towards their academics.   

Monday, November 28, 2016


A place where I grew a strong reputation is at Wilmot Mountain.  It is a small ski resort in Wisconsin which was under 20 minutes away from my house.  I started skiing when I was 3 years old and got skilled at the sport by the time I was in middle school. I began to grow a reputation at the small ski resort by going there often in middle school and high school participating and doing well in different skiing competitions they hosted there.  Once I turned 16 and had my own car I begun to work at Wilmot doing a couple different jobs for them.  Because I had gone there so often growing up, once I started working there I felt less like the new guy because I already had a relationship with numerous employees which made the transition into my first job a lot easier.  My main job there was to teach young children ski lessons.  The lessons would be 45 minutes long where I would teach the child the fundamentals of skiing.  I only taught young children in the beginning because there are 3 levels of ski instructors (beginner, intermediate, expert) and I was only certified to instruct beginner lessons because you need more experience to teach intermediate and expert. I built a strong reputation at the mountain because at the end of every lesson the customer would give the instructor a rating on a scale of 1-5 and I had a very impressive overall rating for being the youngest ski instructor there.  Moving on to the next winter I worked there, I got certified to teach intermediate skiers too which broadened the amount of lessons I could teach.  The second winter I worked there we hired a lot of new employees which was nice for me because that meant there was ski instructors I finally had seniority over.  Seniority comes into play because you get to pick which lessons you want to teach for the day based on how long you have worked there.  So, with my good reputation and having seniority over new employees, I no longer had to teach lessons on days that it was very cold outside and could just send a younger instructor for the lesson.  However, this did not turn me into a lazy employee because I could teach more lessons than the winter before because I could teach both intermediate and beginner now and my instructor rating increased from the year before.  The manager was an old man that had worked there for years and someone I got to know as a young kid growing up there.  He actually taught me lessons when I was young so our relationship was very good before I started working there and only grew stronger with my strong work ethic. 

I also worked with a team to design the terrain park at Wilmot (where all the ski jumps are).  I was apart of this team because the terrain park was where I spent most of time on the mountain to learn how to do new tricks.  I built a strong reputation at the terrain park being able to land a number of different tricks which is why I was invited to be apart of the team that creates the terrain park.  By my senior year of high school, I got contacted by the US AirBag Tour which is a company that travels to ski resorts around the country with an inflatable stunt bag for skiers and snowboarders to learn new tricks on.  The tour went to Wilmot my senior year and they contacted me to come participate and to be apart of the promotional video they make.  I was offered this opportunity due to the reputation I built in our area as one of the better terrain park skiers.  This was a very cool experience because I got to ski with a lot of other talented skiers and it was beneficial to my skiing career because I learned how to do my first backflip while I was on the tour. 

Friday, November 11, 2016


The principal-agent model arises when an individual or a company is caught in the middle between two agents. This model works best when the two agents have the same end goal in mind and share the same ideas about what path will most likely bring that success. However, this is almost never the case, and the individual is caught between wanting to please both agents while also wanting the best outcome for him or herself. Ideally, the agent in the middle is not looking to benefit themselves at the cost of those employing him, but again this is rarely the case. Since I am currently unemployed, this is not an issue I face in my everyday life. However, I believe there are many examples of how we see the principal-agent model arise commonly in society.

A great example of how the principle-agent model acting as a triangle in modern society comes from the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs. In 2011, Cubs management hired Theo Epstein as President of Baseball Operations, and recently all his hard work paid off in the form of a championship. But imagine for a minute that Epstein had failed. Epstein has to answer to two different principals: the fans of the Cubs and the Rickets family who employ him. As President of Baseball Operations, it is Epstein’s job to put the Cubs in the best position to win. But this is where the principal-agent model comes in. The Rickets family wants Epstein to succeed and put a winning team on the field, but not necessarily in the most expensive way possible, as that money is coming out of their pockets. The other agent, the Chicago fans, who were desperate for a championship, wouldn’t care how much money Epstein spent on players as long as wins were being accumulated. In this case, both the principals want the same end result which is ideal, but they have different ideas about what may be the best path to success. It was then Epstein’s job to balance spending with the need to win, which he has done more than adequately. This model could easily fall apart, however, because if say Epstein spent more than any other team on players and the Cubs won the division but not the World Series, he would likely be pleasing the fans because they technically have a winning team, but his other principal, the Rickets family, would not see all his spending as justified because no World Series was won.

The principal-agent model is a great way to study the motives of people in their work. It reveals why people do what they do, and whether they’re trying to serve one principal, both principals, or just themselves. Therefore, more than anything, the model says a lot about an agent’s morals. If one principal continues to get the short end of the stick, this would be cause for that principal to investigate that agent and to maybe seek out a different one. From my experience and especially when looking at this sports example, in these cases the only way to find a resolution is to fire the agent. This may be an isolated example though, as the demand on general managers to win games for the franchise is so high. There is no way for a general manager of a sports team to please one agent while ignoring the other, but in other examples I suppose it would be possible this to happen. It’s unfortunate that the turnover rate in this specific business is so high, but unfortunately I do not see a way for those in sports business to please only one principal and keep their job.