# 05 Sep 2006, 07:41AM: Continuing Education:
Tonight I start a four-semester Master's program at Columbia: the Executive Master of Science in Technology Management, offered by the School of Continuing Education. Finance, psych, marketing, planning, history, law, that sort of stuff. My Fog Creek colleague Eric is in there with me. We both got in to the NYU MS program in Management and Systems, but the Columbia program looked better:
Our first semester, we're taking "Technology in the Business Environment" and an introductory corporate finance class. I'm prepping for the latter by doing W. Michael Kelley's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Precalculus, recommended to me by Stuart Sierra. On the whole, very good. I'm brushing up on my 1996-era trig/analytic geometry skill, and have gotten past the exercise in which I draw the snappy log transformation on the book cover. I remember all the concepts well, but have more of a tendency to mistake plus and minus signs or make other sloppy arithmetic errors than I did in high school. Perhaps I'm not checking my work carefully enough because the pressure of grades doesn't exist.
- Columbia's more selective, I believe. At an NYU information session, an admissions person said that the admission rate was around 80 percent. At the Columbia orientation session, they told us that about 60 people applied and 31 got in. This might go with the Ivy League factor, which is also appealing.
- Columbia has one small cohort each semester that basically takes the same classes. I found this more appealing than the more buffet-style NYU approach.
- Both programs have a project requirement. At NYU one writes something up, in the last half of the program, with the assistance of an NYU adviser. But at Columbia, I'll start on my project in the first of the four semesters. Then mentors from industry will choose students to mentor based on their projects, and I'll work on my project, with the assistance of my mentor, for the remaining three semesters. This is a better deal for experience, for the quality of the project, and for networking.
- I like the NYU area for food and entertainment, but I'm more fond of the Columbia campus. I spend all day in the streets of New York, and the organization of NYU around Washington Square Park is confusing, so the gated, landscaped campus of Columbia feels like a relief. It reminds me of Berkeley.
Yesterday I did a few chapters of CIGT Precalculus and then saw the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine with my friend Adi, who's in the math department at NYU. So it was math-related, right? The last Monday-night revelry I'll have for a while.