My Harvard Experience...

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Pugman, May 17, 2007.

  1. Pugman

    Pugman New Member

    For what it's worth, I thought I would share my experience at Harvard (quite a number of folks have emailed me for feedback).

    I took CSC 256 (Oracle Admin) and found it to be the following:

    1. Hard, Challenging and time-consuming (time-sucking-abyss-like at times)
    2. Very, Very flexible (online lectures that you can view at your leisure) with the exception of assignments (4) and midterms/finals (open-book but timed at 24 hours).
    3. Cramming=Hosed. If you waited until the last few days to do an assignment - you were usually totally hosed (the TA's are great btw - but more responsive early in the assignments' it should be)
    4. Reasonably priced ($500/credit hour)
    5. 15-20 hours a week.

    I came into the class thinking I knew a thing or two about Oracle (reminder to self; you are dumb) and was blown away by the teaching.

    Great guys, great service. Hard - but fair (e.g. do your homework beforehand).

    I have yet to get my final grade - but that was never really my goal. I think I did well - but I learned a bunch more and that's what's important.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Mighty_Tiki

    Mighty_Tiki Member

    Great feedback Pug!
  3. StevenKing

    StevenKing Active Member


    I think the course sounds interesting...but I am more caught up on the bullet item specifying that $500/c.h. seems reasonable.

    Send cash my way...

    Thanks for the update on your progress.
  4. Pugman

    Pugman New Member

    Regarding $500/credit, I forgot to mention that my company pays for it so I'm not that sensitive to cost.

    Even so, I think you'll find it about half the price of Columbia CVN's offerings.

  5. Tarbuza

    Tarbuza New Member

    ALM - Harvard

    Thanks for your feedback.

    What is the pre-requisite for this course? Do you have to take a GRE Exam?

    How many credits or courses required to complete successfully? Are there any residency requirements? Thanks in advance for your reply.
  6. Pugman

    Pugman New Member

    No prerequisite for this course - although general familiarity with Unix and SQL would help.

    No GRE required.

    10 to 12 4-credit courses required for a masters (depending on which ALM-IT program).

    One course required in residence (e.g. summer school).

  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi Greg - The next time you're at Nini's turn around quickly. You might catch me walking by. Good luck with your program.
  8. AGS

    AGS New Member

    july summer courses at harvard

    i saw some courses in late july for harvard... like short courses.....i read its good to take an english class ....
  9. jwthornhill

    jwthornhill New Member

    Thanks for sharing that information Pugman
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi Greg - Maybe I'm wrong but I'd like to try to split a pretty fine hair.
    You say, "One course required in residence (e.g. summer school)." but the last time I checked, Harvard Summer School is not the same as Harvard Extension. Yes, the credits will work but please be careful because Harvard Summer School prices are WAY bigger than HES prices. (Plus, if you're going to live in Cambridge for the Summer you'd better make sure that your checkbook is plenty full). Maybe it's worth it to you, but before you make that decision, be certain of the pricetag.
  11. TescStudent

    TescStudent New Member

    It's not that much more; it's typically around $2275 for a course that would be around $1700 at the Extension School. That cost difference should be more than offset by the savings from staying for a shorter period, since you're on an 8 week semester instead of a 16 week semester.

    I've taken a course at the summer school before, and it can be quite brutal - they'll double the pace, but will not skimp on the work requirements. In fact, the summer school is more closely tied with Harvard College (HC full-time students can also fulfill some of their requirements there), so the classes may actually cover more material and have more assignments than the equivalent course in a full length semester.
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    It's nice for you that the price difference doesn't make a difference. However, in my world, a thousand dollars is a lot of money and not easily found. I think that most people are closer to my situation than yours.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That's $575, not a thousand, and if it means two fewer months in Cambridge, Mass. it might well be a major money saver.

  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Yes. Good points.
  15. Pugman

    Pugman New Member

    Thank you Kizmet for your clarification! I'm pretty new to all this so I appreciate the input regarding summer session.

  16. Dus10

    Dus10 New Member

    The Harvard Extension School looks awesome. I just finished my undergraduate degree a couple of weeks ago from a B&M school (but I did some CLEP/DSST), and I am ready to start looking into a graduate program. the ALM-IT looks alright, but their ALM-Management looks like a much better fit for me (with the Information Systems Management concentration). Unfortunately, they only have 4-5 courses that can be complete via Distance, and I neither live, nor do I aspire to live, anywhere near Boston. Doing one course on campus during the summer is one thing.... doing 7-8 courses on campus for 2-3 semesters is another thing, entirely.

    While I am certainly an IT person, I am more interested in focusing on management than IT, anymore. I would certainly lean towards something that is geared towards managing within IT, but I want management as the primary focus, not the secondary (as is the case with the ALM-IT with the Information Systems Management concentration).

    It is unfortunate, as well, because having Harvard listed on your resume will certainly get you past HR in most cases (even if it is online). My resume is just not going to solicit when and how I completed my degrees... they can ask me for that information (companies are always keen on baiting you into showing interest soliciting as little information as possible... I don't mind returning the favor).

    I really want an MBA... but I want to avoid having the "distance education" part of that being obvious. I definitely want something that can be done without moving and without giving up my job.
  17. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat


    This may meet what you're looking for, a combined MBA and MS - Management and IT...

    The Donahue School offers you a unique opportunity to earn the joint MBA/MS-Information Systems Management degree. This combination of business and information systems studies provides you with a competitive advantage as contemporary organizations aggressively seek business school graduates who have a depth of understanding of the link between key business functions and information technology. "
  18. Pugman

    Pugman New Member


    I agree the ALM-Management looks great - but the residency requirement makes it a moot point.

    If the ALM-IT (Information Management) isn't to your liking - there are lots of MBA programs for 'former techies' that may be right up your alley.


    MBA in Information Management, Project Management, Leadership, etc.

    ...and if you have any computer certs (or already have the PMP) - it'll give you a jump start to your MBA (some MBAs like Aspen's accept half the MBA via certifications like MS, Oracle, PMP).

    Just an idea...

  19. Dus10

    Dus10 New Member

    I guess my requirements really are not that realistic. In looking for an MBA program, here is basically what I am after:

    - Top 25 school
    - Preferably a private institution (a matter of principle, with me)
    - I don't want it to be obvious that it is distance learning
    - I would like to stay in the $300-$500 per credit hour range

    This is fairly difficult. I have some fairly good programs available in my "backyard". I live in Indianapolis, so there is Indiana University (public), Purdue University (public), Notre Dame (South Bend, IN), Northwestern (Chicago), and U. of Chicago, that are all in the top 25 (depending on what list you use) that are not far.

    Indiana University: They have a program right here in Indianapolis. However, it is a public school, and it has all the problems of a public school, not to mention my philosophical objections. Further, they have an online program, but it gets near $900/cr. hr.

    Purdue University: It would be a drive, but Lafayette is not horrible. It is public, so there is that. Also, I don't know of their options for part-timers.

    Notre Dame: The only part-time program that they have is their eMBA program. Being that it is designed for "executive" training, they require that you already have five years of management experience. I have about two years, but it is not recent. It is great, especially for people that are not local, because you meet once a month for four days (one of the days being Saturday). It is also pricey... but I would likely sacrifice for Notre Dame.

    University of Chicago: They have an Evening and Weekend MBA program. This seems flexible, and weekend classes are offered on a quarterly rotation (but having the ability to take two concurrent classes in a semester setup that also includes summer school would be better). However, it is about $4800 per class (including books), I would have to travel every single week, and they require 20 courses while most programs seem to be around 15! $96k is steep, seriously.

    Northwestern University: Kellogg School of Management actually seems to cater to regional students (outside of the Chicago Metro Area). They have a profile of a student that is from Cincinnati! The Weekend MBA is a quarter-based system with two courses per quarter. There is a break of 1-3 weeks between quarters, as well. Pricing: again, it is about $4800 per unit (with each course being one unit), and they require 20.5 units!

    Now, these are strictly B&M options. I have some other local options, like the University of Indianapolis (my undergrad alma mater), but they aren't top 25. If I do an online (or mostly online) degree, I would like for it to come from a similar type of school. If money was not an issue (only regarding school, not regarding the rest of my life and my job), Northwestern looks like they have the best program suited to my requirements. I would be able to complete the program in 2.5 years only by attending school on Saturdays. Now, since money is an issue, pushing $100K is a problem. I do not know my current employers feelings about education. I have only been here for three months, and there are several uncertainties for others (new owner, new president coming on board soon, etc). Honestly, I am only willing to pay for about $25k of this (all of which would really need to be handled via financial aid). I have $40k in student loans now that come from a year doing a certificate program, and my 4.5 years of going full-time (after working full-time) for my undergrad. Also, my wife is beginning to work on her RN (associates' degree to start, BS and nurse practitioner down the line), so money and time are certainly hot commodities. And, my oldest daughter is 9-years-old, followed quickly by a 7-year-old daughter, and not so quickly by a 3-year-old daughter; so, there college expenses won't be too far down the line.

    I spilled a whole lot of information; probably too much in most areas and not enough in some others. Basically, I want something that is going to help me in attaining a management position in a publicly-traded company. Preferably, I would like to be IT Management, and one day something like CTO or CIO. After completing a masters' degree, I am also considering law school, not to be a practicing attorney, but to help with the executive-level area that I want to be involved. I have time constraints like most other working professionals with families, and I am also on the board of a credit union, and will hopefully be on the local school board, next year. Beyond that, my undergrad record is not great. I have just under a 3.4 (about 3.384) due to four classes that I did not do great in. One was marketing (which I took twice, with the same professor), and the prof. really seemed to have it in for me. Two of the others were mathematics. I was only required to take Finite or Calculus and then Statistics. I took Finite, got an A, then decided I would like to take Calculus, so I took Trig to prepare and got an A-. The semester that I took Calculus, I was taking 16 credit hours, my youngest daughter was on her way, and I got a C-. I also got a C in Statistics. The other bad grade was Finance. The prof. was new, and she was horrible about assigning homework. I got Bs on all three exams (including the final), but I a C- in the class because I didn't do a single homework assignment. We met twice a week (Mon and Wed), and she would often assign homework on Monday morning for Monday's class, and late Tuesday evening for Wednesday's class. Other than that, I had about 2/3 As and 1/3 Bs. I don't know if it makes a difference to them that I did this 3-4 nights per week for 4.5 years while working (and not just cake jobs that students take, but full-time jobs that had great responsibilities that often meant putting school on the back burner some nights because of issues that I had to address at work). Quite frankly, I am pretty hard on myself, and I don't expect anyone to take it easy on me. I actually have 132 credit hours for my undergraduate degree (which includes none of my certificate program that I completely beforehand, which is also considered about 48 credit hours). I am an excellent test taker, but I have yet to take the GMAT. I am actually taking it in October, but it doesn't count, as I am doing it as a mystery shopping program. At least I will see what it is like.

    And there I went rambling again. I just don't want to leave too many gaps for people to consider.

    The Harvard stuff seemed like a good option, especially since I am looking to do law school, as well. However, I think the ALM-IT won't be enough, whereas the ALM-Management likely would. So, I am without Harvard.
  20. Denver

    Denver Member

    For those of you considering residency in Cambridge for Harvard Extension I suggest you look at the Episcopal Divinity School . I lived there in the early 90s. It is a great location, and the price is much lower than other accommodations in the area. If you do not mind a bathroom down the hall, a few flights of steps, living among the seminarians and a few jokes (some of my friends delighted in calling me Father Denver) it is great. The extension school is a few blocks away as is the law school , education and K-School. HBS is about a fifteen-minute walk. I spent most of my time at the business and government schools but I knew a number of extension students and all of them were very satisfied with their programs.

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