Thursday, April 27, 2006

Barely keeping my pants on.

If you ran around all the time without pants on, you would be declared insane. Therefore, everybody is only one pair of pants away from insanity. The onset of the "end of the semester crunch" has me unzipping my fly. I was in a computer lab from 7:30PM to 3AM yesterday and the end is far from in sight.

Beware, at least the next two paragraphs are really boring.

I take classes that sound really exciting like: Integrated Production and Manufacturing Analysis (jump on the sarcasm bus, it's leaving). In said class last Tuesday we simulated a supply chain and made observations on why the whole thing was a massive failure. The basic concept: we had 3 different chains. Each chain was independent of the others and was composed of a retailer, distributor, wholesaler, and factory. The professor handed out customer demands to each of the retailers, who then passed orders for product down to the distributor, who then ordered from the wholesaler, who then ordered from the factory. It was more expensive to have backlogged orders than to have excess inventory; people ordered more than they need to avoid the costs of backlogging orders. Everybody in this class room has had 6 semesters of statistics and at least a full year of forecasting methods and algorithms.

I was paired up with a girl as a wholesaler. When we started, she was instant messenging a fried on her laptop and I was running the whole show. Things were going well. Eventually she turned off her computer and said "Why aren't you letting me write anything? I need to participate." I said ok and gave her the pencil and let her take care of all our data and orders from the factory, while I took care of the distributor side of things. She proceeded to screw up our data, while using awful and in now way mathematically robust theory for her ordering. Our costs go through the roof, we send our factory's cost through the roof, and we are unable to deliver regularly to our distributor. Her methods cause the problem to grow exponentially. Needless to say, I was pissed. My redemption came today when the professor put up a chart of our chain and commented how well we had done for the first half (all me), and then how we had gone downhill fast and ended up being the worst team by far (my wonderful partner's contribution to the team).

Point in case, this girl was stupid, and would not make an adequate employee in the manufacturing world. She needs to be told what to do, have her hand held, micromanaged, not given much responsibility. I think her GPA is better than mine, and she already has a well paying job lined up for when she graduates in 3 weeks. I am concerned that universities today are turning out this type of employee. My program is good, often ranked in the top 25 in the nation. This girl just doesn't get it, and there are many others like her. They memorize formulas, they do enough practice problems to know all the methods, but they couldn't prove our explain the roots of any of them. For every understanding student coming out of my program, there are 2 that have good GPAs, but are clueless. I think employers are starting to understand that GPA is not necesarily associated with a good employee in today's innovative, cost cutting, and globally competitive world.

I don't think this is anything new, I'm just wondering if we could solve the problem with our educational system, or if some people are just stupid and can't get it. I'd like to think these people could get it, but by the time they get to college it's too late. Something needs to be done to keep these people out of positions with real responsibility or to give them the tools to handle that responsibility properly.

I'm not saying that I will know all the answers right out of school, but I will know way more than this girl, and be more effective than she could be. I will not only learn about the industry I'm in, but learn from it and about what makes it tick. Even if that means relying on the stupid people above me who are only above me because they have been there for 20 years.

Oh.. and apparently I'm on crack:


Blogger JimmyMc said...

Brady, don't worry about this honor student. She is not stupid. It's just that she has figured out the system (test-taking). So a good GPA is all she focuses on--that, and shit like hair and makeup. So she'll also likely figure out what it takes to keep her job and get ahead in her company. That might mean efficient work and it might mean wearing lascivious outfits and getting on her knees on a regular basis. Whatever, no doubt she'll get A's. Ass-kissers rule.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Brady Beckham said...

ok, working the system does work, I neglect to realize that just because she hasn't demonstrated her ability to fully understand the concepts doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't have it...Insert adage about something resembling correlation and causation...
there may still be hope

1:41 PM  
Blogger a oz said...

I was once told the only thing that determines whether someone is insane or not is how much they annoy the people around them.

6:29 PM  
Blogger J.V. Cycling said...

then brady is insane....

7:02 PM  
Blogger Leisha Jo said...

i concur.

7:21 AM  

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