Being cognizant: Economics, strategy

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A series about the ways I work towards being cognizant through decisions that make me more mentally engaged with various facets of my day-to-day life.

Cognizance (noun): Awareness, realization, notice, knowledge, perception.


My final Graduate Diploma in Business courses set the stage for a rocky but exciting end to our program. 

I was balancing a lot during this month inside and outside of the classroom. However, in the end, I feel that these two very different and interesting courses taught me great lessons that definitely apply outside of business contexts.


Economics: Take matters into your own hands

This class was a bit of a wild ride.

I’ve taken micro- and macroeconomics courses before, so I thought I knew what I was in for – it would be challenging but familiar.

Not so.

The teaching style of our professor was not exactly well-suited for our fast-paced program of students from a variety of academic backgrounds. This professor usually teaches students who have recently studied calculus and are immersed in commerce courses, whereas we were just barely keeping our heads above water as we blasted through 2 courses each month and had taken almost no calculus, if any.

However, this led to a lot of reflection on my part, as I didn’t want to succumb to complaining about the appropriateness of our professor’s style and letting my grade be dictated entirely by that. While it was frustrating – there is no doubt about that – there was a lot I could be doing to improve my likelihood of success outside of the classroom.

Admitting my weaknesses and asking for help, reading the textbook over and over, doing practice questions, and watching tutorials were all things that were well within my control. I believe that it was the recognition of this control that I have taken away from that course. Sure, it would have been easier to wait for better teaching and eventually fall on my face in the final exam and blame it on the professor. But if I wanted to succeed, it would mean pulling out all the stops – and I did. And it worked!


Corporate strategy: Identify your core competencies

This course was the culmination of everything we had learned so far – you had finance, you had marketing, you had leadership, you had economics… You had it all!

I learned a lot from this course that is applicable in so many situations, but one of my favourite takeaways is that of identifying one’s core competencies.

The term is usually referencing a company’s core competencies – those systems of activities that work together to give the company a competitive advantage – but I find it can be easily applied to oneself. While I am all for constantly learning new skills and expanding your horizons, I think there is value in recognizing what you already do really well and using that. Oftentimes, those things have become our competencies because we like doing those things and have been constantly working to become better at them, which is why they are core to us now.

After reading Angela Duckworth’s “Grit” I had a similar takeaway, in that I realized I would have to work to foster passions rather than wait to find one. I thought, at first, that I would have to start working on fostering something; however, I realized there were some things I was already fostering that I hadn’t considered as passions or talents before. My strategy course struck a similar chord, helping me realize that my advantage in making a career will probably stem from recognizing what I am doing well and fostering those skills into activities that I am passionate about and constantly becoming better at.


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my program and what I learned!
I would highly recommend this program to individuals who are able to and excited about the idea of it because it offered me a great deal of value. I will write more about this soon but think you should check out the program’s website in the meantime to learn more.

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