Incoming Northwestern Kellogg MBA students tend to be worried about how bidding will work, and even though everyone has tons of questions in September, I noticed that most people have forgotten all those answers by the time bidding actually begins in November. Thus, here are some tips from my own experience to help you through the process.
1) Do not worry about this in September (or if you are MMM, June). There will be plenty of guidance as the first bidding opportunity opens up. This is one of those things that you won’t understand too well until you see it. Plus, it really isn’t that complicated.
2) Do not bid on multiple class times for a class. It is better to simply select the time that you want and bid more for that one time than trying for multiple times. I made this mistake and lost out of both classes even though I bid higher than what history dictated.
3) Bid 25% higher than the highest amount bid for the class for your respective round over the last 3 years across any quarter. The key here is to match the round you are in – Round 2 scores are often inflated because people are desperate to get in second choice classes at this point, and will use more points to get into something. Thus, if a class has maxed out at 500 points for Round 1 the last 3 years, and you are in Round 1, bid 625 points. Make sure you are matching professors as well, same class by a different professor will generate different results. Round 1 is the most important to be strategic as you will get the most value for your points. For 1st years, this doesn’t become that important until the Spring quarter of your first year as you will be primarily be on core classes before that.
4) Do not assume that a class that goes for a lot of points (ex. > 1,000) is really that good. Try to understand what you want out of a class before you bid that amount of points on it. If you simply follow the “wisdom” of the crowds or want an easy class, there will be plenty of cheaper alternatives. When you are bidding over 1,000 points for a class, you should really be sure you want that class – I would recommend talking to other students about it to see if what they did in the class really matches what you want to do with it. With Harry Kraemer, you are getting a great networking connection that you can reach out to in the future. There is nothing wrong with this, but for classes in which you hope to build a connection with the professor teaching it, also make sure you become the class liaison. Don’t waste the opportunity. For Kraemer’s course, the learning material is great, but you will probably get 80% of that by reading his book. Remember, you don’t just pay bidding points for classes, you also are paying $5K for each class you take. Each class you waste is a waste of time but also paid value in learning. Experiential classes can be great for contacts (for example, I worked in a couple of sports business projects), even if the projects aren’t always great. I took a class with a professor rating of 6/10, but it was my favorite class (of 5) that quarter.
5) In general, even if a class has low student TCE’s, if you are interested in the subject, that will go a long way towards your enjoyment of the class. I felt that TCEs are often reflective of entertainment value, especially for classes that also have high bidding points, rather than true academic value. If you are not interested in the subject material, you will find ways to not like the class, even with a renown professor. Remember the opportunity costs.
There you go, 5 simple tips to guide your way. Bookmark this page if needed and send me your own tips as well!