The prompt for this is “You won an award at some point in your life, what was it for?”
I’ve addressed this topic for MKPMWFWW once before, but in reading over my entry for that, I forgot the biggest one, or at least it should have been.
After spending two years barely keeping my head above water at Nortwestern, I took a battery of aptitude tests that indicated that my academic interests were in Business Administration. Since Northwestern had no bachelor’s program in Business Administration (it closed the year before I started), I would have to go elsewhere, “elsewhere” being Loyola University Chicago. This was where I had always imagined I would be going, anyway, given my family’s extensive history with the school.
Reading the course catalog after I had been admitted, I saw that there were seven undergraduate majors in the School of Business: Economics, Accounting, CPA Accounting (a more rigorous degree that prepared the graduate to take the CPA exam), Marketing, Finance, Personnel Management and Production & Operations Management. After reading the description of each, I decided that this last one would be the direction I would take. When I had my initial conversation with the Dean to inform him of my choice, his reaction was “are you sure?” When I assured him I was, he said, “well, okay….”
Production & Operations Management, if you’ve never heard of it (and I doubt you have), was still geared to manufacturing. The courses I took to get the degree included a course that could best be described as Industrial Engineering (an Industrial Engineer friend from Northwestern took a course that used the same textbook as I did), where we designed things like a dry cleaning establishment and a turkey abattoir; a course in Industrial Relations, where we learned the ins and outs of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 as it applied to union shops and negotiating contracts; a course in Cost Accounting; and a course in Statistical Quality Control, which was actually a lot of fun (I was a statistics whiz kid) and about which I remember nothing. I learned that there were only three other people majoring in the topic, and that most of the classes were offered at night so that actual working people could take the classes.
Anyway, shortly after I graduated, I received an invitation to an awards banquet for the School of Business. I had no idea why, so I asked one of my contacts (i.e. my stepfather, who was Director of Admissions) if he could find out why I had been invited. He called me back and told me that I had earned the Production Management Key, awarded to the top graduate in the major.
Understand, I had only attended Loyola for two years, and the determination of who was the best was decided only on their work there. Had they somehow found a way to factor in my earlier academic work, I doubt I would have gotten an invitation, let alone the award. Anyway, it was kind of a rush getting the thing, which I took home and stuck in a drawer, where I lost track of it. It kind of looked like the Phi Beta Kappa key…
Loyola doesn’t even offer a degree in Production & Operations Management anymore, and hasn’t for some time. Now you know why.