Wednesday, May 19, 2010

State of Nature

So this past spring, I took a class called Sales Management. It was not a difficult class, taking it as a MBA elective, and it did not require too much: four tests, four case problem write-ups, and multiple class participation grades. At the end of the semester, when I went to ask my professor a question about the last case write-up, he informed me it was not necessary for me to even complete the case, for I had an A without the 25 points. It was a good feeling.
Yet these case write-ups played an important role in my education. See, these write-ups included three components: a problem, alternatives, and a recommended solution. The first case I did for the class I made a 20 out of 25 because my problem was not a state of nature. While I was "upset" about my 20, I learned something very important when I met with my professor. He told me, "All of these things you have said are issues, symptoms of the problem, something stemming from the problem. But a true state of nature can be determined by asking, 'If I solve this, will it solve all of these symptoms?'"
Of course, my first thought is, "How can any solution fix every issue or problem? That's about impossible." But altogether, the statement makes a great deal of sense. Now, I might not have been the best at choosing states of nature in my Sales Management class, but I did learn something very important: a problem must be corrected at the root. Unless the state of nature is changed, symptoms will only continue to arise. Once the problem is fixed, the other issues will dissipate.

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