Semester Wrap-up: Game Theory at HKS

My game theory class at HKS wrapped up with a final exam a little more than a week ago after a two week reading period. Taking a class at HKS was pretty different from an MIT class.

For one thing, it was a fairly different set of people. While all the SDM students have an engineering background and even a fair number of Sloanies come from some sort of quasi-technical background, very very few of the people at HKS seem to have that sort of background. So they tended to approach problems a little bit differently and think about things from a different angle. This policy angle also really started to become apparent in the presentations that we had to deliver at the end of the course — many of the games proposed were based around political conflicts or things of that sort. Very different from what you’d get in an MIT class!

Overall, the class was quite good. The professor knew what she was talking about and did a good job of keeping the class moving along in most cases. The examples were a pretty wide mix drawn from a variety of different cases rather than just being based in one subject area. There were four problem sets over the course of the semester and they did a good job of preparing me for the final. Compared to an MIT game theory class, I suspect there was a bit less of the math details behind the theory but with what I was looking to get out of it, that was perfect.

So I enjoyed the experience and the course and am glad I took it. As far as applicability, a good chunk of why I took it is that I’ve done some reading on game theory in the past and so wanted to learn a bit more about it. I don’t think I’ll be sitting down and drawing out game trees for things, but it’s a nice framework to simply sit down and think about how people might respond. And most importantly, I had fun in the class.

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