Learning the B School way

Learning the B School way

The learning process is all about application of real life theories to help students be better persons first. Regular teaching tools include lectures, case study presentations, role plays, group discussions, presentations and assignments. Some of the creative teaching practices I have used include:

Teaching, especially B- School teaching, is a two way process. Teachers have to enjoy what they teach and students should enjoy the learning process. The focus is not so much on rote learning as it is about skill development and comprehension of the subject. The student should be able to understand the 5W and 1H of the subject that is why, when, what, where, who and how.

The learning process is all about application of real life theories to help students be better persons first. Regular teaching tools include lectures, case study presentations, role plays, group discussions, presentations and assignments. Some of the creative teaching practices I have used include:

Greeting card game: (A great game for teaching marketing basics) It can be used for training students who have either started their marketing course or even those who have finished the course. Greeting card game is a real life simulation game where the participants have to set up a business, run it and end up with either gaining profit or incurring a loss. It is a very interactive game, which has become popular and is now, conducted by faculty members in India and abroad.

Desert survival: (A simple exercise lasting 45 to 60 minutes) It is a real life simulation where the participants are thrown into a desert and have to survive on limited resources. A game that helps with communication and negotiation. Different endings simply blow the participants off their zone of comfort.

Chinese whispers and other simulations: The most popular one is Chinese whispers, a lesson in verbal communication. Can you tell a story? a game about verbal communication, memory power and a game of strategy named ‘show of cards’ where a team can win only by cooperating with the others.

A to Z qualities of a manager: This is a presentation developed by me. This presentation has a series of 26 very carefully selected advertisements/clippings. Each of the advertisements details a trait that the students have to identify. The student identifying the most attributes is declared the winner. The simplicity of this exercise leaves a lasting impression.

English Movies: Movies are a very good way of driving home the concepts of Management. Dog day afternoon, The Negotiator and the 12 Angry Men are very good examples of communication and negotiation skills. Pursuit of happiness is a great movie for sales management, dealing with stress, overcoming obstacles and barriers. Ten Commandments is a great movie on leadership fraught with danger but the hero’s unwavering pursuit of his conviction wins the admiration of all the students.

Commercials for classroom teaching: Popular advertisements can bond an entire class of Business Communication. In one such exercise, I made the class sing the advertisement together. In the same class the student groups made video movies as part of their assignments. These movies were later discussed in the class .

English series like Apprentice, Undercover boss: Popular English series like Apprentice can be used, where the participants (aspiring entrepreneurs) compete with each other to win a coveted job with the Donald Trump’s business empire. Another inspiring series that can be used is the Undercover Boss USA where a CEO goes undercover to find out the problems faced by his employees. A great show that makes the CEO walk the talk. I have taken part in nearly several TV programmes as a management expert. These programmes explain the finer points of the topic. I maintain a blog “Dranil-marketingmusings.blogspot.com” and use the blog many times in the class.

Quizzes, flash cards: Interactive and multimedia based quizzes and flash cards make the topics interesting and appealing to the internet savvy generation. Using puzzles, pictures, jigsaw puzzles, scale models, collages and word games all make the class more interactive and get the students to participate in classroom discussion.

Case studies: Preparing and discussing management case studies is also another strategy. This exercise requires the students to come prepared with the case and have long hours of case discussion. If senior employees or founders of companies involved participate in the discussion, it will encourage students, who can not only interact with them but also ask them questions and gain insight.

Report studies: Using videos of ones like the Ries report, a video magazine, to bring home the finer points about the basics of marketing can be very useful.

World’s ultimate factories: Another prop that can be well used is “The Ultimate Factories”, a National Geographic series. It is a very good series for production and operation management students. The series shows how famous products are manufactured with great amount of detailing.

Business documentaries: Business documentaries can also be used in the class. Business documentaries like ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’, ‘The smartest guys in the room’ and ‘The insider job’ are great documentaries to know about the 9th September 2001 attack of USA, the Enron collapse and the subprime lending crisis of 2008.

Dramatics in personality development: Involving a dramatics team to teach personality development and communication through dance and drama is also another innovative approach to teaching

Outbound training: Students perform activities like rock climbing; trekking, river crossing and many other outdoor activities. These test the students both physically and mentally. It is a great learning experience for the students to learn group coordination and team work.

Cultural Fest: Annual cultural fests are a great way for students to learn about the nuances of management. They will learn to plan, organize, budget, get the sponsors and execute a grand event. Such fests help students in understanding that theories when put into practice will hone their skills and make them market ready managers.

Social Media: Using social media tools like Facebook to connect with students and clarify their doubts is also another approach.

Online testing: Immediate discussions after class makes online testing very popular. Effective feedback can be given on the spot.

Live TV telecast for teaching learning process: Using TV telecasts, especially ones like the budget presentation, and YouTube will also help enhance a student’s learning experience.

By:Dr M Anil Ramesh

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