Testing times! First exams of our MBA program are already upon us and together with it the promise of sleepless nights. The memories of school days are really back. But is it really that bad?
Please allow me to share my thoughts. I think it has to do with the learning experiences we’ve all had prior to starting MBA. I can surely talk about India where the professor explained complex theories, we got loads to read and memorize, on the exam day the one whose answers matched the one in the book, scored the highest. The key is, there is only one possible correct answer. Getting it right is tough. We had to spend long hours to make sure we really mug up the whole material, without deviations. Lack of time meant not many paid attention to really understanding what was written, important was to score big in the exams.
Most of the good Business Schools have now adopted a case study based experiential learning approach and I’m sure the ones that have not, will soon follow. This is very different from the learning experience students have been exposed to at undergraduate courses, be it Engineering, Arts, Social Sciences, Law or anything else. This means when students start MBA studies, they’ve the same opinion on exams, scary and stressful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a competitive person and don’t mind exams. But we need to approach them differently. MBA courses introduce us to concepts and principles and just give us tools, after that it’s all about adding personal touch, being creative and solving problems in own style. What it doesn’t give is a magic formula where entering all known parameters of a case will give the one right solution.
At Business Schools, each participant comes from different educational background and has different strengths. If you’re the best in Marketing, you may be just about average in Operations Management, if you top in Legal course, you might need a lot of help in Economics. You get the idea. Is it then fair to have a uniform scale to measure and grade performance of all students? No, it’s not. And that’s exactly why Business Schools adopt a mix of grading techniques. Weightage is given to case studies, class participation, group assignments and the traditional exams where individual performance evaluation is the key goal.
I keep my ultimate goal in mind and that is to learn as much as possible about various aspects of running a business in today’s market environment. I would suggest you do the same, always keep your ultimate goal in mind. Does it matter if I don’t score top marks in one of the grading technique? No, not so much. It might just mean that I was not very well prepared on a certain day or just had a bad day. On the other hand, it surely gives the professors a general hint about where the class is good at and where it needs help.
So, consider exams as just tools for professors, we should do our best to help them judge our strengths and weaknesses. And that’s all there is to it J no need to lose sleep over 1 unfinished chapter! There are a few Business Schools that grade their students based only on assignments and case studies. I don’t think even recruiters care what your score at MBA was. What matters is what you know, so, I’m sure you’ll all be fine.
Do well in exams and let’s show to everyone why EMBA 2016 can give tough competition for the title of the best class at CEU! All the best!