When was the last time you sat in a classroom? How did the experience change over the years? From school to college to corporate training? Each institution focuses on inculcating a different set of skills and adopts different methodology for the same. For instance teaching computer programming is very different from teaching law.
A Business School prepares you to tackle various challenges you might encounter in a corporate setting and for that it is necessary that theoretical knowledge is supplemented by some practical feel of the scenarios.
In my view, facilitation rather than teaching will be a better word to describe a number of class sessions.
Professors provide the right framework and instructions within which we had to work and from then on it was upto each individual or group of individuals to make the best out of it. I must have said it before and I’ll say it again – Do not underestimate what you can learn more from your fellow students and their experience at Business School.
There are of course other classes where a lecture delivery cannot be replaced like Finance. I would like to mention a few of my favorite “classroom” experiences. For those planning to come to CEU Business School in Budapest, this is what awaits you!
This was one of the best learning experiences I had, highly competitive, intense and demanding in terms of effort, but totally worth it. We did simulation games in 2 courses, the one during Boardroom Exercise was especially more fun. You can read more about it here.
Running a whole company from making long and short term strategies to running operations, managing finances and logistics was a far effective way to learn than 20 different books. We could make mistakes in the simulation and learn from it. The competition with peers made it even more fun.
Almost every course had Case Studies, some involved more classroom discussions and some involved just analyzing, discussing with teammates and preparing reports. How did it help?
Case studies usually look at the past – what happened when company X took a certain step. It takes critical and analytical thinking to understand the consequences of various moves and how it impacts the business results. It is important to keep things in perspective and to be careful about bringing examples from outside of the case as it may not be directly relevant to the specific situation. My groups had teammates from different countries and industries and they each brought their own perspective to the case discussions.
Never downplay comments from anyone. I’m from a technical field and my lawyer colleague always brought up questions that triggered serious discussions and eventually a new dimension to the arguments.
What can be more fun than visiting companies and places you’ve been reading and talking about? That is precisely what we did in a few courses. Be it a watching operations at a warehouse or innovation at a technology company or the much elaborate trip to New York, each gives a chance to see business in action, learn different perspectives, to ask questions and more importantly, to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s useful to everyone, but more so for those with less industry experience.
Professional report writing
We did a lot of these. In my professional life, I haven’t seen a leader with bad writing skills go too far. It is indispensable for today’s business leaders to have great communication skills, to know the vocabulary and terms in use, to give credits where required, to be able to structure ideas and express them clearly.
Build it yourself
I remember we had at least 3 occasions to conceptualize ideas and show how to turn those into a successful business. It was interesting to see how everything came together for this exercise. Brainstorming for idea generation, developing those ideas into a profitable business model, bringing strategy marketing and finance to justify why this business versus the numerous others will ultimately bring profits.
Each team ended up with different results but it was the process that made it all worthwhile. We learned the theory but continued to make mistakes when putting it in practice, but eventually learned without burning real money. I hope at least some of the classmates will actually take advantage of this learning experience and go on to build something on their own.
In my point of view these were really the highlights, feel free to share if you liked something else. I welcome every feedback.
Just one more day till graduation!