Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teaching in Slowdown

A recent seminar on “Marketing in a Slowdown” triggered a thought, “What about teaching in a slowdown?” As faculty in a business school, do we even need to ask ourselves this question? Is it necessary to modify my actions as a faculty only because of the now hackneyed global economic crisis?

I think so! So what can we do??? Let us see………


Keep the Morale Up

I am sure the worry bug will have bitten most of us by now! Consider this that the students listening to my eloquent exposition on global strategy is scared that she may not land up a job and even worse may not bag one at all. In such a case, my words, demeanor and actions in the class is definitely either add to their anxiety or if I am sensible, moderate their fears.

In this case the biggest disservice I could do would be to let my anxieties add to their fears. I guess, it will be worthwhile if I and my colleagues consider this before stepping into a classroom.

Realistic but Ambitious

They came to us because they were ambitious. We promised them the sky and made them pay for it. The number of jobs and the CTC figures being offered to management graduates is on the wane. Even the IIMs and ISBs of the world have had to face this unfortunate situation.

Will it not them become my responsibility as a faculty to keep talking to my students and explain the cyclical nature of business and the existing downturn. Of course we al do that but do we consider the impact of our “technical” explanations on young impressionable minds???

Can we find some way of moderating their expectations but nurture their ambitious spirit??


Value of “Value”

The word “value” is perhaps the most important yet most underrated concept in B schools. When we come across students expecting the heavens when their skill sets and abilities may not justify it, we should know that we erred on two counts:

1.      We have not made them “value creators”.

2.      We have not explained the concept of value to them.



That is where the answer may lie. Students are incredible packages of bundled energy, ambitions, insecurities, confusions and fears. It really is a no brainer to say that we better get talking to them if we are really serious about them developing the right attitude. At least what we think is the right attitude. In the absence of our talking to them, they will talk to others and we may never know what the “others” might give them as inputs! Anyhow we know what credibility they attach something to what you and me might say as compared to what an unemployed senior might tell them!!


Can I do All This??

Now to the bottom line.

Do I, as a faculty have enough knowledge, competence and ability to actually control my classroom sessions to reflect the macroeconomic climate of the markets?? Do I have enough control over myself to adapt my behaviour to maximise chances of my students achieving “their” goals??

Let us begin the effort by believing, “I Do!!”

1 comment:

satindra said...

The very thought of changing ones style and content of teaching during slowdown and economic booms opens up the pandora's box. If great companies can utilise every downturn to consolidate, to look for new opportunities, to focus on new product and innovation, to prepare for the inevitable boom times ahead; why can't individuals do the same. Our job as teachers in business schools becomes even more critical to help students learn from our perspective how they can benifit from such slowdowns.We could learn from some legendary investors. For example, when asked what is the best time to invest, Rothschild answered, "The best time to invest is when the blood is flowing in the streets." Warren Buffet, of c course is brilliant, he says, During downturns I feel like an oversexed maniac in a harem. All sad and done a good teacher can produce brilliant results by his posture, attitude, his passion, his commitment and his engaged behaviour. I am of the firm belief that the best business leaders will come out of the current batches from business schools who get their act together during the downturn. Such is the psychological impact of tough times on survivors. I am not sure though, how a teacher will be able to keep a great stance when he is not sure whether he will be able to retain his job tomorrrow or ever be able to pay off his credit card debt?
Bye the way, 'Blood in the Streets' by Sir William Reesmog and James Dale Davidson is one of the finest books to read on investment, history and future trends.