And in the News…

November 30th, 2006 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Two more weeks of classes; the semester is coming to an end. I am already feeling “senioritus” even though I have only been at school for a semester. The days are colder, but my mind is on the summer and where I will work for my internship.

The internship is the all important pinnacle of the first year of business school, because it often leads to a permanent job offer. Even if there is no end-of-summer job offer, or the student finds that the company is not where she wants to work full-time, the type of internship often determines how employers will view a student during the permanent job application process.

During the past couple months, I have attended corporate presentations and job fairs and tweaked my resume. Over the winter break I plan to put my job search into high gear. Second year students are currently in the midst of full-time job interviews, and many of them already have job offers.

I ask one of my second year mentors to describe his every job interview to me in detail. Employers ask him questions such as, “What do you think of the current price of oil and gold?” “How would you determine a discount rate for the company’s new office projects in a third world country?” “What is your opinion on today’s yield curve?” “What do you think about the market?”

Listening to my friend’s descriptions of his interviews gave me an idea for a new type of business class called “Staying Current With the News.” Basically, students would spend the class discussing the day’s news and developing opinions on things like the price of oil and gold. Every class a few students would give some presentations to get the discussions started. The only homework would be to read several newspapers.

I know that staying current on the news and discussing the news are things that MBA students should do on their own without having a professor standing over them. I have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, which I try to peruse everyday along with the Washington Post and the Financial Times. But in reality, reading and discussing the news are often forgotten in a shuffle of presentations, practice problems, and case studies.

If I were designing the curriculum, I would substitute a news class for the leadership class and instead teach leadership with a week long project in the real world. For example, teams might volunteer on a Habitat for Humanity project or work on a company’s promotional event. Even staged competitions, such as on The Apprentice, could work well to teach students about teamwork and leadership. The week long class would end with a group discussion and written analysis of the week.

A leadership class in the real world would bridge the gap between school and practice; bringing the day’s news into the classroom would be another way to bridge this divide.