We are now halfway through Term C (which is the first part of our second semester), it is a great time to reflect on our courses. I’d like to first dissect and give credit to my most interactive and mentally engaging course of my entire second year as a business school student here at Smith, Consumer Behavior. The course is taught by Professor
Dr. Rebecca Ratner, whose extensive background in psychological research and addictive energy carries this course. Her interactive studies during class include but are not limited to; a live market simulation with students actually exchanging their own money for dried plums (aka prunes), mind framing exercises, Pringle “feel” analysis, and the ever so popular Coke taste test! Theses in-class simulations are supported by extremely intriguing cases as well, that are both timely and impactful, including the amazing revelation of how sexy toilet paper can be and how framing to any number, including your own social security number, can alter spending habits. The cherry on top of the classroom sundae is the literature selection. While there are a plethora of consumer behavior textbooks and psychologically based research, Professor Ratner instead relies on the entertaining and educational delivery of contemporary authors Robert Cialdini (“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”) and Dan Ariely (“Predictably Irrational” – a personal favorite of mine and a recommended read for anyone!)
Developing an engaging learning environment and excitement around obtaining knowledge is how to successfully have a long-term imprint on a student base, and Professor Ratner has found the perfect combination of hard cases, interactive teachings and relevant readings to have that success. It’s a Moniello Must-Take Course! (Working my way up to Oprah’s Book Club…) This, of course, comes as no slight to Business Ethics and Leadership with Professor Lele or Networks and Influences taught by Professor Dr. Kathyrn Bartol, both of whom have put together incredible courses, to be highlighted in future posts.