As I’m preparing to teach 119 MBA and Masters in International Business students next week, I’m reflecting back on my students of last year, and some of the ways in which they surprised – and taught – me. Here are some of my takeaways:
- Facebook is not fab: Although almost all of them used Facebook, they weren’t emotionally attached to it. They agreed that they could easily leave it if something more attractive came along – with the caveat that it would have to be easy to rebuild their network (which of course is the main reason cited for the under performance of Google Plus).
- Social media is generally suspect: There was a lot of skepticism about the power of social media, in terms of its reliability and credibility. One of the students talked about how his girlfriend constantly received free offers from Klout for products that she really had no interest in – pretty much on the basis of one posting!
- Email is not dead: Despite all the rumours, tomorrow’s business leaders still believe that they’ll be using email for business purposes, even if they’ve left it behind in their personal lives.
- Print is still preferable: This one really floored me – a clear majority of students wanted physical books rather than ebooks – even if they had to wait for the print version to arrive instead of an instant gratification download (unless they were trying to postpone their reading assignments!)
- Intellectual property issues go further than you’d think: One student came up with a really thought-provoking idea – that we should own the copyright to our searches rather than Google (or any other search engine that we might use).
- International tensions can be confined to football: My classroom contained students from every continent, yet the only tensions that I saw were during the Euro 2012 (soccer) tournament which was played during our course. I decided that there was hope for the world . . .
- You can’t compete with the Olympics: Every teacher these days knows the challenge of “digital distractions” – and there’s a lot of debate about how to handle appropriate use of laptops / tablets / mobile devices. I tried – but keeping them off Facebook for a couple of hours is one thing – the Olympics (and Michael Phelps) had me beat ;-(
I’m very much looking forward to what I learn this year – luckily it’s an off-year for major international sporting events (although I’ll be grading during the start of Wimbledon!)