A Guide for Teaching Business Courses with an MBA

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Although teaching gigs are a bit hard to come by without a PhD, some MBA holders find teaching in community colleges and as an adjunct in a university to be rewarding and challenging. Business school students tend to be a bit different from students in other majors. In this guide, learn how the MBA holder can create pedagogy to motivate business school students to excellence.

What is It Like Teaching to Business Students?

Teaching in any subject can be viewed as the interaction among a teacher, some students, and course content. The teacher plays several roles as an instructor including manager, leader, and purveyor of rewards and punishments. The teacher is also the center of the teaching/learning process.

As an MBA holder, you automatically carry with you a certain amount of legitimacy when it comes to teaching business courses. Rather than someone who sits around theorizing about business and management concepts, you likely have the experience in business to deliver a more valid form of pedagogy to the students.

Students attracted to business school are naturally more realistic that students with other majors. Business students tend to be less authority directed meaning that trust and respect are earned not doled out based on titles and positions. This can work for or against you as an MBA holder depending on the expectations you have for your students.

Although the administrative body of the school may dictate the content covered in a course, the delivery of that content is entirely up to you. You have to choose how to engage and motivate your students in a way that goes beyond simply avoidance of negative outcomes.

Bringing It All Together

Business students are naturally impatient and want to get to the crux of a subject as fast as possible. This is an entrepreneurial trait found in many business owners as well. To the business student, adoption of a new idea is only entertained when it is perceived to be superior to current ideas. Consequently, business students expect that a course’s pedagogy will be similar to what they’ve experienced in the past. Surprises are not welcome unless as a teacher you are able to convince them that some new way is superior to the old way.

Pedagogy in the business school classroom should focus more on the practical than the creative to be accepted by students. This not only creates rapport between the teacher and students, it meets the students expectations. Over time as trust is developed, the business school teacher can try new pedagogical techniques without too much fear of losing students to resistance. Although flexible, it can be difficult to convince business students that a new pedagogy is better unless there is hard evidence to corroborate the teacher’s choices.

Although flexible and adaptive, business students do not quickly adopt something new without hard evidence that switching is a good choice. Many students are attracted to business because they value that good ideas can come from many sources, not just authoritative ones. The MBA who wants to teach business courses should be prepared to earn rather than rely on trust and respect. Once established, however, the trust can be used to try new pedagogies to see what techniques best motivate students to excellence.