Monday, October 18, 2010

Director’s Corner: Why Are You On This Journey?

BooneD Now that midterms are over, I hope you took time to enjoy your fall break (albeit only one day) and while doing so, reflect on what you've accomplished thus far. As part of your reflection, think about why you began and continue on this journey called graduate business school. Are you doing it for the extrinsic rewards that come with getting a good grade, or for the lifelong benefits that come from what you learned?

Your classmate, Melanie Miller, shared with me an essay entitled Now Hear This: Grades v. Learning that she wrote for Professor Lovett's management communication course:

"From my years of early childhood education … I have been trained to work hard so I may have something to show for it. Often this tangible proof of my work ethic would manifest itself in the form … [of] grade markings indicating high performance. Consequentially, we have developed such a simple logic where we assume hard work will yield high performance, which will reap rewards. Reliance on this logic could prove devastatingly disappointing when placed in an environment where it is countered…

[S]cholastic environments with the prevailing view that the only way to be successful in school is to obtain high marks force students to habitually sponge information and then regurgitate it onto examinations. The problem behind this behavior is the obsession over grades while completely forgetting that the reason [we] are in school is to learn. Students tend to consider grades to be more important than the material.  Moreover, this binge and purge learning style does not build up analytical, critical thinking, or problem solving skills for the student. Thus, the student has a high likelihood of being ill prepared for the professional environment despite [his or her] high grades. … [F]ear of failure conditions students to work for high grades rather than the actual knowledge the grade is supposed to incentivize."

Admittedly, this has been a stressful three months, filled with hard work, late nights, and more readings and problem sets than you though were humanly possible to do. But you did it. And I hope you did it for the right reasons.

~ Derrick Boone

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