At the beginning of every new course, I ask my students to share the memories they cherish most; they answer with stories about Christmas gifts, elementary teachers, some fun party and so on. I then ask them why they remember those stories and not others, then we discuss how they learned to drive or to ride a bicycle, and if they think it is possible to learn to dance by just reading a book. Most of them said no, we have to dance to learn to dance. After a brief discussion, I tell them my vision: learning marketing happens at three key levels, the mind (knowing the concepts), the heart (emotion, engagement and participation) and the body (be able to apply the ideas). Before a new semester begins, after setting the course objectives and reviewing what worked and did not in the previous classes, I organize the structure of the class, by months, weeks and days. In general, I plan to discuss one or two main concepts for
Before a new semester begins, after setting the course objectives and reviewing what worked and did not in the previous classes, I organize the structure of the class, by months, weeks and days. In general, I plan to discuss one or two main concepts for session. At the beginning of each class, we discuss the main conclusions and ideas of the previous class and at the end of the gap, we summarize the different factors in a case discussion.
To facilitate and make sense of the marketing concepts, I use narratives from my professional or personal experience, for example, if we are talking about different cultures in International Marketing, I tell them how difficult is for me to get lunch at 12 or the cultural differences that I appreciated in my time in Europe. In Sales Management, I use material from my consulting days to show them potential sales structures or goals settings.
Class participation and constant dialogue with and among students is another relevant part of my approach to teaching. My years working in the development and execution of executives and workers training – both these groups entered the training thinking that they should be somewhere else – taught me to innovate in the class room. For example, in Services Marketing in order to motivate participation and engagement, we work with what we call the Gap Game. In this game, the students can get cards for participation and case discussions (as individuals or as teams) each set of cards has the design of the Gap of the week, at the end of the semester every student has to have at least one card per Gap; if they have more they can be used as extra credits.
Apart from the semester dynamic or game, I use short class dynamics to engage the students and to whet their appetite for knowledge. For example, discussing Blueprints or standards for Services, I start the class with a dynamic that is something like this: Two students go to the front of the class, I give one of them a draw and he/she has to verbally give the instructions to the other without showing the draw. The difficulty in achieving this communication allows me to have a discussion about the importance of standards and processes in the communication of intangibles.
Once the students understand the concepts and are engaged with the material and its importance, I focus on developing their skills and competences to use the knowledge they have acquired. For example, in International Marketing, we have worked with a diverse range of real companies in a semester project.
In all these projects the students has have the chance to interact with the client, reinforcing their skills in business relations, their global awareness, teamwork and the use of creative thinking in order to solve marketing problems. The semester project is complemented with weekly individual assignments, where they have to use the concepts discussed during the week. These assignments range from short marketing cases, discussing internationals news (the TPP for example), to other assignments like watching and discussing an international movie.
This perspective of teaching/learning is the same approach that I use for assessment. My exams (two or three during the semester) are 50 multiple choice questions and focus on conceptual questions with some application questions, I use the semester game/dynamics as the cards described for Services Marketing to evaluate participation, and the semester projects or cases to assets the application.
As a summary, I view teaching/learning as an integral and complex human process, where the structure of the content, the engagement and motivation, and the application of the knowledge are fundamental to the success of the class. From here, it’s possible.