The SECRET College Professors Don’t Tell You

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

On our first day of College — that is, Business College — our Professor welcomed us and asked us how many of us were there because we wanted to make money. I wondered whether this guy knew The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, for he had gotten asked a similar question when he entered College.

Everyone raised their hands. I raised my hand. I like to think mine was a little higher than the rest. He then politely told us we should have become Engineers.

That’s the SECRET, you can all go home now. Just kidding. We shuffled out of the room eventually, thinking that our Professor was very funny and thankful that we didn’t have to do barely any work. For anybody that has gone to a Business College, in my case the best in our country, they know that it takes an enormous amount of effort to get the grades to get in, and is then ridiculously easy in comparison to the work you did in high school to get there.

Anyway, we went about our lives and soon got settled in. We followed College student protocol: joined 10 times as many societies as we attended, sat as far to the back of the class as possible, and tried and failed to not get drunk on school nights.

Life was great, but I was genuinely interested in what our professors had to say and, more so than the other students, what their experiences were.

We were in Business School after all.

My first notable experience was when I was due a write-up on people who worked in Supply Chain Management for big corporations. I was actually interested in this so I wanted to ask my Professor for contacts in the industry who might be willing to answer some questions first-hand, even if just over the phone.

I approached my College Professor. He had a stuffy mustache and a stuffy personality. He did not like being asked questions, before or after class.

He was old and grouchy and I got my courage to ask him for contacts. For some reason, nobody else did.

He told me he didn’t have any. I was like, “What?” Pen and paper at the ready. Apparently, he taught Supply Chain Management theory and recommended I read works by earlier scholars.

“Ok,” I said, as I left the class with the other students. Apparently, he had been asked before.

How could you teach Supply Chain theory and not have worked in the industry? I was confused; nobody else seemed to mind.

We also had a Data Analytics for Business professor with a keen disinterest in Business. Listening to him give a lecture was a little like when you were asked a question you didn’t like in a test, so you write the essay about something else and then keep relating it back to the question. He really loved Data Analytics though, just not for Business.

My last notable experience in my first year was for an elective I soon dropped for my second semester. This time, the experience didn’t directly involve me. It was an elective for something like ‘Green Business Practices’. Our first lecture had nothing to do with the Environment or sustainable growth. Neither did our second lecture. The class was about more than that, according to our professor. It was about building a business with love and friendship, as well as not destroying the environment.

That was fair enough. One day, he started telling us how to implement love into Business. It was great. He told us how he had once refused to fire an employee while working at a business in upper management, even though the employee was repeatedly doing a terrible job despite numerous warnings. This carried on for 5 years and the professor himself was fired. So he wanted us to implement love into Business.

Somebody asked, “How did you implement it into your next business or where you worked at next?”

“I didn’t. I went straight into teaching.”

This guy, by the way, was a published academic. I know that because he recommended we get his book at the start of the first lecture. I didn’t stick around since aside from the fact I didn’t like the elective, I also had chosen too many and had to drop one anyway. Who knows, maybe he was a brilliant teacher after that.

My encounters with academics taught me that they often have more experience in theory than in practice, and I don’t know if that is as suitable in Business as it is for other professions such as Law or Accounting. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright once said:

“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

I’ll leave you with that.

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