So what is it that excites me so much?
I’m a marketer by trade. But teaching is my passion. This year’s cohort for the Marketing Strategy & Product Policy MBA elective and I have been working together for the past six weeks. They were curious when informed that we did not need a lecture theatre, we would transform a seminar room into a boardroom; that they are the firm’s senior managers and internal directors, and I’m not a lecturer. I’m the chairman.
Some were aghast when we spoke of boardroom behaviour; that lateness or absence is not allowed without notice or excuse. (Of course not everyone complied.) Hearts sank when they learnt that with only five courses in marketing they cannot claim to be marketers, and that the main text accounts for only 20% of the required reading. I suspect that some may have felt like rebelling when they realised that there were no past papers to review, and no spotting of questions and preparing model answers. In fact lower level thinking skills would not count for much. This course is not about remembering and regurgitating what’s in the Kerin & Peterson. It is about analysing, evaluation and solving real-world marketing problems through guided case study. We have no time for first principles and some are out of their comfort zone. But guess what? They are very bright!
By week two initial shock gave way to earnest preparation for tough individual assignments. The study of marketing strategy and product policy is complex, and pride forces them to dig deep in search of right answers. And they must get it right for failure is not an option. Everyone has my contact information, which many are using.
But how time flies! For now it’s Sunday morning of the penultimate week. With individual assignments out of the way, the focus is on what McDonald describes as the most difficult thing in marketing-creating a strategic marketing plan. And the scary part is that they must do real cases of real companies and present them to a panel of experts who tell it like it is. Not exactly what they had in mind when they signed up for this course.
There are six groups. Based on my experience over the years, two will do well, two will do very well, and the other two will create excellent marketing plans. By next week Wednesday evening it is all over. They will be hugging and congratulating one another when they hear the comments from the panel whose dread gave them sleepless nights.
As for me? Big grin as I remember Prof. David Moore who taught me this course, Mr. Lloyd Edwards, who is senior lecturer in marketing heaven, and Mr. Boswell Ivey who got me lecturing immediately after I graduated. Thanks gentlemen. Big respect. But back to my cohort. Mission accomplished. Time now to release them. And best of all, I’ll get paid for a job that I love so much, I could do it for free. But shhhhhh!!!
Herman D. Alvaranga is the happiest marketing and sales strategist in the Caribbean.
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