In 1975 I was in a South Indian location as Regional Manager and I had to host a student from a College of Commerce located near by researching Management practices. The student conducted a couple of weeks of intense interviews with my team and I had many sessions explaining concepts not understood by him during the course of his interviews.
This student in due course submitted his report to his Professor with a copy to me. In that report he gave me credit for good guidance and this seemed to have influenced the faculty of that College of Commerce who sent a request to our Personnel Department that I become visiting faculty for a few sessions in their College. I did primraily as a PR exercise and thus started my experiences with class rooms from the lectern side.
In my first lecture cum interactive session, I explained some Management Principles and how they worked in practice in real life situations. The interactive session stretched well beyond the stipulated time and many questions were raised by enthusiastic students who challenged me to come up with satisfactory answers. I think that I did to their complete satisfaction.
I awaited their invitation for the next session which did not come for over a month. Those were pre cellphone days and so I could not simply call and find out what was happening. On a visit to the town I dropped in at the College and met with the faculty member who was co-ordinating the whole thing and was not very satisfied with his answers. Luckily I was able to locate the stuent at the College and he gave me the inside story. The faculty had decided not to call me any more as the thrust of my lecture and the subsequent interactive session clearly indicated that the students better be prepared to face the reality that what they learn in theory in school is not what they will encounter in practice. The faculty perhaps felt that this was demoralising or may have even felt threatened!
Fast forward to the late nineties in Pune where again I was invited by two business schools due to the intervention of students who had met me for similar sessions and exactly the same phenomenon of the faculty deciding not to call me again happened.
That is my story of my personal experience with Theory And Practice, in practice!
I can honestly say that I learnt much more about Management in practice than I did in the Business School. Many of the techniques that I learnt in school remained unused for most of my working life. As I had mentioned elsewhere in other blog posts, all that the Business School going did for me was to get me a good job through campus recruitment. It was hands on work experience that enabled me to succeed and progress in a career in Management.
I picked this week’s topic and so Shackman will choose next week’s. Please check Shackman’s take on this week’s topic.