14Jan 2022 by
Management students typically learn discrete facts without spending time reflecting on bodies of knowledge. This assignment is designed to make you reflect. I’ve given it in almost every course I have taught since 2011 at Hult (on multiple campuses) and at other schools. It will be one of the toughest assignments you have ever had to do. If you do it thoughtfully, you will, like many prior students, in effect craft one or two elements of a “personal leadership philosophy” for your career.
Here’s the topic:
Tell me 1 or MAXIMUM 2 things you learned in this course that added meaningfully to your perspective about management.
Focus on ideas you haven’t read about elsewhere or issues you haven’t thought about or issues which you have wondered about but for which you had no credible answer earlier. I will give you examples in Class 1.Say why this/these idea(s) is/are important.Bring in other ideas from this course (or other courses) to cogently support your argument.Discuss how you will apply your new-found reflection once you graduate: Focus on changes in mindsets, behaviors. Do NOT focus on actions that are narrowly tailored to your immediate conditions (e.g., “I will hire some ..”). More on this in Class 1.Do not write about more than two issues. If you do, I will not read beyond the second idea. (One is absolutely fine.) It is easy to create a laundry list without thinking; it is hard to identify the few things which are truly important. In the first few years after you finish your education, you’ll soon forget much that you learn: Most jobs require you to use only a fraction of what you are learning and knowledge atrophies from non-use. So, I want you to write about things which you feel you can’t afford to forget.
You may need to describe your pre-course experiences to make your case. If so, limit such descriptions to 150 WORDS (proportionately less if your essay is shorter than 1000 words). Any more may cost you a grade.
This essay is in lieu of an exam; instead of my telling you what I think is important, I’m asking you to decide what is important to you and write thoughtfully about that. Rather than assess where you are weak, I will assess where you think you are the best. I have no means of evaluating content, critical reasoning, or synthesis (elements of the rubric) if you merely describe your past or actions relevant to a very narrow frame of activity in the future.
Education should teach you how to think for yourself; knowing what you don’t believe in is as important as knowing what you do. If you genuinely feel you learnt nothing of such import, say so and say why. The assessment rubric is the same. While very few students choose this option, it can be done brilliantly. In my first Hult class, one student’s beautiful essay got an A+ even though he essentially rejected the central premise of the course. He had thought deeply about the issue and articulated what he believed in instead and why, and how that would guide him throughout his career. However, unless you wish to get an F, you cannot:
Assess the quality of the course or my teaching. Leave that for your course assessment.Pick on one idea you disagree with and write about that.During the course, I will guide you on how to do this assignment well: We will hold periodic “reflection sessions.” Other than these, you will be on your own. You’ll find nothing on the internet to guide you. Nor can any other student’s personal leadership philosophy help you shape your own; after all, you are unique. You can discuss ideas with fellow students, but you can’t share what you want to write/actually have written.