Help me keep these students awake?
July 24, 2006 3:36 PM   Subscribe

What are some short small-group exercises for a class on introductory business management?

I'm speaking to a class on introductory business principles tonight for an hour. Think slightly more advanced than high school, slightly less advanced than college. I get them for the second hour of a two-hour class and so they'll be tired and having trouble concentrating.

My content is okay (as a lawyer, I'm dealing tonight with things you need to think about to avoid business failures), but I'm trying to think of a simple small-group exercise that will liven things up a bit for about ten or fifteen minutes.

They are just starting out on the course, so "work together on a fictional business plan" is too difficult. But I'm open to suggestions for discussion questions or exercises for groups of three or four?
posted by szechuan to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most of what I can think of is 'what not to do' ... I had a business that failed early this year. Most of the lessons I didn't understand before the business were in the vein of either keeping a decent leading sales pipeline, or time value of money (i.e. why you don't want to finance a ton of stuff... and how to realize when that $900 laptop you financed became a $3,000 laptop.) I can't think of any *fun* activities that you could do around those things, as they're not precisely fun lessons to learn the hard way!
posted by SpecialK at 3:52 PM on July 24, 2006

A bunch of vignettes, 3 or 4 sentences long, that each describe a business failure. At least one example of each failure factor/point you want to talk about/identify in your session.

Before you start, put them in small groups, one paper per group (forces them to not work individually). Give them 5 or so minutes to shoot the shit in groups, trying to identify main issue / point of failure / whatever.

Then do your main presentation.

Then groups again work to identify/further discuss, which of the failed businesses were related to which points in your presentation?

Then, quick open class feedback.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:08 PM on July 24, 2006

When I say "one paper per group", I mean that on the paper are all (5? 10?) of your vignettes, numbered for clarity.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2006

Of all the student's I"ve taught, business students seem to have the most problems with motivation. I've found that highly structured activities with the students in control of the tutorial work best
posted by singingfish at 5:59 PM on July 24, 2006

Here is a great link. This is to the teaching website of the Business Policy and Strategy division of the Academy of Management. He has a bunch of great experiential exercises. In my experience the best way to teach this stuff is through cases, but your class is too short for that. Good luck.
posted by bove at 7:58 PM on July 24, 2006

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