‘Analysis Business Problems’ or ABP for short is a course that is part of the Executive MBA program at the Lagos Business School. When I first read the name of this subject I was very confused. ‘Analysis Business Problems’? Don’t they mean ‘Analysing Business Problems’? Despite my concerns about a possible typo, I was still interested to learn what the subject would be about. The Professor for this class had a very studious appearance and was well-spoken – I wouldn’t be surprised if she has spent some of her adult years living in the United Kingdom.
During the first session, the entire class got the shock of a lifetime. We immediately began dissecting a case study that we were all meant to prepare. After about 5 minutes of conversation, it was quite clear that most of the class had not done any preparation. Nevertheless, she kept pushing us to answer the questions. She was even gracious enough to grant us some time to read the case study during the class. After this first exercise, she made it very clear to us that we would have to come to the next class a lot more prepared than we were for this one. She also told us that we would be graded heavily on our class participation.
Class participation is an interesting way of grading students. I think it is not a bad idea because a high participation rate demonstrates that the student is focused and paying attention during class. The only students that I feel bad for are the ones that are shy or not great public speakers. Some of these students may know the answer to a question but don’t feel the need to speak at every opportunity that is available. Therefore, some could argue that class participation, as a form of grading students, is unfair to these students. I would beg to differ on this point. You see, this EMBA course is for executives in business administration, and as such one would need to build the important skill of public speaking. One would have to justify their position at times, perhaps in a board meeting, and demonstrate the value they add to an organisation. It is very important to build confidence as well. Confidence is an internal skill that is difficult to build up in those that do not have it at an older age.
After that first session with the Professor for the ABP course, I discovered that class participation is not just necessary for her class but for all the other classes at the Lagos Business School. Since then we have been put into our respective groups. Every week, we schedule a group meeting and discuss the upcoming tasks for the week – if there are any. We share notes on group tasks and support each other in synthesizing the learnings from the previous week. I look forward to future ABP classes as I enjoyed the classes that I have participated in so far.