Video courtesy of the Toronto Star
You’ve sat through countless lectures in high school and college/university. Guaranteed, there was at least one lecture where you asked yourself (or in some brave cases, the professor), “When will I ever use this in the real world?” With the fast pace of modern society, students are feeling like they don’t have time to spend learning content they won’t find useful. Many teachers and professors have begun to understand this need, and some are even tailoring their classes to combat it.
Take, for example, the Tourism, Sport and Leisure Marketing class at the Schulich School of Business (York University, Toronto, Canada). Recently profiled by Morgan Campbell in the Sportonomics series for the Toronto Star, the group project for this class is to respond to a real-life issue affecting a pro sports entity. Various companies sign on to work with instructor Vijay Setlur in designing a case specific to their company’s needs. Each group in the class is assigned a company and a corresponding case, and is tasked with pitching a plan of action not only to classmates, but to executives from the companies.
Morgan Campbell interviews Stephen R. Brooks, VP Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, in the video above. Brooks says,
An opportunity like this where the Blue Jays can come talk to not only bright businesspeople with great ideas, but also people in our age demographic that we’ve been trying to focus on, is a terrific opportunity to get that one-on-one feedback from them.
And thus we see the merging of classroom assignments with the real world. These students are given the opportunity to tackle an issue that perhaps may not even be presented to younger staff in a company; one that may be reserved for top executives behind closed doors. A case like this empowers students to not only come up with creative yet feasible ideas, but receive feedback from people with a front-row view of the challenges in their company. It’s an eye-opening assignment that pushes the class to really think about what they’re doing; eliminating the “who cares, it’s just an assignment” approach and adding the “I need to make a good impression because I want to work for this person one day” initiative.
When selecting your courses for the upcoming semester, keep your eyes open for ones that offer real-world experience. It’ll give you the opportunity to be excited about an assignment and will add value and credibility when you’re ready to find your first job out of school.