Energizing Educators to Communicate through Social Media on Improving Business School Education

The educational foundation provided by our undergraduate business schools is vital to the success of the American economy to compete in the international arena. There are opportunities to produce students capable of immediately contributing to their employers at a much higher level upon graduation than occurs now.

Facilitating the open exchange of progressive and innovative ideas surrounding business education is vital in propelling it to higher effectiveness levels. However, currently there is very little social media activity among American business school educators regarding ideas and approaches to improve education. Blogging and LinkedIn groups are the logical social media avenues for a professional industry topic like this. The platforms and target audience characteristics of both Facebook and Twitter currently do not lend themselves to this type of professional dialogue.

In efforts to motivate and energize social media communication among business educators I will be evaluating the current state of activity of blogging and LinkedIn. In conjunction with these discussions, I share my initiatives within these platforms to motivate and energize communication among business educators.

LinkedIn Activity among Business Educators: American Scarcity

Groups on LinkedIn are an effective way to communicate with professionals within a specific interest or industry area. Groups can be established whereby the membership privilege must be accepted by the sponsor so that group integrity can be maintained. Among business school-related groups this week there are currently only two: “Professors in Management Schools” with 438 members and “Professors in B Schools” with 22 members. The sponsorship and membership of these two groups are predominately educators living in India with only a handful of members that are professors living in the United States.

The scarcity of American business school professor activity in LinkedIn groups creates an opportunity to launch a new group entitled “Progressive US Business School Educators.” The objective of this new group will be to create an active dialogue on innovative yet practical approaches in improving business school education among American business school educators.

Blogging Activity among Business Educators: Scarce

From doing a Google blog search it is easy to conclude that Google is hard-pressed to find any active and relevant blogs on this topic currently. Searching “improving undergraduate business school education” as of this week resulted in only five total listings with the following websites occupying the top three spots:

1. Goizueta Business School – Undergraduate BBA
My Comment: Entire blog consists of one posting dated September 26, 2007, with no comments.

2. Berkeley MBA Student Blogs
My Comment: This blog is a smorgasbord of MBA students’ personally motivated postings on topics including karaoke competitions, going green, “Life as a second year” and “Let’s hear it for the girls.”

3. HistorySOTL
My Comment: The website has nothing to do with business school education; it is actually the University of Indiana’s International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History.

A broader search on Google “business school education” produces similar results whereby the blogs are again not about critiquing and improving the educational system.

1. TheBizClass – Business School, Continuing Education, and business
My Comment: The landing page of Gibbs College in Linvingston, UK designed to promote their college.

2 & 3. DeansTalk – business management education
My Comment: The blog’s content is referencing other postings that center on business school rankings and announcing various conferences. I did not see any comments to these postings which reflect the level of audience engagement.

I have launched a new blog as of August 2010 entitled “Propelling Undergraduate Business Schools Forward.” It commonly can take four to six months for the search engines to index and evaluate enough history to show up high in the organic rankings like those appearing and discussed above. An important component of gaining a high organic ranking on the search engines is responding to blogs on similar topics which can foster people creating links to your website (viral marketing). The irony is that there is essentially no blog community activity to respond to regarding improving business school education.

Blogging Activity By Non-Educators

I have found very little blogging activity by non-educators except for a very encouraging October 29, 2010, posting by Seth Godin entitled “Pushing back on mediocre professors.” Seth Godin is currently ranked the number two blogger in the world according to the Advertising Age Power 150 Rankings and he has held the number one position frequently. With his stature and large following I am hoping that his posting will bring more attention to this subject among the general public and activate business school educators. Some of his most noteworthy comments from his recent posting include:

Perhaps you could give us an assignment that actually pushes us to solve interesting problems, overcome our fear or learn something that I could learn in no other way…”
If the topic of creating more problem solving interests you, see my posting entitled, “Enhancing Strategic, Creative and Resourceful Problem Solving.”

When a professor spends hours in class going over concepts that are clearly covered in the textbook, I think you have an obligation to repeat the part about the debt and say, “perhaps you could assign this as homework and we could have an actual conversation in class…”
If the topic of teaching application versus regurgitating content interests you, see my posting entitled, “Application versus Content in Conjunction with Unannounced Quizzes.”

“Professors who rely on marketing textbooks that are advertising-based, despite the fact that virtually no professional marketers build their careers solely around advertising any longer. And most of all, about professors who treat new ideas or innovative ways of teaching with contempt.”

Seth Godin is extremely passionate about business school education as evidenced by his remarkable endeavor of self-educating MBA students. Wikipedia reports that this Stanford Business School graduate announced in December 2008 in a blog post that he would be offering a six month alternative MBA program at his office in New York. Forty-eight thousand people looked at the post and 340 applied. He invited 27 applicants to his office for a group interview. They spent two hours interviewing one another. After co-mingling, they and Godin together wrote down the names of their favorite candidates. Three weeks later the chosen nine showed up at Godin’s office. This group graduated in July 2009.

Propelling Business School Educators to Communicate Using Social Media to Improve Education

We realize investing in education is an integral part of the equation to elevate American productivity to gain a competitive advantage in the global economy. This investment needs to be as innovative and efficient as possible. Innovative ideas are fostered through communication and collaboration in which social media can play a vital role. I encourage progressive business educators to become energized in these powerful electronic formats to promote important advancements in business school education.

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