If there is one behaviour that infuriates me no end from all my lecturers it is the ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ hint dropping as to what is important for exams.
I have one clear cut competitive advantage as a mature age/return to studies student. I have had customers. As a result I’m already thinking about customers.
My contemporary students are mostly straight out of high-school (or for some of the internationals, mandatory national service) and thus are thinking about assessment.
Lectures, and tutorials at my university are optional. I like this, it acknowledges that you may not need to attend to achieve competency in a particular field. For example business-computing, where you are taught to use Microsoft Word and what the Internet is. But lecturers seem to think attendance is important.
I’m sure there is a strong positive correlation between attendance and achievement, but these demeaning ‘bribes’ are a tactic I’d rather do without. It may be that I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth, but man, these teeth are so rotted you can’t help but notice.
The question is ‘is it on the exam because it is important?’ or ‘Is it important because it is on the exam?’ as Lewis Carol would point out, the statements are not equivalent.*
My customer based approach treats the first question as priority, my customers one day will be investing real money, relying on my real judgement and thus I will be making real decisions. Competence is king, and thus I want my university to ensure that I know what I need to know.
The more career-academic grades focused student likes the latter statement – it is important because it is on the exam, and thus if a lecturer tells them not to bother learning the Price Earnings ratio approach they will happily strike it from their ‘to study’ list.
Studying for the exam just got more efficient.
Thus, is it any surprise that numerous practitioners disregarded the P/E ratio of start-up internet companies in the madness known as the tech-stock bubble? For my customers sake I just want to learn as much as possible, I feel most students though treat themselves as the customer but these customers need to be aware.
I went back to uni to learn as much as I possibly can about finance, so one day I could cut up the field. In essence most of my peers’ objective is to learn as little as possible and still obtain their piece of paper, and lecturers treat them like honoured customers in this regard.
Is it any wonder incompetence prevails?
*it’s the same as saying ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see.’