This post was written by Andre Paul ’19
The “Pains” of a Sustainable Innovation MBA Student
Capacities of time and energy fill up rather quickly for Sustainable Innovation MBA (SI-MBA) students, especially during finals week (and there are roughly eight finals weeks, or two per module, by my count). During the busiest weeks of SI-MBA, workload quickly outpaces recovery, mental health declines, and so does learning, in my estimation.
Such are the challenges of an accelerated program. If you want to earn a Master’s degree in a year, then you ought to make the requisite sacrifices. You have to “pay your dues” so to speak. Most nights call for hours of reading, most of which a student cannot complete because he or she simply lacks the reserves of either time, energy, or attention span (or all three).
Might we be able to reduce a SI-MBA student’s sacrifices while improving his or her learning outcomes?
A Possible Solution
Hypothetically, let’s replace three hours of reading per week (across all classes) by three hours of listening to some form of audio media (primarily podcasts) that covers the same (or similar) material.
SI-MBA students undergo 33 weeks of full-time course work. This simple intervention could therefore save roughly one hundred hours over the course of the program, doing the quick math. SI-MBA students could then apply those hundred hours toward networking, proactive planning, and restorative activities (sleep, perhaps!).
A few professors of the 2019 cohort assigned podcasts for homework, though only as supplemental materials. Multiple professors assigned occasional TED Talks as mandatory material, but while videos may require less mental effort for students to digest, I argue that they involve most of the same trade-offs as reading.
To explore this possible “solution”, I’ll walk through three of the main advantages of audio media over reading and video:
Why Podcasts are More Effective Media than Books or E-Readings
- Podcasts Allow You to Multi-Task
People have busy lives, which is why very few will read this blog post and even fewer will actually read every word.
Hundreds of pages of reading (assigned on most nights in the SI-MBA program) become quickly exhausting. This is probably why I did not hear a single student claim that he or she read every assigned reading – not even for a single class. Students therefore head into class discussions having absorbed varying breadths and depths of the pre-assigned material, which leads to disparities in discussion.
Podcasts, by allowing students to multi-task (thereby preserving time and energy), could ameliorate such challenges. To illustrate without belaboring this obvious point, here is just a short list of activities that one might perform while listening to a podcast:
- [Literally anything that consumes time, but leaves mental capacity idle]
In short, by listening to a podcast instead of reading, a student could complete homework while completing housework, commuting to school, or doing a favorite activity.Continue reading “An Invisible Problem and Unrealized Opportunity”