One for academics (and students): What’s the point?

Working in a business school as I do we are often told by our students that they would like more engagement with business. The way we solve this is by inviting guest speakers to provide lectures for students. In many cases, these guest lectures replace the contact time students have with academics. Moreover, in many cases, the guest lecturers have no other qualifications to be talking to students than their experience.

Irrelevant of the strengthens and weaknesses of this approach to teaching, we often find that students have no motivation to attend guest lectures. In fact, they often have less motivation to attend than the standard lectures (correctly assuming that whatever the guest says will not be part of their assessment). Put simply, students say they want more “real world” business presence but then act in ways that show they don’t. If you want an example of this, check out the audience for this guest lecture by Mark Zuckerberg in 2005.