My teaching philosophy can be summarized as making a decision as supported by analysis and learned by doing. This philosophy is reflected in the things I perform to help students succeed in the classroom by using experiential learning through involvement of local or area businesses, case studies, and/or simulations. I discuss this philosophy in greater detail throughout this submission.
Managers make decisions that should improve or maintain a firm’s positional advantage in the marketplace to improve or maintain the firm’s financial performance. To illustrate this concept to students, I incorporate a variety of models from accounting (e.g., financial statement, balance sheet), finance (e.g., markup chain, margin in the channel), marketing (e.g., buyer behavior, competitive matrix), and statistics (e.g., regression, cluster analysis). These models provide the support for deciding on a possible course of action.
In such instances, I follow a I Do, We Do, You Do approach. First, I show the students how to develop a model and then link the results to support a managerial decision. Second, we work on a similar model before determining a decision. Third, the students then demonstrate their mastery of the model by applying it themselves to a managerial issue such as product development, target market, or price point.
For example, in my Principles course, we develop a model of margin in the channel as part of a semester-long simulation experience. Using Interpretive Simulations’ Market Share title, the students take on the role of brand manager for an over-the-counter cold medicine (e.g., Zyrtec). This model helps students determine how well their brand is meeting the needs of its customers (i.e., retailers) compared to competitors’ ability to meet those needs.
First, I show them how to build the model in a spreadsheet, explaining the sources of the numbers needed to generate the model and the interpretation of each figure for the focal firm. Second, we extend the model to examine competitors’ actions. We discuss the required assumptions as well as the interpretation of the results. Third, students apply the model during the simulation and incorporate it in their weekly progress reports to determine if they are meeting or exceeding customers’ needs relative to competitors. I perform similar exercises in Retail Management (e.g., markup, markdown, margin), Sales (e.g., customer lifetime value to segment customer groups), and in MBA Marketing (e.g., conjoint analysis and cluster analysis to determine pricing and product attributes for a customer segment).
My Marketing colleague, Dr. Yiyuan Liu, and I discuss this preparation of future business practitioners by teaching them a theory to frame a managerial decision as part of Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice’s special issue devoted to Resource Advantage theory. While this manuscript centers on our Principles of Marketing course, the same zeal for teaching how to make and support a decision remains a fundamental component of all the courses that I teach including the non-Marketing courses.
Using this approach coupled with teaching theory about firm behavior in the market, I help students develop their decision making ability. Through this approach, students develop skills related to critical thinking, presentations and writing, and listening. In a broader sense, these skills not just make them better employees but better citizens