Class Participation & Engagement

Awesome April to you! Trust you had a good Easter.

Right from my MBA Orientation, I had heard that your class participation is highly essential on the MBA program particularly with certain lecturers requiring of it.

I am the usual ‘quiet and conservative’ person without wanting to call any attention to myself – in simple words, I ‘can’ be shy and this happens to everyone at different times depending on the circumstance. Some people handle it better than others while some say they are NEVER shy which I find quite uncommon.

On the MBA, you are required to have a voice – you must introduce yourself, talk about the industry you work or previously worked in, tell your years of experience, your purpose for the MBA and possibly your future plans. Almost all lecturers needed this sort of introduction at the beginning of the Module and this became the ‘typical’ opening to all Modules. Also, there were some modules where you had to make team presentations, individual presentations or comments in class which formed part of the assessment.

 For a particular Module precisely marketing, your group score was purely based on your level of participation and interaction in class. I took this for granted and felt that since I was taking notes on the flip chart and engaging with my team mates AND the lecturer noticed this, then I did well. Towards the last days of the module which had 13 sessions, I spoke up in class and I felt good  but to my surprise, when my group assessment result was published, I had a 75% and then I felt bad.

I felt bad because I knew I could have scored higher if I had tried talking more in class especially because I had some great ideas to offer but didn’t speak up because I felt they were not ‘smart’.

The comment from my lecturer as a point to improve went:

“Be more active in class, you have a lot to say”

On reflection, I learnt a few lessons:

  • No one is better than you and no one is smarter than you. You are all in class to learn and probably all harbor the same feelings of ‘insecurity’ even if it doesn’t look like it.
  • Step it up and be bold. Assert yourself and engage. I learnt quite recently in my Leadership Module that the one who climbs up the corporate ladder faster is ‘not’ necessarily the one with the skill but the one who is extroverted, confident and has the power to communicate.
  • Ask questions if you are not clear about a concept or theory. Some of your colleagues also want to ask but they can’t due to their language barrier (for non-native speakers) or for being ‘shy’. Be an advocate, be someone’s voice.

Want to know more about the Power in asking? Would like to share more in my next post…keep it locked!