But they can only do that if the door is opened to them to believe that they can save the world.
For that door to open, someone must show them the way.
And then, when the way is shown, the door opens and the long process of saving our organizations begins.
Don’t believe me?
Well, this fall I had the honor of teaching Conflict Management Strategies for the Corporate World to a cohort of MBA students at Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY. While it wasn’t always comfortable, for the 34 students who attended the class, their lives (and perspectives) around conflict, peace, and strategy were change.
This is feedback in their own words:
“This class has taught me a lot of content that I would have not been able to learn in other classes especially the art of negotiation and how to properly apply it. I never would have imagined a class like conflict management would allow me to gain a new perspective of the kind of person I am and how I can apply myself in the business world.
I was actually able to apply some things I learned in class to my friends who were in a toxic environment at work and showed them videos that were part of this course.
To further elaborate on this story, my friend eventually was motivated enough to leave the company and landed an offer at a better company with a flat culture and a director that has an external locus of control as compared to his old manager. The structure of this class gave the students the opportunity to engage with each other and grown to be comfortable enough to speak and discuss different topics openly. In addition, the interactive simulations such as, the quarter negotiation and the Chestnut village, were exercises completely different from the traditional learning style. Not only was I learning how to negotiate, but how to better communicate with others and read non-verbals. The readings were informative and were further elaborated in class lectures.
I would highly recommend this class. This class is a great mix of lectures and interactive simulations. It has definitely brought me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to better understand the person I am in terms of conflict management culture. I now understand the significance of conflict culture in a firm and how that may affect my future decisions in my career path. I just wish I had the opportunity to take this class earlier. In addition, this class is about becoming agents of change for the generations to come and break the barriers of the norm.”
“This class was very interesting and very informative for me. I took Negotiations last semester with [professor name redacted] and when I switched into this class I was afraid there would be a lot of overlap in the class content, but there honestly has been little to no overlap. The biggest similarity was our Chestnut Village negotiation, obviously. I learned SO much more from you about negotiations, conflict, etc than I did from my previous class, so I am very happy I decided to take this course.
Everything about the class content was beneficial and was designed to make me think. Your teaching style makes the class extremely comfortable. I think that the class structure was great. I really enjoyed the open forum feel, where everyone was building on each others ideas and opinions and although there were clearly some tensions between the students, the structure allowed for everyone to still put forth their opinions.
The content was delivered really well and even though you are not requiring us to take long tests based on memorization, everyone is always ferociously writing, which shows that we want to know what you are saying and internalize it.
I really enjoyed the negotiation, but I think it would be great if you also required us to partake in a conflict type simulation. It would take on the same format, but would require us to respond with how we would handle the situation- it might be cool to provide a conflict to us on the first day and then provide that same one to us on the last day and see how the answers change. It would be interesting for us, but I also think you would really enjoy seeing how much of an impact you have had on our way of thinking.
I would 100% recommend this class to someone else in SOM. I personally think it is the first class that critically made me think about the way I handle every situation in my life. I am also taking a leadership class and I learned and absorbed close to nothing in that class, whereas in your course I have become more self-aware and understand why I act the way I do in the workplace. I really feel as though this should be a required course for everyone before they graduate, whether it is undergrad or grad.”
“Literally everything worked for me in this class. I usually prefer to just go to class and not participate because most classes are boring and quite useless, however this class is the complete opposite. Content, structure, direction; the class is set up perfectly to engage students and force discussion, although I don’t feel discussion was forced as multiple students in the class actually were interested and learned a great deal (including me).
My friend [student name redacted], who literally hates class and school, has said on multiple occasions that this is the best class he has ever taken, and I agree. If you got him to come to class and be engaged, you are doing something right.
Definitely best class I have taken, useful, intellectual, meaningful. Also I think papers are the best way to go about grading this class and the group discussion quizzes really took out the stress factor and enabled people to think critically and share ideas.
Other students might complain about having to participate, the simulations, etc. but I would take the criticisms with a grain of salt. This class is great and I feel the only criticisms are going to come from students who don’t see the value in what you are saying and how incredibly intelligent the discussions we have are.
We just had to register for classes for next semester and I recommended this class to every person who was talking about registration, not realizing that the class was not being offered here next semester :(. A couple of them texted me on registration day asking where the class was and I then realized I had gotten their hopes up for an awesome elective. But yes, I certainly would recommend this class as an elective. The School of Management should be begging you to teach this class every semester; it should actually be a required class in the graduate curriculum.
Best class I have taken at Binghamton [University] by far.”
Show the MBA’s the way to save the world, and they will run with it.