Isn’t it’s amazing how something truly bad can make the mediocre seem wonderful? Unfortunately, I’ve managed to run into the truly awful in my truly expensive business school education. Yes, incompetence is thou, Steve Posner.
For many a week my least favorite class was Microeconomics, taught by “Rich Eastin”:http://www.marshall.usc.edu/Web/AcademicDepartments.cfm?doc_id=2298. Eastin’s clearly a smart guy, and he communicates pretty well, but he was stuck delivering way too much information in way too little time (one of my classmates, an undergrad Econ major, said that a 1 hour 20 minute class covered three weeks of an undergrad class), and he’s a little resistant to prioritizing said information. But Eastin’s lectures were filled with (curmudgeonly) effort, and, at the end of the quarter, it’s all starting to come together. Or at least I think it is; we’ll know after next week’s final.
Steve Posner, however, is either both incompetent and lazy or else trying to set a powerful anti-example for all of us. Posner teaches management communications, and, thus far, he’s not managing to communicate in any way at all. He talks a long time, he talks quietly, he lulls you to sleep, and he doesn’t have concrete points. He gives us speaking rules and then breaks them. He gives us nonspecific assignments and then rebukes us for not achieving specific goals.
I’m being too hard on Posner here, really. I think his strategies work well with freshmen — those young, skinny, attractive people who haven’t ever really worked hard before, are as yet unmoulded, and have tons of free time. But us b-school students are busy and set in our ways. We need concrete answers now, not philosophical change over a period of time. Posner doesn’t offer that. And he’s apparently lost buy-in from the class; nobody that I’ve run into did any substantial amount of work for our last presentation — not because they were too busy (although they were plenty busy, b-school students are good at making time for things they care about), but because they didn’t care.
So here’s the upshot. I like Micro better because it’s all starting to come together, sure, but the real reason is: Eastin’s way better than Posner. Most everyone is way better than Posner. He’s setting the bottom of the curve, and he’s setting it low.