Apparently, the introductory marketing mid-term is one of the most aggravating of the program. When I was studying in the business program lounge, others in the class were expressing their anxiety. This led to commiseration from students who had finished Marketing 551 in previous quarters, and dire warnings for students who were still planning to take the class. After some discussion about which teachers to avoid, it seemed to me like teachers are being blamed for presenting unpopular material. My sympathy level plummeted, and I felt defensive about natural sciences in general.
The introductory marketing class has a huge amount of information to absorb. I felt lucky that, after the first accounting class, I’ll probably see any future subjects as relatively easy. Marketing is fairly intuitive, but people discount the complexity of marketing processes and terminology. It’s the type of subject that more students feel comfortable talking about, even before understand common acronyms, and before they understand nuances like the difference between marketing research and marketing intelligence.
It seems like some students are especially annoyed by having to study the exact details of marketing. Ultimately, attention to detail has been the main complaint about the Intro. Marketing mid-term, which was expected to be more difficult than “it should be”. Now, as a liberal arts person, this attitude irks me. Here’s the deal: The teacher in the marketing class (and my current management class, for that matter) presents the material in a narrative way. “This is how it’s generally done, and this is what I’ve seen.” Lectures concern real world applications, with little need for a calculator or glossary. The students who describe the reading material as “too dry”, strangely enough, tend to be accounting and finance people. Well, textbooks are dry, and expecting marketing or management texts to read like a storybook is a type of prejudice that is all too common around this area. I don’t know about other regions, but I could go on for a long time about how “soft skills” are scoffed at in the Silicon Valley.
So, the reason why people don’t like the exam seems to be largely a matter of people not studying the texts. A teacher giving her interpretation of the subject, with the aid of Powerpoint slides, comes across to some students as being a sufficient source for complete understanding of the material. The textbook, because it is dry without being full of hard science, and because the teacher uses Powerpoint, has not even been purchased by at least a couple of the students. No wonder the exam has seemed unfair in past quarters. It hasn’t been taken seriously, and there are students who probably don’t think it should be taken seriously.
Now, after all that, I hope I did well…