Well, the fall semester is done (except for a huge mountain of grading, that is). Last Saturday, my project management students made their presentations to the Blank Park Zoo. They had to develop a business case and a project plan for projects encompassing expansion, membership, education, and food service.
It was so rewarding to watch them present. It wasn't just that they were learning the skills for which a project manager is accountable. It wasn't that they learned how to manage a portfolio of projects by communicating with each other across project teams. It wasn't that they dressed up in their professional best on a Saturday morning to make an excellent impression on the zoo's CEO. It wasn't that their Powerpoints were effective or that their deliverables were useful. It went beyond all of that. My students did something to help the community... to give back... to make Des Moines a better place to live. Project management went beyond theory; it became real.
Sometimes MBA programs are accused of being too entrenched in theory and not enough practice. Not in my classroom. I know that, realistically, my students may retain about 5% of what I say years down the road... if even that. What they'll remember is that they made a difference the past three months.
And isn't that what real education is all about anyway?
(And yes, there are egrets at the zoo. The pun was too good to pass up.)