A Student Applies What They Learned!

A student of mine was unhappy with his performance in course he took called “Decision Failure Analysis in Technology Management” (where we use my A4 failure analysis method, which includes the 5 Why’s). After the course was over, he sent me an e-mail saying that he enjoyed the course, liked my innovative approach to the topic, and that it made him see failed management decisions in a different way. He went on to say:

Regretfully, I was not able to complete the remainder assignments for the course. I will use the 5 Why’s and apply to my own failure to succeed in this course:

1. Why was I unable to finish the assignments?
– Because I didn’t do the reading assignments.

2. Why didn’t I do the reading assignments?
– Because I didn’t have enough time to focus on the reading (and I’m a slow reader).

3. Why didn’t I have enough time to focus on the reading?
– Because the demand of work and family were given priority over school assignments.

4. Why was work and family given priority over school assignments?
– Because I under estimated the amount of time I would need to spend on school assignments and time with my family after the birth of my daughter.

5. Why did I under-estimate the amount time?
– Because I thought I could do handle both activities without a problem.

6. Why did I think that I could handle both?
– Because I didn’t properly plan out going back to school.

7. Why didn’t I properly plan out going back to school?
– Because I wanted to start school as soon as possible so that I wouldn’t lose any more time.

8. Why didn’t I want to lose any more time?
– Because I wanted to move up the corporate ladder and take a management position. Having a Masters degree would assist in accomplishing that.

Countermeasure: Better short- and mid-term planning.

It’s great to see a student actually apply what they learned in the course!

2 thoughts on “A Student Applies What They Learned!

  1. Mrinalini Gadkari

    It is always very gratifying when students apply what they learned in class. I taught a session on facilitating meetings in one of my undergrad operations class. I emphasized on the importance of creating a detailed agenda laying out the agenda items, their purpose and expectations from the attendees and provided a template. I got an email from her after a couple of days explaining how she used the agenda template in one of her meetings and was able to get her team to accomplish the goals set on the agenda, which she could not earlier. And her sponsor could not stop praising her. I really like it when students are able to go out apply what they learnt in the classroom right away and succeed.


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