Author: Rubin Ghimire
Socrates once famously said: “An unexamined life is not worth living”. Was he right to think so? Are we supposed to examine our lives? Why or why not? It’s seldom that we find ourselves asking such questions, specially when our education system is built on rewarding rote-learning information dictated to us by our teachers and mere regurgitation of that information on our exam sheets. As a result, we have forgotten how and what to think, and that’s impacting decision-making processes in our businesses, affecting their performance and growth.
I just completed a three-week-long induction session at King’s College Kathmandu – a prelude to my MBA program that starts next week, and one of the key issues raised was the lack of critical thinking practice in our classrooms. The faculty at King’s are changing that. A healthy discourse in the classroom is encouraged and student participation is credited towards the overall course grade. Isn’t that refreshing to know? Teachers at King’s aren’t offended by your arguments – they know they need to listen to their students’ perspectives and admit their own shortcomings, if need be. Such a belief in growing together is part of the King’s academic culture, not a power-dynamic in which teachers oppress the students and exploit their weaknesses.
When a professional gives a speech, (s)he needs to back it up with facts. Likewise, when students write their assignments at King’s, they are required to cite their sources. Although I have previously used the APA format during my research assignments in my undergraduate studies, I had forgotten parts of it that Bhawana ma’am gladly reminded me and my classmates in one of her sessions. Prior to that, Umes sir had given a session on the style and content of writing. It was a pleasant surprise that King’s understands the value of professional writing for business students. In fact, a huge chunk of the course grade is calculated by evaluating our written assignments. There’s also a strict anti-plagiarism policy, which means fair assessment of individual academic performance. Awesome!
It goes without saying that entrepreneurship across various domains can solve our societal problems and effectively raise our people’s standard of living. When more than two-thirds of the country’s youth seek employment abroad each year, it becomes clear that we can never have enough entrepreneurs who can address our problems through innovation and effective business leadership. King’s seems to be on a mission to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs and teach them tools to create and grow businesses, and impact society on a molecular level. Several instructors and business professionals conducted our induction sessions and a key takeaway was that impactful, sustainable, and forward-thinking businesses are the future of this country. It was also noted that it’s okay to fail before you finally taste success. The best part was that these sessions were replete with student participation. In addition, the presence of an on-campus social business hub and an entrepreneur’s club hints that King’s believes in learning outside the classroom and cares about developing students into effective leaders who can take on the challenges of the future.
As business leaders, we work with people and it is important to understand how to actually work “with” people. We had a session on emotional intelligence – which is so often overlooked specially in organizations in Nepal – that talked about developing compassion towards yourself and others so as to help create a more humane workplace. And, it starts with you – several sessions somehow ended up touching on the process of self-discovery and self-awareness. Mentorship Pathways is an on-campus hub that conducts different activities and even one-on-one sessions to help students to become more self-aware, confident, and compassionate leaders. I just found out that they also do weekly sessions that I plan to attend as time permits. Learnings from my psychologist sister and various text and online resources tell me that King’s is at the forefront of Nepali academia by including this important yet overlooked facet in their educational approach.
By the end, it was clear to me that the induction sessions were purposefully planned to inculcate the right spirit and mindset required to succeed in the MBA program. Moreover, the administration separated our sections by making sure that a diverse group of students existed in each section. These facts and all that I’ve mentioned above show how seriously King’s takes education – if more institutions follow suit, we are bound to solve the fundamental problems of our education sector. It’s a pleasant thought and I hope it comes true in the not-too-distant future. Finally, I plan to make the most out of this two-year challenge while tackling some of the most pressing problems of our society. Kudos to the King’s team!
Rubin Ghimire is a changemaker from Nepal. He is currently pursuing his MBA at King’s College.
View Rubin’s stuffs at rubinghimire.com