By: Cindy Blackstock, Co-Founder and CEO
I, along with a few lucky colleagues of mine, recently had the opportunity to be guest lecturers at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and the University of Wisconsin’s Business School’s A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Analytics and Insights.
In both instances, we were impressed with the curiosity, drive and passion these students showed for the careers we all love.
Looking back on these opportunities, we realized a few benefits as well:
Keeps it fresh. Inserting guest lecturers into the curriculum helps to keep the content fresh and interactive. We could tell the students were engaged, taking notes, straightening up in the chairs, leaning forward, asking questions and listening with authentic interest and curiosity. Afterall, the pressure was off – we weren’t there to test their knowledge, only to inspire it. Our presence provided a different and unique perspective that helped to amplify their learning in a practical way, and their excitement for it showed.
Connects the dots. Guest lecturing helps to connect the dots between classroom content and real-world application. We provided A LOT of anecdotal case studies to bridge the gap between theory and reality. Doing so, made it less of a ‘lecture’ and more of a ‘step into my professional life for the next hour’ so I can show you what to expect. Personally, we found it really fun to relive all of these experiences again and seeing how it made the students come alive was the best part.
Models the behavior. By guest lecturing, we were able to model the behavior that we hope to see in the next generation of insight professionals. Giving them a sense of the required skill sets (hard and soft), modeling the art and science of writing discussion guides to draw out what people want to say but often can’t articulate and the all-important aspect of storytelling. Hearing from experts in the field helped to give these learners a practical sense of what it takes to be successful in an insights career.
Our love stems from our collective years of experience, while we know they have a whole world of brands, people, opportunities, challenges, and skills yet to be explored and refined. Their enthusiasm was real and pure and made us proud of the small part we played in helping to influence and shape this next generation of insights leaders.
If you are interested in having SIVO Insights professionals come share their expertise with your next generation of insights professionals OR have a need to train newly appointed insights associates at your company, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to work with you to craft the content you need!
Cindy has over 20 years of global product experience with expertise in both marketing and R&D. Her laser focus and unwavering drive ensure that even the most ambitious project will always be executed with excellence and efficiency. As an Ironman athlete, she continues to push herself both physically and mentally and has yet to back down from any challenge.