The Second Method

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius

It goes without saying that the quality of the lecturers in Smurfit is very high (please forgive the brown nosing!). The most useful learning interactions however, come from fellow students. There is a huge wealth of diverse experience within the class. This results in people taking different views on issues. Through debates (sometimes heated) with class members I begin to appreciate different approaches on how challenges could be addressed. Understanding that “there is more than one way to skin a cat” and broadening my thought process to incorporate a number of different viewpoints is, for me, the most valuable learning experience of the MBA programme.

The most interesting and engaging part of lectures are the “show and tell” presentation of other students. This is where they take theories, frameworks and tools we are discussing and give practical examples of when they encountered problems in the past, how they addressed the challenge at the time and what they would do differently now. These stories are what stick in your mind and a memorable story acts as a trigger for all the other learning points.

Confucius says imitation of others is the easiest way to learn wisdom. Sounds like a good idea to me.

David Kiernan

FT MBA 2014.