Who Should Teach? A PhD Or A Practitioner?

Wolf snarlPut that stone down, lower your hackles and stop snarling! I’m not against PhDs. In fact, I’m looking to get a direct PhD myself, if there were one in a field I might be interested in! We’ve been far too caught up with certifications as a whole, and now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. This time, though, I don’t think the answer lies with Malcolm. (In the middle, that is). So where does the answer lie?  Nowhere. The question is of course irrelevant.

Owl readingAnyone with a PhD after their name would have had years of study, lecturing and research under their belt. One would hope that some degree of practical, hands-on experience in a related field or industry might perhaps also be lurking under the said belt. Now, even if a person with a PhD has spent all his life in study and research, does that mean that he cannot share valuable insights on practical business issues with students? Conversely, take someone without so much as a Bachelor’s degree. Would that person’s degree of non-certification imply that he is in no position to teach a part of an MBA course? I trow not. In both cases, PhD or Practitioner, what students need is someone who is able to supply them with examples, stories, illustrations, of tangible applications of the principles taught in the lecture theatres and tutorial rooms. He must be able to give them more examples of “case law” than are found in the books, or perhaps even on the Web. He must be able to facilitate discussions and presentations like a skilled fencer, expert dissector, experienced tour guide and master craftsman.

That is why the question is irrelevant. When tapping on resources for students, due diligence involves more than mere background checks on the teacher’s alma mater. Unfortunately for students, that is hard work, and most administrators don’t like hard work. So, if you’re a student, especially an MBA student, caveat discipulo! And recognize that you’ve got to do most of the learning by yourself!
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