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MBA Seminar — Where Students Study Their Passion

Nathan (Minnesota Business Academy) Originally published May 2004

The way that students have been taught has been linear for many years. The most common method is to introduce the topic, present the lecture, have a discussion or “question and answer” session, give an assignment, and finally an exam. This has worked for some students, but it is a very strict skeleton and it may not be the best way for everyone to learn.

The Minnesota Business Academy seminar program works in a different way. In this program each student chooses a topic and a project related to the topic and then sets a goal. From then on students work almost completely on their own while completing projects. They push themselves to accomplish the goals. This can be a very efficient learning alternative for people that the traditional method does not work the best for. The projects in the current seminar vary from writing a novella based on the integration of Viking culture into Native American culture to designing an online course. Many projects involve original qualitative research, while others such as world trade policies with China involve more traditional research.

As the students work on their projects, they will come out with more knowledge of the subject than if an instructor was just telling the information. Students’ instructors are there to help them complete their research and project. They lecture on topics that help them reach their goals.

In the seminar, students find their knowledge themselves. They gain a larger respect for what is being researched because they are doing the work to learn it, instead of someone else researching then regurgitating the information to the class. Also, by participating in a program that is as self directed as this one, students will be able to come out with better time management and responsibility skills. As students work toward their project goal, they are learning how necessary time management really is.

The seminar gives students an insight to what the real world is really like. It takes away the shelter of the high school environment and puts students into the harsher real world environment. This gives them a jump-start in performing in the work world where they will probably not have a person dictating what they should be doing at every given moment.

The seminar shows students what they are able to do when given the chance. It will show them where guidance is needed while still being able to simulate a real-world working experience.

The seminar is a great learning experience on both ends of the education field. It gives students a chance to prove themselves and it gives them a chance to see what life will really be like outside of the protection of high school doors. It gives educators a chance to observe what students are capable of doing. It gives educators more insight on the various ways of presenting information as well as insight on what will motivate high school students.

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