How One Marketing Professor Gets Students to Manage Risk & Make Decisions in Uncertainty
Our innovative educators series highlights professors using original & refreshing teaching approaches in their classes.
To succeed in today’s rapidly changing business environment, Professor Andres Terech believes there are 2 fundamental skills that managers must acquire: curiosity and the ability to face uncertainty.
What’s certain is the Marketing Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management wants his students to come out of his courses with a curious mindset, ready to encounter the unknowns of managing a business in a post-covid world.
"Without curiosity there is not going to be innovation."
Professor Terech currently teaches 2 courses at UCLA, Marketing Strategy oriented towards MBAs and marketing students, as well as a New Product Development course with a focus on innovation and design thinking. He also advises MBAs and Executive MBAs with field work. He strives to encourage innovative thinking by looking outside of traditional contexts, and believes that curiosity is at the crux of innovation.
“Businesses are not an exact science. What I want my students to get out of my classes is the sense of ‘how do I look for new theories, new frameworks, new activities where I can learn and limit the risks I am willing to take in my business.”
Fueling curiosity in the classroom
To get students curious, he likes to make his courses as interactive as possible. It also comes down to sometimes focusing on the process of arriving at a decision. As Professor Terech puts it, getting students to see themselves in the shoes of the decision makers. For many years he has been using cases, which he also likes to write, to promote decision making with a limited set of data. He also uses simulations and encourages field work to try to come up with ideas and solutions never developed before.
How cases fit into an interactive teaching approach
Some marketing elements will always stay constant, fundamental questions like why a consumer buys. But Professor Terech likes to also focus on updating these fundamentals and create new, more relevant situations, so getting inspiration from industry experts and updating cases is essential.
Why he uses business simulations
While cases, field work and speaking with industry executives all provide valuable insights for his Marketing students, he believes business simulations, such as Markstrat, do 2 things no other innovative tool can in the classroom.
1) They show business outcomes
Professor Terech describes how simulations like Markstrat link decisions to outcomes
2) They create a competitive market experience
How Markstrat creates an unmatched competitive environment
Tip #1 for student engagement: Empathy
Professor Terech believes to get students engaged in learning there needs to be a strong emotional link in the classroom. His top teaching tip to do this is to show empathy to students. In other words, having a deep understanding as to what gets students excited and what drives them. Simulations can play a crucial role in this.
Why simulations can be a great way to connect with students
More about the simulation Professor Terech uses in his courses:
Markstrat is designed for experiencing strategic marketing concepts, such as brand portfolio strategy, segmentation and positioning strategies.
- Strategic Perspective & operational decisions
- Long-term Perspective: up to 10 simulated years
- Making decisions in a time-sensitve, highly competitive market
- High level of analysis
- Managing Marketing as a profit center
Learn more about Markstrat