George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Management Professor Encourages Students to Come Out of Comfort Zone with TED Talks

Written by Katherine Johnson on .

“I want them to challenge themselves to try to communicate in a different way,” said Katie Rosenbusch, assistant management professor.

Rosenbusch’s principle of management course, which every Mason business student must take, was held in an active learning classroom. The classroom offers technology and an integrative space for students to work in teams.

“I really wanted to embed a team atmosphere in this course, and I was trying to figure out how to make it a creative atmosphere and different from anything they’ve done in other courses,” she said.

With the help of the GMU TV station, she settled on TED Talks, in which students would further expand upon managerial concepts based on interviews they had with real managers. The class of 72 was split into teams of four, with seven to 10 minutes for their talk. Topics ranged from employee loss, work/life balance, ethical decision-making, employee motivation, and why soft skills are important. Each group also had to include a personal example to connect with the audience.

“This is very foreign to business students and that was part of the reason I did it. Communication is a primary skill for business, and they really need to learn how to communicate a message in a concise manner. I was trying to build their confidence through the process of learning this,” Rosenbusch said.

She put extra pressure on students by having them rely strictly on their memory when delivering the talk, adding that some students loved the assignment, and for others, it brought stress and anxiety.

“My biggest thing is that if they try, I can see the effort in their videos and that’s all I’m really asking of them,” she said. “As you work your way up in a business world, communicating that message and having that confidence to portray the message is really key, and that’s what I wanted them to get out of this.”