Learning at Best
- by Seckin Ozdamar
There are many ways to learn. Back in middle school, following my mother’s advice, I discovered writing was the most effective way for me to learn a subject. Over years, I concentrated on this and definitely benefited academically. With abundance of information and experiences surrounding me, I have the unfulfilled urge to learn more. And writing alone will not work.
Almost one month has passed since the academic year started. Through this time, I realized how the School has programmed its learning experience for the students. The fundamental idea is the variety of learning tools to stimulate learning as much as possible. In marketing class, case method is definitely forcing students to effectively communicate their ideas. There is no perfect answer in this class. It leaves lots of creativity when defending arguments.
When entering the accelerated corporate finance class of Alex Edmans, assistant professor of finance, I can easily sense the tension among many students since Professor Edmans is excellent at teaching by Socratic method. If you are the lucky one to get chosen in that class, he pushes your limits to get to the correct answer with you. This class is almost like driving at 100 mph on the highway. Ultimately, this method keeps everybody alert and opens up all the senses to absorb the material. These are to name a few. The education system is not customized yet for each individual. And serving 840 students is not an easy job. By mixing best possible teaching methods, Wharton is definitely helping the information seekers.
Secondly, learning is at full speed when you are immersed in a completely new environment. The human body is on adrenalin and starts observing every stimulus (I suggest Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink if you want to learn how the senses changes in extreme situations). I have been experiencing this for the last 10 days.
One of my goals before coming to Wharton was to learn a new sport, and I decided on ice hockey since it looked safer than rugby. Having never skated before in my life was also a bonus point. I spent four practices so far, and it has been an incredible experience. Right now, I am only learning the very basics at a very slow speed. When the one-hour practice finishes, I feel like I have finished a five-hour bike ride. Also, the Wharton Wildmen team deserves recognition here for their support and willingness to help make me very comfortable when taking this new challenge. In a month the league is going to start, and I need to as many practices as possible.
Finally, the learning at Wharton does not stop in the classroom or on the ice rink. The School promotes dinners with faculty and staff. My learning team and I were lucky to set-up dinners with Professor Adam Grant, associate professor of management, and Professor Edmans. They are undoubtedly at the top among the most popular professors at Wharton. We have had really good conversations during our dinners, and I realized that learning is happening bi-directionally at these events as in the classroom. I know I am busy, and I cannot imagine how busy these professors are. They value their students and spend almost a couple of nights every week to interact with the students. High five to them!
Editor’s note: This post first appeared on the Wharton MBA Program’s Student Diarist blog on Oct. 2, 2012.