As a business students I have taken tons of management courses - from marketing theories to company strategies to human resources. But I feel I literally got nothing out of them. What we have done is just to study by rote, sit for exams and forget 99% of the content two weeking later. Are they useless or should I have studied them in the other ways?

Here is a bit of my thought: let's take Cousera as an example. It offers degree courses in business, by completing which you could earn a diploma just as on-campus students do. However, they are video-based and lack interactions among students themselves and between professors and students. More importantly, you cannot network as those actually studying on the campus do, which renders them even more useless and in reality these types of degree are not even half as valuable as a full time on-campus degree. So, let's say, if management courses are really useful, why do online degrees still have not got recognition from the industry?

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    " forget 99% of the content two weeks later". That's probably why you think it's useless. Any course you take and forget immediately is useless. – Erwan Sep 20 '19 at 21:42
  • @Erwan so what are your solution and personal experience about this? – Mone Sep 20 '19 at 21:46
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    I think that if you have no interest at all in a major part of your studies you might want to revise your orientation; students who are the most successful in the long term are the ones who are motivated in their field and don't learn only for the exam; actually some of them go beyond the curriculum just because they are interested. Business is not my field, but I would assume that knowing stuff about marketing theories, company strategies and human resources is useful for somebody who wants to have a career in business. – Erwan Sep 20 '19 at 23:04
  • Courses that are taught badly can be useless. – Anonymous Physicist Sep 21 '19 at 1:55
  • @Erwan yep I agree that it's important to have some knowledge about these topics. But as they go into something deeper they become overwhelming and theoretical since you don't really have chances to apply them in real life until you find a job and are promoted to a leadership role. For example we studied strategic management, which is something that concerns only senior executives and board members and on which we could probably never have a say. Btw I have chosen to study something more technical (BA) for my master's! Much more tangible for me! – Mone Sep 21 '19 at 17:17

I won't comment on whether management courses are useless. But the way you approached them certainly made them so. Learning by rote the day before the exam and forgetting everything afterwards is a complete waste of time, unless your one and only goal is to get a degree at the end. If that's your only objective, then any course you take at the university is useless, really. If your objectives include learning, though, then you did a pretty poor job at it, and that's mostly on you. Yes, a bad course does not help. But there are plenty of things you could have done to make use of the lost time. Interact with students, ask the professor for more reading material, look for it yourself...

  • Yep I know that was my fault. Most of my classmates did the same thing though. Fortunately I have changed my area of studies for my master's so now I am much more motivated! But, ignoring my bad way of dealing with them and focusing on just the management courses themselves, do you think they are useful for students? I want to limit the context to undergrads who have little or no professional experience and who have never been managers before and are not going to have managing power soon. – Mone Sep 21 '19 at 17:25
  • Oops there should be a comma after undergrads. – Mone Sep 21 '19 at 17:33
  • Having taken some management courses at the undergraduate level, as well as many mathematics and computer science courses and some in cognitive science and economics, I would suggest that while it's true that no course can be useful if the material is immediately forgotten, courses that are useful tend to be almost impossible to successfully approach in this way. – Kevin Arlin Sep 21 '19 at 19:08
  • @Mone: I want to limit the context to undergrads who have little or no professional experience and who have never been managers before and are not going to have managing power soon. --- Even if the student never reaches the level at which some of the management theory could be applied, it seems to me that having some knowledge of (and appreciation for) what upper level management deals with would be useful. Perhaps the rational for these courses is more for this reason. – Dave L Renfro Sep 21 '19 at 19:52
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    @Mone: I don't know much of anything about business or business degrees (despite this), so my comment was just an educated guess. However, this is almost certainly a battle well outside your present purview. You have my sympathy, however, as I've felt similarly about the onerous non-math educational requirements needed to teach high school in the U.S. (see this), although I managed to avoid much of it – Dave L Renfro Sep 22 '19 at 19:02

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