I have always thought that if I taught theater I would take my students to see plays. Theater has to be live to be fully appreciated. And, if I taught art, I would lead my students through art museums. Monet and Picasso can only be really understood when you are looking at the real thing. No book is ever going to be so alive as the paint on those canvases.
Well, I teach accounting. How do you open up the world of business to accounting students? Nothing in this world could be more alive than what happens each day in business. Decisions and innovations and advertising campaigns and take overs occur every day in full view of the public. Think Wells Fargo right now. The CEO is having to explain the company’s action to Congress. To a true business person, this stuff is better than great fiction. It is alive all around us. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I want my students to feel that excitement as they walk into class each day. When business feels alive, the relevance of accounting becomes a lot more obvious.
For years, I suggested to my students that they read the Wall Street Journal each day. That continues to be a great idea but, for a college student, that can come close to overkill. The WSJ has hundreds of stories, many of which only appeal to people highly experienced in the world of business. My students are 20 years old and not 30 years old and there is a big difference in many ways. For college students, reading the WSJ can become a daily game of hide and seek—trying to find something they can understand and find relevant.
About 3 semesters ago, I switched my student recommendation to Morning Brew, a morning email synopsis of the business news of the day that winds up in my email at 6 each morning. I can read for 15 minutes and be ready for a new day in the world of business. I don’t remember how I first heard about it but there are several things I like about Morning Brew as it pertains to my students.
--It only hits the top stories in a quick fashion but gives links if students want to read more.
--I love the fresh and friendly writing style. This is not stuffy business statistics. They make business feel exciting. And, that is something very few business publications manage to capture. But, that style appeals to younger generation of business students.
--It was created by a couple of guys while they were still in college. I love the entrepreneurial spirit of young people. Plus, they have a great feel for what will interest business students.
If you are interested in subscribing or having your students subscribe, the website is:
As a quick example, here is the first story from this morning’s edition:
“End of an Era for BlackBerry
...As it pulls the plug on its ailing smartphone business. Time to get nostalgic. Not too long ago (think 2011), BlackBerry, once dubbed "CrackBerry," reigned supreme in the global smartphone market. The BlackBerry became a status symbol and sales climbed rapidly, peaking at 52.3 million handsets sold in 2011.
But then it fell…precipitously. Bested by Apple (shoutout to the OG iPhone in 2007) and other smartphone giants, BlackBerry hit rock bottom —and boy was it a long way down. Yesterday, after the company reported a measly 3.2 million handset sales last quarter, CEO John Chen announced that the Canadian company will stop making phones altogether, solely focusing on software and security services. BlackBerry’s game plan is now focused on emphasizing its lower cost, higher margin businesses, and investors took a liking to it: shares finished up 5% yesterday.”
That’s the kind of news that I want my students to think about as they walk into our Business School. I enjoy it when one of my students will ask me something like “Were you surprised that Blackberry gave up on smart phones?” The education feels alive. We are talking about today and not 20 years ago.
After I had recommended Morning Brew for a couple of semesters, I actually met the two guys who started and operate the company. They are only a few months older than my own students. (In the “small world” category, I discovered that one of my students this semester is good friends with the sister of one of the founders and that's how I made the connection.) I was in New York City and the founders and I chatted for about 90 minutes in a hotel lobby. What college professor wouldn’t enjoy talking with two young and ambitious entrepreneurs about their goal of changing the way people learn about the business world each day?
I read it. I love it.
Many of my students read it and seem to enjoy it.
Check it out.