“When my first-year MBA students come back from doing their internships and I ask them what they learned in my class, the answer always involves technical skills. When I ask the same question five years out of school, they’ve forgotten the technical details. Instead, they say I taught them concepts—how to think critically about issues.
If you ask them 15 years out, they say they learned how to think—how to be a healthy skeptic. By then, they’ve forgotten 100 percent of the technical detail. After 25 or 30 years, they focus on the values that Boston College taught them without even realizing it: respect, teamwork, doing the right thing at the right time. Those are the inherent values that come with the University’s 100 years of Jesuit tradition.
On the first day of class I tell my students, ‘I’m a very good teacher. I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and I’m quite, quite good—but I’m not great. By myself, I can’t make the course great. But when we all work together, then we make the journey to understanding and value.’ My job in the classroom is to be the orchestrator—to help students begin to make the journey from ‘me’ to ‘we.’ A great deal of what goes on in my class deals with baccounting, but there are also much bigger lessons going on. These are the journeys we’re helping students begin to make.”
Professor Peter Wilson is an award-winning educator who often serves as a speaker, instructor, media spokesperson, and consultant to major companies. Prior to his time at the Carroll School, Professor Wilson served on the faculties of Lake-Sumter Community College, Carnegie-Mellon University, Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Along with his wife, Carolyn, Professor Wilson is creating Navigating Accounting®, a multimedia free website that provides a foundation for understanding, preparing, and using accounting information. His current research investigates the impact of accounting and tax rules on managers’ investment, operating, financing, and reporting decisions.