Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Approach the World of Study With a Fully Open Mind

What can be nicer than picking up a really good book, feeling the clean un-blemished cover, perusing the précised comments about the author on the back cover, and then tearing out the last page before anyone gets to read it. Oh the joy, for yes I am a former banker [sound effects: crash of thunder and maniacal laughter].

That is the kind of person I have been perceived to be when in the industry. The reckless behaviour of certain bankers did contribute to the financial crisis of 2007/08, and many businesses and individuals still bear the painful scars, but those bankers were the tip of the iceberg, and most of us are really normal and nice individuals.

It is interesting how our perception of people is influenced by the work they do. You are a nurse? How wonderful. You are an artist? How fascinating. You were a banker and now you teach accountancy? How… well I really must be going!!
The image of the bad banker couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases. Last week I was teaching a vibrant cohort, all banking and finance people, supported by excellent employers, attending ECBM for their Higher National Diploma programme. They have plenty of personality, and are all decent young people. They offer hope for the industry of tomorrow, its reputation and its integrity.

Perception can be a useful tool – marketers understand that – but sometimes it can discourage. I wonder how you would perceive going to college on a weekend? My colleague has just taught from Saturday to Monday, and his post-graduate students really enjoyed their learning experience. When dedicated talented students are led by a dedicated talented teacher the synergy which flows is exhilarating.



On graduation day I will see the results of all these students’ efforts and will applaud them loudly.

Sometimes people lack faith in themselves, to start a programme or to take it to the next level. I can cite a lady who told me at the outset of a professional programme that she would fail an accountancy module, but one year later went on to study for her professional accountancy exams. I introduced a despondent young man in a café to a foundation course he never knew existed, and now -after several years of study - he is a fulfilled, well-paid business consultant.

The point I wish to make is that we should approach the world of study with a fully open mind. Some of the most rewarding experiences in my teaching career have arisen out of transformations; watching people become what they thought they could never be. You don’t need to stay as the person you think you are now if you don’t want to. Become the person you wish to be through the pleasures of study. It will change your life, as it did mine!

And now, I must go down to the book shop…

Graham Harman-Baker

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