Guillermo Casasnovas


DPhil Programme in Management Studies






Started in 2012

By Guillermo Casasnovas

Teaching as a DPhil

The never-ending pile of exams and projects on my desk is a reminder that teaching has been an important part of my academic training during this term. I have helped as a Teaching Assistant on an MBA course and I tutored an undergraduate student.

Being a TA is something common in doctoral programmes, as it enables students to learn about teaching by seeing how it is done by experienced professors. In my case, I have been TA for the MBA and Executive MBA module, Strategy & Innovation, jointly taught by my supervisor Marc Ventresca and by Teppo Felin.

The module itself is very interesting – based on how new markets are created, how technology develops, and how entrepreneurs and incumbent firms can organize for innovation – and the feedback from the students is always very positive. As a future academic, it was a privilege to sit in the classroom and learn how to prepare the lectures, how to engage students with the topic, and how to keep the spirit of the class high during the 3-hour sessions.

My job as a TA was to help prepare the materials, allocate some office hours to answer questions from students and, most of all, help with the marking. I have marked more than a hundred versions of each practical work – three times over the term – and now the largest part remains: the final exams and the group projects. Although a bit tedious in the end, it is always good to see all the effort put in by the students – as well as how they build on their professional experience and connect it with the topics from the course.

My other teaching commitment this term has been with an undergraduate student, tutoring for an Organisational Behaviour course. In a very Oxford fashion, we have had eight tutorial sessions for which the student prepared certain readings and submitted an essay in advance. Although the student is younger, it was great to see their engagement, critical analysis, and how they tried to relate the different concepts about the study of organizations to those firms or groups that are closer to them.

So, I have realized that learning how to teach is an important part of my training as an academic, one that is very much encouraged here in Oxford. And now, back to the pile of exams and projects.

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