Pay them (less than) minimum salary – too late

A key learning in the finance classes at most business schools is the importance of optimising your cash flow. If you don’t pay the electricity bill you will be cut off the grid; if you don’t pay your employees their salary on time they will go on strike or go to the union. But even if you pay your visiting professors months after they have done their job – nothing happens. So this strategy is a great way to optimise your cash flow as a business school

Admit any student to your business school who can pay the tuition

The more students you have in class, the more money you make so why bother if the students actually have a sufficient academic and professional level as long as they pay? That the low performing students are disrupting the education for the A-performers is less important as they have already paid the tuition and there is no money-back guarantee. And guess what: Professors just love students who can’t concentrate and who at the bottom of their soul know that they are not qualified to be in this class. I once asked a french student “Are you stupid?”. He was honest enough to answer “Maybe a little”. Well, he nailed it and I will never come back to that business school.

Don’t plan ahead – Tell professors about changes in the last minute

Some business schools tend to have the perception that visiting faculty have nothing else to do in their life. So if you as a business school really want to piss off your visiting faculty, then try the following. Tell the professor that his class has been moved to another week-day or that there will be twice as many students in the class as he has accepted as maximum.

Treat business school professors as you like – they are dependent on you anyway

Visiting professors are not like the real full-time faculty. The visiting faculty tend to believe that they are somebody just because they can earn an income outside academia in the cruel, competitive environment. But don’t be afraid. Your visiting faculty will always come back so you don’t need to treat them particular nicely. They can’t go to a union and most of them claim that they are not teaching for the money but to give something back to the next generation. These professors are of course lying.

Copy their material so you can do the courses with your own (cheaper), full-time faculty

Visiting professors often have great material and professional presentations because they are used to a commercial, professional and competitive environment. As a business school, you can benefit from that by simply copying these professors material and let your full-time faculty use this material the next semesters

Don’t feel obliged to live up to agreements. Business School Professors are too nice to take you to court.

Most visiting professors will like to have a formal contract with you, but as a business school, you shouldn’t put too much into it. You can easily pay a visiting professor a lower fee than stated in the contract by simply saying that there was an administrative misunderstanding. Most visiting professors have a past in corporate life and they have not forgotten how hard it is to fight administrative procedures – it is easier to give or leave, which is what most of the visiting professors have done. If they don’t buy that argument you can always tell them that you will try to have it corrected for the next semester.

Make sure that your IT really sucks

Don’t make it too easy for the visiting faculty to run their courses. You don’t need to invest in the latest classroom equipment or surround sound. I don’t know why but some visiting professors expect a business school to run as professional as a well-tuned company. The visiting professors have to learn that they can not expect that they can use video or internet resources in their education like they can’t expect to get any support when the windows 95 computers blocks. You really have to tell your visiting faculty that they are on their own.

Make yourself inaccessible to the visiting faculty

It seems like a lot of visiting faculty don’t understand why they are hired. They think they are hired because they possess some unique knowledge and outstanding communication skills. They just don’t realise that they are hired because of an emergency situation and to teach courses the full-time faculty have no interest in teaching. When visiting professors have this misperception about why they are hired they also think that they should have the privilege of having a meeting with management. You don’t have time for that. There are plenty of important internal meetings and students intruding your office. So make sure to tell the visiting faculty that they can send an email and make sure to be invisible when they are around. If you meet them face to face they will probably tell you about how great the world is outside and you don’t want to hear that anyway.

Make the visiting professor understand that he or she is not as esteemed as the full-time faculty and staff

As full-time employees, you have a lot of fun together with your colleagues. There is absolutely no need to include the visiting faculty in this. You have your own unique culture, which you should preserve. The full-time employees are the core people and most valued resources at the business school. By inviting visiting professors to your social- and educational events you might give them the impression that they are as valued as you are, So don’t do that.

Make it as difficult as possible for the visiting professor administrate the courses

You can often hear the visiting faculty say that time is money. A good way to spend more of a visiting professors time is by making sure that the administration of his courses is as difficult as possible. Make sure to have a course administration system that only works on older Windows platforms so that the visiting professors with Macs don’t have a chance. You can also make it complicated to upload material for students and should a visiting professor succeed then you can always delete it the day before class. The list of things you can do is endless. Only your imagination is the limit.

Why this article?

I have been teaching thousands of students around the world on more than 15 different business schools and universities. I have seen a lot, have had a lot of frustrations and I feel sorry for both the students and professors when the business schools destroy all the good intentions with bad management. 

So I started to offer counselling on how to make the professors happy. Because if the professors are happy they do a better job and they are more likely to stay. And then of course – the students become happier too and are more willing to recommend the school to others.

Feel free to contact me with comments and questions

Dr. Finn Majlergaard