Five good reasons why teaching a college class is good for business

Five good reasons why teaching a college class is good for business

teaching a college class

Teaching a college class at Rutgers has led to life-long friendships.

“For some of us, teaching is itself a mode of scholarship. Continually revised lectures amount to new if unprinted editions of a book.”  — R.K. Merton

I’ve taught at Rutgers University’s extraordinary immersive digital marketing program for more than 10 years. It’s rewarding — and a lot of fun — but there are also solid business reasons why teaching a college class is good for you and good for your business.

Have you ever considered teaching a college class? It might seem out of reach, but there are lots of opportunities out there to share your experience (even as a guest lecturer) and with the move to online formats, there opportunities to teach globally from the comfort of your home. Let’s unpack the business case for teaching today.

First, the bad news

You’ve probably heard a lot of negatives about working for a university. They’re probably true.

  • Universities are notoriously slow-moving and frustratingly bureaucratic.
  • Tenured faculty and entrenched staff members can be aggravating and out of touch.
  • The pay is normally shockingly low.
  • A rule of thumb is, it takes 20 hours of preparation to create one hour of new content — so teaching can take an enormous amount of work!

However, I count my faculty position at the university as an important part of my career. Here are some reasons why …

Teaching a college class is good for business

I teach a graduate-level class to mostly senior marketing leaders. These folks are brilliant, experienced, and full of real-life questions that keep me on my toes!

For a content creator like me, there is a symbiotic relationship between writing, teaching, and consulting. At the very highest level, teaching forces me to clarify my thinking and create relevant, up-to-the-minute content. That class content works its way into this blog, my podcast, speeches, and books. This fresh thought leadership makes me a desirable marketing strategy consultant for many businesses.

See how it all works together?

There are some very practical reasons why teaching is good for business:

1) RELEVANCE

In my mind, the top reason to teach is to remain relevant. To teach at the college level, you have to be at the top of your game. You have to be well-read and prepared to respond to any question the class can throw at you. Constantly updating my material through the discipline of teaching keeps me current.

2) BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS

It brings me so much joy than many of my students keep in touch with me for years. Some of them have contributed to this blog, they have become customers, they have bought my books and attended my speeches. There are innumerable long-term benefits from these classroom business connections. I have also formed wonderful, productive relationships with staff members and fellow faculty members at the university.

3) REPUTATION

I think it adds a little shine to my resume to be a faculty member at a major university. It’s hard to get there and it’s hard to stay there, so it is something special that helps me stand out. Teaching at any level earns the respect of others. Everybody loves teachers.

4) STABLE INCOME

Like everyone trying to carve a niche as a consultant, my early career was a financial rollercoaster. There is never a predictable income funnel.

In those early days, teaching provided a stable and reliable basic income that allowed me to build my business in a patient way. Today, teaching is a small part of my overall direct income but in a recession, it may become more important again. As the economy falters, keynote speaking will definitely take a hit, consulting will take a hit, but universities normally thrive in a recession.

5) CONTENT ENGINE

I’d guess one-third of my blog content comes from ideas generated during the teaching process. Maybe I will be inspired while updating my class slides. Perhaps a question in class will prompt a new blog post. It could even be a story from one of the students. Teaching is a goldmine for a content creator.

Getting started

If you’re young or just starting out in your career, it’s unlikely you’ll land a teaching position until you have some experience under your belt. You don’t necessarily need an advanced degree any more, but you do need credibility.

However, there is something you can do now to get in a position to be hired some day. As you work on your career, be intentional and diligent about developing your personal brand (my book KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age can help you!)

If you become known in your field, you’ll have a permanent and sustainable competitive advantage over competitors who are not known. More doors will open, more calls will be returned, more career options will emerge.

This long-term advantage can only come through the sustained and consistent (once a week) production of content like a

  • blog
  • video series
  • podcast
  • photo series for Instagram or Pinterest

Teaching a college class can provide a huge business advantage and it’s a lot of fun! I hope you’ll consider it for your career.

By the way, the digital marketing “mini MBA” program I teach in for Rutgers University is open to anyone. It is a world-class program to upgrade your digital skills. Maybe I’ll see you in class soon!

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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