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Eastern Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2017

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Building Student Critical Thinking, Writing and Presentation Skills: A “Request for Proposal” Experiential Exercise

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Effective writing and presentation skills are critical for management students’ transition to industry and their continued organizational success. Underlying these essential communication skills is critical thinking whereby students assess situations, test assumptions and make compelling fact supported arguments that address important business conflicts, problems and opportunities. Unfortunately, many students lack these skills and management curricula often don’t provide adequate opportunities for skill development. The experiential exercise reported in this paper was developed to help students build the skills required to become more competent in the business environment. The students must respond to an organization’s formal request for a proposal (RFP). The organization’s request is provided to students, who then form small groups, and compete for the contract with oral presentations and written proposals. The winning proposal is selected using a grading rubric that is made available to students at the start of the exercise. The rubric contains behavioral anchored rating scales for written presentation and critical thinking skills. Specific directions and a teaching guide for the exercise are offered.


Barry Friedman    
State University of New York at Oswego
United States


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