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Research results & material

Research result: "the myth of the ideal CBS student"

In the first six months of the project Pernille Steen Pedersen has conducted 25 qualitative interviews with students from different years and fields of study at CBS, in parallel to carrying out various surveys across lager groups of students. On the basis of the empirical material, Pedersen has identified a core theme, in relation to stress among students, which she terms "the myth of the ideal CBS student." She has found that well-being and stress-prevention concern how this myth can be debunked and replaced by a new understanding, which includes working with a compassion culture at CBS as a part of the solution. More specifically, Pedersen has narrowed in on three major and common problems, all of which are associated with stress among students: On this site we will ongoing present new findings, material for practical use and input that can inspire to more options for action. We will have a particular focus on compassion and how to train compassion as a skill, as it is closely tied to stress-reduction and well-being.

Debunking the myth and training compassion

In order to start addressing the core theme and the three problem areas, Pedersen strategy is twofold: 1) to produce material that can help debunk the myth of the ideal CBS student, which includes enabling students to speak up, share, and hear other versions of study life and career possibilities, and 2) to integrate compassion into the stress-preventative work and develop ways to train compassion as a skill essential for the transformative work towards student well-being. The first step has been to develop and produce a thematic trilogy with podcast, videos and supplementary material.

Podcasts, videos and practical material

To serve these two goals, Pedersen are producing together with students, her research team and collaborators, different kind of practice oriented material. The material is build up around the three themes mentions above addressing the core theme of "the myth of the ideal CBS student" and how it can be debunked and replaced, from the particular angle of the three problem areas - insecurity in study life, exam and grades, and group work.  Theme 1: Narrowing in on the pressure of insecurity in study life, Pedersen has produced two podcasts and 6 videos in different lengths, primarily with students but also with a company leader; all addressing the core theme by problematizing the myth that the ideal CBS student is goal-oriented, driven, and without doubt and insecurity. This material embraces the existence and importance of insecurity, provides alternative perspectives on it, and not the least contributes to an environment where we can start talking about it.  Theme 2: In order to focus on the pressure from exam and grades, Pedersen has produced 8 videos in different length providing different experiences from students and perspectives from a teacher and Pedersen's research findings. The material addresses the core theme by problematizing the myth that the ideal CBS student must simply endure, participate and compete in a race for top grades and that the grades have paramount impact on their future career possibilities. There are advice for exam preparation, the exam situation, and discussions on how to think about grades, and that difficulties, disappointments, and failures are natural and important parts of learning and growing - and how to mange it is a valuable human skill in the modern work life. Theme 3: "Åh det forbandede gruppearbejde" (in Danish), "Oh that damned group work.” This material (to come) will shed light on the core theme by problematizing the myth that the ideal CBS student finds group work easy and satisfying and manage it without tensions and difficulties.
 It will zoom in on why group work is such a challenge for many, how to work with it and the kind of collaborative skills that can come from managing group work. The aim of the material is:
  • To put into words experiences related to what affects the well-being of students at CBS and to break myths about the ideal CBS student. This can provide students with a sense of community and shared experiences on feelings they might otherwise feel alone in and with.
  • To provide perspective on both one's own reactions and that of others, and thereby enhancing the ability to know and embrace others' feelings and reactions. This can help bring more compassion into the study situations and environment. 
  • To provide diversity in students' experiences to demount the myth of the ideal CBS student, that seems to portray a narrow and unrealistic ideal picture, and encourage a more inclusive, open and compassionate culture with oneself and others.
The material can be used in many different ways: for example, by individual students, in study groups, in teaching across disciplines, as part of the study administration's activities (e.g. in supervision situations, in training of mentors, as input to the work of well-being ambassadors etc.), or as introductory material for new students at CBS.

Last updated by: Anne Sofie Fischer 01/12/2021