A friend's son at the American University in Cairo who majors in business administration was telling us his class was assigned a project where they come up with a product and sell it on eBay.

The rule is that if someone reaches a million dollars in gross sales, he automatically passes the course with an A-plus, and the other top three in gross sales pass with an A. The students also can choose to concentrate on the study material and their efforts will be marked as if the sales project didn't exist. Very similar to choices and decisions we have in markets.

Upon further inquiry, I discovered that the teacher is an American. While the majority consider this utter craziness, I think it is an ingenious way to teach this specific course. It involves so many more disciplines than is apparent on the surface.

First, the student has to strike a certain balance between how much studying he will need to do vs. selling, as he might not be on the top of the sales list.

Second, the student has to figure out how the others are faring with their sales to guess where he will rank and determine how he will divide his time between studying and selling accordingly.

Third, and most important, the student who chooses the sales side will need to think of a product, find a distributor, market it, and ship it.

Only an American would think of designing a course like this. To its credit, the AUC approved of this course.


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