Many Goizueta Business School students dread the required business law class. However, as the end of the semester rolls around, students seem to be content with themselves for surviving the class, mastering the material and being able to apply what they learned to real world problems, all thanks to the sole business law instructor, Professor Allison Burdette.
Burdette’s enthusiasm towards her favorite class to teach is evident as a smile immediately comes to her face when she speaks about business law.
She said that she came to Emory from a teaching position at Georgia State in 1998. Since then she has loved her time here, mainly because of her students.
“I demand from the students to do so much and give these really hard tests, but Emory kids are up for it and are able to do it,” Burdette said. “I set the bar high, and the students reach it and learn the material – and that’s awesome.”
Even though the business law class is challenging, Burdette’s teaching style makes it interactive and relevant to students. She tries to use a multitude of real-life examples and applications in order to make a concept not just something to memorize but something to fully understand and to be able to utilize it in other areas. She said that her favorite part about teaching is being able to take a complex concept and give it meaning and application.
Burdette said that she is trying to prepare her students for future tests which, like her tests, will focus on application.
One thing many of Burdette’s students might not know about her is that one of her children recently graduated from Emory and another one is a B-school sophomore.
“With other faculty on campus with children, there’s a common rule that we just pretend that they’re not here!” Burdette said.
Both her son and her daughter have chosen to study business and because Burdette is the only business law professor, she inevitably has her children in class twice. With her eldest, she said being her professor was “a terrible, awkward experience.” Burdette may have even graded her daughter harder so as to not appear biased.
“It can be awkward because if a random student doesn’t like the way I teach, well, I’m not going to care, but if my own child says something, I’ll take it personally!” Burdette said.
When asked what she would be doing if she weren’t Emory’s business law professor, Burdette jokingly suggested she would be coaching high school girl’s basketball, but teaching is her passion. Ever since she taught her little brother how to do long division, Burdette has made a career of figuring out ways to make intricate concepts meaningful and understandable. Her love for teaching is obvious, as she said she would genuinely not like doing anything else.
– By Elana Cates, Staff Writer