For some years now, marketing educators have been exhorted to adopt more critical approaches in teaching and learning. Such approaches are purported to bring numerous benefits to students, including improved appraisal skills, self-awareness, and enhanced abilities to deal with the uncertainties
and ambiguities of marketing practice. To date however, there has been very little empirical study of how students respond to critical approaches, and whether they perceive any of the proposed benefits themselves. This study addresses the gap by investigating the perceptions and experiences
of students on two modules, both of which take similarly designed critical approaches. In practice, students were found to perceive the modules as more labour intensive and intellectually challenging than others, due primarily to the volume and depth of required reading. The task of being
critical was itself perceived as difficult, due to the need for a different mindset, and for students to have confidence in their own ideas. However, overall evaluations of the modules were positive, and students identified a number of benefits and personal rewards from their experiences,
at least some of which matched with those proposed in the literature. The paper discusses factors influencing students' perceptions and concludes with some practical recommendations.