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In today's chaotic business environment, one wonders whether the current business curriculum is sufficient to cater to future leadership requirements. Does today's business curriculum truly provide the tools necessary to deal with increasingly complex business issues, or is it merely providing a "secure" career path?
One of the hard realities of retiring so young from such a competitive industry is that your personal identity is often so intertwined with your professional personality that it's hard to separate the two. I found myself asking "who am I, if not the skier?" It was like starting from scratch.
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Post the industrial revolution, the complexity of larger organizations brought about a plethora of skills that business person needed to have -- finance, people leadership, sales, marketing, relationship management, just to name a few. The concept of business leadership evolved.
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It's often said that the best companies do more than just survive a downturn; they also position themselves to thrive during the subsequent upturn by making investments that enable them to grow when the economy rebounds. The same strategy can be applied to your career.
Just because you have the two years of experience that many of the world's business schools require, doesn't mean you are ready for an MBA. Before you make the leap, you must ask yourself: Does it make sense for me to get this degree right now?
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The best schools want you to be discerning. They're not interested in those who only appear to be seeking credentials. Credential collecting is an immature approach to this important decision.
Discounting the school reputation because of the lower wages earned by its alumni makes no sense because wages usually reflect the local cost of living, which again is higher in large urban centers. Those who choose to work in small towns are unlikely to earn the high salaries that will make their schools shine in the MBA rankings.
It's the dream of every MBA candidate who registers to a prestigious MBA school. A coveted position in investment banking or consulting, with a salary only heard of in the movies. While this reality does occur for a small percentage of MBA candidates, the reality is far different since the overall economic and MBA dynamics have changed.
I think some of the best management tools are board games. If you've participated in experiential training programs, you'll know that most are built around games. Why not take advantage of ones that we already know and love and save the consultants fee?
Entrepreneurship is a dirty word for many MBA candidates. Synonymous with extreme financial distress, entrepreneurship for many MBAs is a deep chasm of despair, particularly considering the high debt load that most MBAs have post-graduation. These attitudes and misconceptions have hurt MBA grads instead of helping them.
Which parent hasn't heard the names Steve Jobs and Bill Gates thrown back at them as they urge their offspring to stay in school? Add to that list Richard Branson, Michael Dell and Larry Ellison. Taking this argument to the extreme is Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, whose foundation pays students to drop out of school to launch companies.
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So, should the NINJA generation today cry about not being as lucky as the Baby Boomer generation (who did financially well, and control a significant percentage of personal financial assets and consumer spending in North America, as per sources), especially on their graduation day? Nah!
It's clear we need to rethink business as usual, but it should start with how business leaders are trained to view their roles, analyze risks, and understand the moral implications of strategic decisions.