Leadership and MBA

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If you were to ask a roomful of b-school students why they decided to pursue an M.B.A., the majority would mention leadership in their answer. Whether their goal is becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or inspiring talented people to join their startup, they know that strong leadership skills will be essential to fulfilling their dream.

Yet many wonder what a b-school classroom can teach students about leadership that they wouldn’t learn on the job by observing their bosses and, eventually, leading others.

Students benefit from being in an environment that allows them to apply “academic values” to their leadership skills. He says, “If you’re around a great university and people who think critically, you can start to ask questions in much better ways: Why do you think your idea is right? What will prove you wrong? What data are necessary?”

Along with improving their critical thinking skills, b-school students also learn how to better understand big-picture considerations during the course of their studies. Key leadership attributes include “understanding the importance of thinking about the long term, not the immediate term; of thinking about others, not only yourself; of thinking about values, not only brains.”

Finally, students gain a sense of their potential impact as a leader on an organization. “What is unique about the M.B.A. is that it really focuses on developing people who understand organizations and how an individual leverages an organization, how she or he works in a team setting, while acting with integrity.”

When choosing who will be admitted from the large pool of promising applicants each year, admissions officers at the Yale SOM and other top M.B.A. programs do not expect to see evidence of a highly evolved leadership style. However, most programs do look for applicants who possess demonstrated leadership potential. If you’re applying to b-school, you should ask yourself, “When have I demonstrated leadership?” and find ways to highlight this on your application.

Perhaps you identified processes at work that could be streamlined and convinced your bosses to implement your improvements, or you’ve organized community service projects, or even led your college basketball team to a conference title. Examples like these should be included on your résumé and perhaps highlighted in your application essays. Note that all of these examples have one thing in common: They include other people. A leader must have followers, and a common mistake applicants make when trying to convey leadership is to merely demonstrate initiative. While starting a successful one-man business selling t-shirts out of your apartment shows resourcefulness, it doesn’t speak to your ability to lead.

Most students who are admitted to top b-schools have already shown their passion for leadership. One of the most important skills they will learn as an M.B.A. student is how to refine that passion.  “When we teach the M.B.A.s, we are getting them at a formative moment for leadership skills. It’s a moment when things can come together for them, when some of their inchoate ideas about how the world works and what they want to be and who they are actually gel and connect with concrete aspirations, not just vague thoughts and vague dreams.”

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Things you should not say in your interview

With the jobs market more competitive than ever it can be hard work just to get an interview, so once you’re actually in front of potential employers you don’t want to ruin your prospects with an ill-chosen comment.

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1 “Sorry I’m late.” It goes without saying that punctuality is key. Your interviewer doesn’t want you to arrive for work 20 minutes late every morning.

2 “What’s your annual leave and sickness policy?” It doesn’t look good if, before you’ve even been hired, you’re planning your absence from the company.

3 “I’ll just take this call.” Mills says a large number of candidates think it is OK to take telephone calls, texts etc during an interview. It isn’t.

4 When asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” never say, “Doing your job.” As much as this might be a genuine answer,Candidates should “try to build a response around the experience they would like to have gained and the level of responsibility they’d like to have, rather than threatening the interviewer’s job.”

5 “My previous employer sucked.” No matter how mind-numbingly boring those roles might have been, “speaking badly of a previous employer is not only unprofessional, but also reflects on your character”. Your new employer will contact your former employer for references following an interview, so it’s never wise to burn your bridges.

6 “You make widgets? I thought you made cricket bats.” Failing to research your prospective employer fully is a big faux pas. “Saying you’ve looked at their website is only marginally better – employers expect far more research,”

7 “Bloody hell.” Never swear in your interview. It can happen, especially if your interviewer is themselves prolific with the profanities, but don’t let them set the standard of the interview and remain professional at all times.

8 “I was very good at sorting out PEBs by using ARCs.” Don’t fall into the industry jargon of your previous employer or assume the interviewer knows anything about your experience, Pratap advises. Instead, speak clearly about your skills and experience to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

9 “Do I really have to wear that uniform?” Any criticism of staff uniform will go down like a lead balloon. Do you think your interviewer enjoyed wearing that fluorescent green ensemble when they performed your role?

10 When asked, “What do you expect to enjoy most about this role?” never reply with any of the following: the perks, the pay, lunchtimes, my co-workers or the holidays.

10 Things Not To Do During a Job Interview

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With so many articles out there explaining what to do in a job interview, our IT recruiters decided to take the time to focus on what not to do.  Whether you’re new to the interview process or an industry veteran, AVID technical recruiters have compiled the following list of 10 things to avoid during your job interview:

1)    Don’t Show Up Late:  The cardinal sin of interviewing.  Very few offers will go out to any candidate who arrives late regardless of how strong of a candidate or how well they recovered during the IT job interview.  Having said that, obviously circumstances arise that are out of everyone’s control:  train/bus delays, traffic, a flat tire or car troubles (for real – not just the typical excuse).  Take from an IT recruiting firm who has seen and heard it all – our best advice is simply to give yourself enough time to overcome and obstacles/variables that would cause you to be late for your interview.  Even test-drive the commute the day before to make sure you know how to get to the client’s location.  However, if you still find yourself running late…. then simply call the interviewer!  Give the client or IT recruiting company the courtesy – it just might be the only thing that saves you from being disqualified for the job before you even walk through their front door.

2)    Don’t Show Up Unprepared:  If you want another major strike against your candidacy, then show up unprepared for your IT job interview.  Instead, do some research on the company before your meeting.  In today’s information technology age, this is as easy as a click of a button.  Therefore, have the initiative to find out exactly what the company does and formulate some insightful questions.  Just as important, bring something to write with and write on…. then use them!  Lastly, be sure to bring copies of your resume and ask the employer or technical recruiters whether they would like one.

3)    Don’t Dress Inappropriately or Pay Little Attention to Your Appearance:  You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Take some basic steps to ensure you’re presentable for your interview.  Brush your hair, shave, use deodorant and make sure you’re buttoned up for your meeting.

4)    Don’t Remain Seated When Shaking Interviewer’s Hand:  Although subtle, this is professional courtesy.  If you are seated when the employer or IT recruiters enter the room, stand up and shake their hands.  Remaining seated is a slight sign of disrespect and even laziness.

5)    Don’t Sit Before Being Offered a Chair:  Another subtle sign of disrespect, the candidate should not make an assumption as to where the employer or technical recruiter would like to sit…or even that they will be conducting the interview in that very room.

6)    Don’t Act Too Familiar or Be Too Comfortable With Your Interviewers:  You should be on your professional game throughout an IT job interview.  Don’t let your guard down and become too comfortable.  Refer to the interviewers by the name in which they introduce themselves to you.  Do not shorten it (and call “Robert,” “Rob” for example).  Do not throw out any slang and certainly never curse or use any unprofessional language.  The interview should be closer to a boardroom experience rather than a playground.

7)    Don’t Lie or Make up Answers:  There’s no room for lying.  Ever.  This starts from the day you put together your resume to your last day on the job.  If you have gaps in employment, just be prepared to talk about it and explain what you did during this time.  If you don’t know an answer to a question, simply state that.  Don’t try to make something up that will only hurt your credibility (especially in a technical interview).

8)    Don’t Badmouth Former Employers or Anyone For That Matter:  As in society, people gravitate to those who remain positive.  There is no room for negativity in an interview.  If you had a bad “break up” with your last position, don’t dwell on it.  Spin the positive experience that you gained from the technical job.  If you didn’t like a former boss, simply state that you didn’t see eye to eye.  Take the high road; don’t throw anyone under the bus.  It’s a small world (especially in information technology).  You never know whom the employer or IT recruiters know in the industry.

9)    Don’t Fail to Ask Questions:  You should come prepared with a list of questions to ask before any interview (no, salary is not one of them unless this is your second or third interview for the same role).  If additional questions come to mind during the meeting, simply write them down and ask when appropriate.  This is a great way to organize your thoughts – it also shows the client or IT recruiters that you’ve been listening to what they’re saying and have interest in the opportunity.

The most important question to ask as the conclusion of an interview:  “when can I follow up?”  This provides you with a timeline and allows you to have some sort of control so you’re not hounding the employer or just stuck waiting for a response.

10)    Don’t Fail to Follow Up:  Post-interview, the first step in following up is a simple email to thank the hiring manager(s) or IT recruiter(s) for their time.  This should be done the same day – no exceptions to ensure you put your best foot forward.  If you met with multiple people, send an individual note to each (don’t kill yourself writing a novel, but at the same time, add some substance and reference something from your conversation).  Do not cut and paste the exact same message if sending out multiple emails to clients.

Soft skills required in an MBA

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Soft skills come to prominence

You can be the brightest of MBA students, but that may mean nothing if you don’t have the communication skills to explain the quality of your work and get people excited. This is why soft skills are becoming increasingly important for MBA students to hone in on while in business school.

While hard, or technical, skills are very important in giving MBA students the appropriate knowledge to work in a finance, marketing, and e-business world, soft skills are on the rise. In 2010, MBA recruiters began focusing on soft skills more and more in their recruits. This shift has continued to change the focus of the curriculum in MBA programs to focus more on communications, presentations, and persuasion.

Take a look at the top five soft skills you need to land a job :

1. Presentation Skills

The top skill that will get you by in 2013 is presentation skills…

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Soft skills required in an MBA

Soft skills come to prominence

You can be the brightest of MBA students, but that may mean nothing if you don’t have the communication skills to explain the quality of your work and get people excited. This is why soft skills are becoming increasingly important for MBA students to hone in on while in business school.

While hard, or technical, skills are very important in giving MBA students the appropriate knowledge to work in a finance, marketing, and e-business world, soft skills are on the rise. In 2010, MBA recruiters began focusing on soft skills more and more in their recruits. This shift has continued to change the focus of the curriculum in MBA programs to focus more on communications, presentations, and persuasion.

Take a look at the top five soft skills you need to land a job :

1. Presentation Skills

The top skill that will get you by in 2013 is presentation skills. MBA graduates and alumni alike agree that the ability to effectively present a case and provide a viable solution in a professional, persuasive, and personal manner is the most important skill in the business world today. Because people are less likely to read long documents, presenting initiatives and business concepts is the next best thing. If you haven’t been paying attention in your speech course, it’s time to take notes!

2. Effective Communication Skills

Similar to the first point, effective communication skills will help you land that client, deal, or project. MBA graduates should refine their interpersonal and group communication skills to land a job in 2013. These skills show you’re personable and can work well with others. If you need to refine your communication skills, it’s time to start networking. Landing more networking meetings or conversations will help you refine those rusty communication skills and widen your professional network.

3. Ability To Read Your Audience

This skill may come with time and experience, but is important nonetheless in the business world. The ability to read your audience allows you to know when to move the conversation in a different direction, depending on nonverbal and verbal cues. If you’re bad with nonverbal cues and audience analysis, talk to some of your marketing professors in your MBA program to see what approaches they take in their business meetings to adjust the content or tone of a conversation.

4. Strategic Thinking

You might already have this skill from your MBA program curriculum, but make sure you show them off in a job interview. Strategic thinking skills speak to your ability to problem solve and think on your feet. If you have a hard time thinking outside of the box, reach out to a professor or mentor who you think is successful at demonstrating this skill. Invite them for coffee and gain some insight on their strategic thinking approach.

5. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are essential in positive career growth in the business world. These skills show that you take initiative, take responsibility, and think in the long and short term. While this isn’t a skill that’s easily acquired, you can start by volunteering to be the team leader on your next group project. If you’re interning somewhere, volunteer to spearhead a new project, even if you’re not comfortable with the work. You’ll soon find yourself using that leadership thumb, which will help you down the road in your career.

Don’t forget that soft skills should complement the technical skills gained in your MBA program. They differentiate your personality from other job candidates and show growth in any given business. The soft skills needed at one business may vary from what’s needed elsewhere, so use your best judgement based on the role you’re applying for.

Importance of a good CV

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When it comes to applying for a job, the first step we have to take is to complete an attractive Curriculum Vitae (also known as CV or vita) in order to make the recruiter feel interested in you. A CV is one of the most important job-search documents, this is why we must bear in mind several tips in order to make it worthy.
First of all, the importance of a well-written CV has to be always present in our mind. “A good CV won’t get you a job. But if it’s not good, it can cost you a job”.

The question then is: what makes a good Curriculum Vitae?
The essential thing when we are trying to create a good vita lies in its capacity to attract the recruiter’s attention in the shortest period of time, making him really want to meet you. You should sell yourself in the best manner so that the recruiter gets impressed just by having a brief look at your CV. According to Paul Bradley (chairman of Bradley CV’s, the professional CV writing service), the average recruiter only spends 20 to 30 seconds glancing at a CV, which means that you have to grab their attention very quickly indeed. If we are based on this fact, it would be a great idea to highlight what you have to offer at the very beginning of your vita, rather than hiding your main attractions at the end.
Once we know which are the main qualities a vita must have in order to be effective, we should also get familiarized with another concept that may not ring the bell so much: a resume.
Vitas and resumes both have similar purposes, as they are both documents that provide key information about your skills, experiences, education and personal qualities. But there is a difference related to their use, format and length. A CV tends to be used normally for scientific and teaching positions than a resume; this is why vitas usually provide great detail about academic and research experiences. “The CV provides a complete picture of your entire professional history while a resume is a list of transferable skills and accomplishments showing what you can do for the certain company”.
Now it is time we take into account our main and real purpose: which are the steps to follow in the creation of a profitable Curriculum Vitae; in fact, there is little agreement among experts about which are the principal ingredients of an effective CV and which order should they follow in it. 
CV summary. As mentioned before, one of the most important things that a vita should have to be successful is to catch the recruiter’s attention immediately. In the summary, you should paint a highly favourable picture of you and indicate your strengths which are relevant to the position you are applying for. Of course, this summary must be short, of no more than four or five lines of text, where you should highlight your key skills and attributes.
Major Achievements. In this part you should list three to six major achievements that must be directly related to the job you are applying for. You should analyse what the company is really looking for, and make them be sure that you are what they need.
Work experience (in case you have any). You should describe your previous positions, giving details of your responsibilities, skills attained and achievements in each of them. They have to be always in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. You should also concentrate more on your two most recent jobs, unless you think they are not relevant to the position you apply for or if they may show aspects you do not want to be known.
Education / Qualification. A list should be made, with all the educational details, dealing from the primary school until the most recent studies. You should give qualifications of secondary studies and university student record if required.
IT Skills / Training / Other skills. You should list your up-to-date IT skills, training and other skills such as language skills and typing speeds if relevant. IT skills has to do with everything related to computing knowledge, such as operating systems Windows 2000, XP), applications (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint), etc.
Personal Details. This should include your date of birth rather than age, driving licence if relevant, and other personal details that should be relevant (name and address, DNI, email, contact phone, etc.). Details such as marital status and nationality are optional.
Hobbies / Interests. They are not considered very important on a CV; however, they may show a some kind of extra information of your personal life that could be interesting for the recruiter.
References. Although there are some patterns of CV creation that do include references, these references do not generally need to be include on a vita unless you are specifically asked for.

Future Bschools

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 It is believed that the current management education business school model is outdated and that the value chain underlying this business model is being disaggregated by on-line for-profit providers, MOOCS, corporate universities and consulting firms with different product offerings in the business school competitive space.

We identify the presence of a dominant business school logic and considerable inertia in many business schools from the dominant paradigm – mainly derived from US models – of management education. This paradigm focuses on a set of core, and competing, disciplines and analytical approaches with a rigorous scientific focus.  This means that this curriculum is not well equipped to deliver integrated management education about the process and practice of management.

This paradigm has also been noticed for its appropriateness and relevance in the current turbulent environment. A number of commentators have pointed out that the  Financial sustainability of many business schools is under threat as a result of high fixed costs and lower demand.

Therefore, in addressing the future business schools must identify new, more innovative business models. Now may be an appropriate time to explore models which blend emergent educational technologies with more participative learning approaches.  Promising innovations in leading schools include integrating courses across academic disciplines, adopting cross faculty teams which balance analytical and behavioral approaches and promoting more applied, impactful research.