Typically, MBA students and alumni are introduced to philanthropy in either of three ways. One is when an alumnus makes a significant gift to the university and the act is highly publicized. Another is when the graduating class raises money that is then gifted to the MBA program in the class’s name. Finally, almost all graduates receive that annual letter or phone call asking them to support the annual fund-raising campaign by making a donation. While these activities serve a very useful purpose, they unfortunately target individuals who are paying large amounts of money toward tuition and fees or are trying to pay off student loans incurred while attending the program. Introductions of this nature do little to foster a spirit of helping to make the lives of others better which is what philanthropy is all about. Nor do they help establish a habit of giving. I believe an alternative approach is needed—one that engages MBA students and alumni in a way that adds very little financial pressure to their already stressed financial situations and allows them to see how their efforts can help make the lives of others better. Let me share with you a recent experience of mine to describe what I believe could be a viable alternative.
Ask any group of MBA students and they will tell you that they have too much to read. From their perspective, this may be true. However, from a faculty member’s perspective, there is always room on the syllabus for one more article or book chapter. Having too much to read may be a matter of perspective during the MBA program; however, after graduation, MBA students no longer have a faculty member selecting books and articles for them to read. Therefore, the burden of dealing with the crisis of too much to read becomes an issue for the individual MBA to address. Read the article to learn one approach to dealing with the crisis.
The purposeful action of enrolling in an MBA program can lead to unintended consequences or outcomes. Unintended or not, these outcomes can be a mixed bag – some positive, some negative, and some can even be perverse. Awareness on the part of MBA students can help mitigate the negative or perverse or leverage the positive. My purpose with this article is to increase MBA student awareness so they can better prepare for any unintended consequences of their enrollment in an MBA program.
The roles we play and our dedication to each should reflect what matters to us as individuals. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. More often than not, we find we are playing roles we did not select for ourselves or over time our roles and what matters to us changes. Perhaps of greater significance is that many of us incrementally add roles without taking into consideration the competing demands of our existing commitments. It is so easy to say yes to innocuous request such as serving on the church’s budget committee or mentoring a new hire. No matter the cause, the result is the same, a life where we subjugate roles that matter to those that matter less. MBA students often find themselves in this situation while concurrently pursuing their MBA degree, managing their career, and being supportive of their family. Proactively managing the roles one plays can help avoid this situation. Doing so starts by knowing what roles you are currently playing in your life.
Managers manage, leaders lead and problem solvers problem solve. In an organizational context, much of the work managers, leaders and problem solvers do relates to reacting to or preventing a failure of some kind. Couple this situation with the daily bombarding of bad news from multiple sources – newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet; and before long, we find ourselves focusing only on failures – the organizations’, co-workers’, family members’ and our own. Moreover, I believe that such focuses make us quick to criticize others, as well as ourselves. Self-criticism that focuses only on failures leads to an imbalance in the perception we have of ourselves, one that is more negative than positive. MBA students are not exempt from this imbalance and one way of balancing this perception is for them to develop a greater appreciation for their accomplishments.
Read the rest of the article to learn how to re-balance one’s perspective.
This month, I want to introduce you to a program that I recently learned about, The Best Year Yet (BYY). The BYY program is an extremely simple model or system that helps you set personal goals, tracks your progress toward achieving those goals and helps you produce the results you want. While many goal-setting programs in the marketplace purport to do these things, for various reasons many do not. Although, I am a new adopter of the BYY program, I can already see how it can benefit MBA students and MBA alumni. Let me explain by introducing you to BYY, discussing why I think MBAs will benefit from its use and what I like about BYY. Click on the title to view the complete article.