Good leaders usually know how to ask the right question at the right time and in the right way. Asking the right question at the right time is generally a function of the leader’s subject-matter expertise and ability to apply that knowledge to the situation. On the other hand, asking the question in the right way has more to do with interpersonal skills. Typically, the MBA curriculum emphasizes the development of subject-matter expertise to the exclusion of interpersonal skill development. This means MBAs may graduate with an understanding of what questions they need to ask but not know how to ask them in a way that is impactful and that helps differentiate their performance from that of their peers. With this dilemma in mind, I want to share with the MyeEMBA readers some of my thinking about what it takes to ask a value-added question.
MBA programs provide significant learning opportunities for students. Yet, not all MBA students graduate from their program having had the same learning experience as their peers. One explanation is that not all MBA students know what to do to have a quality learning experience – both in and out of the classroom. While there are many things MBA students can do to get more out of their programs, I think the following eight items are worthy of consideration.
Like many other MBAs, much of the work I do involves sharing files with other people. My favorite tool for this purpose is Dropbox. Recently, I observed that not all of the people with whom I am working, MBAs included are using Dropbox as effectively as they could. With this in mind, I thought I would focus this article on three Dropbox functions that I find beneficial, and when used properly can increase one’s effectiveness. In the following, I describe linking, version tracking and event viewing and illustrate how each can be useful and time saving.
If you want to be a business leader, then brush up on your writing skills, says Paul Danos in a recent interview for a Forbes.com article. Danos, Dean of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, the longest-serving dean at a top U.S. business school, explains his belief as follows:
1. In the age of new media, people don’t take the time to structure their thoughts into paragraphs and sentences for good communication.
2. In business, people really stand out if they are articulate, if they can actually write sentences and can get them presented properly.
The message for the aspiring MBA business leader – brushing up on your writing skills – can make a real difference in how others perceive your work. The good news is there are ways to improve one’s writing. In a previous MyeEMBA article, I described how to use technology to unlearn bad writing behavior. In this article, I want to describe another approach: hire an editor to help improve your written work.
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.