The MyeEMBA article, “Do MBA Students have the Mind Set to be Knowledge Workers?” generated a sizable number of comments on LinkedIn. One comment by Augustine Mayomi (TopMBA) wanted me to suggest ways a new MBA graduate could develop a knowledge-worker mindset. This article addresses Augustine’s request by identifying 10 things MBA graduates can do on their own to develop the mindsets that is necessary for their becoming knowledge workers. I regard these 10 as a starting point and invite the MyeEMBA readers to add their own suggestions in the comments section below.
I think the key to developing a knowledge-worker mindset starts with the understanding that, as Drucker put it, “In knowledge work, the task is not given; it has to be determined.” and, perhaps more importantly, task or problem determination requires thinking. While MBA students are predisposed to action, they need to learn that thinking before doing is critical to developing a knowledge-worker mindset. Furthermore, learning to think about task clarity and determining the task is an acquired skill that requires a lot of individual time and effort to develop. From an MBA student’s or a new MBA graduate’s perspective, understanding and developing new ways of thinking is what helps develop a knowledge-worker mindset. With this thought in mind, I suggest the following:
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While reading a recent article by Jeff Haden, “8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees” my thoughts turned to the qualities of remarkable MBA students. I took the liberty of reworking Jeff’s eight qualities, modifying his wording so it applied to MBA students and created new qualities and descriptions when his wording would not work. Furthermore, I realized while writing that an MBA faculty member’s list of qualities will likely differ from those found on an MBA student’s list. With this in mind, the following qualities are those that I think make an MBA student remarkable in the eyes of an MBA classmate, MBA peer, or MBA team member. Moreover, I see these eight qualities as a starting point. I invite the MyeEMBA readers to add to the list.
Great MBA peers are “reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, respectful, willing to share… they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities.” However, some are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on admission criteria but nonetheless make a major impact on the experiences of other MBA students.
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A Chronicle of Higher Education newsletter, Wired Campus (January 17, 2012) used the following question as a section title, “Are Your Students Prepared to Be the “Knowledge Workers” of Tomorrow?” This started me thinking about MBA students as “Knowledge Workers,” which in turn caused me to ask the following questions:
Are MBA students prepared to be the “Knowledge Workers” of tomorrow?
Are MBA students preparing themselves to be the “Knowledge Workers” of tomorrow?
Do MBA students have the “Mind Set” to be the “Knowledge Workers” of tomorrow?
Do MBA students even have the “Mind Set” to be “Knowledge Workers?”
I first learned of “Knowledge Workers” while reading Peter Drucker’s book, The Effective Executive (HarperBusiness, 1966). I since discovered that “Knowledge Work” and “Knowledge Workers” are concepts that permeate many of Drucker’s writings. Quoting from Drucker’s Post-Capitalist Society (HarperBusiness, 1993: p 85):
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A few months ago, I returned a written assignment to an MBA team of students. The assignment limited them to 10 pages of written content. Using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes Function, I think I made 130 or so comments on…
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