Things they are a-changing, when it comes to talking about formerly ‘tested-and-true’ methods for achieving success on the job. You may think that an MBA is essentially a fast track to a great career as an entrepreneur. You may think that knowing all about social media, hashtags, and online communities is all you need to be a good communicator. If you do, think again. The media is reporting on several major changes in the work field.
The phone still works!
According to a recently published news story from The Wall Street Journal, many employers in various fields are having quite a hard time, getting their younger staff members to use some of the more ‘traditional’ methods for sealing a sale. In other words, while young employees are as tech-savvy as they come these days, they’re disregarding the importance of classic means of communications, such as—the good old telephone. Bosses report that they have noticed a growing trend among the so-called Millennial Generation (i.e. those born as early as 1981). They are virtually married to their smartphones and other complex mobile devices, yet they will avoid making a simple call to a great extent. Many seem to favor sending emails and communicating in writing, which is not a problem in and of itself. Sometimes, however, it’s bad for business to put off making that one important call to the client, or to the potential new business lead.
Not only will a missed phone call result in not closing a sale, but according to some managers it will also make for less desirable employees. Avoiding to communicate through traditional methods such as the phone seems to have negative effects on creativity, too. To boot, it can also end in missed deadlines, in certain industries. The same article mentioned above speaks of fields in which emailing, instant messaging, or video conferences might make more sense – marketing is one example in this direction. However, such strategies rarely cut it in sales. This, in turn, has prompted the emergence of a new trend in professional training. Several companies now contract phone-use consultants, whose job is to literally educate staff members in the importance of phone usage. Employees are expected to monitor and report their use of the phone and follow a script whenever they leave a voice message.
Has the MBA become obsolete?
MBAs have come in for a lot of debate in recent years and many chalk up the controversy to the global financial crisis. The much-maligned 1 per cent largely hailed from a top business school environment. By association, their model of doing business has come to be perceived as outdated. And while not all experts agree that MBAs have become completely useless overnight, there is a lot to be said about how the graduate business school mentality needs to be updated to current social and economic realities.
There are several reasons that mainstream media cites to support this need for change:
- Student loan debt in the United States has skyrocketed over the past two decades. Universities have increased their tuition fees five times faster than the rise in inflation. This is why, at the moment, student loan debt exceeds the level of credit card debt. MBAs make no exception to this rule: they are expensive and students across the world are protesting against this reality.
- Asia is coming in strong on GMATs. 30 per cent of all such exams taken last year were taken by Asians and most of them were under 25. Needless to say, they are not going in for two-year MBA programs, but for one year fast track programs, specialized masters, or, conversely, part time programs which also allow students to work on their career hands-on.
- The Internet is making the information previously available in such programs more accessible to anyone around the world. Many of America’s top schools now offer some of their courses as MOOCs – massive online open courses. While this doesn’t mean they will stay free forever, these courses do pose a threat to the more traditional MBA program, which requires actual on-campus presence.
At the moment, it is difficult to tell the future of the MBA, but one thing is for sure. If these programs, which offer the promise of raising entrepreneurs for the future, want to succeed, they need to adapt their own requirements to that same kind of innovative mind frame they ask of their candidates.