Can Current MBA Students Take Over the Business World?

When I look around at my fellow CSUF MBA classmates, I sometimes wonder which of them will become business executives and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Stanley Bing is a Fortune Magazine writer who this week published a tongue-in-cheek article titled “B-School Confidential” – it takes a look at millennials and asks whether the current crop of MBA graduates will be prepared to lead global Fortune 500 organizations.  He identified nine character traits (he couldn’t think of a tenth) that he believes describe the millennial generation.  Some of Mr. Bing’s descriptions of millennials include:

  • They have short attention spans.
  • They seem to believe that they are the first to know anything on any subject.
  • They want to know what’s in it for them, and how much money they can make in the short-term.
  • They are impatient with the pace of progress.
  • They’re subject to the whims and vagaries of every passing fancy in technology, management, and finance.
  • They don’t have any loyalty.
  • They believe business is a rational occupation, subject to rules they pick up in their reading.
  • They are smart, attractive, and likable, and secretly believe that they will succeed on their good looks and charm.

Mr. Bing’s article paints a picture of millennials that is less than flattering.  But I will admit, as a millennial myself, I agree with a couple of his assessments (however serious they may or may not be).  More so than any of the above items though, I personally worry about my generation’s ability to carry on meaningful conversations.  When I say meaningful conversations I mean those in which both people are actively listening to what the other person is saying, and are providing responses and input based on the topics currently being discussed.  I can’t describe how many times I’ve witnessed my peers (and I’m guilty of this myself) either talking about something completely unrelated to the topic at hand or waiting for someone to finish before just jumping in with whatever two sense they want to share.  The latter situation seems worse to me, because often I can tell the other person isn’t even listening – they are thinking about what they want to say next and then strike when there’s a pause in the conversation.

This is dangerous for potential future business leaders.  Business revolves around relationships and conversations – those with customers, employees, peers, suppliers, regulators, etc.  If individuals cannot conduct meaningful conversations, or even listen actively when another person is talking, how can they be expected to grow and nurture the relationships that are so important to business success?

Do you think Mr. Bing’s tongue-in-cheek criticisms were accurate, or was he way off base?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Finally, here is an article I read this week that I found interesting:

“Student Consultants Give Businesses New Insights” – This article from CSUF’s business blog describes some of the consulting work senior undergraduate and MBA students do for Orange County small businesses.  This was one of CSUF’s major draws for me, and I’m looking forward to my opportunities to work with local businesses.

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