Research recently published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal, by Beth Benjamin and Charles O’Reilly of Stanford University, shares the experiences of MBA graduates as they transition into the business leadership roles that they have been working towards.
The research indicates a high degree of personal change is required to make this transition successfully and that programmes could do more to help their candidates prepare for life after an MBA.
The themes themselves are pretty consistent with the leadership transitions literature such as the Leadership Pipeline (Charan et al.) and ‘maturity’ themed leadership development models such as Torbert’s Leadership Development Framework; such as changing mind-set to value and skills to deal with the social dimension, managing people with a broader range of interests and motivations than ‘business excellence’ and being concerned with stewardship of something greater over one’s own personal achievement.
The implication of this is that perhaps MBAs might need to focus less on the intellectual and technical ‘what’ of business management and do more to prepare candidates for ‘how’ of business leadership.
Benjamin, B., & O’Reilly, C. (2011). Becoming a Leader: Early Career Challenges Faced by MBA Graduates The Academy of Management Learning and Education, 10 (3), 452-472
Charam, R., Drotter, S., and Noel, J. (2001). The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company. Jossey-Bass.
Torbert, W. (2004). ACTION INQUIRY The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership. Berrett-Koehler Publishers