CEOs, organisational culture and MBAs

Recently, the Director of the Business School Christoph Loch wrote on his blog about Culture Clash and CEO leadership. styles.

It is an interesting article in light of what some of our alums told our students this week. The Careers team had organised an alumni panel for those interested in consulting careers. And while the alums represented the entire spectrum of consulting firms, one common thread was that consulting is a lifestyle and students have to understand the different cultures in each company. And it has to go beyond asking an alum what is the culture of the company but asking yourself whether you have a compatible set of values and then deciding whether you should apply to this company.

This mirrors our approach when we speak to employers. Beyond the transactional issues that we discuss such as application processes, we spend time understanding what is the DNA of the company. This helps my team to advise our MBAs when they ask us whether they area good fit for various companies.

The other aspect which Christoph also touched on in his blog is whether CEOs influence organisational culture or whether the organisation appoints a CEO who has compatible cultural DNA. This got me thinking about the types of students we admit. Because the school has a strong collaborative ethos, with an emphasis on cross-functional learning, that it is not surprising that we have a student body that mirrors those qualities. It would be interesting to see whether this means that our alums tend to work in companies who prize these qualities, and not in organisations that Christoph describes as mercenary.

Combining Careers and Admissions and Marketing

This summer, the Cambridge MBA team underwent a reorganisation that saw the Marketing, Admissions and Careers functions come under my supervision. Within the Careers team, we have beefed up the employer relations and business development side so that we can increase our outreach to employers with two objectives, one to better understand employer talent needsContinue Reading

The China wave

Two CJBS faculty members recently wrote a paper on how Chinese companies were innovating faster than their Western competitors by focusing on the speed of R&D instead of quality. Their paper has gained considerable attention and was featured in a recent Economist article. I attended a recent alumni dinner in Hong Kong where Eden Yin,Continue Reading

TOEFL, admissions, visas.

We have reversed a decision made three months ago regarding acceptance of TOEFL as a means of demonstrating English proficiency. We are essentially accepting TOEFL again. This U-turn is the result of the confusion that sudden changes to the visa regime can create. Here is the sequence of events. Earlier this year, a TV programmeContinue Reading

When rankings get mixed with commercial concerns

I’ve recently sent in the inputs needed for the Business Week MBA survey and although the results won’t be published for several months, there has already been some controversy. I won’t go into all the details but there were several questions in the student survey that some felt were inappropriate and offensive. There were questionsContinue Reading

Women are not the problem.

Last week, the Women in Business Special Interest Group (SIG) organised a talk by Smaranda Gosa-Mensing, Professional Development Manager and Head of Learning UK at McKinsey. She talked about McKinsey’s Centered Leadership model and how it can apply to individuals and organisations. You can hear a podcast that two of our MBAs did with Smaranda,Continue Reading

What’s next after advertising and content

[slideshare id=31932443&doc=frackingthesocialweb-march2014-140305040829-phpapp02] I have been away for the past month in a combination of work-related and holiday travels. I personally find this time out of the office useful to take stock of what we have been doing and what changes in direction we might have to take. It was in one of the many artisanal cafes thatContinue Reading

Dominant paradigms in MBA programmes

Last week, I listened to the BBC Radio 4 programme the Bottom Line where the host discusses topical business issues with some guests. I have never tuned into this programme before and the only reason I did on this occasion was because our Head of PR told me that the topic would be business schools.Continue Reading