Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MBA Propheteer #5: MBA Career Development for the Global Free Agent Economy

MBA Propheteer #5: MBA Career Development for the Global Free Agent Economy

The global workplace radically shifted over a short time period.  The following facts challenge our traditional conception of a professional job:
·         Managers at many large corporations no longer have offices.  When they are not traveling for business, they work from home or “hot desk” from a communal office space in a regional corporate center on days when face-to-face meetings are required. 

·         More and more companies hire managers on a project basis for assignments typically lasting six to twenty-four months.  Once the project winds down, the manager must market herself to find another project assignment or otherwise leave the company.  

·         Managers often work in virtual global teams where authority is horizontal.  In such environments, a manager might report to multiple bosses some of whom they never meet in person.  For one reporting line, the average tenure of a boss may be only a few months. 

·         Among many Millennial managers, the piety of corporate loyalty is laughable.  Dishing back decades of corporate policies that treated workers like commodities, Millennials now treat employers like commodities by refusing to lead their parent’s uni-dimensional life of constant work that is personally unfulfilling.  En masse non-compliance with old policies places X-generation and Baby Boomer bosses on defense and forces a change in organizational culture.  Many Millenial managers see self-employment as a viable and competitive alternative to a current employer. 

·         Competition for professional jobs is global.  U.S. managers must compete with their colleagues from abroad who often benefit from superior technical training.  U.S. companies do not hesitate to incur the fixed cost of sponsoring an H1B visa for intelligent foreign candidates who adapt well. 

These facts describe a new global free agent economy.  This requires a shift in the mindset of how we serve the career needs of MBA students.  Embracement of variance, mobility, customization, off-campus recruiting and a heightened sense of self-interest and social mission among students must replace a traditionally narrow emphasis on homogeneity, vertical movement through an organization, on-campus recruiting, and socialization of students for corporate compliance.  MBA programs that meet Millenials where they are in their personal vision will win in the market place.  This is our mission in the Kelley School online MBA program as we build our new professional development curriculum PROPEL.