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Accounting      Consumer Behavior      Economics       Finance Management         Human values in organizations

Discussion of my Career/Life Vision

I have two dreams: first is not to lose what I already have, second- to receive what I deserve. At first glance they are too simple, or even primitive, some may complain they reflect passive style of life, inability to compete, fear of difficulties, etc. Yes, its true, but not at all. I do not want to lose health or family happiness in career race, but I also do not want to be a smart gay, who deserves better, looking at others, making money or career. This make me aggressive and vigorous: if I see goal and road to it, I do not want recognize obstacles. How may some problems in MBA courses be obstacles in my career ? Any course was created by human, they were taken by thousands of students and any knowledge is just a combination of recorded words and signs. Such simplification is a great tool to understand life in its all complexity and perfection. This gave me a tool to create personal mission statement: To receive what I deserve and to give back what I can. This includes everything: hard work toward obtainable goal, enjoy of everyday life, care about others. This also includes a proper evaluation of my abilities and life vision in future.

It is both hard and easy to project own life in years. Its hard because only God can do that: just recall recent tragedy in USA, by centuries living in a peace country, when thousands of people were killed in planned military operation. Nevertheless, life planning is easy. Easy, because some assumptions remain taken-for-granted. These are health and family happiness; I really hope not to face with the problem of choice between life and job. The only thing to plan is career: I see myself as a business analyst or consultant in a leading company like McKinsey or BCG. I will fulfil different project in different fields and locations; my career growth will be indicated mainly with the increasing difficulty of a project and amount of salary. All other preferences lies somewhere beyond: whether they are geographic, organizational (type of organization, its growing ) or personal (work alone or in a team, type of supervisor).

Am I ready for this career ? Whether my values, inner harmony, family happiness, recognition, would confront with selected career path Or maybe, they will help me to clarify necessary steps in reaching long and short term goals ?

Lets look at my results in Career Orientation Inventory from Career anchors by Edgar H. Schein. Even inexperienced eye could recognize my career orientation: independence. Three anchors which match this criteria have very close values: Autonomy, Entrepreneurial Creativity and Lifestyle. Unfortunately, I cant employ the last anchor, because still have to follow already existing rules; hope that it will be possible in future. The first and the second, nevertheless, really belong to me. Some might argue that I have to find unique, one career anchor, but if all of us would be concerned only with results in theoretical researches, without taking into consideration real life, these results will be useless. The most important for me in finding close career anchors is an opportunity to establish place for maneuvers: from relatively independent work for a big company to own business, to lifestyle, may be again to a company.

Best confirmation of this point of view is my past experience: I started as a scientist, developing own dissertation (A), later when economic conditions in Ukraine made it difficult to provide scientific researches, I created own business, which is still successful (EC); and finally I worked and studied business at one of the biggest Ukrainian companies. You may argue: why do not concentrate at one direction ? But I feel potential to apply more effectively, for example, Entrepreneurial Creativity, after study in IMC.

Moreover, it may seem questionable, but these career anchors reflect my personal values too. Independence on a job or working in own business to a certain degree mean that a person separate himself from surroundings. I am also separating myself, choosing very private values: Inner Harmony and Family. Yet to a certain degree ! I still need society, people, communication, friends, work in a team, work for charity I need Recognition.

Lets look through McKinseys career leaflet: Problem Solving Ability, Aspirations, Leadership, are essential qualities, necessary for potential employee. Can I work for this company with my career anchors ? I think, I must. This conclusion seems very simple now, but without serious analysis it would remain somewhere in the field of abstract ideas. It doesnt mean that I would not go by above mentioned way, but knowledge why your choice is right is sometimes even more important than the choice itself. By definition of Michael Williams, in his Career planning article, I am at the very important stage of career path, because I decided to change beliefs, assumptions and perceptions about roles, jobs, work itself and to make a crucial move, around the age of 35, which may have far-reaching consequences for the rate of climb to the peak , the level of the peak itself and possible subsequent stages. This established an additional evidence for correctness of my direction: to explore new career opportunities with existing experience, knowledge, skills and proper evaluation of own values.

Two interviews were conducted during the semester, both with McKinseys employees, first with Bruno Parkinson, Business Analyst at Paris office and second with Mr. Nikolai Marino, Partner at companys Kuala Lumpur office. Because the final goal was to receive information related to future career, but not someones particular opinion, heres the outline of two these interview together.

Bruno Parkinson An engineer by training, Bruno served as CEO of a midsize construction company before coming on board in McKinsey's Paris office. Building on his experience with clients in banking and other industries, Bruno quickly joined the inner circle of experts in European postmerger management. He is known for teaming up with McKinsey colleagues around the world to enhance client service. He has strong analytical style of thinking and I believe that he prefers task oriented projects.

Because I am first year student, I still can plan education. Selecting of most marketable specialization requires an outside advice.

1. Which specialization is preferable for the company ? Which directions of self development to be chosen ? E.g. financial analysis, web promotion, e-business, engineering, etc.

Answers summary. One of the most demanded skills in consulting firms is SAP programming ability. SAP is a software package for integrating financial, HR and accounting transactions. It is also essential to be really good in a certain field.

What I learned. I will combine my experience and engineering education with financial concentration in IMC: may be its a way to be marketable in two or more fields.

We are studying a team work in MAD classes, how they are related to life ? I am novice in a company. What could be my place in a team, what I should be ready for ?

2. Give me examples of a team work both in early and later stages of Your career, Your roles and participation in a team ?

Answers summary. He does a lot of coordinating and communicating with both the clients and the rest of the team, and delegates responsibilities to analysts and less senior consultants.

What I learned Team work is unavoidable part of job. Because I am individualist, I must learn how to work in collective.

Almost all companies underline importance of creativeness, leadership, etc. What does it mean in reality ? How can I evaluate my brightness ?

3. Does something except qualification, necessary for a career in the company ? I mean if a person is a TOP-100 MBA holder, does it sufficient for Your HRM dept.? Or I should evaluate my abilities

Answers summary. One must have strong analytical skills. Quantitative skills especially are a big asset, as there is less of a need in consulting for purely qualitative analysis. One must like to learn and work hard, and be able to think fast. Above all, interpersonal skills- especially with clients.

What I learned Its difficult to demonstrate all above mentioned abilities to potential employer, so I have to develop the last one, interpersonal skills: to be able to sell myself. I have to learn how to persuade employer by resume, CV, in interview.

Looking for advantages in a job market includes also non academic approaches. Which exactly ?

4. How did You rich that position, should I make specific contacts with companys HRM Dept.

Answers summary. Its even necessary to know name of a person, who will read you resume. He got job through on-campus recruiting.

What I learned I will not make mass resume mailings, but will concentrate on the area of interests and learn about particular company, before applying for a job.


Mr. Nikolai Marino, Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Kiel in Germany, Nikolai has done client service for McKinsey in Milan, Mumbai, is a member of Kuala Lumpur office. This person has already reached a significant success in a career, and his answers are practical and relevant.

World today is really small, and recent graduate has to find not only right position, but even also right region.

5. If I work in Moscow office, would I take part in companys international projects ? Give me examples. Tell me about geographic distribution of companys activities: most, least important, profitable or perspective regions; where could I work with my WSOM degree and education ?

Answers summary. Asia is rapidly developing, McKinseys team made a big project in Shanghai and Kuala-Lumpur, but clients are found everywhere.

What I learned I may work in different parts of the word, where my skills will be in demand, so the task is to make them portable.

All of us have different experience, opinions; what I should be ready for ?

6. From Your point of view, what was most difficult on different stages of Your career ? In which fields, e. g.: low professional level of team members or governmental restrictions ? Give me examples.

Answers summary. Beginning of career was the most difficult, when he consulted to Sperry & Hutchinson Green Stamps as McKinsey engagement manager. The owner of company was not interested in services, but job should be done, otherwise he wouldnt receive salary. And he persuaded client. Most valuable experience: never tell client you need that job, but client needs that job done by you. Travelling a lot is still difficulty.

What I learned Always be self confident and persuasive, regardless of situation, do not expect from job permanent successes and rewards.

Start is always complicated task. How to make it most effective for me ?

7. What position should I apply first ?

Answers summary. Read requirements and weight own abilities. Companies rarely offer middle management positions right after school.

What I learned To be ready to work in low position, if it will lead to future career growth. To look for positions which match my skills and knowledge.

I know what I want now, but what I would want in years, assuming that I am already McKinseys employee ? Does his desires relate to my values ?

8. What aspirations do you have for yourself over the next 5 or so years professionally and personally?

Answers summary. Someday I hope to use what I have learned to start my own business, perhaps in low-tech manufacturing or in software or Internet services.

What I learned Many people dream about own business, working on multinational company. If I want also to start own company, its simply an indicator of entrepreneurial creativity.

Summary of interviews. I received confirmation that my career aspiration may be realized, if Ill make maximum efforts in self promotion. It means that I already have necessary skills and will obtain other during education at IMC, but, while interviewed persons were offered job at campus, I must look for employment in my own. This search will not be easy, because my former specialization (engineering and entrepreneurship) are too narrow and my future concentration (finance, without work experience) is too weak for a job in a leading consulting company. The perspective, however is good, because individuals who see business as a whole, are also in demand.

Discussion of my Strategy to Develop my Abilities

The reasons, why I have chosen following abilities: negotiating and persuasiveness as the most important for achieving my career goal are simple:

- first of all, they are closely related, therefore developing one ability, to the certain extent I will develop other.

- It is possible to develop them everyday and be sure about the reached level. For example: education in business school is a perfect opportunity to do that, while particular fails (in negotiating topic of a project, persuading someone in own point of view) do not influence overall performance. In real life, however, failing to sign a contract leads to negative circumstances.

- All my life will depend on these abilities: whether I will work or talk to children, apply for a new job or discussing current political situation in country.

- My current levels in negotiating and persuasiveness are really low and should be improved.

In addition, because of my style of thinking, I can easily obtain concrete knowledge, evaluate situation and implement solution, but work with people requires much bigger efforts. I understand that consulting companies like McKinsey require ability to manage collective, and this should also be my learning priority. However, in my experience, group management required mainly abilities to understand feelings of collective and direct its effort toward common goal. This can also be interpreted as skills in negotiating and persuasiveness.

Developing of skills in negotiating and persuasiveness will be done simultaneously in different directions:

- In everyday communication, discussing social, political, business cases with classmates. This include artificial stimulation of negotiating a certain problem and persuading ( or not) in own point of view, casual conversations at different topics, even not related to education or business.

- Careful study of situations, where people demonstrated (or not) ability to negotiate and persuade one another. This include political news (for example, Israel- Palestinian problem), business cases, historical precedents.

- Learning from others, looking how they demonstrated these abilities in everyday life. ( for example, from Mr. Marer, both in lectures and presentations)

- Receiving feedback from professionals in IMC and elsewhere.

- Predicting situations, where these abilities should be demonstrated and preparing for them. For example: to persuade employer in my skills and qualification, I should demonstrate proficiency not only in basics, but also in companys business: its products, financial situation, etc. Information about partner in negotiations will always increase probability of success. This strategy is one of the most complicated and includes development of related skills: in planning, in pattern recognition, in efficiency orientation, in oral communication, etc.

Generally, I cant separate development of my high priority abilities from action steps in reaching career goals, because they fulfil the same function: moving forward. Of course, for reaching certain goals I will have to employ quite different skills, for example, one must complain that for building business network I need networking skills, empathy; for obtaining proficiency in finance- system thinking, attention to detail, etc. But receiving knowledge or qualification, making business are impossible in total isolation from people, without negotiating. It means that I will have to develop this skill, regardless of content of learning plan. It is even more useful in my learning plan to create opportunity for developing related skills, (which were mentioned above: networking, attention to detail, etc., ) while the most important to leave aside, for separate work. The reason is simple: to see current level, to understand strategy and to control development. For example, working at creating own business network, I may also separately analyze how good was I in negotiating with people, how effective was my persuasiveness. It is very important to understand that high priority ability must be developed accordingly to certain plan or schedule, every day or moment. It means that I should not to look for opportunities in learning plan to work at persuasiveness, but I should create these opportunities, implementing goals and sub-goals. Otherwise it makes no sense. For example: one may site: My high priority ability is networking skill and my sub-goal is creating business network. Its a great opportunity in learning plan for self development. No, you may fail in both. Why ? How can You create something real lacking necessary specialty?

I plan also to be elected in Ukrainian Parliament. In this case it is even impossible to separate process of reaching this goal from developing abilities in negotiating and persuasiveness.

Learning Strategy for Achieving Goals and Sub-Goals.

According to Learning Style Inventory I prefer Abstract Conceptualization as a learning mode and my learning style is Converger. I find these descriptions correct and these learning styles appropriate for my education in business school. Somebody may complain that in studies I need to be sensitive to peoples feelings, commit myself to objectives, organize informationIn general- to develop Accomodator, Diverger, Assimilator learning styles. Theoretically its true, but in practice, Converger is an excellent style for receiving a good grade. Unfortunately, life after graduation is expected to be more complicated. I am going to be a business consultant and this profession requires complex approach. My great weaknesses are Reflective Observation and Concrete Experience: styles which require development of personal and interpersonal skills. These skills however, are essential in consulting: understanding client, recognizing problem, being a leader. This means that in business school I have to focus not only on pure educational process (attending lectures, making projects, preparing for exams), but also on improving own learning style, trying to do it more balanced. This is rather complicated task, because of the reason mentioned above (Converger is quite good for academic study), but I understand, that I will have to bring into company not only my diploma and qualification, but also ability to learn in different situations and from different sources.

Adaptive Style Inventory shows similar results, indicating my Abstract Conceptualizations mode, which is also prevalent in different learning situations: in acting, deciding, valuing and thinking. This is both frustrating and stimulating sign for me. Frustrating, because I really do not act appropriately in those situations; stimulating, because I understand own strengths and can build learning style on them. I can learn to communicate ideas more effectively by associating with people-oriented individuals, like Divergers; to experiment actively and take risks,- from Accomodators, etc.

I believe that Convergers are the bests in reaching planned goal. They are strong in problem-solving, decision making and deductive reasoning. For establishing concrete action steps and their gradual implementation these features are most important. But learning cycle consists not only from Abstract Conceptualization; working on my goals, I will also develop learning style. For example, creating business network requires learning by doing and by listening: carefully observing, understanding and influencing people. On the other hand, I will also rely on my strength in learning by thinking, acquiring new knowledge and specialization in finance. Because my career goals are rather complex: to reach a reasonable position in leading consulting company and to obtain political power in my country, my learning style will be developing together with completion of certain action steps. While this stage of my career requires Abstract Conceptualizations skills, other stages will require also Concrete Experience, Reflective Observation and Active Experimentation. This means that I receive another opportunity to develop learning style from necessity to reach a concrete goal.



Making final decision about my learning style is similar to plan goals and sub-goals in 5 years: it is appropriate today, but should be moved into direction of Active Experimentation at second year of studies (looking for an internship, job), into Concrete Experience at the first year of work, Reflective Observation in five years. This, however does not mean that I will be changing learning style during all these periods, I will rather rely on such my strong abilities as logical thinking, systematic planning, intellectual understanding of situation in developing particular and appropriate in current situation learning style. How will I decide whether certain style fits to certain situation ? Employing Abstract Conceptualization.

 

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