Article Review 1

Article – http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/simmonsb/badm720/wsjmbaskills.pdf

In this article, Ronald Alsop describes various soft skills that are required for success in business but are not necessarily addressed in MBA programs.  He identifies several skills such as intrapersonal, communication, writing, listening, and leadership skills.  He also talks about the importance of ethics.  The good news in the article is that some MBA schools are starting to put more emphasis on these skills.

When I started working at Boeing, all the engineers were required to take four weeks of orientation training.  Two weeks were spent in a classroom learning the office side of the company and two weeks were spent in a shop learning how to build airplanes.  The most frequent question was, “How does one move up in the company?”  I realized at some point that the answer should have been, “If I knew, I wouldn’t be teaching this class.”  Later, it became apparent that all of the skills mentioned in this article are the requirements for moving up the corporate ladder.  There are other factors, such as luck and who knows who, but without these basic skills, it is difficult to make it very far. 

Networking and achieving success is about connecting with people on a personal level.  Communication (speaking, listening, writing) is essential because it is difficult to connect with others if one cannot communicate.  Ethical behavior is also required if one is to establish a base of trust and respect in order then to build an effective organization.  Leadership grows out of these other skills and allows one to guide an organization in the desired direction.

Article: How To Get Hired – http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/simmonsb/badm720/wsjrecruiterwants.doc

In another article about soft skills, Ronald Alsop talks about soft skills and interviews.  He describes what interviewers are looking for and what MBA candidates usually deliver and there is a disconnect.  Companies are looking for candidates who present themselves professionally and communicate effectively.  They are also looking for candidates who have the right answers with the right personality.  Many candidates fail on both these points.

Everyone has weaknesses and in some job markets these weaknesses can be overlooked.  When it comes to the bottom line, companies need certain skills and they will make compromises if necessary to get those skills.  In the past, companies needing MBA skills might overlook arrogance and lack of presentation skills, however the current market is more selective.

What Alsop is pointing out is that there are consistent weaknesses exhibited in MBA interviewees and these weaknesses are not going to cut it in the current market.  I think this article can be summed up by saying that companies are looking for MBA skills and decent people.

Article: Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winner 2004 – http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/simmonsb/badm720/mbna2004.pdf

This article identifies the Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business as the 2004 award winner.  It enumerates the many statistics that show the college deserves the award, but more interesting is why the college deserves the award.

The award being for quality, it is not surprising that the college uses continuous improvement techniques such as key performance indicators and good use of feedback from faculty and students.  This award is a good example of how quality techniques can work for more than pure manufacturing organizations.

Besides quality, the college focuses on three principles: high-touch, wide tech, and professional depth.  These principles focus on communication, technology and knowledge to produce a first-rate product.  If any business would adopt these three principles, it would certainly gain an immediate edge in its market.

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Explore posts in the same categories: BADM 720 - Organizational Behavior

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