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B-schools under fire.

It's odd how CEOs complain about MBA types yet their own companies continue to buy the product. Could business chiefs and business school deans have two different conceptions of the necessary skills for future managers? CE brought the two groups together for a frank and at times contentious exchange.

Somewhat late in the game, business schools are finding they are businesses themselves. What's worse, their ultimate customers--corporations and the CEOs who head them--are not at all pleased with the product they have been turning out. With the M&A activity of the 1980s having all but disappeared and the financial services sector continuing to wither, the demand for finance and accounting specialists, long the B-schools' flagship product, is declining. Instead, businesses are clamoring for "hands-on" specialists equipped to fill slots in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and human resources. Also deemed critical are "softer" teamwork and communications skills, along with negotiating and planning capabilities.

Many CEO roundtable attendees say they prefer to fill their needs by sending managers already on staff to one of the thousands of "executive education" programs that have sprung up. Most of these are taught at night or on weekends to accommodate working professionals. Small-business CEOs have forsaken the full-time MBA programs altogether as a source of talent. And the specialty of B-schools--research--seems to be little valued by corporate chieftains.

Though critical in the extreme, consider this assessment of a prestigious American school by Henry Mintzberg, professor of management at Canada's McGill University: "The Harvard Business School has ruined more companies than all of the Japanese companies put together." Implied: Schools outside the U.S. are generally more capable at tailoring their programs to the needs of corporations. Britain's Henley Management College, for example, runs MBA programs for consortia and individual clients such as Royal Dutch/Shell. In line with another MBA trend, Shell has created its own executive education program, considered by many to be the best of its kind. Nokia Group, Finland's telecom giant, offers an executive training program to which other European firms send their own talent.

While acknowledging the need for substantial change, B-school deans say the disparities between the supply and demand for their product are also partly the fault of CEOs, who often send mixed signals to campuses. For one thing, the academics note, CEOs continue to hire MBAs in substantial numbers despite their complaints. Moreover, the entry-level salaries of financial executives continue to outstrip those of operations managers.

But there's another factor at work: the hiring clout of corporate recruiters and middle managers who are firmly entrenched in their positions. "I've briefed my human resources executives on the skills critical to our company," one CEO laments. "Yet they continue to hire the same people in the same way. In effect, they're saying, 'We know better than you.'" The upshot: Chief executives need to be firmer in making sure their instructions are carried out or to understand better what their organization really needs.

On the flip side, MBA programs also have come under criticism for a "ready, fire, aim" approach to curriculum development. Consider the attempt to introduce soft skills courses by Case Western Reserve's Weatherhead School. After deciding to offer a package of 22 skills, the school asked human resources vice presidents, CEOs, and its students and faculty to list the skills they valued most.

"Ideally, the clusters would overlap," says Scott Cowen, dean and professor of accounting at the school. "In reality, they rarely touched at all."

Would an established manufacturer launch a product without first attempting to sound out its customers? In an era when vendors are climbing in bed with suppliers and companies increasingly rely on cross-functional teams to move ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace, the message is clear: B-schools must extend their antennae and work harder to customize their product. Those that don't--or don't do so quickly enough--are doomed to failure.

"There are over 600 B-schools in the U.S.," says Harry L. Davis, deputy dean at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. "In 10 years, I think there will be 500. We have overbuilt relative to demand. Many schools will continue to have a tough time filling their seats in the future."

It's apparent that the MBA as we've known it is headed for significant change. Management education in the future will be less academic, more tailored to specific industry concerns, and will be conducted closer to the company over shorter periods integrated with career development. "I'm looking for people who can add real value," says Scott Fetzer's Ralph Schey. "That means people who create products or services or those who can sell them. If it means hiring a drama school graduate to do that, so be it."


Jack F. Reichert (Brunswick Corp.): In today's increasingly global business world, many CEOs find MBA students are not prepared to move into the corporate world and do the jobs that are expected of them. Too often, the MBA graduate doesn't understand who his customer is. His customer is the company that hires him, the company that is the end user of his product or service--the knowledge and expertise he brings to the business.

Let's look at the situation from the customer's, or company's, point of view. In the past, business schools developed people to be financiers and control artists. These employees are not creators of wealth; they're preservers of wealth. They put the control mechanisms in place, and they finance the business. On the other side are the people in the operating division--the ones who design, make, sell, and service things--they create wealth.

MBAs rarely are put into this side of the business. Instead, companies stash the best and brightest MBA graduates in the wrong places--accounting and finance departments--because business schools don't prepare them to work in the wealth-producing areas. Try to tell an MBA you want him to go out and sell products or hit the factory floor and see what happens.

Sometimes MBA talent is wasted. Take the S&L debacle. This was a disaster for the financial community. The government is still bailing out banks and savings and loans institutions that had engaged in ill-advised transactions. And who gives the advice to mop up the mess? People graduating from business schools!

Another problem is that MBA graduates seek the biggest opportunities. From the private sector standpoint, look at the salary difference between entry-level manufacturers and entry-level finance people. Why wouldn't you go into investment banking at a certain salary instead of going out on the shop floor at 75 percent of that amount of money?

Lawrence W. Leighton (UI USA): That is true, but look at the reason behind the salary difference. During the mid-1970s and the 1980s, the greatest growth in the economy was in investment banking and the financial area. During that time, few industrial companies matched the profits and growth of firms such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. As MBAs in this era, students were trained to maximize profits, to look to where the growth is, and to go to work there.

However, as our economy changes and financial industries don't grow as much, my guess would be that the MBA graduates will rush to growing companies such as Microsoft.

Reichert: We have to teach students that we recognize we must upgrade the engineering, manufacturing, and marketing levels of our companies, and not just take all of these so-called smart MBAs and put them into the control and finance positions.

Alan G. Merten (Johnson School, Cornell University): When we talk to people at your level in manufacturing companies, they say they are interested in hiring people who want to make things. We go home from these luncheons all pumped up. And then the recruiters come to campus and send a different signal: The salaries of people who go into the finance or marketing departments of manufacturing companies will be much higher than the ones who want to "get their hands dirty."

There is a communication problem between business and academia. We need to know how to get more MBA students trained to be interested in making things, and we need to find out how to ensure that you hire these people.

Robert W. Lear (Columbia Business School): In the past, none of the students wanted to be a horse. They all wanted to be jockeys and bookies. They wanted to finance the racetrack.

This situation is slowly starting to change. Some students want to be horses. We are trying to change the curriculum to accommodate them, but it's difficult. The curriculum cannot change as fast as the students would like it to.

William J. White (Bell & Howell): That may be so, but my experience has been that many MBAs don't want to work as salespeople or factory people. When we do find one who wants to do so, we can't afford to bring him into our system, because he will screw up our compensation program if we try to match his other offers.

So we fall back on hiring people with bachelor's degrees, seeing if they have people skills, and sending them to MBA programs. We probably send more employees to Kellogg-sponsored programs than we hire MBAs coming out of graduate schools.

If we could be sure the MBAs from full-time programs had the people, management, and motivational skills--instead of just the financial and analytical skills--we could take more chances. If you make a mistake with a high-priced MBA, you're in the hole. The economic risk-reward ratio always comes back to haunt us.

Reichert: This problem never goes away--not today and not tomorrow. In addition, companies must worry about loyalties and leadership. There are advantages to developing your own people and instilling in them a sense of company loyalty instead of hiring MBAs. When you recruit an MBA, you have to ask if his loyalties are more to himself than to your company.

William S. Wire II (Genesco): Here's the other side of the coin. About 20 years ago, we decentralized and had a unit that was headed by a young MBA graduate. We encouraged him to interview and recruit hard to get a lot of business school people into the boot sales business. He hired five business school people. They got their sales and marketing experience through the business. It's our fastest growing business now, and it will be about a $100 million business this year.

All of a sudden, in the other parts of my shoe business, the guys are looking around and saying, "These people can help. Maybe we should go hire some."

Reichert: At my company, Brunswick Corp., we create more MBAs by sending our employees to Northwestern University in Evanston than by hiring them. We take people we think are qualified, give them tuition, and send them to school. They have a sense of loyalty, and they develop a specific set of skills we know we will be able to use.

This doesn't mean we don't recruit MBAs. But I think the private sector and the education sector have to work more closely together to push the movement in the right direction.

Arnold Pollard (CE): Even though you send your employees to school rather than hiring newly minted MBAs, you still must get something you like out of the production system, otherwise you wouldn't send your managers to an MBA school. What are you getting back that you like?

Reichert: To me, education is nothing more than a mind-stretching experience. Talented people continually seek more knowledge. Giving them the opportunity to stretch their brains allows them to make a better contribution to the company. That's a low-risk investment for the company, as opposed to hiring somebody fresh out of an MBA program, who probably has been educated beyond his intelligence and doesn't have any basic business experience.


Dennis J. Keller (DeVry): We have to realize that there are over 600 graduate schools of business in the U.S., and between 300,000 and 400,000 students. This is an active market that has grown enormously. In the early 1970s, there were less than 300 schools. The number has skyrocketed because there's an interest and a need for the skills and tools. We've been talking about largely 20 to 30 programs that are generally full-time and that produce graduates who don't want to be the horses, but want to finance the horses.

However, there's a whole system of programs--550 to 600 of them--that run in the evenings. Many of them are taught by people who have academic credentials, but who also have practical experience. Often they operate a business during the day and teach at night. These programs tend to be oriented toward doing; the faculty members are practitioners.

Lauren S. Williams (NutraSweet): That's true. What's more, full-time students tend to possess an individualistic outlook: They seek individual rewards, and they are not attuned to group leadership or the formulation of a group vision.

I don't see this behavior as much with executive education program participants, probably because they have already been indoctrinated into a group culture. In addition, the program usually emphasizes the faculty's practical experience rather than research and publishing.

Herwig Langohr (INSEAD, Paris): Much of the criticism I've heard about MBAs seems to revolve around individualism, selfishness, and greed, about employees' concern for career instead of the well-being of the corporation.

Perhaps you are blaming the wrong culprit. The problem doesn't stem solely from business schools; it really originates in the U.S. educational philosophy. This philosophy is oriented toward the individual--it pushes him to excel rather than to adapt, to conform, or to socialize.

Landon H. Rowland (Kansas City Southern Industries): A French scholar taught us early in the 19th century that individualism is the hallmark of this nation's fundamental experience. In a sense, we abolished state-run centralized government economies as an alternative. It's our plight, our unfortunate future, that everybody in the world will be cursed with the same individualism, and business and organizational experience.

Wesley A. Magat (Fuqua School, Duke University): There is a tension in the business community between the need to work in teams and the need to succeed as individuals.

Let me tell you about an experiment we conducted recently. We started the year with a week-long executive program on leadership and teamwork for first-year students. As an experiment, it worked beautifully. We spent our days learning about leadership, community involvement, and personal career planning. At the end of the week, the students were all fired up.

However, this experiment carried no consequences. The students' jobs weren't on the line; they didn't receive grades.

Teamwork succeeded in the first semester. The second one was a different story. Why? Because in the second semester, students received grades, which fostered individualism. Suddenly, teamwork became a poor second to grades.

We discussed changing the grading system to alleviate the tension between teamwork and individualism. After all, we reasoned, in a company that has a major quality program, people working in teams have to be evaluated differently.

We also talked about going to a pass-fail system. But yet another problem arises: The top 10 percent of the student body want to be named Fuqua scholars. These students want that distinction on their resumes so they can be hired by the management consulting firms in the investment banking arena. For them, grades screen the student body and indicate the "best and the brightest."

Ray Wild (Henley Management College, U.K.): The situation in the U.K. is slightly different. Yes, people come to recruit our MBA graduates, and businesses sponsor or send people to our programs, but Henley also runs MBA programs tailored to individual companies' needs.

In a sense, it's like an outside training service. We run a generic MBA program, but there is no limit to the extent to which we will tailor the delivery of the program. Currently, we run MBA programs for about 60 clients--either individual companies such as Royal Dutch/Shell, or consortia.

Many of these companies would not recruit from or send employees to a regular MBA program. But they are willing to enroll employees in programs tailored to their needs.

J.P. Donlon (CE): How does that differ from hiring a group of consultants to train your people?

Wild: We will not provide a Shell MBA; we will provide an MBA for Shell. We won't substitute or replace parts of the curriculum, but we will add to the education. The students receive a generic MBA education in addition to fulfilling specific company requirements.

William E. Mayer (College of Business and Management, University of Maryland): That is one way to handle the situation. In the U.S., however, there is a serious issue of how much value is added by curriculum. All schools can never be all things to all people, just as individual businesses aren't all things to all people.

If a company doesn't like the product from this school, maybe it should go to another school and see if the product fits better. Or the company should work with the school to make the product fit better. Partnership is the key.

Rowland: We don't look to the elite business schools to find the people we want: people who have experience on the shop floor, who possess organizational skills. That's because some of us see business education as an infant industry. We don't know exactly how it will accommodate the varied and dynamic work places in the U.S. and abroad. So we focus on more modest schools.

As a result, DeVry represents an important option for us. When our employees demonstrate organizational skills on the shop floor, we send them to school where they can learn to broaden and improve their financial analysis skills, and to discover how to anticipate and accommodate changes in technology.


Thomas S. Haggai (IGA): We have 4,000 supermarkets in the U.S. and six countries abroad. Few MBAs knock on our door--despite the fact that the grocery business has continued to create jobs. MBAs don't want us, and we don't want them. I'm not sure we could survive them, unless we let them count our money, and that would cost us too much.

We don't think much of the regular MBA, but weekend courses, on-the-spot courses, and short courses are vital to our employees.

Rowland: The question is: What kind of business education is appropriate for our employees? Some of it is competency-oriented. Some of it is more generalized. Other people need the MBA credential.

It is difficult to settle on one established way of doing things, because of the diversity of businesses--both in the U.S. and abroad.

Finding the proper balance is a test of human resources leadership--and the CEO's ability to help his organization make judgments on this issue. Frankly, I doubt my own competence in this area. I think picking people is the hardest task.

Thomas D. Gleason (Wolverine Worldwide): We've never hired an MBA for manufacturing, although we've encouraged some of our manufacturing people who display people skills to get an MBA or enroll in an executive education program that runs at night or on weekends. This works well. These employees already have a basic understanding from the ground up of how things work. It's easier to find workers with people skills first and then teach them analytical skills rather than to try to create a people person out of a great analyst.


Scott S. Cowen (Weatherhead School, Case Western Reserve): Traditionally, the MBA curriculum in the U.S. developed around a common body of knowledge, which usually translates into functional areas such as accounting, finance, and marketing.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Weatherhead began to think more about the development of soft skills. We looked at the research accumulated over the years on the abilities of people who have been successful in various areas. Based on that literature, we focused our program on competency in 22 soft skills, in addition to the common body of knowledge.

After choosing those 22 soft skills, we asked our MBA students, faculty, CEOs, and human resources vice presidents to tell us the skills they sought.

Ideally, the clusters would overlap. In reality, they rarely touched at all.

Theoretically, skill development is terrific, and we ought to do it. But there's a paradox: We can't agree on what we mean by skills and what skills we want to focus on. The other dilemma pertains to knowledge areas. Since accreditation is built around knowledge areas, when we attack the skills area in the curriculum, we tend to do it on the outskirts instead of throughout the entire curriculum. Otherwise, every professor would have to change every course.

If you really want skill development, you can't just do it in the front or back end of the program. You have to do it across the board. And that's been a problem.

How do you reconcile the different perceptions, the different definitions of the skills you want? Almost everyone agrees MBA students need leadership skills and the ability to write and speak. However, they can't agree on the importance of other skills such as negotiating ability, flexibility, attention to detail, and planning capability.

Langohr: But don't you learn something from that? At different positions in the company, at different parts of the organization, at different stages of the career, the relative importance of different skills is different.

Cowen: That is one conclusion. But when you think about the skill set you want to focus on, you have to look at who your stakeholder is. Business schools say they are responding to their customers. Who are the customers? The CEOs?

Wild: There's another reason for these apparent inconsistencies. When you ask someone what competencies or skills he values, he tends to project what he believes are his own skills and capabilities because he thinks they foster success, and therefore, he wants to see them in other people.

Another factor: Who knows what skills will be needed to deal with future situations? There is a distinction between developing people to deal with known circumstances vs. unknown ones.

Wire: Why is so much emphasis placed on soft skills, communications, and leadership? In the good old days, you had 10 people in a room, told them what to do, and they did it. If someone asked why, you told him, "Because I said so."

Today, you have to spend time explaining to him why something is important.

Ralph E. Schey (Scott Fetzer): Well, leadership is the art of persuading people to do something they may not want to do.

Leighton: On one hand, we hunger for leadership. We want people who stand out and will run with the ball. On the other hand, we also want people to understand they live in a social environment in a business. It's a balancing act, and business schools are asked to address that.

Lear: American business has changed rapidly. And the pace of change gets faster and faster. Flatter organization charts, more people reporting directly to their supervisors, and more freedom of the individual to participate have changed the way employees' talents work in the corporate world.


Schey: Let's switch gears and talk about the small business environment. In a free enterprise society, we are all in business to create productive jobs. The 1980s saw the growth of jobs in small companies with less than 100 people. Throughout the decade, these companies created approximately 2 million jobs a year.

But today's business schools don't teach all the skills needed to run a small business. These skills are not driven through computers, but rather derive from intuition or easy-to-read signals that tell you the business' state of affairs.

Merten: At the Johnson School, we recognize the small business phenomenon. If you don't, you're dead from the neck up. More and more students come in with a greater interest in small business, and we have a responsibility to provide the corresponding education. But we have to remind them right away that we aren't as good at helping them find small business jobs as we are at helping them find big business jobs.

Lear: There just aren't enough curriculum opportunities in the standard business school to train students completely in small business, investment marketing, consumer marketing, operations, finance, and auditing. I don't know of any school that can provide all that training.

I wonder why more business schools don't cater to individual specialties. Right now, business schools produce specialists in certain categories. They do not have a broad business outlook; to get that, we have to send people to executive training programs. If we turn out broad-based people, we have to send them to graduate business schools to learn specific skills.

We are confusing the students. Recruiters come to campus and tell them they are looking for students with a broad education. In the next breath, the recruiters--especially in the investment banking field--say they want students to have a sharply focused education.

Leighton: That's partly because some businesses are still undecided about how to train managers for the future. They need to be internationally focused and understand the different marketplace cultures.

Harry L. Davis (GSB, University of Chicago): If my child asked me where to get a business education, I would send him to a school outside the U.S. That's why the Japanese are coming to America. It's not just to learn perceptual knowledge, but also to learn language skills and discover what it's like to live in another country.

Lear: Globalization has been and continues to be a major thrust of the curriculum changes. Everyone wants to go global. Business schools now have a high percentage of foreign national students, and they've changed the curriculum.


Davis: Business school faculty have to realize that we are in a supply-and-demand business. Just as students are self-interested and intend to go where the jobs are, faculty have to understand that unless business is happy with what we supply, we won't be able to increase their salaries.

We have tried to convince our faculty that we should add "soft skills" to the program to help students learn to accomplish things with and through people. This aspect of the program would also help students learn from experience.

Surprisingly enough, our faculty unanimously approved a program the students designed and the administration recently introduced. I've been at Chicago for 30 years, and it's the only unanimous vote I've seen at the school. Curious, isn't it, that this analytical, discipline-based faculty would raise their hands and agree to a required course for the MBA program that is created and taught by students?

I think we're beginning to see a fundamental rethinking of organizations in all areas. This often leads to some finger pointing, because no one wants to recognize that we all have to take responsibility for what we are doing. But we need to point our fingers at ourselves and work to improve the situation. Many creative students go to the interview center, and they're hired by recruiters or human resources people who don't want them to be creative or hands-on.

Who's the culprit? It's not the students. In a sense, it's our old, tired systems--both in businesses and in universities: In 10 years, I don't think there will be 600 MBA programs in the U.S. I think there will be 500. We have overbuilt relative to demand. Many schools will continue to have a tough time filling their seats in the future.

And so far, I haven't heard anyone talk about the trade-offs between businesses and universities. Assuming the academic budget is relatively fixed, what do business schools give up to provide business with everything it wants? What are we doing now that business doesn't want us to do? We can't continue to give more without eliminating something or providing it at a lower quality level.

I find this discussion asymmetrical. I don't tell Jack Reichert and other CEOs how to run their companies because they'd tell me I don't know business; they'd tell me they have to focus on their core businesses. But that doesn't seem to work the other way around. Companies always want to tell business schools how they should be run.

George Shultz was dean of the University of Chicago years ago. He wrote a paper on the issue of trust that he presented at Stanford University. The paper pointed out that educational institutions must be wary of doing too many things where they have no comparative advantage. This leads them to lose their sense of excellence and distinction.

As the business community keeps saying, "Do this, do that, add this, add that," inevitably, business schools will become very consumer-driven. We will end up stocking the store with all kinds of products. And everyone will go elsewhere to shop because other stores will have more prominence in various categories and can provide better goods.

As educators, we have to stand up to business and just say no.

Reichert: Harry is right. You can't be all things to all people. But by the same token, I think we have to ask people within the academic community their views as to what they think we should do with our businesses. And they should ask us what we think they should do with their institutions.

Donlon: Harry says business schools can't teach everything--something has to give. Are you willing to give up the finance or accounting skills training, for example, in an MBA program?

Reichert: If I had a choice between focusing on the statistical data vs. human or interpersonal skills, you bet your life I'd choose the human side. If you can't read, and you can't write, and you can't talk, if you can't communicate--I don't care how bright you are--you aren't going to get anywhere.

Mayer: MBA graduates need four things: interpersonal skills, teamwork, leadership, and global abilities. However, no one is talking about eliminating basic functional areas such as accounting and marketing.

Davis: Alfred North Whitehead once said that knowledge doesn't keep much better than fish. All of us have to replenish and replace the knowledge base that we have about four or five times in our lifetimes. In this current world of white water, it will probably be closer to 10 times.

We could drop the research part of our faculty. You wouldn't see the effects for three or four years. But in 10 years, five of your people will go to the south side of Chicago to get their degrees. Why? Because curiosity and discovery--in the form of people who think on the cutting edge and look at the world in new ways--are what drives the classroom.

So we can't cut out the research component and still have a healthy, vibrant institution down the road.

Cowen: Even so, we have to ask, "What is our definition of research? What are the criteria for good research?"

Davis: Research is an important part of our two missions: developing future business leaders and producing knowledge. I don't know how a professor can help a student penetrate the subject matter if he has not penetrated it himself.

White: Faculty members will follow the research because they like to teach what they've been working on. However, there's much more research on technical and functional areas than on management areas.

Davis: If we don't see management research in business schools, these institutions will become obsolete. Nonetheless, we need to get faculty who are well-trained in basic disciplines to work cross-functionally. One basic issue is how do you do that?

The quality area is a good example. Quality is not just statistics, although it involves them. Quality is not marketing, although customer satisfaction is a critical part. Total quality is not just about teamwork, although it involves working together. To teach the quality approach, you need to assemble faculty members who typically don't talk to one another, for example, statisticians, behavioral scientists, and economists.

Merten: As deans we have to play a bigger role in dealing with these issues. We control the purse. To some degree, we control tenure. We can change people's behavior, but we haven't been willing to do so.

Also, in general, we haven't stood up and said to business, "If you want to change the curriculum, you have to come up with the money." That may be necessary.

Several years ago, we received a million dollar gift. I created a globalization fund for this money. A faculty member had to come up with a project relating to globalizing his course to get access to the money. Globalization ideas poured in. It was the best-attended faculty meeting we ever had.


Donlon: What skills would you like to see in the team of managers you hire now that your successor's successor will likely have around him in the future?

Williams: Since a global spin will be put on everything, no matter the size of the business, the ability to understand and to appreciate cultural differences will be a big asset.

Gleason: First is leadership with a global sensitivity. Second is entrepreneurial spirit focused on wealth creation. Third is teamwork. Fourth is ethical values to "do the right thing." Fifth is an orientation toward profits sufficient to reward shareholders and grow the business.

Wild: I don't think management development is solely the responsibility of business schools any more than it's solely the responsibility of companies. We have to work together to develop judgment and competence. Although different skills are required in different circumstances, I believe judgment and courage are keys to success.

Rowland: I would say adaptability plus, because this skill proceeds from judgment, bravery, and courage. The plus is a foundation in basic disciplines such as financial analysis.

White: Adaptability is important, but we also value curiosity. This isn't a characteristic you train someone to have, but rather you stimulate it and push people to look for new solutions to problems.

Wire: All successful executives must possess sound judgment, an understanding of the dynamics of the business, and strong interpersonal skills.

Haggai: Focus is the key to success.

Schey: I look for managers who have people skills, the ability to solve conflicts before they occur, and the capability to motivate people to do things they don't want to do.

Timothy A. Schlindwein (Stein Roe & Farnham): At the risk of sounding both softheaded and softhearted, I think having a passion for what you're doing is important. You can't get away from core competencies, but employees have to keep the idea of serving in their minds--they have to keep a client focus. Much of this ties to teamwork and interpersonal skills, which should be learned on the job. There's a big difference between learning how to ski from a videotape and venturing out on the slope.
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Title Annotation:CE Roundtable; business schools
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Article Type:Panel Discussion
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:The evolving MBA.
Next Article:Variety for sale.

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