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From MBA student to great leader

There is no shortage of MBA graduates in the U.S. these days. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are over 150,000 MBA graduates every year in the U.S. alone. The challenge, however, is to create not only graduates but business leaders – something that has been discussed over and over again in the last few years. 

Business schools have always tried to fulfil two goals: to educate managers that understand real life in a corporation and to expand science and management knowledge through research. In the last fifty years this has shifted towards science and research and away from the practical approach.

A recent blog article from an MBA admissions consultant explored what MBA students could learn from Apple founder Steve Jobs, who never even finished college, but still became a legendary business leader. The article found four interesting characteristics that made Steve Jobs so successful. They are also the key elements to success for students applying for a spot at a business school these days.

1. Creativity and initiative. As CNN said about Steve Jobs: "Time after time, he sold people a product they didn't know they needed until he invented it." When have you helped to solve a problem, design a new system, or create a new event?

2. Impact. Has any of your involvements made a difference? Have you ever created anything? This could be a youth group, music band or club for example.

3. Passion. Steve Jobs once said: "Our goal is to make the best personal computers in the world and to make products we are proud to sell and would recommend to our family and friends. And we want to do that at the lowest prices we can." What are you passionate about?

4. Leadership. Steve Jobs was not only a company leader but an industry leader as he changed the whole world of information technology and entertainment. Have you ever changed something, persuaded your team or your class to do something your way?

One ambitious man has plans to grow MBA graduates continually – their whole life long – into leaders like Steve Jobs. This man is Peter Tufano, dean of Said business school, University of Oxford. In the future he will therefore supplement the traditional taught classes with a programme of lifelong learning and deliver knowledge and training to students throughout their careers.

Financial Times1
Financial Times2

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