I hear about it from employed MBA students all the time. An uncertainty about how to handle the conversation with a boss or company about their MBA quest. The truth is that companies should embrace their MBA-earning employees. Here’s why:
It’s not just how to handle the MBA conversation. It’s a general concern about what an MBA really is, what it means for an employee to be pursuing one and what happens at graduation.
The questions come from direct bosses, co-workers and anyone else who is generally curious about employee or personal development. But why the questions?
But I believe there is a great long-term marketing opportunity here. For companies to build their brand with great employees and a top university MBA program in the area. Once they embrace the idea, of course.
The idea is:
So how can companies embrace their MBA-earning employees? Here are my five ideas:
1. Engage them in an open conversation – MBA-earning employees might be unsure how to do this on their own. And might be worried about how they will be perceived. So take the pressure off them by initiating a “we support you” conversation.
2. Include their MBA effort in the annual review and development conversation – Give them credit internally for the work they are doing externally to develop new skills. And perhaps give them a break on some of their less important failings. After all, they are working full-time for you and taking on a big class load at the same time.
3. Invite them to present what they are learning at brown-bag lunches – Let other employees gain the value of the MBA experience (especially if you are paying for all or part of it). It will allow others to ask questions and take the mystery away from the MBA by showing off the practical learning going on.
4. Bring their new, broader perspective into special projects and brainstorming sessions – Your MBA-earning employees are being exposed to a lot of new ideas. Maybe other departments can benefit from their new knowledge. And it shows that the company values their time outside of the office.
5. Introduce them to senior management – Let the senior managers of today meet and interact with the potential senior managers of tomorrow. Perhaps even the board would like to meet a few of the company’s finest. Perhaps there’s even a quarterly breakfast for each MBA-earning employee to share an idea for the company based on their class content.
Try a few of these ideas and see what reaction you get from MBA-earning employees. And see what happens when you get known in your community for encouraging the development and education of your professional workforce.
What have you tried?
Thanks jessleecuizon for the photo via Flickr