Every company today has a vision statement that articulates what it hopes to become. It also will often have a mission statement that describes what the business is all about. Companies stress certain principles and values to give their employees direction and make clear what values are vital when making decisions related to the business.

Should MBA graduates cultivate their own vision, mission, principles and values before embarking on their career? 

The career direction that MBA students take reflects certain attitudes and values about them.That direction is often measured by success, whether by prestige, personal wealth or power. If defining success is through wealth and power, then those are the core values will guide all their actions.

There are some people as well as, some companies who might publish their core values, and often the best way to identify these values is to how they act and behave.

If, for example, you get out of business school and are an entrepreneur, do you stop and really reflect on what your core values mean to you. If money is at the heart of your decisions then that way of thinking translates into to having a singular focal point of view and may not serve your stakeholders well because it becomes all about the money.

Besides providing a means to a career you can live off of, an MBA degree should, by default, shape the values of the student. The curriculum should help to develop student’s soft skills, which are invaluable throughout one’s career.

Understanding values and doing the “right thing” isn’t that simple. Values give you your sense of purpose. And a core value is only a true core value if it has an active influence and if the people or company manage to live by it.  Most people have approximately 5-7 core values that identify who they are.

A value proposition for a company is a positioning statement that explains what benefit the company provides and how the company does it uniquely and why they’re distinctly better than the alternatives. There are Employee Value Propositions other wise know as EVP. An EVP describes the mix of characteristics, benefits, and ways of working in an organization. It is the deal struck between an organization and employee in return for their contribution and performance. Companies with credible  value propositions become as famous for the way they treat people and the quality of their people as they are for their products and services. A great example of this is Google who have great talented people queuing up to join them.

Like companies who have a value propositions and employee value propositions, should MBA’s be made to choose a “value” proposition that resonates with them before they graduate?  Perhaps by intentionally seeking out a pattern that’s consistent with their past experiences, their passion and skills may help to elevate some of their core values. Would having their own value proposition help to guide their decisions?

What differentiates MBA grads from other grads is what they bring to the table in terms of their own personalities, capabilities and soft skills, as well as their technical proficiency. Do they view themselves as that of a fiduciary steward with a responsibility to various stakeholders? Success will largely come from the partnerships they forge. The intellectual capital and passion they display on a daily basis are key drivers in achieving these partnerships.

Once out in the job hunting field, graduates need to be able to build their personal brand and set themselves apart from other candidates. But what about the human side of business – listening, communicating, and collaborating?

When it comes to being a human, say for instance, ethics, a strong moral code is a key component towards earning trust. Common goals, respect, and fulfilment of commitments are key ingredients in building that trust.

And by becoming self-aware you to relate better to your colleagues, direct reports and superiors. You are able to look at issues more objectively and the role you may have played in creating them. Are MBA’s taught to be more self-aware?

The right combination and mindset of values and skill can greatly assist an MBA’s to achieving success. And yet MBA programs keep underscoring that acquiring an MBA degree enhances a person’s job prospects and increases their earnings potential. Whether you agree or not, many people equate success and even happiness to their pay check, but the funny thing is that MBA schools don’t create successful people, they just take credit for their success. 

I invite you to share your experiences or thoughts, or comments. You can contact me for more information on soft skills/interpersonal skills workshops that can transform employees.