CEOs, organisational culture and MBAs

Recently, the Director of the Business School Christoph Loch wrote on his blog about Culture Clash and CEO leadership. styles.

It is an interesting article in light of what some of our alums told our students this week. The Careers team had organised an alumni panel for those interested in consulting careers. And while the alums represented the entire spectrum of consulting firms, one common thread was that consulting is a lifestyle and students have to understand the different cultures in each company. And it has to go beyond asking an alum what is the culture of the company but asking yourself whether you have a compatible set of values and then deciding whether you should apply to this company.

This mirrors our approach when we speak to employers. Beyond the transactional issues that we discuss such as application processes, we spend time understanding what is the DNA of the company. This helps my team to advise our MBAs when they ask us whether they area good fit for various companies.

The other aspect which Christoph also touched on in his blog is whether CEOs influence organisational culture or whether the organisation appoints a CEO who has compatible cultural DNA. This got me thinking about the types of students we admit. Because the school has a strong collaborative ethos, with an emphasis on cross-functional learning, that it is not surprising that we have a student body that mirrors those qualities. It would be interesting to see whether this means that our alums tend to work in companies who prize these qualities, and not in organisations that Christoph describes as mercenary.

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