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Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1am

Business School Case Study Shatters MBA Career Stereotypes: MBA News

Business School Case Study Shatters MBA Career Stereotypes: MBA News main image

A business school case study into the INSEAD MBA class of 2002's career success and personal fulfilment since graduation has shown the stereotypical view of MBAs pursuing personal wealth and status for their own gain to be untrue.

The study, Memoirs of Life and Work a Decade after an MBA, reveals that many from the INSEAD MBA class of 2002 appear to be on a quest for meaning within both their MBA careers and personal lives, and seeking greater alignment between the two.

“This plays out in many ways ― whether it’s someone who starts a business in an industry that they have a passion for, like alternative energy, or whether it is someone in a large corporation who specifically takes a new role because it will involve mentoring junior colleagues,” explains INSEAD Professor Jennifer Petriglieri, who compiled the business school case study alongside colleague and husband Gianpiero Petriglieri.

Similarities through MBA graduate career diversity

Speaking to INSEAD Knowledge, Petriglieri also points out that the decade long post-MBA career history of the male and female INSEAD MBA graduates was remarkably similar.

“Often, when people talk about men and women in the workplace, they talk as if they have different aspirations, face different dilemmas, seek different career paths," Petriglieri says. "When my students read these stories, however, many said that if you took the names away and some of the personal details, it would be very difficult to tell whether each protagonist was a man or woman.

However, that's not to say that any of the 19 INSEAD MBA graduates possessed similar stories for the post-MBA careers.

“The amazing thing about the stories is their diversity. They come from people who live on every continent, who work in corporations, not-for-profits, who have started their own entrepreneurial ventures. Each has his or her own personal joys and longings.”

Reassuringly to both current students and future applicants, the business school case study into the INSEAD MBAs shows that it's not necessarily an essential requirment to have your professional and personal lives planned out prior to applying, or even graduating from an MBA.

“We often witness our students getting so caught up with trying to meet traditional expectations of what their career and lives ought to look like after graduation, that their MBA starts to feel more like an obligation than an opportunity. The narratives in the case are a reminder there are many paths to success, many ways to lose and find ourselves, and plenty of surprises along the way.”