17 Aug, 2009 | by Richard Vinhais
(Photo: Adam Lyon)
About a year ago, I was strongly considering the pursuit of an executive MBA to compliment my existing advanced degree in technology management. I had been on the fence about the decision for quite some time. Part me of felt as though my education would be that much more enhanced with the addition of those three little letters to bolster my resume. Another part of me just felt as though I had unfinished business from several years prior. You see, my graduate degree was comprised of about 1/3 of the standard MBA curriculum so I theoretically could have declared a dual degree approach. But I didn’t. At the time it just didn’t make much sense. I had just landed a new job as a consultant and I knew my time would be very limited moving forward.
As I revisited the possibility of heading back to school, an executive MBA was the only thing that might be able to comport with my hectic work schedule. I decided to attempt to obtain firm sponsorship so my tuition fees would covered. Unfortunately I didn’t make the cut as only 1 out of a little over 2o applicants received sponsorship. This was at the height of our economic downward spiral so the outcome really didn’t surprise me at the time. Trying to obtain firm sponsorship was even more challenging then the actual executive MBA application itself. Not only did I need to provide a completed application that I’d be providing to the university I was applying to, but there were also series of other internal applications and recommendations I needed to provide. It was an extremely painful process.
As you could imagine, the process left me with a number of completed applications; including my precious essays which would sadly never see the light of day. Rather then cast them into the abyss of my My Documents folder, I felt that it might be helpful to some if I shared a sample essay response to one of the most commonly asked MBA admission essay questions. The hope is that my personal style to the essay may help spark new ideas to help enhance your own response, and ultimately increase your chances of getting into the school of your dreams. To be clear, this is not an approval to plagiarize the essay. Writing an MBA essay for admissions is a profoundly personal activity. It should reflect who you are, and not what you think the admission’s committee would like to hear.
The following is one of the most commonly asked MBA admission essay questions: Why are you an ideal candidate for the Executive MBA Program and how will your professional and personal accomplishments benefit your EMBA colleagues? continue reading »
30 Apr, 2009 | by Jared Koesten
As a manager, do you conduct meaningful performance appraisals with your employees every 6 or 12 months? Do you collaborate with your employees to develop and set meaningful goals? Do your employees only receive a performance appraisal or are they a part of the process?
Many managers and employees view the performance appraisal process as an annual or semi-annual HR process in which the manager delivers feedback, often without the employee knowing what a “satisfactory” level of performance is. In reality, the performance appraisal process should be a year round collaboration in which the manager and employee are constantly communicating, adjusting based on the business, and sharing tools that enable the employee to grow and be successful. There are 5 keys to successful year round coaching and feedback.
1. Year round coaching and feedback must be just that – ongoing. Managers and employees must make an effort to ensure that they are openly communicating throughout the year about the employees work performance and areas of both strength and development. By doing so, managers and employees are always on the same page with regards to work performance, giving the employee the opportunity to learn, grow, and be successful. It also ensures that there will be no surprises during the annual or semi-annual appraisal process. continue reading »
7 Mar, 2009 | by David Kaufman
I just celebrated the six month anniversary of being in transition. That’s the vogue way of saying unemployed these days. Like many, I was recently down-sized, or as I was told to say, my position was recently eliminated due to a re-organization. However you word it, I am out looking for work.
Reflection is inevitable during this type of life change, and I find myself looking back at the “rules” of Corporate America and how they seem to have changed. You know the ones I mean, those unwritten truisms we all know and try to live by, yet never saw in any handbook. I thought I would offer an updated perspective during these uncertain times, from the other side of the paycheck.
Before I begin, let me say, I am not an expert. I am not a career coach with formal training or special insights into the job market. I’m just a guy, like many of you, making some observations based on my journey. continue reading »
28 Jan, 2009 | by Evan J Miller
On every coin and every bill issued by the United States Treasury you’ll find the words “In God We Trust”. In recent years that slogan has been extended to say: “In God We Trust – All Others Bring Data”.
This clever twist is especially popular in Lean Six Sigma and Total Quality Management circles, where the data-driven decisions are the holy grail – the means to reduced costs, improved efficiencies, reduced downtime, and driving waste out of processes.
Now it seems neither of these adequately represents how business actually operates.
According to CIO.com research published by Accenture found that nearly half (40%) of major corporate decisions are based on the decision maker’s ‘gut’, not on data.
While this number (40%) surprised me, I was not at all surprised to read that the top reason (61%) these managers rely on their gut is that good data are just not available.
Recently I visited one of these businesses. Like two thirds of survey respondents, these leaders recognize the weaknesses of their data systems and they’d love to fix them.
continue reading »
4 Dec, 2008 | by Erik Luhrs
These unprecedented economic times present challenges that require innovative and powerful solutions, and for that reason I want you to pay close attention to two aspects of business leadership – confidence and mastery. With them you can go out and create a billion dollar business while enjoying the kind of lifestyle and life experiences that you have always dreamed of, but without them we will all succumb to fear, insecurity, indecision, and lack of fulfillment.
Confidence and mastery combine to feed each other in a symbiotic way, and I witness the results all the time through my consulting and coaching business, Make Your Business Boom. Numerous studies show that those who are confident experience an increase in technical mastery and expertise that they would not otherwise have, because a confident mindset drives skill levels higher and enhances performance. Similarly, mastery of a skill automatically increases your confidence. Combine both mastery and confidence and it is a recipe for success in any personal or business endeavor. continue reading »
12 Dec, 2007 | by Richard Vinhais
About a month ago, a colleague and I were discussing the challenges associated with our respective engagements at the time. My colleague, whose name I will elect to leave out (I’ll refer to him as Master Yoda or Yoda for short), is one of those seasoned professionals who touts over 20 years in the IT industry along with an impressive string of credentials and unique experiences. He’s as sharp as they come and I find myself reaching out to him for professional advice periodically; he also boasts a humorous and engaging personality which makes for a great dialogue every time we speak. Not only do I consider him one of my most valuable mentors, I also consider him a friend who has doled out some important personal advice in the past which I still appreciate to this day. OK…Enough! I’ve inflated his ego enough and I will now proceed to move forward with the point of my trivial little blog entry.
The outcome of our therapeutic work debrief (that’s code for venting session) concluded with Yoda making a book recommendation. He said he was very much interested in my thoughts on the book so 5 minutes later, I logged onto Amazon and made my purchase. He then said: “the book will be very different then any book you’ve read before… continue reading »
1 Aug, 2007 | by Richard Vinhais
I’ve always taken pride in personal and professional development. It’s something I’m very passionate about. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always set forth stretch goals to improve myself. I vividly recall practicing soccer in the back yard with my father, at a very young age. I remember at the end of each week I’d put together a mental checklist of things I needed to improve on in order to compete. It’s a trait I’ve carried with me over the years and I like to think it’s served me well.
Over the past few years, I’ve begun a new personal challenge which is geared towards giving back professionally via informal mentoring. I’ve had many mentors over the years, many of which I still communicate with on a regular basis. Words cannot express just how valuable those interactions have been and continue to be. continue reading »
7 Oct, 2005 | by Richard Vinhais
The following is a summary and assessment of an article I read from the New Zealand School of Management by Des Dearlove called “MANAGING Purpose, Process & People: The new management philosophy”.
This was a very interesting article that discussed a new management philosophy that claims will one day become dominant. It is called the purpose, process, people philosophy. It is expected to replace our current dominant philosophy, which has driven business for the past 50 years and is based on the idea that a company is purely an economic entity. The current trend indicates that there is almost a paradigm shift from financial capital to human capital, which in itself carries major repercussions under the current model. This new philosophy or trend will move beyond strategy, structure, and systems to purpose, process and peoples. It is a very different mentality that really brings value to an individuals net worth, which in turn puts the onus on employers to realize this value. continue reading »