Why A Harvard MBA Doesn’t Make Everyone A Leader

If you’re thinking of assuming a leadership position in a large organization, a Harvard MBA is perhaps the best academic credential to have—provided that you are admitted to the program, you can afford the bill, and you complete the program successfully. But the Harvard MBA won’t warranty you a leadership position—a position in which you receive direct reports, are responsible for profit and loss, or are part of senior management.

That’s the finding of a recent survey of HBS graduates conducted by Robin J. Fly and Colleen Ammerman and published in the December issue of Harvard Business Review. Among HBS graduates working full-time, 81% of men and 71% of women had direct reports; 58% of men and 45% had profit and loss responsibility; and 57% and 41% had positions in senior management.

An obvious problem is the balancing of family and career, which becomes more evident among female graduates. “These results indicate that Harvard MBAs aimed for and continue to value fulfilling professional and personal lives,” write Fly and Ammerman. “Yet their ability to realize them has played differently according to gender. Given the gender gap in career outcomes, gaps in career satisfaction and in successfully combining work and family are unsurprising.”

A less obvious aspect of the problem is the role individual personalities play in achieving and maintaining a leadership status. As discussed in The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership, leadership requires an uncommon composite of skill, experience, and ripened personal perspectives—personal values, priorities, and a life code that determine the quality and substance of life...

Read full story: Forbes

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