Developing Managerial Skills: an Exploratory Investigation Into the Personality of Management Students

Topics: Personality psychology, 16 Personality Factors, Big Five personality traits Pages: 7 (2139 words) Published: November 8, 2011
Developing Managerial Skills: An Exploratory Investigation into the Personality of Management Students

A MBA program is a much sought after course today, with B-Schools continually making an effort to inculcate knowledge, skills and attitude in an attempt to carve out ideal managers from young & naïve graduates. The growth of India’s economy has made more resources available to institutions and they are working to improve the quality of management education thus making their graduates compete favorably with those produced in the best Universities of the World. The 80s and 90s saw a big jump in the number of students opting for Master in Business Administration course as a means of career advancement across a broad range of industries. In India particularly in the late 90s, the post-liberalisation era, with the entry of multinational companies into India, the demand for management graduates increased manifold (Gupta & Gollakota, 2005 as cited by Shahaida, 2009). It is expected that a course in management will equip graduates for different managerial roles, help them gain a better understanding of the industrial and business world, enrich their skills and provide them with competencies and capabilities relevant for career success (Baruch & Leeming, 2001). However, though most B-Schools realize the importance of developing managerial competencies, along with enhancing domain knowledge, few actually succeed in taking an integrative approach to management education (Shahaida et al, 2009). Critiques, such as Bennis & O’Toole (2005), Mintzberg (2004) and Pfeffer & Fong (2002) point to the gap between theory and practice, with too much emphasis on analytical techniques at the cost of leadership, interpersonal and communication skills (Mihail & Elefterie, 2006). Mintzberg argues management programs offer “specialized training in the function of business, not general educating in the practice of managing” (Mintzberg, 2004). According to Laura Tyson, Dean, London Business School, the focus of business schools must move beyond equipping students with technical and functional knowledge; instead “furnish them with skills and attributes the means by which knowledge is acted upon” (Tyson & Andrews, 2004). As a trainer, and a management faculty, one needs to know what the student’s abilities are and where he/she needs training thus makes him/her an ideal choice during recruitment. Do the students who enroll for an MBA program already have a personality trait which motivates them for the course or there could be some possibilities for developing an ideal personality suitable to take up leadership positions in the corporate world. Hence it is of foremost importance for students to be aware of their potential, and at the same time identify areas of development in order to attain broader career goals. For students a better understanding of self plays a significant part to determine their academic and career- goals. Psychometric testing facilitates decision making in terms of career preference, domain choices, to know ones strengths and area he/she needs to develop up on in order to attain complete potential. In addition a better understanding of the personality traits would help institutes to modify, develop training method and address their specific needs. This paper attempts to profile MBA students of a leading private MBA institute, identify their personality traits and identify their potential and scope for enhancement as future managers. Gender differences in personality traits, if any, are also discussed. Introduction

“Personality traits refer to characteristic, enduring patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior that are stable over time and explain people’s behavior across different situations” (Barrick et al, 2005). “Personality refers to a distinctive pattern of behavior, mannerisms, thoughts, motives, and emotions that characterizes an individual over time and across different...
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