by Paduka Prasad Padhy, MBA ’13
Note: Each of the participants in the Spring 2012 SVC Smith Experience was asked to blog about a session that piqued their interest at this year’s Social Enterprise Symposium
Coming to the business school I was not sure of a career path I would pursue. With a multitude of career choices and uncertainty about my personal strengths I wondered what career would be the best for me and where can I work passionately? When I came to the b-school I thought that I was the only one who is in such a position but surprisingly I found a lot my classmates in a similar condition searching the right path and thinking about the post MBA career path. Even though I have completed one complete semester at Smith School of business I am not sure what I would like to do post MBA and am still in search of the proper fit of my passions to my career choice. Dr. Mrim Boutla’s workshop on “More Than Money Careers” is an eye opener for many MBA students who are in pursuit of the right career choice post MBA.
The session was a beautiful example of aligning your passions to your career. The main theme through out the session was following our passions to reach our careers. Dr. Boutla beautifully presented a set of career paths in the non-profit sector with ways to reach the final destination in each of them. She segmented the career choices as government, non-profit, non-profit generating revenue, for profit social, sustainable business and business practicing CSR. Dr. Boutla prettily articulated the differences between each career choices with examples. The power point used in the workshop was a very effective tool with the contact persons listed for each area and the ways to reach out the people. The presentation articulated the LinkedIn groups and other useful websites that can be used to pursue each career path.
A very common theme used through out the presentation was aligning our passions, strengths and interests to our career choices. Dr. Boutla effectively used the Shaq show as an example to show how a great athlete like Shaquille O’Neal can fail miserably when he is not playing the right game. The right mix of energy and enthusiasm coupled with the true passion and strengths for a particular career make it a right choice and help us to be enthusiastic towards our work. The session also presented the 3 types of fit – function, community and impact – and how they are important for a career choice. Dr. Boutla also introduced beautiful tools and utilities such as public service loan, government loan forgiveness program and graduate leverage that can be used to determine the financial viability of a career. It helped me and every other student aspiring to work in the field of social value creation by providing some great tools and resources along with the guidance and career advise of an expert coach.
When we think of IBM the first things that come to our mind are mainframes, computers, codes but this keynote was on something that IBM is not directly associated with “CSR Activities”. The keynote session by Stan Litow, VP of Corporate Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at IBM was about the corporate social responsibility activities that are carried out at IBM and other well-known corporations. Stan wonderfully articulated CSR as an integrated approach with his quote of the session “It doesn’t matter what you call it (CSR), it matters what you think and do”.
Starting with the origin of philanthropy in 1900s to the emergence of corporate social responsibility at various companies in 2000s, Stan clearly showed the timeline and development of CSR in organizations. With the emergence of time corporations are placing greater importance on CSR activities and that is evident by the fact that companies now publish a corporate social responsibility report to the stakeholders.
Stan explained the essence of CSR as taking the core business and attaching it to the core business to make a difference. Stan explained a set of examples of technological processes at IBM and how they were linked to services. For example, the IBM technology of voice recognition is associated with a critical issue of education and a sample service of supplier connection. Stan also explained the business values of the corporate social responsibility programs by the use of examples such as Nigeria Health Care and Kenya digital villages. Stan used the example of P-tech to show how it can create both social value (educating children) and business value(creating stronger work force for IBM).
Lastly, Stan talked about the challenges of CSR activities in large corporations. Factors such as globalization that makes some activities difficult in some countries and incentives for CSR activities are the new challenges for CSR activities in organizations. Stan also talked about the essence of linking CSR activities to the next generation, as the next generation is the key to take the activities to a different level. CSR activities have become an integral part of every business corporation and every corporation is working towards creating a sustainable business with a social responsibility. Overall the session was an eye opener for me in terms of CSR in big corporations. It surprised, educated and made me more prepared for the corporate transition post my MBA.