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New US Industries

A reader recently sent me a nice bit of research about job market for MBAs. It was a well-written article and I enjoyed reading it. Readers, you may find this interesting as well. One of the sections marked for growth is “Big Data:” a topic near and dear to my heart.

I especially found this quote by Robert Fitzgerald of the Lorenzi Group interesting:

…take statistics and economics…[don’t] be choosy about…[their]…first job.

Fitzgerald was later quoted:

“Get ANY role you can. Yes, it will suck. Yes, you are worth more, or at least your degree is. And while you are in that role, in your free time, start analyzing everything. Come up with infographics that are funny, helpful, and interesting. Show them around the office. You will get noticed,” he said.

The quote seems to certify that the days of being a special snowflake by virtue of your degree or the debt you went in to attain it are over. Once upon a time a man (yeah, a man) could spend a few years at college, refine his Latin and Theology training, and then study for the bar, apprentice, become a lawyer and then a politician (cf. Noah Webster, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, et al).

MBAs in the year 2013 anno domini, I have bad news: labor is global and the paper with the blackletter repeating the name your parents gave you is worth far less than the fact that some guy in Asia knows books full of math, economics, and statistics and can offer not merely the promise of capability, but can deliver results right now.

Heck, this fellow beat out more people just to get his shot to learn those topics than you’ve ever competed against in your lifetime. You are at a disadvantage.

Potentially, as you move up the ladder (surely thanks to your witty infographics, admirable golf handicap, and hard work), you will enter a part of the influence and leadership curve where your MBA will help differentiate you from the database wizard: you’ve learnt “articulating vision” and have the shibboleth credentials of looking like executive management and have the good fortune of citizenship.

But opporunities for differentiation won’t come until later and you’ve got to service your debt and your household in the here and now. I liked Fitzgerald’s practical suggestion. It’s also a fact about the world of today: get used to running all the time.