Management gurus – bye bye economists?

Last week, I wrote about “growing role of biologists in management”. Citing a senior marketing director, the question is what makes people tick? How do our genes or chemical composition affect the way we reach decisions, specifically in the work environment.

As somebody, who was trained as an economist, I have to feel somewhat “threatened”.

So my heart sank just a bit further when I began to read how about many leading firms in Israel have rethought their recruitment policies. It seems that students of philosophy and anthropology are highly sought after these days. They leave universities with an ability to observe across a broad spectrum. These are the people who are destined to become financial advisors for their employers.

What about some training in pricing policy or understanding accounting management? Well, it turns out that Microsoft, the mobile companies and others now provide in-house crash courses.

To quote a partner of McKinsey in Israel, Dr Jonathan Kolodny: “It does not matter if the candidate studied management or philosophy. We  prefer students that have learnt how to think and how to look at situations differently.”

I can’t see too many economists or accountants emerging with such a skill.

Who is right and wrong? Yes, we all know that recruitment is prone to trends. I recall how much used to rest on your answer to the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years time”. Who the xxx knows?

But here is a thought for senior management in the companies mentioned above. If the youngsters are being asked to think, is there a mechanism to listen to, respect and possibly even to accept some of the conclusions of these new members of staff. Or will their thoughts just be rejected by the stuffy voices of experience, seeking to protect their positions in the hierachy?

Maybe the economists will have something to offer here.

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One Comment on “Management gurus – bye bye economists?”

  1. Simon Henton Says:

    Hi Michael

    A good final point – for communication to work both “send” and “receive” functions have to be operational!

    Being able to “think” is fine but a level of experience is needed to understand which things are important and need acting upon and which are merely interesting. Graduates have proven the capacity of their minds through study but need experience to prove that this capacity can also be capable of adding value through action.


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