Prof. Cappelli Discusses Career Trends and Value of MBA

When Prof. Peter Cappelli says that times have changed in terms of careers, he isn’t exaggerating. At a recent online live webcast from Wharton | San Francisco, Prof. Cappelli spoke to prospective applicants about why it’s more important than ever to take charge of your own career.

While it was once common to expect employment at the same company for your entire career, that is clearly not the case anymore. The same can be said of succession plans and workforce planning. Companies are more likely to replace talent from the outside and spend fewer resources grooming employees for long-term employment.

As for employees, they are changing jobs on a much more frequent basis. But at the same time, people are staying in the same function longer. This raises the issue of how do you get out of your silo? And if you stay at your company, how do you continue to add value when the company can’t be sure it will need your particular skillset down the road?

An MBA degree, he said, is a good avenue to consider. “It’s up to the employee to get the skills needed and keep those skills up to date. Employees have to manage their own careers and that is a difficult thing to do. It’s something that requires initiative, but often the opportunities are in front of you and you just have to figure out how to negotiate for them.”

This may mean spending time thinking about how to ask for sponsorship since companies in today’s economy may not have tuition reimbursement programs in place. “But if you can figure out what skills will be hot then you can make the case for going back to school. And if you can get those skills into your tool belt then you’ll be in a great position to take better control of your career,” he said.

Watch the replay of the webcast, which includes a tour of Wharton’s new facility in San Francisco and a Q&A session with alumni from both the East and West Coast EMBA programs.