Call it CSR, corporate responsibility, creating shared value, or sustainability, whatever you prefer: What if there was one, relatively short, course that could answer all your questions about pursuing a career in the field?
Whether it's information on what certifications help, what to highlight on your resume, which companies to target, what websites to bookmark, the More Than Money League (MTM) is hoping to address all those with one stroke: A six-week online course.
Founded by Mark Albion, a former Harvard Business School professor and cofounder of Net Impact, the League has a simple directive: Help people find meaningful careers that fit their experience and skill sets, and that are as rewarding personally as financially.
MTM is a joint collaboration between Dr. Albion and Mrim Boutla, a brain scientist turned career coach. I met Dr. Boutla at last year's Net Impact conference, where we had an invigorating discussion on the issue of career development and why she believes jobseekers must pursue meaningful careers than a job that pays the bills.
She also discussed this in our recent series CSR 2010: Lasting Impressions from a Volatile Year, offering jobseekers three ways to pursue a responsible career.
Overall, not much is changing at traditional companies, which function based on the same old same old: Maximizing shareholder value and giving their executives compensation packages with bonuses that are not strictly tied to performance are higher priorities than hiring and paying their employees fairly at home and abroad.
As a result, for many emerging and established professionals, the perceived career options are a choice between working for a company that harms the environment or exploits workers somewhere in the world, or following their passion for change and in most cases, living paycheck to paycheck.
Now, Boutla and Albion are finally putting their experiences—over 30 years for Albion—into practice together. The course, as the MTM website describes, will provide "a unique combination of conceptual and practical guidance that will enable you to successfully compete for career opportunities in CSR, social enterprises, and nonprofit management."
The curriculum essentially follows what the founders call the REACH Career Management Process: Reflect (on your experience and education), Explore (challenges and career options), Activate (network and community building), Compete (for career opportunities that align with our plan), and Harvest.
Their core idea: To help candidates bridge the gap between intention and action.
Also included in the tightly packed course will be individual career coaching opportunities and a 30-day access to the course site. The feedback so far—on one workshop that attracted 60 candidates—has been both encouraging and insightful, according to Boutla.
Two testimonials that caught my eye:
"Although it is too soon to say with certainty, the MTM League experience has felt life-changing to me. For the past year I have done a great deal of soul-searching about the next steps in my life. This course greatly energized that process, and I feel optimistic about a bright future unfolding."
"In my personal quest for significance through work... I began [by] feeling unaccomplished and irrelevant. Then I dedicated time for introspection and to research. Then I became enlightened and motivated by Net Impact, Ashoka, Acumen Fund, etc. of making a lasting impact. The last stage has been one of paralysis from an overflow of information and a feeling of frustration for not being able to find the path to a career of meaning and financial reward after my MBA. The More than Money League has aided me to ask the right questions, find rich new resources, expand my network, make a plan, and hold myself accountable in order to be better equipped to succeed in finding a career with social, environmental, and financial goals." (Emphasis added)
I asked Boutla how the graduates of their inaugural workshop had fared.
"About 30 percent have developed projects as intrapreneurs in their current firms, and another 30 percent have successfully competed for new opportunities that aligned with their goals. The remaining 40 percent decided to stay where they are, but their mindset has tremendously changed.
"All of our survey respondents reported increased focus, clarity and confidence in knowing their values and in finding opportunities to turn their values into value in their next job. Everyone knows how hard it is to clearly articulate their career goals and to feel excited and energized about their professional future. In six weeks, our participants have gone from fear to confidence, and are all re-energized because they now know more about what they want."
The best part: The potential networking access you can expect from the two powerhouses behind MTM. Together, Boutla and Albion represent a network of over 600 business schools and almost five decades of experience.
As the economy slowly recovers, business curriculum is continuing to attract heavy introspection. A lot of the attention, however, is focused on whether the classroom should have more room for discussions on the role of ethics, transparency and accountability in business. While universities figure out the best fit for their classes, the MTM League is well placed to connect jobseekers who want to work in More Than Money League.
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