Despite his dislike of MBAs, Steve Jobs once said: “We do want to create our own MBAs, but in our own image.” It was his way of saying that learning how to think “business” matters in determining success.
Unlike many people in business today, I didn’t start my career after obtaining a degree. Procter & Gamble was my university. It was there that I learned about creating culture, the importance of the consumer, and the complexity of global markets and local execution.
The concept of a corporate university is essentially a learning environment within an organization. It’s an idea that has been around for decades. McDonald’s established its Hamburger University in 1961 to teach people the “secrets of the business” and now has schools all over the world. The Hamburger University in China is so exclusive, it has a harder acceptance rate than Harvard! Only one percent of applications are successful.
Pixar University goes beyond teaching its employees leadership and business strategy skills. It engages employees in activities not related to their role (like belly dancing or improvisation) but key in fostering creative and happy workplaces, and helping employees to understand each other better.
At Saatchi & Saatchi, we run the Lovemarks Academy to introduce Lovemarks thinking and foster the atmosphere that has made us known as a hot house for world-changing creative ideas. Run by Deputy Chairman Worldwide, Richard Hytner, almost 4,000 Saatchi & Saatchi people from 40 countries have attended the Academy. The potency of these academies is heightened when clients participate, which they do with increasing frequency.
Learning is something that we must continue to do even once we’re working. Embrace any learning opportunities that your workplace may provide. Dedicate time to learn new things outside of work – read, learn a new skill; even skills that might not relate to your work will flow into your everyday exchanges and performance.