The souls of the one percent : a report on the emerging leaders of the millennial generation
Author(s)Parker, Priya Narayan
Souls of the 1% : a report on the emerging leaders of the millennial generation
Sloan School of Management.
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I wanted to conduct a study of the future leaders of Generation Y at the moment in which they wade out into the career marketplace. It is a group of young people, who, because of their high levels of education and demonstrated ambition, will help to guide our common future and perhaps provide a glimpse of what is to come. What kind of world are they going to build? What kind of companies will they manage? What kind of governments will they run? I wanted to explore what moves them, how they make choices about their own futures, and how they think about their personal and public values and ability to make a difference. I wanted to understand what we might expect from our next generation of senators, ambassadors, CEOs, NGO founders, schools chancellors and team owners. For this study, I interviewed 30 Dual Degree students, spanning three different classes across the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology Sloan School of Management. A series of patterns began to emerge. First, and above all else, the compass of this cohort is ever pointed toward something its members call optionality - which is, in a nutshell, the habit of making choices according to what keeps the most doors open for the longest possible time. Second, the guiding ideology of this cohort is pragmatism over ideology. They have very few sacred cows. They are passionately in favor both of profit and purpose; they imagine working in the public, private and social sectors, and they prefer to transcend the boundaries of their parents' generation and to keep politics out of it. But they also suffer from their pragmatism - from a sense of being unmoored, untethered, with very little but their ambitions to guide them. Third, this cohort is part of a global reimagining of ideal leadership behaviors: a shift from certitude and conviction as the epitome of leading to empathy and the ability to see from multiple perspectives, with all the good and bad that this entails. There is a belief among this cohort that influence increasingly comes from standing behind or on the sidelines, and there is an attraction to informal authority over the formal variety. The most common fear mentioned among this cohort is not having their ideals match their choices and not meeting their potential. They are obsessed with making an impact, but, for the most part, have not yet determined how to make that impact. They are a risk-averse cohort, highly self-aware and tend to look to one another for guidance and advice. And, finally, there is an anxiety among this cohort that, given their education, their resources and their safety nets, if they don't take bigger risks to make an impact in the world, it's not clear who will.
Thesis (M.B.A.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 66-67).
DepartmentSloan School of Management.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management.