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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Objecting to the Objective Statement

Long-time readers might remember that this is the time of the year where I review the latest Wharton MBA Health Care Management class's objective statements on their resume book. Readers who do remember these posts are highly encouraged to get a life- er I mean commended for their loyalty but still highly encouraged to get a life.

By review objective statements, I mean make fun of them like a snarky hipster makes fun of anything that is not ironic. Now some readers might start thinking that my get-a-life comment was a little bit of a defense mechanism so here is the usual disclaimer:
  • I don't know the difference between a disclaimer or a disclosure.
  • I don't even really know what ironic means either.
  • The students who I am about to make fun of are a lot smarter and more talented me. By a lot, I kind of mean like trillion used to sound like a lot.
  • I made fun of my own classmates objective statements at our annual banquet so I would do this to the class of 2012 face-to-face. The main reason that I do not is because the class of 2012 has no interest in meeting me and playing Angry Birds is a better use of their free time.
  • Given that the students are ridiculously good-looking in their resume book photos in addition to being smarter and talented than me, no one's feeling should be hurt. While I am a cinnamon roll away from obesity on the BMI, most of these students look like they have chiseled abs in their head shots.
What did this year's objective statements bring us?

Leveraging is still the hottest activity on campus but others are catching up: Everyone is still leveraging their "business knowledge and their clinical experience", their "real estate banking and pharmaceutical experience" (which sounds like snorting cocaine off the granite counter tops of expensive condos to me), or peanut butter and jelly. However some have gone a different path and used words that actually still have their original meaning like "combining my experience." One was bold enough to announce that his experiences were already not only leveraged but "integrated". Well played, sir.

Hedging is back in fashion: The toughest thing about objective statements is narrowing it down to the one industry where you want to work. Therefore, objective statements sound like an elaborate list of qualities that guys look for in girlfriends where they are trying to not rule out anyone who might actually have sex with them. Last year some students got bold and placed a stake in the ground. This year, not so much. One student announced an interest in both "international and domestic public equities" and another was looking for opportunities in "new markets in the US or abroad". This meant they only eliminated Mars and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from their future plans. One announced they were seeking an opportunity in "commercial management in health care". Either that's really broad or they are being very specific about wanting to work in advertising with Don Draper.

Raising the stakes: This year's class was bold and I would expect nothing less than from these millennials who don't have to spend their time watching their hair line with the same level of scrutiny typically reserved for the Pakistan-Afghan border. Besides just wanting a job in either "venture capital, business development, or innovative start-ups", they talked about transforming the health care system. Soon to be graduates had plans to "improve efficiency and effectiveness", "access and quality", "identify and drive long-term value," and "improve health care quality and delivery." They weren't just looking for a job but they were going to make big changes. To these efforts, I will salute the class of 2012 as soon as they pass me my cinnamon roll.

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