The world’s highly ranked business schools offer a challenging environment for next-gen leaders, but non-family members who want to work for a family business are better off at a local university that's close to the firm.
That's the view of Carmen Lence, founder of consulting firm NextGen Family Business. She told CampdenFB that attending the best school gives next-gens a higher chance of getting a well-respected job outside the family company, something more and more next-gens are encouraged to do before joining the family business.
Companies including Estee Lauder, the Godrej Group and Coopers Brewery have taken this approach, with next-gens setting up their own businesses or working for competitors and suppliers.
“Fortune 500 companies generally prefer to hire [employees for] key jobs from top schools,” said Lence. These are Harvard Business School and INSEAD, according to a recent study by education services provider QS Intelligence Unit, which asked employers to rank the best MBA schools in North America and Europe.
“Top business schools attract top professionals, you want to have those in your network,” she said.
“Getting into a top business school is not easy. Just getting into the programme shows that you have some talent … Next-gens that are able to complete the programme will gain not only business skills and new ideas that can apply to their business, but self-confidence, self-belief, self-knowledge and legitimacy to aspire to management position in the family business,” Lence added.
Choosing a non-local school is also often beneficial for next-gens, she said. “Going to a business school outside [their] local area will help [them] to become more independent and get real, honest feedback from people that won’t be influenced by who their families are.”
However, things are different when it comes to medium-sized family businesses hiring non-family executives, according to Lence, as they don’t necessarily prefer someone from a top business school . She said it depends on how much they value an MBA degree.
“Larger, more professionalised companies tend to hire [MBA graduates] from top business schools because they tend to better prepare people. But those employees are also more expensive, so small and middle-sized companies may hire from second-tier schools,” she said.