Yes and Yes: An LMU Approach to Career and Business Growth

Joe O’Hannigan, MBA – Associate Dean and Director of the Executive MBA Program

You know the expression about wanting to have your cake and eat it too? It’s never been more relevant, or more achievable. We’re talking about your career, after all. It’s a matter of your development, your purpose and ultimately your happiness and sense of fulfillment.

A growing body of research suggests that mindset is the key. How people approach changing their lives in big and small ways. At Loyola Marymount University, we love the ground-breaking work by author and Polarity Partnerships Chairman Barry Johnson, in which he explores the importance of identifying then navigating “polarities.” By polarities he means the dynamic tensions, the seemingly contradictory choices we all face and must act on every day. Think yin and yang, and the conscious decision to embrace both (thereby having your cake and eating it, too). A few examples can help clarify.

Make vs. Buy

Don’t feel compelled to choose one. This applies to organizations and individuals alike. “Should we buy the talent and the skills we’ll need tomorrow? Or should we develop those skills from within?”

For organizations: Yes, develop your people. That’s an investment that will pay near- and long-term dividends. And, when appropriate, do bring in new talent and perspectives. Loyola Marymount University can be your partner in each: Our mid-career business programs will season your team with needed skills, tools and techniques, while each new cohort of LMU graduates provides your organization a pool of high-achieving talent on which to draw.

For individuals: Proactively develop your skillset by leveraging the abundance of free learning resources available off and online. And, when it makes sense, absolutely invest in structured, high-impact learning experiences. LMU offers top-ranked MBA and Executive MBA programs, as well as a growing portfolio of one- to three-day seminars on current and practical specialty subjects.

Structured vs. Individualized

Again, you needn’t pick one. The best learning and development programs are conscientiously designed and delivered. They incorporate relevant content, organize it in an accessible, “building block” structure, and engage students on the topics in ways that are memorable, stimulating and appropriate to the subject. That’s how LMU’s business programs work, with classes that bring together 20 to 30 professionals at a time.

Your career and your development plans are, of course, unique to you. You can and should enjoy individualized learning experiences that resonate with you. At LMU, a student favorite is a hybrid experience that involves sailing. At the start of, and midway through the LMU Executive MBA Program, students travel to Long Beach Yacht Club. There, they are assigned crew duties aboard 37-foot “Catalina” style sailboats. Many have never been aboard a sailboat before, but over the course of two days learn to sail, function as an effective team at sea, and ultimately race against other boat crews. Thanks to LMU’s unique team of instructors, which includes former Olympians, Navy SEALs, and professional sail racers, our EMBA students grow as individuals, as team members and as leaders.

Skill vs. Purpose

There is debate about which is more important: Having specific skills and ability, or having a clear purpose and direction. That’s a false choice: The correct answer is, “I need all of the above.”

Success in the rapidly evolving business world requires bedrock skills, such as financial judgment and critical thinking, as well as fluidity with digital tools, strong emotional intelligence and the ability to see how evolving technologies and market phenomena can be leveraged for maximum effect.

At LMU, that sort of holistic or cohesive approach is part of our institutional DNA. A 500-year Jesuit tradition of developing the whole person – mind and spirit – drives our deep sense of purpose. And we, in turn, believe everyone should intentionally define, honor, and live their own purpose. We’ve found that LMU students consistently display – and we seek to nurture – a commitment to growing into their best selves, respecting and valuing their fellow humans, and recognizing a shared responsibility to build up our communities.

We believe that the best leaders have both skills and a strong sense of purpose.

At Loyola Marymount University, we take pride in a century of leadership in and service to the Los Angeles community. Simultaneously, LMU is part of a global network of more than 80 Jesuit colleges and universities, giving our students an unrivaled network of fellow leaders across every industry, profession and part of the world.

At LMU, we navigate the challenges of our evolving economy by seeking both/and solutions, rather than either/or compromises. Yes, you can have that cake, eat it too, and grow yourself and your business to the fullest. Interested in learning more? Let’s talk.

Originally from Hawaii, Joe earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a BBA from Loyola Marymount University.