Metro News & Notes: The Business of Improv, Souring on Wall Street, and More

Business Improv

Good morning and happy Friday!

Here are a few stories you may have missed from the week that was …

How Improv Methods from Comedy Can Lift Business Performance | Knowledge@Wharton

There aren’t many part-time comedians and business school professors, but Bob Kulhan doesn’t fit the norm. An adjunct professor at both Duke University and the Columbia Business School, Kulhan is the founder and CEO of Business Improv and co-author of the new book “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improvisation. Speaking on the Knowledge@Wharton podcast about his new work, Kulhan talks about his improv-upbringing in the Chicago comedy scene and how it can be applied in a business setting.

When discussing those in business who struggle to think on the fly, Kulhan notes, “There are all sorts of biases that keep us from just communicating with people and keeping an open mind. What we look for in improvisation is a postponement in judgment and the critical thinking to another side so that we can take in and absorb the offers and opportunities that are being presented to us.”

The concept of “Yes And” (the building block of improv comedy structure), Kulhan notes, can help build individual development, which then helps build team development. “When great minds and intelligent people are sharing thoughts … the collective consciousness of the group will outweigh that of any individual,” he says.

Check out the Knowledge@Wharton podcast today.

A Record Percentage of MBAs Don’t Want to Work on Wall Street | Bloomberg

Training the Street, a New York City-based finance training firm, affirmed what many had already begun to suspect: Wall Street jobs are becoming less appealing.

The new survey data found that MBA graduates would like to work at the largest “bulge bracket banks” at the lowest rates in eight years—right after the peak of the economic recession. Scott Rostan, Founder and CEO of Training The Street, said in a release, “Banks are still a dominant hiring force for MBAs and continue to attract top talent, but working for larger, established companies off of Wall Street is becoming more attractive to MBAs as they offer a different type of lifestyle.”

Bloomberg writer Julie Verhage notes that interest in finance is not necessarily disappearing, however. “Other employment options hit record levels of preference this year,” Verhage notes. “Top choices included consulting firms at 20 percent, corporate development at a Fortune 2000 company at 13 percent and boutique banks at 12 percent.”

Find out more about the survey here.

AI Creeps Into the Work of MBA Career Advisers | Financial Times

The AI revolution may be a little less Terminator 2 (so far) than people might have expected, but it’s still changing the MBA game. In a new piece from the Financial Times, writer Jonathan Moules examines several of the world’s top business schools utilizing AI advantages for students, including Vmock, a helpful student résumé assistant created by grads from the Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

“More than 100 higher education institutions, including 17 of the top 20 business schools on the FT MBA ranking list, pay an annual subscription for Vmock’s software,” Moules writes. The cost to use the program is a modest fee of $19.95, with over one million résumés already uploaded.

Like Vmock, much of the AI-infused technology used in business schools was “born out of a frustration the founders felt as MBA students themselves.” Moules’ sources insist that the infusion of tech will not replace the hands-on help of career advisers, but I doubt many of them are ready for Terminator 2 world either.

Check out how AI is helping business schools today.

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