Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

"The First Step in Proactively Managing Students' Careers: Teaching Self-Swot Analysis"

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

"The First Step in Proactively Managing Students' Careers: Teaching Self-Swot Analysis"

Article excerpt


The purpose of this article is to (1) share with other professors the value of a career self- SWOT analysis for students, (2) encourage professors to instill the value of business tools (like a personal SWOT) and strategies for students' career application, and (3) enable professionals to continuously progress in their careers through the use of these tools. This personal assessment tool will be identified in this article as self-SWOT analysis. SWOT is a business acronym typically used to identify an organization's strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O), and threats (T). This technique is used to evaluate a company's internal strengths and weaknesses and its external opportunities and threats. The underlying assumption of a SWOT analysis is that managers can better formulate a successful strategy after they have carefully reviewed the organization's strengths and weaknesses in light of current threats and opportunities the environment presents.

To accomplish these three purposes, we need to first summarize the learning scenario that has involved the three coauthors over the past ten years. One of the coauthors, Mike Chertudi, Senior Marketing Director for Adobe, graduated in 2000 with his bachelor's degree at a university in the western U.S. As a business student, Chertudi learned the strategy framework of applying SWOT analysis in evaluating businesses in his marketing class from one coauthor and resume writing from the other coauthor. Following graduation, Chertudi successfully applied SWOT to two separate start-up businesses--one in Massachusetts and one in Utah--both in the high-tech sector. Additionally, he applied his well-developed writing and speaking skills to numerous business situations.

Visiting business communication classes in 2006 as a guest lecturer at his alma mater, Chertudi spoke to students on the importance of writing and giving oral presentations in his business experience since graduation. As a sidelight, he also indicated his SMART goal (a business acronym for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound) and his personal SWOT at the time. His SMART goal included becoming a marketing executive of a billion dollar company within 10 years. This type of role for an organization this size would have a staff estimated at 150 marketers and a program budget of approximately $70 million. By applying the SWOT analysis tool from business, he shared that he had an experience "weakness gap" in managing both staff and budget. At the time, he had a staff of 10 people and a budget approximating $3 million and knew that he would have to close this gap over the next 10 years for his goal to become a reality.

As the years progressed, Chertudi continued guest lecturing to the co-author's class and sharing his self-SWOT analysis as it pertained to achieving his SMART career goal (see Exhibit 3). Each year, he was able to grow his career through hard work, results, and promotions. In 2009, his company was acquired by Adobe Systems. At that time, he shared his SMART goal with the head of Adobe's marketing arm. While articulating his desires, he emphasized that if his new role didn't offer the opportunity to achieve his goal then he would pursue other opportunities right away. Because of his results-oriented reputation and strong leadership capability, Adobe greatly expanded his scope of responsibility and helped him to close his experience "gap" in an even more dramatic way. Adobe asked him to manage a team of 45 and a budget of $40 million. In 2012, three years from achieving his goal, he has been able to close his experience "gap" even more while continuing to accentuate his strengths. He manages a staff of over 100 employees and a budget that has surpassed what he needs to achieve his SMART goal in conjunction with his self-SWOT.

Chertudi has continued to emphasize the need for a self-SWOT analysis as well as an external job market analysis to evaluate opportunities and threats within specific industries and geographies before embarking on career search activities. …

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