When it comes to finding a fulfilling and meaningful career, Marcus Buckingham, internationally renowned author and career coach, says that you don’t need any skills tests or personality assessments to understand yourself. “You are always the best judge of who you are. You know what it is you’re most drawn to,” he told MBA students at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. “Start with your interests and take them really seriously.”Â Buckingham was on the A&M campus as a guest of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays. He presented his workshop “The Truth About You” to an audience of 300 at A&M. Prior to that lecture, he met in a more personal setting with a group of 20 Mays MBA students. In both venues, he discussed creating job satisfaction and his unique strengths-based management focus.
Richard Scruggs, director of the center coordinated Buckingham’s visit. Scruggs says that Buckingham had an important message for students. “Marcus has pioneered the concept that people and organizations perform better when the work aligns with the individual’s strengths,” he said. “I hope students got out of this presentation the ability to better identify their strengths and then, when it comes time to join the work force or consider graduate school they will be better prepared to seek opportunities that will be more fulfilling and rewarding.”
Buckingham advised the MBA students in the smaller setting to not be as preoccupied with their qualifications as they are their interests. He recommended that students take some time to self-assess by examining an ordinary week of life and keeping a “loved it/loathed it” list, writing down their feelings about work and recreational tasks. He proposes that when we are doing what we love to do, we will be most productive. The challenge then is to find out how to use what we love doing to benefit society.
“I enjoyed the way he went through the process of discovering your strengths, by recording and analyzing random everyday activities over a period of one week. To me, it was a very practical application,” said Chuk Ejim, a second-year MBA student from Nigeria.
Buckingham is the author of four books on the topic of personal strengths, including First, Break All the Rules and The One Thing You Need to Know. He is an international public speaker and has appeared on the Today Show and Oprah.