IMD International

5 pieces of advice for future career paths

Talent in China - Observations from the Life Science Industry with the IMD Alumni Shanghai Club and Korn Ferry

February 5, 2015

Human capital, especially in Asia, is a major driver across industries and businesses.

At a recent event at Korn Ferry's Shanghai office, the IMD Shanghai Alumni Club had the honor of gaining insights on the talent landscape in China's life science industry from Ms. Gladdy He, Senior Client Partner of Korn Ferry and Dr. Janet Polach, Principal Consultant Leadership & Talent Consulting of Korn Ferry.

"The market is still on the war for talents," said Ms. Gladdy He.

Using detailed data analysis, she shared market trends highlighting the talent situation in China, which shows to be plagued by talent gaps, high turnover rates, few development initiatives and stiff competition between local business and multinationals.

She also presented data showing that management jobs in the pharma/medical device sector are in the highest of demand. In fact, China has become the 4th largest medical device market in the world and holds an enormous growth potential. And, given much ongoing healthcare reform, the healthcare services industry is booming with many opportunities for career seeking professionals.

Ms. He also elaborated on the executive development cycle in China, where the cycle is significantly reduced and compressed. This means direction level executives often are 10 years younger than their cohorts in the US or Europe.

"While the talent situation provides great opportunities for aspiring MBA graduates who would like to progress rapidly in the corporate ladder, it also presents real challenges," Ms. He said. "Over promotion beyond one's capability can result in failure and career setback. Career planning and self-assessment are more crucial than ever."

Following Ms. He's presentation, Dr. Janet Polach shared her thoughts and research findings on how high executive potential can be measured and predicted.

She encouraged alumni to analyze their own potential. She also introduced talent analytics tools her company uses such as the Korn Ferry Assessment of Leadership Potential (KFALP) and ViaEdge, both which can help support the development and growth of talents. But for those without access to such tools, Ms. He and Dr. Polach offer five pieces of advice for future career paths:

  1. Be clear about your career motivation and driver. This sets the course for finding the right place and environment where you can fit in and flourish.

  2. Assess your own readiness to move forward. Use your HR department, 360 feedback or developmental programs to help.

  3. Try to acquire a range of experiences. Job rotations and short overseas assignments make you a stronger candidate.

  4. Be patient. Job hopping is not a good way to get on the fast-track. Companies will value executives who withstood hardships and showed loyalty.

  5. Find good mentors and sponsors within your organization. They will be essential to supporting your growth and success.

In addition to the IMD Alumni Shanghai Club's exploration of human talent, IMD consistently seeks to help business leaders and executives improve on their own talent and that of their organizations. In a new Global Leader Index, we invite you to see where you rate among your peers in the area of global leadership.

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About IMD Alumni Shanghai Club

IMD Alumni Club Shanghai is a close-knitted gathering of the IMD alumni based in Shanghai. Our vision is to create a platform for IMD alumni to gather, make friends and experience life-long learning with one another. We also aim to strengthen our communication with IMD after graduation, and to help current IMD students, faculty, staff, global IMD alumni to familiarize with Shanghai or China.

We organize conferences, roundtable sessions, guest lectures, excursion trips and other events. Through our extensive network, we create networking opportunities not just with IMD Alumni, but also other alumni groups in Shanghai, international business schools and governmental organizations. If you are an IMD alumnus/a based in Shanghai, we would like to welcome you to our active community! Join us for our enriching activities that are held throughout the year.

About Ms. Gladdy He

Ms. He is a Senior Client Partner in the Shanghai office of Korn Ferry.

Possessing extensive global consulting and management experience, Ms. He specializes in human capital development, including executive coaching, leadership succession, organizational development, strengths-based management programs and talent management. Over the course of her career in the U.S., China, Southeast Asia and Europe, Ms. He has worked with Fortune 500 clients from consumer and life science industries.

Ms. He holds a master's in business administration degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a masters of sciences degree from the University of Connecticut in agricultural and resource economics, as well as a bachelor's degree in economics from Nankai University in Tianjin.

About Dr. Janet Polach

Dr. Polach is a Principal Consultant with Korn Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, based in the Firm's Shanghai office.

Dr. Polach possesses over twenty years helping clients improve their organizational performance by leveraging people. She has helped executive teams work more effectively to reach their business objective, has developed leaders and their leadership pipelines, and has assisted organizations prepare for and effectively manage change.

Dr. Polach is a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, and holds a doctoral degree in organizational leadership and development from the University of Minnesota.



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