Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Dr. Michael P. Coyne

Striking a Balance between advising students on the Benefits of Pursuing Purpose, Supporting the Common Good and Helping them achieve their Academic/Career Goals

One view of pursuing purpose is that a person’s life is focused in such a way that her/his talents, gifts and passions all work together to benefit someone and/or something bigger than themselves A life of purpose extends beyond the self and affects someone and/or something else for the better. Therefore, living a life of purpose supports the common good. Many people believe Jesuit Business Schools and Educators have an obligation to help their undergraduate and graduate students pursue a life of purpose that supports the common good. Jesuit Universities and some Jesuit Business School educators ostensibly make attempts to do this. In theory, doing this sounds sensible, noble and the right thing to do. However, in practice it may be very difficult to achieve these noble goals. The reason being undergraduate and graduate business students attending Jesuit Universities face many challenges. At the undergraduate level, these challenges include financing the high cost of a private college education, choosing a major that they find interesting and rewarding, fitting in socially which has been even more challenging during the Pandemic, and planning for a post-college life in which they can support themselves. At the graduate level, business students in their mid-to-late 20s, 30s, and 40s often have full-time jobs, families, financial pressures and/or a strong desire to obtain a marketable graduate degree as quickly and easily as possible. Additional challenges at both levels include the limited time and resources that any Professor has with a student to teach the subject matter of her/his particular discipline (i.e., Accounting, Finance, Business Analytics, Management, Marketing etc.). Given all of this, how can any Professor also effectively advise/help students to pursue purpose and support the common good? This paper will discuss some pedagogical approaches/techniques that get students to think about these issues within the context of their career aspirations. Based on research in the human resources literature and other disciplines, the paper will discuss what is feasible and reasonable at various stages of a person’s academic and professional career. The paper will discuss people who were successful financially and/or professionally, yet have also pursued their purpose and contributed to the common good. In terms of limitations, it is important to note that this paper will NOT provide easy answers or foolproof solutions to the very challenging issue of succeeding personally and at the same time contributing to the common good. Every individual regardless of her/his background or area of expertise deals with one common constraint, namely time. At various stages of one’s career the opportunities to support the common good may be very limited, and at other times the opportunities may be greater. The paper will also talk about the hard choices a person has to make with regard to time management and life style priorities in order to pursue a successful career with purpose and support the common good.