There are many things learned at business school: how to lead, how to manage, how to turn your corporation around, how to analyse situations, diagnose problems, find solutions – and so it goes on. You come out equipped with a raft of case study models to help you deal with any eventuality, and if you're still unsure about anything, there's no shortage of business books to come to your rescue, proselytizing and offering scientific (sometimes pseudo) advice on how to change the business world or, at the very least, your organisation, or even yourself.
By the end of it, you'll have enough words of wisdom ringing in your ears to last a lifetime, and will feel ready to take on anything the business world could throw at you. Until that is, your first day on, or back at, the job, when you realise what business school didn't – couldn't – teach you: the management learning, borne out of on-the-job experience.
"When it comes to being effective in business, learning 'what to do' through formal education is only half the story," says Will Mitchell, director of consulting at talent management consultancy A&DC.
"Finding out how to apply the knowledge and skills you have gained, in a way that engages with colleagues and furthers the commercial objectives of your organisation, is the real key to success in the business world."
"It's also important to learn from on-the-job experiences in a planned and structured way, thinking about how these experiences can benefit you and help to grow capabilities. Academic qualifications are the start, but if we want to succeed, we should never stop learning," he adds.
With this in mind, we asked six HR professionals who have made it to the top to tell us the most valuable lessons they learned on the job rather than from behind a classroom desk.
Use influence in an appropriate way
"One of the key lessons I learned on the job is that you cannot change people; people can only change themselves," says Grant Weinberg, associate director, inte