Finance Executives Are Spending $30,000/Day To Learn How To Type www.facebook.com Into Their Address BarBy Bess Levin
Are you Wall Street veteran, bank CEO, or otherwise high-ranking member of the financial services industry? Are you pretty good at the finance-y part of your job but totally lost when it comes to technology, specifically the vast and utterly confusing world of social media? Do you want to shell out $60k to not exactly learn how to navigate sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, but walk away with the ability to produce a crude drawing of Facebook’s homepage? Consider today your lucky day: according to the Journal, there are now numerous scams willing to take your money…
Fearful their companies will fall behind because top bosses don’t have a firm grasp of technology or digital media, senior managers are taking lessons on how the Internet works. Some firms are pairing individual leaders with young mentors, while others are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach the entire c-suite how to use social tools that most of their entry-level employees use without a second thought. The goal isn’t for the CEO to parse the difference between a “like” and “share” on Facebook or take a spin on the company Twitter account, though that is covered, too. Rather, instructors and managers say, a basic understanding of the digital landscape helps leaders make better decisions about what to invest in, as well as how to talk about it. In the past 18 months, teams of senior staffers from companies including American Express Co., NYSE Euronext and PepsiCo Inc. have gone to the Manhattan classrooms of General Assembly, which offers courses in coding and product design, to learn how to analyze data and think like a tech entrepreneur. A two-day program can cost $60,000.
…and in exchange, teach you how to:
Click “add to shopping cart” on various e-commerce sites:
- Fifteen University of Miami students are mentoring executives in Citigroup Inc.’s Latin America unit on the lives and digital habits of millennials. Ana Fernanda Ruiz, a senior finance and management-science major, says her mentee, a managing director, wanted to learn how to connect with younger clients and future employees. In monthly meetings, Ms. Ruiz has been addressing topics including how she and her friends make purchases on mobile devices.
Pronounce the word “internet”:
- Then there’s the senior marketing executive who tried too hard to prove his digital savvy, name-dropping social-media sites such as Dodgeball, a location-based networking service shuttered in 2009. “He looked clueless,” Mr. Verdino says. Still other coaches have horror stories of clients who come in using the word “interwebs.”1
- In a recent class, 22 senior managers at advertising agency Draftfcb Healthcare were asked to draw Facebook from memory2 as part of a lesson about user experience.
Sure, you could simply summon a bunch of first year analysts to your office and task them with putting you through the social media paces, but that would take the fun out of it.
1. I picture a speech therapist holding an executive’s jaw while they practice saying “internet” over and over. “No, no. It’s an ‘n’ sound. Neh. Neh.”↩
2. Hands down the most amazing part of the article and the one that most makes me think the people running these programs are doing this as performance art. “After lunch everyone will be asked to recite a haiku about the last genital they saw on SnapChat.”↩