March 25, 2019 | 50° F

Rutgers professor drops 101 lessons about Generation Z in latest book

Photo by Courtesy of Mark Beal |

Mark Beal, a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, recently published his third book that offers lessons from interviews and conversations with college students around the country. His latest focuses on how Generation Z interacts with media and marketing. 

Members of Generation Z, as defined by Mark Beal, are digital natives, socially conscious and community-minded people, who will be entering the workforce in droves over the course of coming years.

Beal, a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, recently published his latest book titled “Decoding Gen Z: 101 Lessons Generation Z Will Teach Corporate America Marketers and Media,” aimed at teaching marketers how college-aged people consume media.

This is Beal’s third book taking inspiration from interviews with students at Rutgers and across the country. This work creates a depiction of how the demographic consumes information and what impact that will have on the future of business and media. 

In his book, Beal compiled a glossary of terms used by Generation Z, which he said were important for companies to pick up on. From “sus” to “G.O.A.T,” he made sure to cover most of the terms used by college and high school students today, keeping the definitions from seeming out of touch by consulting his interviewees instead of the internet.

Beal said the book’s final lesson, “We Will Change the World,” summarizes the book in a powerful way and describes how businesses will need to adapt when Generation Z joins the workforce.

“... This lesson captures the way Gen Z will challenge the status quo, the way they will transform the traditional 9-to-5 work mindset, the way they will change how brands advertise and market to consumers, the way individuals have the ability and power to mobilize to create a positive movement,” he said. “I am confident this generation will inspire positive change in society, culture, communities, the workplace and schools more than any generation before them.”

As Generation Z enters the workforce, Beal said the traditional rulebook needs to be thrown out and corporate America needs to realize this generation is different from millennials, in order to capture their unique mindset.

“Gen Z are not millennials,” he said, referring to what he said is an over concentration on the millennial generation.

The essential element to the operations of Generation Z is technology, Beal said. As the first generation to be raised with devices always at arm’s reach, he said that many do not follow the traditional 9-to-5 routine because they can, and some want to, work from home or at their own pace. 

Also important, he said the working world is currently too impersonal for a generation in which many people were raised on the ideal of working for a purpose and collaborating with others. 

Beal said Generation Z sees work not only as a means to make money, but also as a way to utilize their talents to effect change, and that they would prefer a mentor to a manager. 

“(Generation Z) grew up on technology, embrace technology and take this concentration on tech into internships and jobs,” he said. 

In the future, the companies that are best equipped to handle Generation Z might be the ones made by the very same group. 

Beal said this in describing how he found that college-aged students today commonly do not have a set career in mind and participate in side businesses that some try to turn into full blown businesses in the future. 

Generation Z prefers a recent company to an established one, Beal said, and he pointed out that many of the most popular brands today are those whose age parallel their own, such as Amazon, Netflix, Twitter and Spotify.

“(Businesses are) not prepared at all," Beal said. "So much focus has been put on millennials now they have to shift the mindset and shift their approach ... that’s the reason I went out and interviewed 60 Gen Z-ers across America, (to) truly understand everything from the content they consume to what they look for in internships and jobs.”

Christian Balbuena

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