Financial Times (FT) recently surveyed forty-eight leading business employers on what professional skills they want — but cannot find — in MBA graduates. Since FT is recognized internationally for its integrity and accuracy, this information commands attention. According to their survey, employers reported the five most important skills as the:
1.) Ability to work with a wide variety of people
2.) Ability to prioritize and manage time effectively
3.) Need to understand the digital impact on businesses
4.) Ability to build and preserve a network of people
5.) Ability to solve complex problems
A survey of recruiting agencies concluded that the ability to fit within the organization’s culture ranks first. The second-most-important trait valued across industrial and regional categories is an ability to work as part of teams; the third most important is an ability make an impact. The teamwork skill will be most advantageous for individuals seeking management. The respected publication, The Economist, concurs that the MBA graduate’s theoretical knowledge must meet the interpersonal and supervisory skills.
Bloomberg conducted their own survey of 1,320 job recruiters at more than 600 companies to determine which skills employers want but have a difficult time finding. When looking at all industries, the soft skill that stands out in the Less Common/More Desired category is communication skills. The other three qualities in the same category are creative problem-solving, strategic thinking, and leadership skills.
It is apparent that your interpersonal qualities will affect your MBA stature. Therefore, when choosing a program, check the curriculum to verify that there are soft skills incorporated into it. For example, one prestigious business school has a course titled- Management Communication: Speaking and Writing. The Speaking phase will strengthen your skills in persuasion, impromptu speaking, speaking confidently, handling Q&A, and speaking on camera. During the Writing portion, you will learn to create clear, concise, and persuasive writing. One inexpensive way to boost communication skills is to take courses online. One source is Udemy. For $10.99, you can select from 65,000 online courses, many of which teach communication skills.
MBA graduates are known to be critical thinkers with strategic views on business issues. During the degree they are asked to take the time to understand circumstances, identify issues and think strategically and holistically before taking action. After several months of working in this style, it is likely that this method of approaching issues will translate into the work of the MBA graduate. This is another significant skill that employers look for in prospective hires. The ability to solving problem will make you a valuable resource and a respected member of any organization.
Even when studying an online MBA that allows students to fit the degree into their life, students are still encouraged to interact and network with their peers as much as possible. They are often provided with a number of opportunities to attend events, form study groups and grow their networks. All of these experiences plus the new knowledge they acquire help to build the students confidence, benefiting their interpersonal skills and networking know-how. Although not formally taught throughout the MBA degree, networking skills are an asset in the business environment, as the ability to connect with people and maintain relationships is instrumental in business.
DegreeQuery has a list of the Top 50 Affordable Online MBA Degree Programs for 2018 to assist you in your college search.