As the world starts to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, the need to recruit talented business students is on the rise. Career development and professional growth are top priorities for young people, and a Master of Business (MBA) can definitely help them stand out.
But the paper you earn after graduating isn’t all you’ll need for career success. Fortunately, an MBA can teach students several core skills that can help them thrive in the business world.
How to land a place at your top business school
Getting accepted to your business school of choice is no easy task, but you can make it easier by speaking to one of many MBA consulting firms. An MBA admissions consulting firm can determine if you have the skills you need to apply for an MBA course at the top US schools.
With that said, students need to highlight marketable skills, demonstrate self-awareness, describe nonacademic accomplishments, and emphasize their managerial abilities and creativity. The right MBA counselor can take all this info and help you sell it on your application.
7 Skills Master of Business students develop
Career experts say it’s crucial to add your soft skills to your resume, as 93% of employers say they play a critical role in their decision about who to hire. Here’s what employers look for.
1. Communication skills
For a business to run smoothly, they need employees who can effortlessly communicate with their bosses, clients, and colleagues. The ability to express yourself in a clear way is sought after in the business world, and you’ll learn this skill as you move through your coursework.
For example, some classes will grade you on your presentation, listening, and writing skills to see if you can tailor your message to different audiences. If you’re able to get your ideas across and mediate current or potential conflicts (in-person or remotely), you’ll be considered an asset.
2. Digital and tech savviness
All businesses must adapt to an increasingly digitized world if they want to stay competitive. They need people who understand how to navigate essential business software, the ins and outs of social engagement, and new technologies that could influence important industries.
Employers want professionals who aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone, try something different, and manage to develop a deeper understanding of their client’s relationship with tech.
Your breadth of understanding will depend on your program, but most courses will introduce you to a wide range of technological skills, such as web development and digital marketing. If you’re lucky, you may learn about search engine optimization, coding, and how to track data analytics.
3. Adaptability and versatility
Masters students have to manage a large workload, which is only possible if you’re organized and time-sensitive. But on top of that, most MBA students also have to juggle professional commitments and social engagements, leaving them little room for volunteering or free time.
Studying for your MBA may be the most intense experience of your life, but your ability to remain adaptable, versatile, and flexible will come in handy once you enter the business world.
If you can take on a variety of responsibilities, quickly switch between them, and stay on track, even as work is piling up, you’ll help your employer’s business grow. To gain this experience, work for a consultancy firm, as clients often expect you to change an entire plan mid-project.
4. Key leadership skills
Leadership skills are essentially people skills. Patience, empathy, reliability, dependability, and positivity are what you need to build long-lasting relationships, so it’s no coincidence that these traits are found in the best leaders. With that said, a person in power isn’t necessarily a leader.
For example, a manager will direct employees, whereas a leader will motivate them. Leaders and managers approach the same situation in different ways, but acting as a leader is preferred.
The best MBAs place students in unforeseen circumstances to see how they act. A leader must be pleasant, whether things go right or wrong. If you can continue to treat your team with dignity and respect, especially when you’re stressed, employers will want you to lead their teams.
5. Entrepreneurial spirit
It sounds strange that an organization would want to hire a business professional that has an entrepreneurial mindset, but this state of mind can be quite valuable. Businesses can only succeed if they stay innovative, and entrepreneurs are needed to stay ahead of the curve.
Entrepreneurs are usually better decision-makers, especially in the long term, and this skill is absolutely necessary to become better negotiators, managers, and conflict resolvers.
The courses in your MBA will teach you how to allocate resources, prioritize and delegate tasks, and identify gaps in your market. They can also help you come up with win-win solutions during negotiations. Students will develop a business acumen that develops their entrepreneurial spirit.
6. Resilience and networking
Reliance is the ability to cope emotionally with a crisis, and you’ll deal with a lot of those when you work in business. Even when a professional can adapt to an unexpected circumstance, they don’t always mentally bounce back from it; they ruminate. This can limit their career potential.
During your MBA, you’ll potentially fail a project, have a collaboration fall through, or produce low-quality work. You need to be able to accept your mistakes, learn from them, and carry on.
However, having safeguards in place always helps, which is why you should learn how to network early on in your student life. If you can build, maintain, and expand your network, you can leverage these professionals to find better clients or employers that see your strengths.
7. Strategic problem-solving
A person who thinks strategically is able to question their own assumption and seek out relevant information to make the right decisions. An incredible problem solver is able to look past the surface and weigh differentiating viewpoints, brainstorm, and form steps toward a solution.
At school, you’ll collaborate with a diverse group of people, giving you the skills to reach out across cultural boundaries. Not only are diverse teams better at solving problems, but they also produce a higher return on investment for businesses, making your skills valuable to employers.