MBA is one of the most versatile graduate degrees out there. It takes in students from all areas of expertise and churns out thinking leaders who are capable of steering businesses towards success. Making the most of an MBA degree requires more than the desire to make the high bucks after.
This widely popular professional course requires much more than overly ambitious goals to survive the ardour of business schools. There are times when an MBA may just not be the right fit for your career. Perhaps there is a lack of introspection as to why you need it, maybe the timing is not right, or when your intentions are misplaced.
However, if your intentions are aligned with the degree and you are fortunate enough to make it into a worthy MBA program, you may be able to garner some very handy skills that are part of the degree package.
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In this article, we will discuss the skills that become a part of a good business training. Skills that may not be a part of the formal curriculum, however, manage to creep into the training process by virtue of the learning experience.
In a report published by GMAC with results from its Alumni Perspectives Survey, in 2017, various MBA graduates rated their management education.
An interesting observation showed that of the various gradations of satisfaction, personal and professional rewards typically outweighed the financial rewards. That is, while money seemed to be a great perk of a decent MBA education, they were the other experiences that shaped their future happiness.
It is thus not a very big leap to realize that the other levels of satisfaction are derived from the skills obtained in the programs, unanimously voted by all the surveyed alumni. Here are some numbers from the nearly 15,000 surveyed.
|Program||% Personally Rewarding||% Professionally Rewarding||% Financially Rewarding|
|Full Time MBA||94||92||83|
|Part Time MBA||94||89||71|
Even from the perspective of the employers, GMAC’s Corporate Recruiter Survey puts communication, teamwork, technical, leadership and managerial qualities among the top skill sets needed in their employees.
Qualities that business graduates are amply blessed with. Perhaps that is why 87% of the respondents in the recruiter survey reported that they work directly with business schools to hire fresh business graduate students. Read List of key skills that employers want and What skills do hiring companies look for in MBA graduates?
Skills acquired in an MBA degree
The heart of any organization management is the ability to convey ideas with clarity, to think and discuss complex business problems, and lead. Communication has become one of the major sought after people skills.
Students who participate in the MBA education process are constantly required to express their views in class, network with their peers, faculty, and professionals outside, make effective presentations, organize events or work in teams.
Such activities develop confidence and build on excellent communication skills to be used later in the student’s career and otherwise. The MBA curriculum thrives on collaborative learning and MBA graduates come out fluent in the ability of expression.
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The practical nature of MBA studies calls for even the most hesitant student to get out of his comfort zone and interact with his peers. The curriculum is typically designed to encourage collaboration and team building efforts. Students are egged to bounce ideas off each other and make success of their projects through respecting and debating different perspectives.
Such a broad-minded approach also leads students to appreciate people skills and work relationships – how different people behave in an organization. This spirit of cooperation is an essential component of leadership, in and outside of management roles. MBA alumni place interpersonal skills as the top skill spelling success in any job role, independent of entry, mid, senior or even C-Suite level.
Learning Motivation and Leadership
MBA cohorts usually comprise of students from all over the map, with a variety of experiences. What’s common is the competitive spirit within the bounds of ethics. The fast-paced learning environment inspires continuous growth.
MBA rewards initiatives and a persistence to achieve ones’ goals. It is within this competitive camaraderie of MBA cohorts that students find themselves building qualities of leadership – cheerleading themselves and others to contribute meaningfully.
Through ones’ movement over different job roles, starting from entry to executive and more, it is this leadership skill that finds a growing prominence in management, according to the alumni survey by GMAC.
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Decision Making, Time Management, and Strategic Problem Solving
What’s synonymous with the 24/7 MBA education, irrespective of the lecture hall? The drive to excel and be recognized as future leaders. This ambition is armed with stressful routines, assignments, projects, events, workshops, independent research, networking, and the occasional arm stretch.
Students learn, very early on, that smart skills can carry them through farther than ill-managed fortitude. They learn to deal with high pressure and manage tasks within a strict deadline – much like handling complex assignments and tests within the relatively condensed format of the program.
A good MBA program makes its students capable of dealing with any organization or business crisis with a plan – using business training to identify issues, and employing strategy tricks to solve formidable problems.
All the specialized training, analytical courses, critical thinking skills, gear these students to make responsible decisions for their organizations, backed by data and carefully assessed for risk management. These qualities are certainly not conservative and definitely belong to forward thinkers.
Business, Operational, Strategic and Analytical skills
As was slightly hinted before, management education teaches students to understand the big picture in light of the organization.
- What does the organization need to function effectively?
- What actions and calculated risks can be taken to improve the future?
- What are the operations of the business? How does work flow occur?
- Who are the people that make the business? Who are the people that form the clients or customers?
- What kind of data does this business generate? How can the data be analysed for feedback? What does it tell us about the current status of business operations?
- What are the present and long-term goals of the business?
Employees, and especially entrepreneurs, with a solid MBA training, understand the significance of what kind of clarity is needed to run, and progress, a business with success. They are risk takers who can recognize opportunities for growth.
Not necessarily a trait that comes only with an MBA degree, as is evident by the presence of many successful businesspersons without any formal education, many MBA alumni have been known to cite variations of these skills for essential attributes for their current job functions.
For instance, here are some related skills that feature among the top five skills used by graduates in various specializations. Operations skills, Strategic and System skills, Managing Tools and Technology, General Management, and more.
Creativity and Innovation
A number of the reputable MBA programs have creativity and innovation embedded in their MBA curricula. MIT Sloan, Stanford GSB, INSEAD, IIM Ahmedabad, Harvard, Dartmouth’s Tuck, NYU Stern, University of Illinois, London Business School, and a continuously growing number of schools have begun to include some level of foundational and practical training in inspiring innovation among their students.
These courses, labs, workshops, etc, cultivate entrepreneurship for new business ideas. Beyond entrepreneurship goals, innovation from the perspective of solving social or environmental issues are also becoming popular. For one thing, these skills are highly valued by investors and recruiters.
And for another they provide the ground work for visionary thinkers. Read How business schools are bringing innovation to their classrooms
Graduate management education is a decisive ingredient in increasing the personal and professional value of its recipients. An MBA can be an eye opener in building on qualities that may be latent in individuals entering the program. Through its curriculum, a worthy MBA can bring out those talents, nurturing them further so recruiters can keep coming back for more like them.