The Soft Skills That MBA Programs Help Build

Posted by Graduate Management Admission Council on Mar 4, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Soft skills matter to employers. How much? According to our own research, problem-solving and the ability to work well in a team are now the most important skills employers want to see in hires. Fortunately, according to that same research, “employers give business schools high marks for how well they prepare their graduates in these skills” and “overwhelmingly agree that business school graduates are prepared to be successful at their companies.” In fact, 7 in 10 recent full-time MBA graduates observed that they would not have gotten their current job if it wasn’t for their b-school education. 

Keep reading to understand how MBA programs foster the development of essential soft skills.

Fostering creativity and problem-solving skills through an MBA

When employers look for business school hires, our research shows they expect creative and innovative skills. Creative intelligence is necessary to synthesize ideas into successful business concepts, generate innovative ideas, and take projects in new directions.

Creativity and ingenuity are also necessary for problem-solving, as these skills help to bring to light solutions that might not be readily apparent. Professionals who enroll in an MBA program have the opportunity to consider complex problems and creative solutions. The business school environment is perfect for working on the competencies of creative intelligence. Students brainstorm, gain insights through case studies, and devise creative solutions for their classes. The mental agility you develop when you invest in an MBA can help increase your creative problem-solving skills, right alongside instruction that focuses on hard skills.

Want to learn a little more about how you can benefit from b-school? Read Ruairi Williamson’s take on his studies at UCD Smurfit in our student spotlight post!

MBAs help foster teamwork and cross-cultural understanding

For professionals with global aspirations, the ability to work effectively with teams all over the world is essential. Alumni surveys confirm this. In a 2017 survey, respondents said the effect of working long hours with classmates and the need to think collaboratively were factors that greatly contributed to their professional success.

With many MBA programs drawing in diverse student bodies from all over the world, a b-school education also offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen cross-cultural understanding. Most MBA graduates say that their education prepared them to work in culturally diverse organizations.

An MBA program can help to develop leadership and communication skills

One recruiter put it this way: “soft skills—like communication and people skills—make the difference.” In positions across many areas, alumni have confirmed that the most critical skills for jobs after business school include leadership and interpersonal skills.

Research shows more than half of the professionals who take the MBA readiness test to pursue graduate education want to improve soft skills such as leadership and managerial skills. In fact, a full 55 percent of b-school students seek to improve their leadership skills during their studies. Fortunately, most MBA graduates agree or strongly agree that their education prepared them for leadership positions.

Are you looking to expand your skillset and advance your career?

Learn more about the Executive Assessment about how you can become a graduate business school candidate.


Topics: Executive Assessment, graduate business school candidate, EMBA readiness test, graduate business school test, MBA Program

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