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Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success

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Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2011, 21:09
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Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success

From Huffington Post: ... 26299.html

Interesting that it does not mention Leadership, Maturity, or Charisma - are those assumed?

By the time today's MBA students graduate, the world will have changed significantly since they applied. Although career options continue to be broader than in many other fields and the acquired skills marketable in just about any industry, new MBAs are entering a tight, competitive job market. The fine luster that MBAs once imparted often guaranteed a six-figure salary and signing bonus. But the job scene is rough going these days.

What's an MBA grad to do? I asked some experts -- a cross-section of business leaders, civil servants and academics -- for their opinions. The skills they identified as necessary for success are listed in no order of importance except for the first one; everyone I asked included "communications skills" and so I put it at the top of the list.

Communication skills. In a world of 140-character tweets and OMG! texting abbreviations, communicating well in English, both written and spoken, seems to be a dying art. But the ability to speak, write and present succinctly, powerfully and in a timely fashion are critical whether you're leading a team in the office or virtually, working with fellow nationals or across borders and cultures. Aniko Delaney, Marketing Director at BNY Mellon, agrees that communication is by far the most important because it connects all that we do. "At work or at home, leading a team or participating as a team member, promoting yourself or recognizing others, effective communications skills can truly set you apart." Great communications skills also include excellent extemporaneous speaking, the ability to speak and manage body language on video, and using social media effectively.

Resilience. "In today's economy, a successful manager does not have time to be emotionally or intellectually side tracked when life throws her a curve ball," says Liesl Riddle, Associate Dean for MBA Programs at the George Washington University. "The ability to both understand the natural emotions that arise during periods of turbulence and uncertainty and effectively deal with the moment instead of being steamrolled by it will continue to be a critical skill in this dynamic global marketplace." But how do you teach resilience? Learning through failure is one way, but MBA programs can also help develop it in their students by putting them in uncertain situations and debriefing and discussing the experience.

Global Mindset. Having a global mindset requires not only possessing the technical skills necessary for operating successfully in an international environment, but also the personal skills necessary for applying these effectively. "There's an undeniable connection between global economies and business," says Diane Gulyas, President of Performance Polymers at DuPont. "In order for professionals to work successfully across cultures, their worldviews must be informed by more than U.S. business, culture and tradition." The ability to work on global virtual teams and get results is part of the mindset and includes soft skills such as flexibility, influence management, curiosity and an openness to learning new things.

Character. MBA grads can distinguish themselves if they act responsibly and with authenticity, integrity and honesty. "The foundation of success in work and in life is character," stresses Perry Yeatman, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Kraft Foods Inc, and President, Kraft Foods Foundation. "In the long-run, it's the greatest predictor of anyone's success." The news is awash with political and business corruption, leaders denying responsibility and greedy behavior. We have massive problems as a nation because of it. "The world is looking to business leaders to take the high road, not to feed at the trough, but to hold politicians and each other to higher standards," comments Eric Hirst, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the University of Texas. But it won't be easy. "Leaders will need to be able to work with others, appreciate that others may hold very differing views, and know that change is tough to implement," Hirst adds.

Quantitative, Analytical and Strategic Thinking Skills. I've combined these three -- skills that many MBA programs might list separately -- because they are the basic "tools" that MBA grads are supposed to have regardless of the industry or sector pursued. These skills are the basic building blocks of understanding, managing and leading business. They also include data-collection, fact-checking and synthesis skills. "MBA students should move from merely acquiring these skills toward applying these skills with vision and leadership," says Konrad S. Lee, Faculty Chair and Director of the MBA Program at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. "MBA students should not just know something, but strive to become something extraordinary."

Foreign Language Skills. Given the increasingly international nature of the business world, the ability to speak another language -- particularly in-demand languages like Chinese, Spanish or Arabic -- will differentiate them. Knowledge is good and fluency even better as more organizations expand outside the U.S. The ability to do business bilingually is a skill many MBA grads outside the U.S. already have. "You'll never go wrong in a meeting with someone who speaks a language other than English to have a little bit of a conversation in their language," says former U.S. Ambassador Curtis S. Chin. "Even if you're not fluent, the effort that you make to understand someone's culture or someone's language can only help you go further in building relationships that are so important to building a career."

Innovation and Creativity. Innovation and creativity are key to business success whether it's to maintain that competitive corporate edge or finding solutions that develop, improve and expand an organization's operations without harming our planet. "MBA students need to learn to think outside the box and seek inspiration from unexpected and non-traditional sources," says Riddle. Hirst agrees, "Innovation and creativity can help us solve problems in energy use, food, water, transportation, health care and more, but it will take special leadership skills."

Ability to Interpret a New Social World. Today's manager is constantly challenged to understand new social worlds. They work internationally and increasingly in developing markets. Technology continues to radically change the playing field. Managers are tasked with merging divisions within an organization, building creative partnerships with not-for-profits and NGOs, and identifying better buyer penetration. "MBA students need to learn how to exercise their 'sociological imagination,' quickly assessing the values, norms and regulations that bind a social world together, especially when that world is dissimilar to their own," advises Riddle. "To learn to do this, students must stretch themselves and get out of their cultural comfort zone." Students can do this through study, intern and work abroad programs, but learning can also take place by standing in the proverbial shoes of another, e.g., volunteer for an organization focused on the poor, sick, elderly or of a different social group than them.

Today's MBA grads have a great deal to consider and many choices to make. As they work developing these skills before and after graduation, here's a tip offered by several experts: Explore All Industries. Branch out beyond finance, accounting and consulting. There's been a great deal of commentary in the media on how so many brilliant minds go to Wall Street and big-name consulting instead of health care, manufacturing, not-for-profit or government. These sectors need great leaders, too, and students have the opportunity to make a difference and have a great career. The U.S. Government, for example, is the nation's largest employer with hundreds of thousands of boomers set to retire in the next decade. Not-for-profits and NGOs are expanding globally and partnering with many large companies to effect change.

With the right skills, MBAs can make a demonstrable difference in business as we know it over the next two decades.


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Re: Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2012, 09:37
If MBA person are success his need many skill. There have good communication. it can need success not have emotionally in any situation.there mind have thinking in global or wield.there have responsibly with authenticity. There need integrity quantitative ,analytical and strategic thinking skills, and foreign language skills, innovation and creativity.
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Re: Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2012, 16:05
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Work ethic and ability to self direct...plain and simple.

I was hired as part of an executive sponsored program with another top MBA. He is very bright, knows everything he needs to but has absolutely no work ethic and wont seek out projects. He started some months for me, but is still stuck without moving on and I know there are discussions of firing him. Personally I think the only thing that has protected him so long, is that half the officers of the company interviewed us and signed off on who got the offers. To let him go has to go through the COO and CEO, I just don't think anyone wants to admit they did such a poor job in hiring him.
A lot of people in big corporate jobs will view the vast majority of MBA hires as prima donnas who expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. In reality your first year or two you are at the bottom of the pile, no matter what your title and salary indicate. You only proved you interview well, have a polished resume, and a fancy degree. Show any sense of entitlement and there is probably going to be some bitter person stuck in the same position for years will take great happiness in pulling you down if possible.

A big part of most leadership programs is will you find areas you can provide value, dont be the person who waits for someone to give you tasks which you do well but then sit and wait for the next one to be given. If your company hands you projects frequently and you never have a lull that is one thing, but talking with a lot of friends that is definitely not the case for many programs. Find senior managers that will give you projects, these are the people who will help you advance and thus they are the ones you want to impress. They also are the ones who might jump to another company and give you other opportunities, especially if they leap up the ladder.

Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Re: Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2012, 11:24
I guess relationship management skills and networking are unsung heroes in ensuring a person's success in addition to what Riverripper has said above.

I havent met one C level executive who didnt have Top tier relationship management skills.
Re: Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success   [#permalink] 23 Jan 2012, 11:24
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