11 Top MBA Skills and Why They Matter to Employers (2023)

What skills do you learn and develop during an MBA? These world-class MBA skills will set you apart from the world's largest recruiters

As companies slowly recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, they need talented new employees with relevant skills and expertise to strengthen their workforce. Fortunately, business school graduates are in high demand.

According to the Graduate Management Admission CouncilSurvey of recruiters in companies, 91% of companies worldwide plan to hire MBA graduates in 2021.

Recruiters value the core MBA skills you learn and develop at business school, they trust MBA programs to prepare students well to be successful in their companies, andMBA salaries and hiring are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

So what skills will you develop during your MBA and why are they so important to employers? Here are 11 top MBA skills recruiters value most.

1. Communication Skills

To function smoothly, companies need employees who can easily communicate with colleagues, customers and managers. The ability to express yourself clearly and confidently is one of the most sought-after MBA skills in the corporate world - and one that you will perfect during your MBA.

“While our clients are grappling with how to do business in the digital world, we are looking for candidates who demonstrate strong business acumen and client communication skills. You can be as smart as the day is long, but if you don't communicate it, you won't get as far as you want," says Frances Taplett,Managing Director of top consulting firm Boston Consulting Group(BCG).

You will learn how to be a confident presenter, attentive listener and concise writer, able to tailor your message to all types of audiences and across different mediums. If you can communicate your ideas persuasively and expertly resolve conflicts - whether in person or remotely - you'll be an asset to any team you're part of.

"[Communication] will create truly meaningful leadership as long as it has authenticity and truth," explains JP Connelly, associate professor at UCD's Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

2. Versatility and flexibility

During an MBA, you'll master the art of time management while juggling a heavy workload, community commitments, and professional commitments.

After an intense year or two of putting on multiple hats, versatility and flexibility will feel like second nature.

The ability to take on varied tasks and to switch quickly from one job to another will prove to be just as important after graduation. They often have to organize different projects at the same time and remain as adaptable as possible when problems arise and plans get out of hand.

For example, many MBA graduates will go on to work for management consulting firms, which require you to understand the perspectives of different stakeholders and orient yourself mid-project.

11 Top MBA Skills and Why They Matter to Employers (1)

3. Strategic thinking

Think strategicallymeans challenging your own prejudices and assumptions, seeking relevant information to make informed decisions, and taking the time to think to find the right course of action.

Strategic thinkers are able to plan for the future, anticipating trends and cultivating the necessary foresight while keeping an eye on what needs immediate attention.

Your MBA will equip you with that invaluable and multi-faceted skill that employers find critical to a well-functioning workplace.

4. Digital literacy

Organizations need to adapt to an increasingly digitized world and are looking for people who understand social media engagement, know how to navigate different software and are willing to learn about the new technologies that are being developed every day.

"It's about wanting to learn and constantly staying outside of your comfort zone because we're working with more sophisticated tools and deeper expertise than ever before," reflects Keith Bevans, consultant at top consulting firm Bain & Company.

Depending on the modules offered, your MBA will introduce you to a range of digital and technology skills, including digital marketing, analytics, web development, and sometimes even programming. Expertise in these tools and ability to leverage new technologies will help you differentiate in the corporate world, especially in the technology industry.

“The future is digital, and professionals need digitally-focused education to adapt to the new normal,” says Professor Tai-Yuan Chen, Digital MBA Program Director at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

5. Entrepreneurship

Even if you plan to join a larger organization rather than start your own business, an entrepreneurial mindset is beneficial. Being able to think ahead of the curve is one of the most valuable top MBA skills in the business world.

The success of companies isdependent on innovation, and they are always on the lookout for talented graduates who bring fresh ideas to drive the business forward.

Your MBA will teach you to spot market gaps and understand trends, which means you'll always be one step ahead. Through individual and group projects, you will develop a keen business acumen that will make you an inventive and astute entrepreneur.

11 Top MBA Skills and Why They Matter to Employers (2)

6. Leadership Qualities

Leadership is one of the most fundamental MBA skills. Many programs offer core leadership courses that teach you how to oversee, lead, and motivate a team to work towards a common goal.

According to GMAC's Corporate Recruiters Survey, it is the second most valued skill among business school graduates, just behind interpersonal skills.

Companies want empathetic and reliable leaders who can adapt to new contexts and unforeseen circumstances. If you're pursuing an online or hybrid MBA, you may have developed a knack for it, tooRemote team buildingacross different ways of working, time zones and locations.

"There is a great demand for international and agile executives with the professional experience to work in very demanding positions," reflects Léon Laulusa, Dean of Academic Affairs and International Relations at ESCP Business School.

"The MBA is the right program for this."

7. Resilience

During your MBA studies you will be confronted with a whole range of challenges. Projects will fail, collaborations will fail, and not every work you produce will be of the highest quality.

You will experience similar setbacks in the corporate world, but what matters is your ability to recover, learn your lesson and move on. Progress is only possible through self-knowledge and the willingness to grow from mistakes.

READ: Which Companies Hire the Most MBAs?


8. Troubleshooting

Your MBA will teach you how to find solutions to complex problems by digging beneath the surface, considering different viewpoints and always keeping the big picture in mind. You will learn how to identify the root cause of a problem, brainstorm with your colleagues and create clear steps to solve it.

your experience withWorking with a mixed group of studentsand stretching across cultural boundaries will also serve you well. "Different teams are more effective largely because different cultural groups see things completely differently," says Stephanie Jones, associate professor of organizational behavior at the Maastricht School of Management (MSM). "Different perspectives help with problem solving and creative thinking."

9. Decision Making

Your MBA will teach you both short- and long-term decision-making, which requires excellent time management, organizational and relationship skills.

By learning how to negotiate, resolve conflicts, and manage operations, you develop empathy for others and insight into their motivations. This will make you an efficient decision-maker, able to think quickly and decide on the best course of action quickly.

You can determine how to allocate resources and prioritize tasks in a way that makes the company more productive and keeps everyone happy.

10. Interpersonal Skills

MBAs include many group projects that teach you how to collaborate, communicate and compromise effectively with people from different backgrounds and different areas of expertise.

After you graduate, these interpersonal skills are what recruiters value most, according to GMAC. Your ability to work with diverse teams, understand human behavior and manage human capital will prove invaluable in a professional environment.

11. Networks

One of the strongest benefits you will get from your MBA is a diverse and close-knit network.

You will meet people from all over the world and make lifelong friendships that will benefit you years later. TheAbility to build, maintain and expandA strong network of professional connections will come in handy in the workplace as your employer may ask you to use this network.

The networking skills you'll acquire during your MBA will also allow you to expand your network even further, creating opportunities for learning, partnerships and growth as you advance in your industry.

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What are the four skills that MBA alumni reported using the most and that were most in need of additional training? ›

The most desired skills according to the survey were strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, leadership skills, communication skills, analytical thinking and the ability to work collaboratively.

What skills does an MBA give you? ›

MBA programs teach students analytical skills, long-term strategic thinking, networking, leadership, and more.

How can I justify my MBA to my employer? ›

Doing an MBA? Top 10 Incentives for Your Employer
  1. New skills and techniques. ...
  2. Immediate return. ...
  3. A 'bigger picture' understanding. ...
  4. Better communication and team building skills. ...
  5. Networking opportunities. ...
  6. Learning from the best. ...
  7. Succession planning. ...
  8. Sharing your expertise.

What top employers want from MBA graduates? ›

Which In-Demand Skills Are Employers Looking For?
  • Written communication skills (82 percent)
  • Problem-solving skills (80.9 percent)
  • Ability to work in a team (78.7 percent)
  • Initiative (74.2 percent)
  • Analytical/quantitative skills (71.9 percent)
  • Strong work ethic (70.8 percent)
  • Verbal communication skills (67.4 percent)
Nov 12, 2021

How did MBA help you in improving your management skills? ›

Pursuing an MBA will help develop your networking skills and profile, opening possible opportunities with people who will have an impact on your career. You can lean on these professional connections for support and advice to further improve your management capabilities and solve difficult issues.

What is the most important thing in MBA? ›

Analysis / insights into what this means
  1. The interview is the MOST important single element: It's not THAT much more important, but it IS very important. ...
  2. The Resume is slightly more important than the essays: ...
  3. The recommendations are almost as important as the essays: ...
  4. Note that they said “Transcript” and NOT “G.P.A.”:
Dec 14, 2020

What makes MBA so special? ›

Completing an MBA program demonstrates a commitment to learning, improving, and applying skills that can help a company succeed. Additionally, professionals with MBAs feel a greater sense of confidence in their marketability, as well as the wealth of information they can bring to various endeavors.

What makes a strong MBA candidate? ›

A key strength of MBA students is academic excellence, with a solid or stellar GPA, challenging past coursework under your belt, and a track record of being able to bring the smarts to bear when it counts.

What are the key values of having an MBA? ›

Earning your MBA has several benefits, such as:
  • You might qualify for more job positions. ...
  • Allows you to pursue a new career path. ...
  • Increases your earning potential. ...
  • Improves your professional and soft skills. ...
  • Gives you more job security. ...
  • Develops your world perspective. ...
  • Expands your professional network. ...
  • Grows your expertise.
Oct 27, 2020

Why should we hire you answer for MBA? ›

Over the years, I have acquired relevant skills and experience, which I shall bring to your organization. I have also worked tirelessly on my communication abilities and teamwork skills, which I will put to use in my future career, which would be in your organization if I am selected for the position.

What is the best answer for why MBA? ›

I need an MBA so I can understand how to use financial data and reports to make better decisions about marketing campaigns. I love working with people, but I want to learn more about leadership skills so I can become a better manager.

How do you stand out in an MBA interview? ›

The MBA interview is your chance to show the admissions committee why you're a strong candidate for their program.
7 Tips To Master Your MBA Interview
  1. Do Your Research. ...
  2. Look for Typical Questions. ...
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice. ...
  4. Presentation is Key. ...
  5. Be Attentive and Listen. ...
  6. Ask Questions. ...
  7. Relax.
Oct 7, 2016

Why MBA graduates are paid high? ›

Versatile skill set

MBA holders have a broad range of expertise, making them ideal for leadership jobs, particularly managing teams across many functional areas. Students in business school learn to manage several duties while excelling at each of them.

Do Employers care where your MBA is from? ›

Do Employers Care Where You Get Your MBA? The answer depends on your intended employer. Some companies focus on where candidates earned their MBAs, while others prioritize the degree specialization or relevant work experience.

Which MBA has highest starting salary? ›

Using data collected during our MBA ranking process, Fortune has compiled the top five MBA programs with the highest mean starting salaries, based on 2022 data.
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • New York University (Stern)
  • University of Chicago (Booth)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • Harvard Business School.
Oct 6, 2022

How has MBA impacted your career? ›

MBA enhances your skillset

During the course, you develop leadership skills and assimilate in-depth knowledge of strategy and analysis techniques. These skills are vital in all areas of business operations, which makes them highly appealing to prospective employers.

What is the main goal of MBA? ›

Upon completion of the MBA program, students will:

Apply best practices to solve managerial issues. Integrate theories and practice to perform strategic analysis. Demonstrate effective written forms of communication and oral business presentations. Implement leadership skills to work effectively within diverse teams.

Does an MBA really make a difference? ›

Graduating with an MBA can earn you a higher salary. You'll have a leg up on your competition if you earn your MBA from a top-tier school. An MBA gives you the skills and knowledge you need to advance in your field.

What do MBA interviewers look for? ›

They want to understand your past behavior to predict how you will perform in the MBA program. They will go deep into your personality. They'll ask very specific examples of what you did and what thought process helped you make that decision. They'll also ask about the impact your decision made.

How can an MBA applicant stand out? ›

Tips regarding how to stand out in an MBA application
  1. Leave yourself enough time to retake tests. ...
  2. Conduct some mock interviews. ...
  3. Devote quality time to writing your essays. ...
  4. Attend in-person or virtual sessions and events.
Nov 23, 2022

How do I make my MBA stand out essay? ›

How to Make Your MBA Essay Stand Out
  1. Carefully read the essay prompt.
  2. Be authentic. Be yourself.
  3. Be clear on your goals.
  4. Be succinct. Less is more.
  5. Showcase how you can add value.
  6. Avoid jargon and use simple, approachable language.

How do you answer why should we hire you best answer? ›

The first thing you should do when answering “why should we hire you?” is to highlight any skills and professional experience that are relevant to the position you're applying for. To make your answer all the more valid, make sure to always back up everything you say with examples, experiences, and achievements.

Why do you think you are a good fit for this position? ›

For example, you might explain that you are particularly motivated, or that you are known for going above and beyond for your employers. A second way to answer is to emphasize your unique skills. If you have skills that make you a strong candidate (especially if not many people have those skills), mention these.

What makes you the ideal candidate for this position answer? ›

Focus on your personality or personal traits that make you unique and the best fit for the job. Also, you can emphasize skills that are specific to you, because not many people possess them, and they are sure to make you the ideal candidate for the position.

How do you describe strength and weakness in an MBA interview? ›

You should be able to justify your strengths and weaknesses by stating past experiences with examples. The width and depth of examples will define the sanctity of what you say. Examiners usually ask you instance where you demonstrated a particular strength or where a weakness landed you in problem.

What is your biggest weakness MBA interview? ›

5 Weakness of MBA Interview
  • Thinking about the future and creating effective plans.
  • Too much risk taker.
  • Thinking about the whole team.
  • Trying to finish tasks before the deadline.
  • Want pure perfection.

What percentage of MBA interviews get accepted? ›

Admittance Rate: In general, once you are invited to interview, your chances of admittance go from under 20% to over 50%. Of course many factors affect those rates and if you want more detailed analysis, head over to the data-crazy site MBA Data Guru.

What are the six tips to ace your interviews? ›

6 Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Interview
  • Do your research.
  • Understand your “why.”
  • Be prepared for uncommon interview formats.
  • Remember to be yourself.
  • Prepare to ask questions.
  • Ask for help.
Oct 3, 2022

What are the 4 parts to management skills? ›

The four primary skills and functions of a manager are:
  • Planning.
  • Organizing.
  • Leading.
  • Controlling.

What are the 4 skills are needed to be prepared for a career after high school? ›

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills will enhance your post-high school pursuits, as will good communication ability and financial common sense.
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Problem-Solving. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Math and Finance.

What are the four most important areas of soft skills? ›

These skills include:
  • Professionalism or work ethic.
  • Oral and written communication.
  • Teamwork and collaboration skills.
  • Critical thinking or problem-solving skills.

Which of the 3 critical skills is most required at the top management level? ›

Conceptual skills

In such a way they can predict the future of the business or department as a whole. Conceptual skills are vital for top managers, less critical for mid-level managers and not required for first-level managers.

What are the 5 P's of management? ›

The constituents of the 5P model are: 1) Plan, 2) Process, 3) People, 4) Possessions, and 5) Profits.
  • Plan.
  • Process.
  • People.
  • Possessions.
  • Profits.

What are the 12 function of management? ›

A manager is called upon to perform the following managerial functions:
  • Planning.
  • Organizing.
  • Staffing.
  • Directing.
  • Motivating.
  • Controlling.
  • Co-coordinating and.
  • Communicating.
May 30, 2016

What are the 14 principles of management? ›

  • Henry Fayol's 14 Principles of Management. ...
  • Division of Work. ...
  • Authority. ...
  • Discipline. ...
  • Unity of Command. ...
  • Unity of Direction. ...
  • Collective Interest Over Individual Interest. ...
  • Remuneration.

What are the top 10 skills that'll get you a job when you graduate? ›

The top ten skills for your CV that graduate recruiters want to see
  • Commercial awareness (or business acumen) This is about knowing how a business or industry works and what makes a company tick. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Negotiation and persuasion. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Organisation. ...
  • Perseverance and motivation.

What are the top 3 skills required to be a successful? ›

While trends come and go, and the economy and culture can change, there are some skills that every person will need to have to get ahead.
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Excellent communication skills. ...
  • Cultural understanding. ...
  • Initiative and drive.

What are the eight major skills that employers want you to have? ›

8 job skills you should have
  • Communication.
  • Teamwork.
  • Problem solving.
  • Initiative and enterprise.
  • Planning and organising.
  • Self-management.
  • Learning.
  • Technology.
Jan 9, 2023


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