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What Skills Does an MBA Give You?

September 12, 2023
Business Man And Woman Meeting At Work In Office To Look at MBA Skills

Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) does more than give you distinguished degree credentials to add to your resume and LinkedIn profile page. An MBA education also boosts hiring opportunities and careers by providing students with the highly sought-after skills today’s recruiters are looking for.1 Graduates of reputable MBA programs are in high demand precisely because they come with the latest top-level expertise.

Read on to learn what skills an MBA program provides and which MBAs are respected for their ability to prepare graduates for career success.

Today’s MBAs: New Skills for an Evolving Business Industry

First launched over 100 years ago, the MBA degree has been an advanced educational choice for those who want to expand their skills in important business areas including leadership, management, entrepreneurship, and innovation.2

Historically, MBA programs teach the following practical, applicable skills:1

  • Leadership: the ability to influence or guide people within an organization or business
  • Management: the ability to control day-to-day processes and keep employees on track to achieve company goals
  • Entrepreneurship: defined by Harvard Business School’s Professor Howard Stevenson as, “the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled”3
  • Market evaluation: a process of analysis that can help determine opportunity, value, risks, customer purchasing behavior, market rivalry, and other factors that may affect an organization’s growth
  • Effective communication: the ability to give, receive, and share information through speaking and writing
  • Teamwork/collaboration: the ability to work successfully with others to achieve shared goals

In recent times, with a maturing technology sector and global technological capabilities continuing to rise, the well-designed MBA program has an added focus on teaching mastery in emerging areas of technology including big data, data analytics, business analytics, and information systems.

The Most Sought-After MBA Skills

Professional recruiters want to see more than just a reputable university or business school name next to your MBA degree; these talent hunters also want to know you have taken courses that teach hard and soft skills in the areas that matter most to today’s multi-layered, tech-driven business economies. As Mark Lobosco, Vice President of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, has described them, “Hard skills are about doing specific technical tasks, like tax accounting or graphic design … soft skills are more about the way you do them, like your ability to creatively solve problems or work within a team.”4

Soft Skills

As global business needs continue to evolve, today’s employers are not just seeking traditional MBA hard skills in marketing and finance. According to a recent Forbes article, soft skills are the competencies most sought out by employers around the world.5

These soft skills include:5, 6

  1. Problem-solving
  2. Project leadership
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Teamwork
  5. Research
  6. Integrity

People generally develop soft skills over a long period of time. The name is a bit misleading, as ‘soft’ skills are harder to acquire and considered harder to teach than task-based ‘hard’ skills are. The strength of a person’s soft skills can depend on lifelong experiences, innate personal qualities, and emotional intelligence (EQ), not just pure IQ.

As a result, companies don’t mind offering new hires on-the-job training for the specific hard skills a role needs. Employers often give special consideration, however, to job candidates who come equipped with the important soft skills a role requires–especially soft skills they’ve developed while in an MBA program.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are the skills we gain from experience, education, and training.7 They’re specialized proficiencies involving up-close, practical knowledge, such as those for a specific industry or line of work. The top hard skills today’s employers look for in MBA degree-holders include:8

  1. Financial forecasting and analysis
  2. Data analysis
  3. Brand storytelling
  4. Social media for growth
  5. Market research
  6. Budgeting

As an MBA student and graduate, you'll be expected to have both types of skills in order to gain access to leading, lucrative job opportunities. While pursuing an MBA, concentrate on strengthening the hard and soft skills that recruiters and employers value. Prospective MBA program applicants should make sure the programs they’re considering can build and hone both types of skills.

Reputable Online MBA Programs That Teach Top Skills

To gain a combination of the hard and soft skills that employers seek out, complete a reputable online MBA program. Online MBA programs are an ideal pathway to professional growth because they provide a perfect mix of theoretical and practical skills. They also have a flexible learning format that helps students:

  • Build the right hard and soft career skills in courses led by expert faculty
  • Directly apply newly acquired skills in a current role
  • Continue to build real-world career skills while working toward an advanced degree

Online MBA programs are on the rise, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and a shift to flexible, high-quality online learning options which have proven to be on par with reputable brick-and-mortar programs.9

The qualification that matters most to today’s recruiters is not the format in which you earned your degree. Instead, they’re interested in how you’ll apply the skills you learned in your MBA program and fit into existing company culture, and the details of the skillset you’ve gained from your time as a student.9

Accredited, reputable online programs, like California State University Monterey Bay’s Online MBA, teach foundational MBA skills and additional competencies. They’re designed to provide immersive, holistic online learning experiences that are essential for developing the hard and soft skills today’s employers want.

Start Building Your Best MBA Skills Today

You have the unique chance to achieve your short-term goals while you gain the sought-after skills, knowledge, experience, and career-boosting connections you’ll need to bring your long-term goals to reality.

CSUMB’s accredited Online MBA program provides a rigorous yet flexible 100% online learning experience that delivers the hard and soft skills you’ll need to reach career success. Centered on the theme of Responsible Business and committed to instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, the curriculum includes valuable opportunities for in-depth study and group projects. You’ll explore global perspectives and sophisticated technologies as you view all facets of business administration through CSUMB's five-point lens of Profit, People, Planet, Ethics, and Equity.

Join us today to start gaining the skills that make a difference. For program details and application information, schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor.