MBA graduates have pursued the education they need to become leaders in business. As they complete their programs and prepare to move into the business world, however, these emerging leaders must have the in-demand skills employers want to see. Anticipating upcoming organizational needs and nurturing these unique skill sets can help professionals seize new opportunities and find the positions they seek.
The Crucial Need for MBA Graduates to Have the Right Skill Set
The business world continues to change at a rapid pace. Organizational leaders continue to cope with major changes, including the increasing prevalence of AI in the workplace, remote work, and generational differences as young adults enter the job market. As these shifts take hold across industries, professionals need to recognize the skills that help professionals thrive in these environments as well as the best skills for MBA resume success. This MBA skill set will position graduates to thrive in their leadership positions once they finish their programs.
The Shift in the MBA Skills Demand Post COVID-19
The pandemic has been one of the major forces of change in the workplace over the past few years. During the pandemic, the shift to work-from-home arrangements amplified the importance of digital and technological proficiency. It also forced businesses to refocus their efforts on a better understanding and knowledge of cybersecurity.
From an emotional standpoint, the sudden shifts caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns meant that employees with high degrees of adaptability, emotional intelligence, and change management showed the most success. Similarly, a new focus on corporate responsibility towards the wider community has begun to take shape.
These important skills have emerged as top priorities for many employers in the post-pandemic world. Therefore, they need to be at the top of the list for professionals graduating from MBA programs.
Top Technical MBA Skills Employers Seek in 2023
Let’s look more closely at the top skills employers look for that MBA graduates will want to nurture throughout their business school education and early career stages.
Data science has become a top priority for businesses across all sectors. Businesses have realized the diverse opportunities that data can offer them, such as better tracking of leads and customers. This provides greater insight into target personas, amplifying marketing and sales efforts. Data analytics can also help with encouraging repeat customers and upselling. The opportunities are boundless for analytics, which means that managers who understand how to leverage these capabilities and interpret the results will be in high demand.
MBA graduates also seek positions that will give them greater responsibility over the business as a whole. A large part of this responsibility includes understanding the financial management and budgeting of the business. Knowing how to analyze expenditures, use money wisely, and invest for the future of the business will all make candidates more desirable.
Strategic Thinking and Planning
With strategic planning, professionals analyze a variety of different sources of data, including competitor actions and customer expectations, to determine how the business should move forward and maximize sales. MBAs with a strategic planning background can help businesses find new opportunities to pass the competition and carve out new roles within saturated industries.
Marketing and Sales Proficiency
Marketing and sales skills call for professionals who understand the steps involved with both the marketing and sales sides of the process. This understanding can uncover new opportunities to penetrate markets while finding ways to bring the marketing and sales teams closer together for improved teamwork.
IT and Digital Literacy
With the increasing reliance of businesses today on technology, this skill set has become invaluable. Professionals who understand basic IT best practices, particularly cybersecurity, and how to use technology effectively for long-term investment will position the business for success.
Operations management deals directly with producing and designing business goods and services. The skills related to this industry will ensure that all the parts of the process remain on track.
Businesses also want to make sure their project management capabilities are maximized. An MBA graduate will want to focus on developing skills related to effective project management, including time management, delegating tasks, organizational skills, and the ability to track multiple parts of the same project. Effective project management keeps projects on budget and on time.
Sustainable Business Practices
Businesses today have also become increasingly concerned about the weight of their environmental impact, making this one of the top skills for MBA graduates. As the pressing issues of climate change and rising pollution have increasingly been discussed in the public sphere, people have been asking businesses to do their part. Nearly three-quarters of customers believe that companies have a responsibility to people and the planet. Understanding sustainable business practices and bringing in skill sets that can help in these areas will also benefit new graduates.
Top Soft Skills Employers Look for in MBA Graduates
In addition to technical skills, MBA graduates also need to consider the importance of soft skills. Soft skills refer to the talents and skill sets that help professionals work effectively, cooperate with other members of the team, and impact their overall work ethic. Here are some important skills that new professionals will want to nurture as they build their professional resumes.
Creativity and Innovation
Creativity and innovation allow businesses to seize opportunities and find new outlets for their business to grow. Many organizations during the pandemic were able to pivot in new directions, such as converting in-person industry events to online seminars—with the platforms themselves quickly developing new capabilities to host on-line events that felt as though they were attending in person. Creativity is key to finding hidden opportunities for growth, and employees with this skill are highly valued at any business.
If the pandemic showed businesses nothing else, it showed them the importance of adapting to new situations. When everyone had to suddenly work remotely, the businesses that performed the best were able to pivot everything about their business to the new situation, from their advertising to their work setup. Having employees in leadership positions who already demonstrate these desirable skills can equip businesses to navigate any future surprises effectively.
Like adaptability, the rapid changes of the past few years have also shown professionals the importance of resilience. When things get turned on their heads, or when unexpected events occur, professionals who are not hindered but keep pressing forward and finding new ways to achieve their objectives are worth an incredible amount of organization. This type of resilience and determination will serve any MBA graduate well.
Businesses today must also make a number of ethical decisions over the course of their operations. They have to balance the cost of production in a variety of different areas of the world with revenue, look at the countries where they do business, consider the causes or regimes they might be viewed as implicitly supporting based on where they invest their resources, and they have to consider the different issues that matter to their customers. Professionals who can weigh all the competing priorities businesses face and make sound ethical judgments can be a source of guidance and support for the business as a whole. These professionals can also help businesses manage their reputation with a greater audience.
The people who make up today’s workforces come from a variety of different backgrounds. These backgrounds include people from different regions, income levels, and more, even different generations. You could easily work with members of the boomer generation, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z all in the same office. These generations all have different expectations when it comes to workplace culture. Emotional intelligence is critical for any business leader to navigate these expectations effectively. Knowing communication skills to work with people from different backgrounds, encouraging camaraderie and teamwork among different people, and bringing teams together to work effectively are vital in any manager’s life.
The Future of MBA Skills for Your Resume – Trends to Watch
As the professional world continues to take shape following the many changes of recent years, there are a few important trends that those who watch the professional markets should keep an eye on. Those interested in pursuing an MBA should look for programs that will help them develop these capabilities and prepare for the future. With that in mind, here are a few of the trends that we believe will play the biggest roles moving forward:
Remote and Hybrid Management Skills
After the pandemic, many working-aged people have begun to recognize the benefits of remote work or hybrid work setups. With hybrid or remote work, people often achieve better work-life balance, particularly since they have no commute and can therefore maintain a higher quality of life.
However, managers need to know how to effectively manage a team that might work in different places across the country, or even around the world. Management skills need to reflect these emerging realities, and new graduates need to hone them to work effectively in these situations.
Global Business Skills
With increased connectivity, businesses also need to recognize that they may work with people around the world. They might have colleagues or clients in different regions or even different countries. Global business skills that help professionals quickly adapt to these scenarios, including familiarity with business norms in different areas of the globe, will all reflect well on your organization.
Commitment to Lifelong Learning
These recent workplace changes illustrate that nothing stays the same when it comes to professional trends and technology. From products to processes, business evolves, changes, and develops at a lightning pace as consumer interests shift and new technology emerges.
Therefore, any effective leader needs to recognize the importance of lifelong learning. Even after the MBA is done, looking for opportunities to learn and stay up to date on the latest industry developments will make any professional more valuable and effective.
As businesses have seen tremendous improvements in their ability to capture data and use it to make better decisions, emotion-based or ‘hunch’-based decision-making is gone for good. Businesses will now use the more effective means of analyzing data to make the right call. Leaders need to recognize this importance and feel comfortable interpreting information for long-term planning.
It has now been widely accepted that hiring diverse workforces helps increase the creativity felt across teams and boost the organization’s overall effectiveness. That is why leadership that recognizes and embodies the importance of DEI leadership also remains high on the list. Professionals should know how to recruit and retain a diverse workforce to help further the organization’s overall success.
With the growing popularity of online platforms for transactions, e-commerce has become a staple for all businesses. Whether you sell retail or allow customers to purchase subscriptions to your SaaS through your website, all leaders should understand the role of ecommerce in the modern business world.
Knowledge of Agile and Lean Methodologies
Agile and Lean methodologies provide professionals with effective means of managing projects and keeping business teams on track. Knowing how to implement these different strategies can improve how your business manages projects from idea to finished product.
Green and Renewable Energy Business Models
With the growing importance of green living and protecting the environment across all levels of society, it is no wonder that it has reached businesses as well. Organizations that make decisions based on their environmental impact can help to improve the business’s overall reputation and attract more customers.
Gig Economy and Freelance Management
With a growing number of professionals turning to freelancing and the gig economy, professionals also need to know how to manage these professionals effectively. They have to understand how to find good matches for their projects, effectively assign them, and keep freelancers on task, so they play a critical role in overall business operations.
Finally, business professionals need to know how to effectively manage any crisis that occurs. With social media, any problem can quickly go viral online, reaching record numbers of people. Knowing how to manage problems immediately, address issues with the public, and otherwise control the narrative surrounding the crisis will be critical for public relations.
Building MBA Resume Skills at UTC
The skill set for MBA students continues to shift with changing business needs. From soft skill sets to management skills, an MBA graduate needs important capabilities to excel. The programs offered at UTC provide an opportunity to make this a reality. Learn more about what UTC has to offer students through its online and in-person programs. Get ready to achieve your business goals.