5 MBA Skills Employers Look for in Grads

Considering the popularity of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in the U.S., grads may want to stand out in a crowd, and knowing what employers are looking for is key.

The degree costs anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 for a two-year program. After accumulating this kind of debt, MBA graduates may need to make sure they meet the necessary skill requirements to get a high-paying job.

The Five Most Important Skills Employers Look for in MBA Grads

FT asked 48 employers from around the globe and across various sectors to rate 29 so-called soft and hard skills according to importance. They found the most important skills employers look for are as follows:

  • The ability to work with a wide variety of people
  • Time management and ability to prioritize
  • Understanding the digital impact on businesses
  • Ability to build, sustain and expand a network of people
  • Ability to solve complex problems

"The five most important skills were not core MBA subjects, such as finance and marketing, but more loosely defined qualities, or so-called soft skills," according to FT in a report describing the survey's results. "Of these, employers said the ability among MBA graduates to manage their time effectively was the most difficult to find."

(See also: What is the Average Salary for an MBA Graduate?)

The Five Hardest Skills for Employers to Find in MBA Grads

Interestingly, soft skills also rose to the top when Bloomberg surveyed 1,320 job recruiters at more than 600 companies in a 2015 report to find out which skills employers want but can’t find. 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.

But MBAs are also expected to be more than problem solvers with great interpersonal skills. Employers surveyed by FT rated skills according to how difficult they are to find in MBA grads when hiring, and the top five are:

  • The ability to use social media
  • The ability to train/coach others
  • Financial forecasting
  • Big data analysis
  • Brand storytelling skills.

(See also: The Real Cost of an MBA.)

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