The Role of Soft Skills in MBA Success
What are soft skills?
Soft skills refer to the non-technical skills that all employers value. This comprises how employees in their workplace interact with their colleagues, manage their work and how they solve their problems. The performance in the organisation impacts the performance in the workplace (Majid et al. 2019). Soft skills are developed in an individual from their school, participating in training programmes and volunteering in community-based activities. In other words, soft skills comprise interpersonal, listening, communication, time management, problem-solving, empathy, and leadership. Employers prefer having candidates who have soft skills as it is regarded as important in every job role.
Customer-centric jobs require employees who have a high degree of soft skills.
Importance of soft skills in MBA
Pursuing a career in MBA requires soft skills, which will be required later to make a business successful (Majid et al. 2019). As MBA professionals mostly continue in businesses, having soft skills is necessary as it helps them become good leaders. Soft skills such as clear verbal skills are necessary to be possessed by a leader. They shall use words that others will understand; if not done, the message’s purpose will be lost. In addition to this, leaders are also required to listen carefully. Another soft skill is teamwork, which the leaders must demonstrate as a team. Showing a positive attitude is also necessary to be shown by the employees as it fosters an optimistic work culture. Problems are bound to appear in the workplace; thus, every employee must possess problem-solving skills (Rebels and Pierre, 2019). In this regard, interpersonal and communication skills must be considered, as it also helps solve most problems. Employees must also learn from criticism and accept it the way they are. Accepting criticism skills can be developed by transforming the negative into positive, listening carefully and learning from the feedback.
Both soft skills and hard skills complement each other. However, hard skills are easy to learn as compared to soft skills. Soft skills cannot be taught as they are linked to a person’s character rather than expertise or knowledge (Rebele and Pierre, 2019). The modern workplace is interpersonal, and the skills such as collaborating or communicating with the team members can go on easily if an employee possesses soft skills. In addition to this, the customer also demands soft skills. Thus, employees with high soft skills determine the ability to communicate effectively with customers. With the advancement of technology in the workplace, such as artificial intelligence and automation, an increased proportion of jobs have relied on soft skills.
Why do MBA students require soft skills to succeed?
It is found that MBA students often focus on sharpening their hard skills, such as marketing strategy and financial analysis. Although these skills are important for their business school, soft skills are necessary for all MBA students (Rebele and Pierre, 2019). This is because successful business leaders need to collaborate with others by communicating effectively. Suggested below are the important soft skills that students of MBA need to master.
This comprises emotional intelligence, which implies the ability to manage one’s own emotions and to manage that of others. In other words, people with increased emotional intelligence are better at networking, decision making and problem-solving.
Time management and self-discipline are also important interpersonal skills that MBA students shall possess. This helps them to avoid procrastination and balance their workload. Employers always want their employees to complete their tasks on time. During their MBA studies, students who demonstrate their reliability skills will likely get good jobs after completing their courses (Rebele and Pierre, 2019). There are various ways by which students can develop reliability during their studies. For instance, they can take the lead in any student organisation, participate in internships or take up challenging initiatives. Empathy is another interpersonal skill that all students possessing MBA shall acquire. After graduation, this helps in creating networking.
Leadership and management skills
Leadership and Management skills also comprise an important aspect of soft skills. For any leader, delegation is an important soft skill. This is because it helps maximise efficiency, promotes innovation and builds team morale. However, delegating too much can lead to confusion and frustration. MBA students shall also learn critical thinking skills as one of the soft skills. This helps in analysing data and making informed decisions. MBA students who think critically can deal with complex situations and look for innovative ways to solve the issue (Succi andCanovi, 2020). A person who has integrity implies that he is ethical and honest. Students who pursue MBA encounter difficult situations; they can deal with such situations easily if they have integrity. Thus integrity makes a student personally and professionally successful. In addition, making immediate and informed decisions is another important soft skill. MBA programs often emphasise case studies, enabling students to analyse critical problems and suggest recommendations. Students who can make decisions based on sound data can be well-prepared to progress in the real world (Succi andCanovi, 2020). Those who are capable of making lucid and concise decisions can earn the respect of their colleagues and peers.
In the present day, businesses are getting interconnected. In this regard, MBA students need to understand and work with people from different cultures. This gives rise to cross-cultural competence, which implies the ability to interact effectively with people from other cultures. It entails comprehending the beliefs, behaviours and values and adapting to their behaviour accordingly.
Communication skills comprise public speaking and verbal clarity. For MBA students, both are important as they are required to speak confidently in -person and in public. Students who have excellent speaking skills can clearly express their ideas. Besides this, MBA students shall also possess the skills of active listening. It serves to be helpful in meetings. Writing is as essential as speaking in today’s business (Succi andCanovi, 2020). From writing proposals, emails, presentations and reports, quality writing is highly regarded as essential. Students who possess this skill can apply to better jobs and have an increased chance of promotion. Besides this, non-verbal skills or body language are equally important soft skills that students pursuing MBA shall possess. This proves to be effective in their job interviews. Attention to someone’s body language is also effective in developing insights into their feelings.
MBA students shall possess entrepreneurial skills s it helps them in the future. MBA programs mainly focus on teamwork, group projects and collaboration as necessary in business (Succi andCanovi, 2020). Teamwork enables people with different perspectives and skills to unite and achieve tasks that would otherwise be difficult. In addition to this, analytical and problems solving skills are also necessary as MBA students are expected to solve critical problems. Students who possess this skill can identify trends and patterns and discover suitable solutions to solve the problem.
Another essential soft skill for MBA students is creativity. In today’s business environment, creativity is regarded to be essential. Suppose they can think outside of the box. In that case, they can put forward innovative ideas for various issues and participate in developing innovative products, thus standing ahead of others in the job market. Connecting with the employees, attending events, or creating strong relationships requires a soft skill: networking. Thus MBA students shall acquire the soft skill of networking as it will help them to find jobs, and easily they will be able to get the attention of employers. For any MBA student, networking shall be regarded as an important component (Succi andCanovi, 2020). MBA programs are mainly focused on helping students develop their leadership skills. This implies that a growth mindset is extremely important as it fosters the development of abilities and skills. However, students with a fixed mindset cannot develop their skills, and thus their growth remains stunted.
Can MBA help in developing soft skills?
MBA assists in developing soft skills as this coursework requires the students to do their projects with other students, fostering teamwork and collaboration. In addition, the interaction with teammates and professors increases, which helps develop communication and debating skills. When students acquire their degree, they will have a strong foundation that will easily help them get jobs in any reputed organisation or pursue their desired business. Thus sharpening soft skills during the MBA course is necessary for a successful future.
- Majid, S., Eapen, C.M., Aung, E.M. and Oo, K.T., 2019. The Importance of Soft Skills for Employability and Career Development: Students and Employers’ Perspectives. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 13(4).
- Rebele, J.E. and Pierre, E.K.S., 2019. A commentary on learning objectives for accounting education programs: The importance of soft skills and technical knowledge. Journal of Accounting Education, 48, pp.71-79.
- Succi, C. and Canovi, M., 2020. Soft skills to enhance graduate employability: comparing students and employers’ perceptions. Studies in higher education, 45(9), pp.1834-1847.
Ans: Soft skills refers to the personality traits and attributes that enable employees to communicate with their co-workers and progress in their workplace. This comprises leading a team, mentoring co-workers, following instructions, communicating with clients and completing the job on time.
Ans: MBA students shall focus on sharpening their soft skills to get recruited by some reputed organisation after completing their course. In addition, they need to sharpen their soft skills to collaborate and communicate with others if they want to have their own business.
Ans: Interpersonal skills comprise reliability, time management, empathy, adaptability and emotional intelligence. These skills help students show adaptability and reliability during their studies. By being empathetic, they can understand others better and easily solve problems through critical thinking.
Ans: Entrepreneurial skills such as problem-solving and teamwork is essential. After getting jobs, students must work in teams and solve problems critically. Also, they need to think out of the box and develop a growth mindset. MBA students also focus on networking to get hired by top recruiters and have a progressive future.
Ans: Communication is an essential skill for MBA students. Public speaking, verbal clarity, active listening and writing are all essential communication skills that MBA students require to develop.
Author Bio: Mark Edmonds has spent over 15 years empowering MBA students to excel by providing personalized MBA assignment help. His experience spans advising, coaching, and directly assisting students in developing the soft skills that drive impactful leadership. Mark’s gift lies in identifying each student’s unique potential and providing concrete strategies tailored to their specific strengths and weaknesses. While his formal training focuses on business acumen, Mark is equally passionate about cultivating emotional intelligence and mindfulness to groom ethical, self-aware leaders. He firmly believes these soft skills are the key differentiators for MBA success.