It is beyond dispute that traditionally, an MBA’s most valuable skills in include leadership, strategic thinking and finance, and that those core modules will remain the foundations of business school education system.
It comes as a surprise that a recent 2007 QS Recruiter Survey reflected that “soft” skills rank the highest with recruiters, despite the fact that this is a key area where MBAs are very lacking. 636 of the world’s major international MBA recruiters ranked communication and people skills higher in importance than the traditional skill sets. The financial services sector shared that they tend to focus less on academic or technical skills and place emphasis more on communication, interpersonal skills and leadership.
Recruiter comments are that too many business school graduates lack the essential interpersonal and other soft skills beyond the MBA qualifications. While they possess the pertinent broad business skills in the making of potential business leaders, with this package comes with an arrogant expectation of career progression. There is often need for emotional quotient (EQ) and realistic career counseling.
While it is noted that there is growing need for soft skills (or EQ elements) in MBA graduates, recruiters must also understand the role requirements. Soft skill requirements varies from different roles at different levels, for instance, a back-office research analyst would rightfully require a different level of soft skills compared to a personal relations manager. Hence, the right skills sets must strategically fit the role.
Soft skills essentially equates to EQ elements in extended scope. Soft skills do not stand alone, they merge and morph a personality to transcend to a higher level. Key EQ elements of soft skills are interdependent and encompass the following:
* Be positive – Exude that positivism and spread the infectious optimism
* Self-motivating – Set personal goals to reach new highs; Read relevantly; Mingle with the super-motivated;
* Possess a Forgiving and Benevolent ego – Humble oneself, accept and learn sincerely from criticism
* Be a Team Player – Learn to trust, build comradeship, set common goals, provide support & get your hands dirty!
* Communicate Effectively – Be clear, tactful, diplomatic & pace the conversation. If you know NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming), use it effectively.
* Hone your Innovative and Creative mindset – Think outside the box
* Look at the Big Picture – Consider all aspects, potential opportunities, threats & contingencies
* Able to Lead, Multitask and Prioritize – Practice empowerment and delegation, mange time well when multitasking and prioritizing.
Essentially, EQ must permeate at all times at all dealings at work and in life. This is far beyond what mere paper qualifications can accord. On hindsight, reflect on how many incidences that cost us dearly of great opportunities due to our lack of EQ.
And during the process of EQ development, it is important to receive sincere feedback from co-workers, family members and friends. They would also form an important source of emotional support which could greatly expedite the change.
One must dare to change, because change is omnipresent. Stand out and be a different MBA graduate. Start the EQ journey and one will find a whole new perspective in life altogether.