Management skills are a principal focus of any MBA program.¹ An MBA is designed to enhance your professional development and prepare you to be a C-level executive. However, as you acquire management skills, you also learn many other hard and soft skills that equip you to manage a business or a particular aspect of its operations. There’s no better time than now to explore the skills employers are looking for when vetting potential leaders. Read on to learn about 10 management skills you’ll get from earning your MBA.
1. Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills pertain to your ability to work well with others. Gone are the days when C-level executives could sit behind a closed door. In today’s business environment, it’s imperative to work hand-in-hand with people at all levels of the business. This involves playing a role in one or several teams, sharing ideas and considering the insights of others—all with the goal of advancing the business’ interests.
Interpersonal management skills are sometimes referred to as “people skills,” and many include them under the “soft skills” umbrella. Regardless of the terminology, the skills you learn will empower you to understand what makes people think and act the way they do, enabling you to better work with and motivate them.
2. Leadership Skills
The ability to lead people breaks down into several sub-skills that are taught in an MBA program. In order for people to feel comfortable—or even excited—about following your leadership, you need to convey a sense of vision. In an MBA program, you will learn how to hone your vision and, more importantly, how to get others on-board.
To drive your fellow team members, you will also learn how to inspire others. Having a vision can help provide direction, but people will only move in that direction if they’ve been inspired by a good leader.
3. Communication Skills
Communicating your ideas and listening to the thoughts and feelings of others builds collegiality and drives progress. You will learn how to listen to, express and apply the ideas of others. In addition, you will discover different ways of getting your point across—with the end goal of improving business outcomes.
You will also learn the art of persuasion, which can be very beneficial in the workplace. This skill enables you to motivate your direct reports or even your superiors take action or alter their decisions when they may not have initially been inclined to do so.
4. Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking involves being able to think according to a productive plan of action. It encompasses both the conception of a plan and the thinking needed to execute it. In an MBA program, you will learn how to segment your thinking into successive steps that lead to accomplishing an objective.
In addition, as you pursue your MBA, you will learn how to use strategic thinking to create new opportunities for the organization and individuals within it. This may involve developing marketing campaigns, new products or services or innovations to enhance efficiency.
Making a firm decision is, in many situations, the last step in the decision-making process. Your MBA program will teach you how to identify the core issues you need to address before formulating a decision. You will also learn how to examine the ramifications of potential decisions on the future of both the business and your own professional prospects. In addition, you will discover how decisions can affect co-workers and those you manage.
6. Strategic Problem-Solving
Strategic problem-solving involves recognizing and understanding the nature of a problem, then devising a solution and designing the steps needed to attain it. In the course of earning your MBA, you will be presented with a variety of business problems and challenged with finding ways of solving them.
In this process, you will also learn how to evaluate solutions based on their risks and rewards. This includes how to impact the strength of the organization and the people within it.
7. Creativity and Innovation
Creative thinkers drive modern business because they are able to use an array of resources to devise solutions. When a solution doesn’t yet exist, innovation comes into play. Innovators take the lead in creating novel solutions to new and existing problems.
Creativity and innovation, therefore, often go hand-in-hand, particularly when it comes to technology. In an MBA program, you will learn how to use technology to solve problems creatively. You will also gain the management skills needed to leverage technology as an innovator to strengthen your organization.
8. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) involves a business ensuring it’s driven by ethical principles and conforming to regulations and social standards that promote the wellbeing of others.² Additionally, CSR includes a business giving back to the communities it serves.
A business needs to maximize its earnings without harming others—even accidentally. In an MBA program, you will learn how to strike this critical balance.
Entrepreneurship encompasses the skills, knowledge and strategic problem-solving abilities needed to run a successful business. However, the benefits of entrepreneurial thinking aren’t limited to business-owners. The mindset needed to run a self-sustaining business makes you a better decision-maker, planner, and worker regardless of your status in the company. In an MBA program, you will learn how to think and act like an entrepreneur, as well as how to apply entrepreneurial skill sets to a company for which you work.
10. Finance Skills
Finance management skills enable an executive to manage an organization’s finances efficiently while knowing how to use financial tools to address business challenges. In an MBA program, you will learn how an organization uses financial leverage to support its growth and development. You will also explore how investment can be used to generate new revenue streams.
Further, you will learn how to analyze whether a decision makes financial sense in the context of the business’ objectives. This will teach you how to analyze different options for financing or investment to see which ones align with the business’ goals.
Earn Your MBA Online With William & Mary
William & Mary has been preparing students and professionals for the world of business for hundreds of years. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and more have honed their skills with William and Mary, and with the Online MBA program, you can do the same. If you're ready to pursue an MBA from an institution with a strong reputation and proven track record, consider William & Mary's online MBA.
1. Retrieved on January 17, 2021, from mbacrystalball.com/blog/2020/02/03/mba-skills/2. Retrieved on January 17, 2021, from businessnewsdaily.com/4679-corporate-social-responsibility.html