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How MBA Soft Skills Could Future-Proof Your Career

How MBA Soft Skills Could Future-Proof Your Career

AI isn’t just a work of science fiction anymore, it’s a reality. Computers are becoming more and more intelligent, able to learn and anticipate our needs to an incredibly efficient degree. Indeed, Google DeepMind made the news recently as it has learnt, by itself, how to run, jump and move around objects – a huge leap forward in the technology. 

Signs that the technological revolution will overhaul the job market are already present: take this store in Seattle, which scans your details as you enter and charges you for the products you picked up as you exit. Or the very real possibility that within our lifetimes, driverless cars will replace driven cars – obliterating the trucking and taxi industries. 

With the rising dominance of artificial intelligence and the growing danger that computers will replace jobs in a second ‘industrial revolution’, how can you avoid a destiny of obsoleteness and ensure a future-proof career?

‘Human’ careers are the safest 

If you’re assuming the safest future roles will be in technological positions, think again. Certainly, the dominant industries could well be those within IT, but the positions which are most likely to survive this upcoming revolution are at the opposite end of the spectrum. 

Business Insider published a report last year, with data from Indeed (the world’s most popular job site) about the careers least likely to be taken over by machinery. It turns out that the most enduring positions are actually the most ‘human’ roles – those which rely on creativity, decision-making, strategic planning or management (or cooking). 

The nine most future-proof careers are:

  1. Chef
  2. Healthcare professionals
  3. Education and training
  4. Cybersecurity expert
  5. Human resources
  6. Delivery of logistics management
  7. Data scientist
  8. Gig-workers 

The trends in those careers say a lot – most of them involve working with others. Futureproofing your career could rely on your ability to develop your interpersonal skills. A well-delivered MBA is possibly the best qualification for this.

The MBA difference

Undergraduate and graduate degrees focus on a highly-specialized, specific education to ensure students have a thorough understanding of their subject. While the skills learnt are certainly transferable, there is regardless a serious level of functional specificity.

MBA courses are different. Their focus may be on the ins and outs of running a business and factual information such as finance and marketing, but there are also a plethora of components related to social skills, ethics and communication. What this means is, while those with traditional degrees might have specific knowledge in one field, MBAs are able to turn their hand to many different sectors.

MBAs also tend to have a very diverse student body when compared with other degrees. Major business schools attract candidates from around the world; schools considered and appearing in the QS Global 250 reported a study body made up of 50% international students. Global experience is a focus of many MBA courses, expanding the international experience of their students and their ability to adapt to other cultures and situations. You will also see candidates from a wide range of disciplines and professional backgrounds in any given cohort.

MBAs offer you the perfect opportunity to retrain, if you’re unsure your chosen undergraduate degree has set you up well enough in life. Many MBA students switch careers after graduation to something more suitable, having worked for several years and established their preferred industry better than they could straight after university.

Consider an MBA specialization

Another way to help futureproof your career is to consider an MBA with a specialization. It’s established that the positions most resistant to the AI takeover are those which deal with people or innovation, so an MBA specialization which focuses on these industries could help your career’s longevity.

 Innovation, management or strategy are examples of focuses which are unlikely to be supplanted by machine knowledge, equipping you with the skills you need to survive.

Optimizing your MBA experience

It might seem easy to ignore the social skills aspects of your MBA, for the most part, they may seem obvious and self-explanatory; this could hinder your success. If interpersonal skills are what’s going to be required in the future world of work, then focusing on this side of the course will be very beneficial. Let’s not forget, having a good network will mean that you’ll have access to a wide range of potential career opportunities also.

Aside from this, students can pursue extracurricular activities, such as roles in societies or student government, in order to maximize their experience in management and strategic roles. The skills will stand you in good stead for a long-lasting, futureproof career.

Until the robots rise up and end it all anyway, that is.

Amelia Hopkins
Written by Amelia Hopkins

Amelia Hopkins is a writer for TopMBA, covering the latest news in business and business education. A graduate of the University of Leeds and Yorkshire native, she enjoys reading, travelling and talking incessantly about the countryside.

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