Five Skills Top MBA Employers are Looking For

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The annual QS TopMBA.com Jobs & Salary Trends Report surveys actively hiring top MBA employers from around the world in order to get a global snapshot of hiring trends and salary levels. The latest edition of the report, for which there were over 4,300 respondents, predicts 14% growth in the number of MBA jobs over the 2013/14 period in the US & Canada, while average salaries for new hires in the US stand at $82,200, supplemented by an average bonus of $16,000.

So you might be asking yourself, how do I take advantage of this surfeit of handsomely remunerated opportunities? Well, it so happens that the survey also addresses the question of what it is exactly that these top MBA employers are looking for – here’s the top five.  

1. Interpersonal skills

Since QS research began, soft skills have always topped employers’ wishlists. Interpersonal skills are, of course, essential for anyone in a leadership role, in which working with and inspiring others can really make the difference between success and failure – be it with clients, peers or those you’re managing. And let’s not forget, lacking such skills will seriously impede your ability to engage in that all-important networking – no one’s going to share the hottest new opportunity with you if you can’t engage with them.

2. Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is a cornerstone of the MBA – one of the main intended outcomes of the degree has always been to help you move from a functional role to a ‘big picture’ one. Are you able to see the future of an organization, and how it’s going to get there, factoring in the agility to deal with competitors and market forces?  If so, you will find yourself much in demand with top MBA employers.

3. Entrepreneurial skills

Entrepreneurial skills are the ability to spot a gap in the market, judgment enough to know whether it’s worth filling and the creativity and technical understanding, if not ability, to do so can be invaluable to a dynamic organization with designs on growth. And remember, not every example of entrepreneurship needs to change the world.

4. Communication skills

Being able to communicate up, down and across is essential in any management position. Communications skills are an area employers have often found candidates somewhat lacking. Luckily this is also a skillset which an MBA will help you to foster, with working in diverse groups with all its concomitant challenges playing a significant role in MBA learning.

5. Leadership Skills

A good manager will possess leadership skills to facilitate the carrying out of functional roles by his or her subordinates – not an easy undertaking, by any means. However, a good leader will inspire those who work with them and around them, make them feel valued and give the whole undertaking a sense of direction. Notably, this was the skill surveyed top MBA employers were most satisfied that MBAs possessed.

Written by Mansoor Iqbal

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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