8 Essential MBA Skills (With Examples And Tips To Improve)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Master of business administration (MBA) programmes focus primarily on business-related subjects, along with other business skills that employers often seek in a candidate. Communication skills, interpersonal skills, organisational skills and critical thinking skills are some essential ones that can increase your chance of getting a job as an MBA professional. If you are considering a career in business administration, learning about important skills to develop can help you succeed.

In this article, we define MBA skills, provide some examples, discuss how to improve your skills, share tips to apply them in the workplace and explain ways to highlight these skills during the job application process.

What Are MBA Skills?

MBA skills are characteristics, traits, attitudes and talents that help a candidate get better job opportunities and salary hikes. Professionals with an MBA degree often leverage various skills, including leadership, communication and time management, to accomplish tasks, resolve problems, motivate people and enhance productivity. By effectively utilising their skills, they can engage their team members, connect with businesspeople and collaborate with other managers or stakeholders to ensure workflow efficiency.

8 important MBA skills

Here are some examples of skills that professionals with an MBA degree often use:

1. Communication skills

Interpersonal communication is key in business, which makes most employers value this skill. Communication skills refer to your ability to clearly and concisely convey even complex information. It involves verbal and written communication, along with active listening. Even though writing and speaking are important aspects of communication, a great communicator is also an active listener, meaning they can listen to others intently and can interpret the information they share and respond appropriately.

While you pursue an MBA degree, you can learn these skills while you work in teams, network with peers and professionals and successfully present concepts and ideas in class. This skill is important for you to foster cordial and professional relationships with both internal and external stakeholders of an organisation.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

2. Leadership skills

The term leadership refers to the ability to guide and motivate other individuals or groups. With leadership skills, you can motivate and manage others to achieve specific goals. Employers value this skill and look for it in a candidate, regardless of their hiring position, to ensure the new hires understand the goals and the requisite steps to take to achieve them successfully and grow business revenue.

Related: 12 Ways To Build Leadership Strategies At The Workplace

3. Time management skills

Time management skills refer to your ability to organise and prioritise tasks in a way that makes you more efficient. As with most degree programmes, MBAs require enough time, commitment and organisation, so time management is a common MBA skill. Prioritising tasks effectively and completing them punctually can improve your productivity as an MBA professional, which can also help you create a positive impression of yourself and enhance workflow efficiency.

4. Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking abilities help you analyse a situation and make a quick and informed decision to resolve the problem. It is important for an MBA professional to possess the ability to analyse information so that they can gain a comprehensive understanding of a topic or problem. Critical thinking allows you to develop effective solutions and strategies for businesses.

Related: 14 Essential Critical Thinker Characteristics And Traits

5. Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills allow you to identify the source of a problem. This helps you develop an effective solution to the problem. This important MBA skill involves other skills, including:

  • Communication

  • Research

  • Analysis

Related: Problem Solving Questions For Interview (With Examples And Tips)

6. Entrepreneurial skills

The career path of MBA graduates involves being in entrepreneurial roles. It is important that business graduates can identify demands in the market and appropriately determine the best way to fulfil them if they think it is plausible. Strategic thinking, self-confidence and dedication are examples of entrepreneurial skills.

7. Strategic thinking

The ability to devise efficient strategies is an inherent part of every management practice. It is essential that MBA graduates can envision short- and long-term goals and plans while reducing the influence of personal bias and emotion. This includes the ability to change the plan when necessary effectively.

8. Organisation

Your organisational abilities assist you in remaining productive and efficient. Getting an MBA requires acquiring proficiency in several related fields involving a wide variety of activities, including intrinsic and industry-based work and projects. Subsequently, the ability to plan and organise yourself is crucial. These characteristics can be useful outside of the classroom and in the workplace when managing large teams.

How To Improve MBA Skills

Here are some steps you can follow if you want to improve your skills and grow your career as an MBA professional:

1. Complete your education

Most of the core responsibilities of an MBA job require technical skills you learn in college and at work. It is critical to give time to your education to develop and improve those skills. This entails enhancing those talents in college along with continuing to do so through continuing education and other workplace training options. Staying updated in your domain is critical, especially in a domain like business awareness, where new procedures and advancements take place regularly.

2. Develop your soft skills

Though MBA jobs require subject knowledge and technical skills, soft skills are still vital for completing many projects successfully. Soft skills enable you to perform successfully in your career by being an effective team member, interacting well with teammates and clients and staying organised while working. Accepting feedback on these skills and learning more about them through courses and reading might help you become more effective with your soft skills.

3. Look for more responsibilities

Asking for more from yourself and additional responsibility from people around you is one of the best ways to grow as an MBA professional. This can mean taking advantage of continuing education programmes or reading books that can help you improve your abilities in your leisure time. This can also mean asking your supervisor to explain to you a new skill or assign you an additional duty that can allow you to use your existing skills more effectively or gain new ones.

4. Attend training programmes

Following the completion of your MBA degree, you may find it beneficial to take part in a few training courses to improve and advance your skills. Enrol in several business training programmes or corporate training programmes. You can also enrol in online programmes provided by online course providers. Training programmes can help you gain considerable practical experience, often with modern tools and technologies.

Using Your Skills In The Workplace

Here are some tips you can use to apply your skills in the workplace:

  • Ensure your communications are clear. As communication skills are a critical component of MBA professionals, try distinguishing yourself as an exceptional communicator. You can do this by proofreading your work to check for clarity and grammatical errors.

  • Practise active listening. Being an active listener is an essential component of being a great communicator. When interacting with your colleagues, make eye contact, try to eliminate distractions and focus on their nonverbal cues to ensure effectiveness and clarity.

  • Take the initiative. A great way to show your leadership skill is to present ideas for new projects or processes. This shows to your supervisor that you value team and company goals.

  • Meet deadlines. To show your time management skills on the job, you can consider keeping your space organised, schedule your tasks and always deliver your work on time.

  • Develop solutions to problems. Demonstrate your critical thinking skills by proposing a solution to a previously unidentified problem within your role, department or organisation. Present your plan to your supervisor when developing a strategy for addressing the problem.

Ways To Highlight These Skills During A Job Application Process

Here are some ways you can highlight your skills during the job application process:

On a resume

On your resume, you can highlight your skills in two places, the work experience section and skills sections. Explain how you used those skills in your past jobs or internships under the work experience section. For instance, mention how you used organisational skills to ensure timely delivery, or how you used your technical skills on a specific project to solve a critical problem. Keep the skills list brief and include all skills relevant to the job, especially the keywords mentioned in the job description.

In a cover letter

You can emphasise some of your most relevant skills in your cover letter to distinguish yourself from other candidates. It is not essential to list all your skills in the cover letter. Often, mentioning one or two skills with some quantifiable credentials to validate them is most effective. If you have recognition, have worked on projects that highlight your skills well, or have received an award for your performance, such information can also be a useful addition to your cover letter.

In a job interview

Demonstrate the applicable skills as possible throughout the interview. Review the job description while preparing for the interview to identify what skills and keywords they mentioned match your experience and skills. Then you can think of instances of your work and experience that relate to those skills and keywords that you can highlight in the interview. For example, when the interviewer asks questions about your experience, you can respond with an instance where you applied your problem-solving and collaboration skills and implemented a solution to a critical problem.

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