Many business professionals choose a Master of Business Administration as a tool for career advancement. A bonus many find is the variety of traits they gain in pursuit of the degree. The hard skills of technical expertise are developed through programs such the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi online Master of Business Administration, but so-called soft skills such as confidence, communication, time management and leadership are also enhanced.
"Being a manager or executive in any industry is tough, and being able to see the big picture past the day-to-day challenges of running a business is one of the valuable takeaways for MBA graduates," notes an article in The Princeton Review. "MBA programs teach students analytical skills, long-term strategic thinking, networking, leadership and more."
Soft Skills Complement Technical Expertise
Mastering the nuts and bolts of advanced business skills required by an MBA is hard enough. But they alone are not sufficient to make the complete executive deserving of the corner suite.
One of the most important benefits of an MBA program is the development of a "fine sense of personal, social and professional etiquette," MBA Crystal Ball says. Many programs teach the basics of dressing properly, asking intelligent questions, listening and making the right eye contact during presentations, as well as the finer points of formal communication, including business email.
MBA Crystal Ball says another big benefit is the development of communication and leadership skills. Business leaders must be able to tailor their message to their audience clearly and concisely, whether through an oral presentation or written report. Leadership training helps students meet the challenges of motivating and inspiring their team members and co-workers to seek opportunity and to tackle the challenges of the modern business world.
MBA Crystal Ball cites a number of other traits or soft skills that students develop or hone as they pursue an MBA:
- The rigorous curriculum of an MBA pushes students out of their comfort zones. As they successfully complete difficult assignments, they become more self-assured. "Obviously, acquiring new skills and knowledge for the business world fosters self-esteem as students feel that they would be able to make more effective contributions to their organizations after graduation."
- Time management. Students must have a keen sense of discipline in an online MBA program, juggling study time with the demands of a job and caring for a family. Deadlines in an MBA program tend to be non-negotiable, and discipline is key.
- MBA programs foster a maturity in students because professors and classmates expect them to behave as managers and decision makers.
- Knowledge and skills. MBA programs develop the ability to analyze and resolve problems quickly. Case studies equip students to think outside the box and find a way to get the job done.
Why Soft Skills Are Important
When it comes to managing others, the best technical skills are unlikely to compensate for a lack of good soft skills.
"Even if a salesperson has unrivalled knowledge of their product, it'll be hard to close deals and keep clients if they don't have adequate interpersonal skills," an article on TopMBA.com says. "Similarly, a business manager needs to be able to listen to employees, have good speaking skills and think creatively. Soft skills are required in all careers to make hard skills valuable."
The article stresses key points about the importance of soft skills:
- Whereas hard skills can be mastered over time with study and hard work, soft skills are linked to a person's personality and character, making them more challenging to develop.
- Success in the modern workplace involves collaboration, listening, communication and presenting ideas. Strong soft skills encourage a healthy work environment.
- Soft skills are important to customer service, as customers highly value effective and efficient communication.
"Although hard skills may look impressive on your resume, it's the soft skills that will set you apart from fellow candidates," the article says.
An advanced online degree program such as the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Master of Business Administration not only gives you the tools to advance your career, it helps develop the interpersonal skills necessary for success in any endeavor.
Learn more about the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi online MBA program.
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