MBA Skills

These areas and skills may not be as exciting as finance or strategy, nor are they well taught at business school, but they will take you far.

Mobile apps that can smooth MBA path

Business school students need to maximise their study time, be able to contact classmates easily and keep abreast of extracurricular events. So which smartphone apps are the most useful when it comes to streamlining timetables and workload? The Financial Times’ MBA bloggers offer their top choices. Jess Webb, at the University of Edinburgh Business School, says WhatsApp has been essential from day one. Its group conversation function means there is an all-class group and mini groups for assignments, treks and clubs. “And someone is always online to help with questions,” she says. The app’s ability to work with international numbers and various languages really helps “when you have 23 nationalities in your cohort”, she says. Her school offers easy access to course material through a mobile learning app called Blackboard, while ParticiPoll allows real-time online polling in class discussions. Marta Szczerba favours GroupMe, a messaging app that works across smartphones, tablets and a desktop computer. The Harvard Business School student also relies on Venmo to make instant payments. She adds that HBS has two apps that were invaluable when trying to get an administrative grip on campus life. An app called Thrive provides everything from canteen opening times to fitness sessions, while Learning Hub lists details for all courses and classes. Some apps can help in your preparations for an MBA. Apricot Wilson will start China Europe International Business School in Shanghai next year and is using Skritter to get up to speed with the language’s characters. “It lets you practice writing them on screen and then compares the character you have drawn with a flashcard,” she says.Read full story: Financial...

Your MBA In 300 Words

What’s the best management advice you’ve ever received? That was one question we asked Fortune 500 CEOs in our annual survey. Their answers were terse, but enlightening. We offer you the best, below. The most frequent theme was to focus on building the right team: “You are no better than your team.” “Surround yourself with great people, and great things happen!” “Hire the best people and give them the freedom to operate their business/dept., demand transparent communication and hold them accountable for the results.” Also frequently mentioned: “Listen”: “You have 2 ears and one mouth – use them in this ratio.” “Listen more then move with speed.” “Lead with questions, not answers.” The need to be ruthless in setting priorities was also a popular topic: “ Focus on one or two top priorities.” “Spend your time on the important, not the urgent.” “Focus your energy on a few things and delegate the rest.” And pacing was on the minds of many: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” “Nothing wrong with getting rich slowly.” “Don’t get too low with the lows or too high with the highs.” “Start small, fail fast, scale quickly.” The importance of values in an age of transparency was another recurrent theme: “Leadership is built on a foundation of values and only with strong values will our efforts to lead be sustainable and successful long-term.” “Always operate with integrity and excellence.” “Tell the truth.” “Do everything as if it will be on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow.” And then there were a few random chestnuts: “Don’t screw up.” “Prepare, prepare, prepare!” “Company first, career second.” “Leadership is action, not position.” “Take your vitamins, you’ll need them.” Read full story:...

Why Top Companies And MBA Programs Are Teaching Improv...

It’s the standard business school storyline: A manager decides to get an executive MBA degree and starts classes with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. “You may have reached that point in your career where you’re middle management, you’ve done many things right, you’ve had some failures that you’ve learned from, [and] you could be molded into thinking you’ve figured some things out,” says Michael Desiderio, executive director of the Executive MBA Council, a nonprofit association that works with more than 200 universities and colleges that offer executive MBA programs. “You think there are some things you know, and you quickly figure out your peers can help you identify what you don’t know by asking challenging questions that you wouldn’t have even thought of, because you have one frame of reference,” he adds. “It completely changes how you think about enterprise and business.” Executive MBA programs—designed for senior professionals who have at least seven years of experience—have been a way for managers to develop an edge in their business acumen. Depending on the program, training consists of rethinking standard leadership practices and management structures, and immersing students in specific foreign cultures with programs catering to new professions, like a wine-intensive MBA program. The thing is, if you’re going to cultivate exceptional leaders, you’re going to need some innovative training. Enter improvisational classes, which may not be the first thing that comes to mind when putting together an executive MBA curriculum, but Desiderio says can be very effective in helping leaders identify—and admit—their deficiencies. So much so that dozens of mega companies, like Google, PepsiCo, and McKinsey have included improv sessions in their own corporate training. GETTING THROWN A CURVEBALL WHILE IN TRAINING—LIKE DANCING OR SINGING—IS BELIEVED TO...

Social Media Skills a Must for MBAs, Survey Says...

Students and applicants live and breathe through social media If you think social media is primarily good for reconnecting with long-lost friends from high school or stalking celebrities to find out what they had for breakfast, think again. Now more than ever, M.B.A. students and applicants live and breathe through social media, a new online survey reveals. And that level of social media use is a good thing, considering the growing demand in the business world for employees with honed social media skills. After polling hundreds of both prospective and current b-school students, The MBA Tour found that 85 percent of potential students worldwide say they use social media sites to research their top school choices. This is higher than the 71 percent of students already enrolled who reported using social media for their school research, suggesting a massive upward trend is afoot. Although most elite business schools use Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and LinkedIn as part of their outreach strategy to potential applicants, it appears their efforts haven’t quite hit the mark. Approximately 14 percent of would-be students reported outright disappointment with their potential schools’ use of social media tools, or, while acknowledging that the schools had made an effort, 63 percent were left wanting more. For current students or graduates, 55 percent felt the social media options and subsequent classes were either “not up to par with the growing industry” (17.7 percent) or simply weren’t provided (37.7 percent). Additionally, 99 percent of students researching business schools reported social media was either a “necessity in every field of study” (51.7 percent) or “somewhat important dependent on the field of study” (47.6 percent)…Read full...

More MBA Students Seeking Entrepreneurial Skills...

A new study finds entrepreneurship programs and skills are more in demand from MBA students, compared to traditional areas such as banking, finance and consulting Entrepreneurship is becoming a growing priority for MBA students over the traditional areas of banking, finance and consulting, according to a new study conducted by education and marketing research firm CarringtonCrisp. “Tomorrow’s MBA 2011,” which surveyed 476 prospective MBA students in 79 countries, looks at the evolution of the business degree and found a growing demand for entrepreneurship in the curriculum, with entrepreneurship courses listed by students in their top-five most desired course content. Other valuable course content among prospective students included Strategic Management, Leadership, and Managing People and Organizations. Students are also recognizing the importance of pursuing an MBA to develop skills sets of a business owner. When asked what they want from a business school and MBA, 60 percent of respondents said they want an MBA that will improve their career prospects, while their second and third most important criteria were for an MBA that provides them with new skills and challenges them to think differently. Improving earning potential was listed as the fifth most important factor, chosen by just over a third of all respondents…Read full...