An MBA is a great way to develop hard business and finance skills, but technical skills aren’t all you’ll learn in an MBA program. Soft skills like communication, public speaking, stage presence, writing, etiquette and confidence are just as important for success in the business world, and most MBA programs focus on helping students develop them. As you advance in your MBA studies, you’ll find that these skills become key components of your personality as you grow into a more effective leader.
You’ll Gain Credibility
Is credibility really a skill that can be cultivated? It sure is. As you attend MBA classes and learn more about the world of business and finance, you’ll gain confidence, charisma and a persuasive influence that will give you credibility in the eyes of colleagues and employers.
Just having the MBA credential will increase your credibility, because recruiters know how much work it takes to complete one of these difficult degree programs. Just the fact that you chose to do an MBA at all speaks to your work ethic, drive and ambition. You’ll come across as someone who sets, and achieves, goals for his or her career. You’ll develop your work ethic and sense of corporate responsibility, too, both of which will make you seem more credible.
You’ll Learn More About Business Etiquette
If you’ve been in the work force for a while, you likely already have some sense of proper business etiquette. You may already know how to dress, how to listen actively, how to behave at business lunches and professional meetings and how to prepare for presentations and conferences.
However, attending business school will help you hone and develop your business etiquette. For example, many online MBA programs in California and around the country offer their students study-abroad opportunities, where they’re able to travel to major cities around the world, network with business professionals from different cultures and pick up some cross-cultural understanding of business etiquette. That’s an opportunity you may not have already gotten in your professional life. You’ll also have the chance to develop your interview skills, learn how to ask the right questions in a conversation and improve your business email etiquette.
You’ll Become a Better Communicator
Communication skills are so important in business, whether you’re giving a presentation, writing an email or congratulating Tom from accounting on the birth of his new baby. MBA programs are excellent at helping students grow their communication skills, especially since they expect students to carry themselves as managers and leaders from day one.
In your MBA program, you’ll learn stage presence and public speaking skills from classroom presentations and, later, from giving presentations during corporate consulting projects. You’ll learn how to modulate your voice and practice your gestures to become a more effective presenter. You’ll also attend writing workshops that will help you develop your written communication skills – and taking classes online will help with this, too, as writing will most likely be your primary method of communicating with classmates and professors.
Of course, you’ll also learn collaboration and negotiation skills. Even online MBAs place a lot of emphasis on learning to work well with others, and you’ll become extremely familiar with communications technology if you go the online route. You’ll also develop the ability to present strong arguments in negotiations with employers, vendors and clients.
You’ll Cultivate Excellent Time Management Skills
Just about any graduate school program will teach you time management skills, because almost all of them are extremely rigorous. In an MBA program, you’ll be on a tight schedule to prepare, present, and submit assignments, and deadlines will be non-negotiable. By the time you’ve finished with your program, you’ll have great self-discipline and rock-solid time management skills. You’ll also learn the fine art of prioritizing, whether it’s to decide which assignment to work on first, or which events and electives to participate in versus which to leave out of your busy schedule.
Earning an MBA is a great path to a higher salary and a better career, but it’s also a means of deep and meaningful personal development. You won’t be the same person on graduation day that you were on the first day of class – and that’s a good thing because the person you’ll become will be a better, smarter, more confident and knowledgeable you.