Increased Focus on ‘Soft Skills’ at Top MBA Programs

Many top MBA programs are increasing their focus on ‘soft skills.’  Why?

These are critical skills for all professional.  Whether you currently manage a team of 2, 20 or 200 people, skills such as speaking respectfully to subordinates, teamwork, and managing your own stress are all very important and will have a major impact on your success as a manager and a leader.

Traditionally, MBA programs have focused on the technical or ‘hard skills’ such as economics, finance and accounting.  There are a number of reasons for this including the fact that grading students in these subjects is more straightforward and lack of respect for ‘soft skills’ courses on the part of students and employers.  Also, many of the jobs that are filled by new MBAs do require these technical skills, so it becomes a Catch-22.  How far one advances beyond that first job will be largely determined by the ‘soft skills’ or ‘people skills.’

There is good news here for professionals without a business school background. . . many of the interpersonal skills needed to be a successful business manager and a leader of people are not learned in the classroom.

Read the full WSJ.com article by Mellissa Korn and Joe Light.

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