Have Skills, Will Travel: MBAs

Aug 2, 2011
Tags: Business School, Career, MBA

We’ve got good news from Class of 2011 for incoming students. These recent grads said that the skills they developed the most were core business knowledge, ability to manage strategy and innovation, and ability to manage the decision-making process. Skill-building in different programs varied somewhat in results:
  • Grads from all types of MBA programs gave their programs particularly high marks for honing basic business skills and developing their skills at managing strategy and innovation.
  • Qualitative master’s (such as MS in Management) grads reported great improvement in their interpersonal skills.
  • Quantitative master’s (MS in Finance or Accounting, for instance) graduates gave their programs kudos for improving their generative thinking skills.
Employer wish lists 

Not so coincidentally, the attributes cited by grads align with the skills and knowledge employers seek in their new hires. But employers seek so much more! Three-quarters of the employers we surveyed in 2011 said they seek the following qualities in new MBA hires:

  • Strong communication skills (86%)
  • Integrity (76%)
  • Ability to handle pressure effectively (75%)
  • Achievement goal orientation (74%)
  • Initiative (77%)
  • Professionalism (77%)
  • Motivation (76%)
  • Integrity (76%)
  • Ability to handle pressure effectively (75%)
  • Achievement goal orientation (74%)
Think globally, aim locally 

Employer needs and preferences for particular MBA graduates’ skills vary by country and region. Here’s a snapshot of job candidate skills and traits sought by employers around the globe this year:


Overall, 2011 grads from MBA and other management fields gave very high marks to their programs’ ability to prepare them to meet the challenges of the job market. Even though there’s no way to guarantee a certain employment outcome after graduation, 92% of this year’s graduate management degree-holders rated the value of their education as outstanding, excellent, or good. 

Over the coming decade, economic growth will require staff equipped to help companies achieve their long-term organizational goals. In a recent blog post, we wrote about how the majority of employers we surveyed this year are primed for growth—they want to improve performance, launch new products, and expand their customer and geographic base. 

Do you have the right skills to meet these marketplace demands? Learn more about the skills a graduate management degree can offer you on mba.com: 5 Steps to a Graduate Business Degree

(We survey students, graduates and alumni, schools, and employers all year, every year. Want to know more about what they have to say? Just ask! Email us at research@gmac.com and we’ll do our best to answer your question.)

 -Research Center at GMAC