MBA graduates in the last few decades have been looked upon as potential senior management recruits. Most firms look at their MBA hires to be armed with skills such as adaptability, effectiveness and efficiency. With the ever-evolving market scenario and newer technologies gaining ground, recruitment operations are increasingly adopting short-term approaches and goal-oriented motives.
So you need to keep up with the current trends and mindsets of hiring prevalent.
In order to be well-versed with the perspectives of corporates today, one needs to understand what exactly they are looking for in a prospective hire. Your interests may also influence the skills that you choose to develop.
There are many skills employers look for but I would put my money on these 5 critical ones.
Good interpersonal or supervisory skills: Most companies are of the view that while MBA graduates come laced with strong theoretical backing, their inter-personal, especially supervisory skills are largely under-developed. Fresh graduates are often perceived as arrogant and demanding too many things too fast without persevering to learn the tricks of the trade. This creates an exaggerated expectation and a strong disability in adjusting to the company’s culture. Therefore one needs to be well grounded and prepared to deal with a corporate for long term; an aptitude towards longevity can take you further than you expect.
Working in cross-functional teams with a positive & can-do attitude: MBAs are expected to display an overall creative and innovative approach towards the business and learn from multiple departments working in tandem to come up with effective strategies that can enable them increase value to the firm, reducing costs and removing redundancies. It requires strong and clear communication skills; a leadership aptitude and trust must be displayed by the fresh graduate.
Display critical thinking and smart-decision making: Owing to training received in business schools, you are expected to question the status quo and offer sustainable solutions which have been weighed across several well defined premises. Critical thinking is highly prized to forecast potential business exigencies or additional avenues of growth and progress for the company. Given the proliferation of several analytics tools, the MBA graduates are expected to employ them to offer smart solutions to existing or potential business issues of critical importance which are strategic or tactical in nature. Do your research and prepare quantifiable material on your opinions and how you can bring value and solutions to existing processes.
Act Professionally: All the concepts, presentations, suggestions and reports need to be impeccable in terms of research and thoroughly documented. Disagreements should be voiced in an assertive and not aggressive manner. While working in large teams, the time and expertise of other professionals should be valued and respected. They are also expected to drive the quality of talent pool by sharing knowledge and mentoring talent. As a fresher, you have new perspective on your side, but if you also integrate a strong work ethic, you will be picked up and held on to as a valued part of the company.
Being persuasive and coachable: Persuasion is a highly prized skill because it is highly critical that they come out ahead while successfully negotiating in favour of the business without the other stakeholders feeling cheated. It is very critical for them to ensure that their proposal or suggestions land positively in front of the effective party. Being coachable is critical in developing the next generation of senior management. Most MBAs are looked upon as future business leaders and hence, it is quite critical that constantly keep an open and flexible attitude towards their learning and development. They would be expected to grasp complex business problems with finesse and lead from the front to effectively evaluate the consequences of their decisions.
In summary, it is clear that companies look for a healthy mix of soft skills and entrepreneurial ability in fresh MBA graduates to enter into a collaborative work arrangement for mutual benefit. It is not enough to have a good degree backing you up; you must effectively enhance your attitude to suit the right profile that you are applying for, as a good future plan.
Always remember – You get hired because of your skills but most of the times get fired because of your behaviour.