Beyond teaching the nuts and bolts of business, MBA study also guides students to develop more nuanced "soft skills." Many schools now recognize “emotional quotient*,” or EQ, as the extra ingredient MBAs need in order to be successful in the real world of work. EQ – which is a combination of self-awareness and the ability to practice sensitivity in dealing with others - is a newly valued MBA skill being integrated into the more traditional curriculum.

Here are the 10 main skills and areas of interpersonal growth MBA study should nurture:

  • Framing problems and engaging in problem-solving
  • Engaging in smart decision-making
  • Practicing people and leadership skills
  • Developing confidence
  • Developing effective communication and presentation skills
  • Encouraging creativity and innovation
  • Fostering inclusivity and team spirit
  • Employing sensitivity to differences
  • Managing intense pressure and tight deadlines
  • Building competency in relationship building

Specializing MBA Study

.While not necessarily required, MBA students can choose to specialize in specific fields; for example, someone with an interest in quantitative areas of business might specialize in finance or accounting. Or, they can pursue broader courses of study and become generalists. Students who pursue a generalist path are well positioned for management jobs, positions that require leadership, and higher-level jobs such as CEO.

Popular areas of specialization include:

  • General Management
  • Consulting/Corporate Strategy
  • Human Resources
  • Information Systems
  • Healthcare Management
  • Marketing
  • Analytics
  • Operations Management
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Global Business/International Management

An All-Around Degree With Practical Applications In The Workplace

The skills gained through MBA study will make you a more effective and well-rounded professional, no matter your industry. If you choose to specialize, you will find yourself positioned to enter the job market with a strong knowledge base and expertise. No matter the specific course study, the MBA curriculum exposes you to a wide range of business practices. The practical skills gained through your coursework will have immediate applications in any position.

Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.