How Students And Employers Think Differently About An MBA


Getting a Bachelor's degree nowadays is not sufficient enough to land someone a job with high returns. Instead, if the goal is to stay relevant and ahead of the pack, an MBA or a PhD is necessary. However, students and employers have a differing views when it comes to having a master's degree.

Students who have earned an MBA, especially from elite universities, are eager to apply the knowledge they learned from the classroom into the corporate world. Those who have seen their long list of achievements and high GMAT scores will agree that these MBAs are indeed ready to take the leadership reins of top companies. However, employers do not share the same positive outlook and eagerness of these students.

In a survey conducted by Jeff Kavanagh, professor at the University of Texas at Dallas Jindall School of Management and also a managing partner at Infosys, the numbers revealed that there is a difference in what employers and students value.

The study, which involved 10,000 recruiters and 3,000 students, asked both employers and students what they value most among the eight key skills. The employers picked their top five, namely teamwork and collaboration, critical thinking, oral and written communication, work ethic, and IT. Students, on the other hand, picked career management, critical thinking, and leadership as their top skills. Furthermore, employers place leadership at the bottom, together with career management.

The disparity between their opinions become much bigger when asked to rate the eight skills. From the eight skills - critical thinking, creativity, IT, teamwork and collaboration, leadership, career management, professionalism and work ethic, and oral and written communications - students gave themselves an 8 in 6 skills with IT and career management as their lowest.

On the contrary, employers gave students a 7 rating in IT while they gave students a 5.5 score in leadership and career management. For the other skills, the employers rated the students two points lower than the students gave themselves.

According to Kavanagh, the fact that employers rated students very low in their leadership skills does not mean that business schools are in the wrong track. Instead, it is just a reflection of what skills employers are in need of but students fall short in. He added that it could be considered a message for students that employers and companies do not have the luxury for big mistakes and they avoid it as much as possible.


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