How the skills of an MBA can help leaders conquer today’s job market trends

  • July 5, 2023
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 4 minute read

The job market has been in a state of flux over the past year, if not since the beginning of the pandemic. When business leaders head into the marketplace, this era of rapid evolution can be disorienting. 

There’s an extra layer of confusion for leaders looking to make a change in their careers and new leaders setting out to follow their visions for their first ventures. They may not know how to begin or what skills will be the most beneficial in landing and succeeding in a job. This is where an MBA can help.

An MBA experience can strengthen the breadth and depth of skills needed for leaders to lead effectively and open up opportunities in a tricky job market. The skills and experience of an MBA can prepare a leader for a long-term future in business even as the world continues to fling challenges their way.

What does an MBA teach you?

The first way that an MBA degree can bolster a leader’s skill set is by providing a strong foundation with knowledge of business fundamentals. At Olin Business School, our core curriculum is designed to give students a holistic understanding of various business functions,  including marketing, supply chain management, data analytics and equity, diversity and inclusion.

Exposure to these courses enables students to develop the business acumen needed to make informed decisions, drive growth and navigate complex challenges, no matter where their career takes them next. MBA programs also focus on developing the softer skills needed to succeed as a leader. Communication skills can be honed through real-world scenarios and experiences with members of an MBA cohort. Hands-on challenges are vital for leaders trying to adapt to a fast-evolving market.

Digital literacy and creativity are also going to be fundamental. Creative thinkers who can work more closely and effectively with artificial intelligence will be able to take advantage of changes in work and learning environments. At Olin, the MBA program exposes students to digital literacy platforms, such as Tableau, to learn how to visualize data. Students have access to workshops where they learn the basics of using analytic programs that impact business practices. 

The impact of an MBA on career advancement

All of these fundamental business skills combine to form a skill set that can help leaders go out into the world with confidence. Olin instills critical business skills for success and supports students by offering:

The opportunity to stand out

The range of specializations and electives available as part of the Olin MBA allows students to tailor their learning to their interests and career goals. In this way, the programs help students develop expertise and differentiate themselves in the job market by choosing courses that pique their interest, challenge them and align with their career goals. They can carve out a unique path to success, select goals specific to them and craft a vision of their future.

A competitive advantage

An MBA from Olin provides students with a wide range of fundamental skills and more niche experiences, which gives an advantage over other candidates in the job market. Students can increase their skills by engaging in ongoing paid internships with leading industries, career development with career coaches and real-world consulting with startups and other corporate partners.

Readiness for a global world

Opportunities to engage globally and learn from international businesses and startups give students the chance to build a global mindset, which in turn helps them to form careers that can adapt to globalizing industries. MBA programs guide highly qualified candidates into top-level industry positions as creative and critical problem solvers. Others will graduate and begin their own international ventures, utilizing global networks to craft their own career paths.

Confidence with advanced technologies

The job market is a dynamic organism, constantly evolving with digital technologies in response to global, societal and economic shifts. The world of business needs more creative thinkers who can work effectively with AI and other technological advances over the next decade and beyond. An Olin MBA helps leaders to understand and integrate data and technology into their business strategies.

Competitive leaders must be able to respond quickly to change and be comfortable working in various settings with diverse groups of clients and colleagues. They must be able to adapt to a global world, ready to shift their thinking in order to cope with the challenges that arise. While the job market may be disrupted, MBA graduates can find their own way through the chaos with a deep foundation of hands-on experience and knowledge.

About the Author

Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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