What are the skills that employers are looking for at the graduate level? How are schools preparing students to address these needs?
These were some of the questions we had and wanted to answer at the Independent Research Study we conducted recently at Bauer. We called it “Giving Power to Bauer”.
One key piece of information we had for the project was GMAC’s 2014 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report.
If we follow the line of thinking we discussed in the first part of this series, we would think that quantitative analysis, strategic vision, or technology would be some of the top skills that corporate recruiters are looking for.
Yet, we found out that the top 5 skills companies are looking for in MBAs and graduate students are:
- Oral Communication
- Listening Skills
- Written Communication
- Presentation Skills
The top 4 are all related to communication, and the fifth is part of teamwork. Technical skills are not even in the top 10.
Please, allow me to repeat that. Technical skills are not even in the top 10. The point here is not to state that you should not strive to have and develop technical skills. You should, it is a must. What we understood is that, most probably, what will make you a top performer will be the development of soft skills.
How much time are you dedicating to improve your soft skills? If you only focus on developing your technical skills, then you will be the best at the skills that are not the most valued by corporate recruiters.
What a Genius Thinks about Being a Genius
By almost any standard, Walter O’Brien can be considered a genius.
He scored 197 on an IQ test when he was in primary school, and he was hacking into NASA at the early age of 13 years old in 1988. And he was smart enough to figure out how to come up with an extradition document for when the NSA came looking for him.
Walter was a guest in an episode of the Tim Ferris Show podcast, where he shared great stories. One of them is an excellent way he has to describe the debate between IQ and EQ or, as he calls it, the differences between speaking human and speaking genius.
He says that IQ is like the engine of a car, which allows the car to accelerate and possibly move at high speeds. And that EQ is the steering and brakes, which helps with the navigation.
A very high IQ but low EQ will be like a Ford Focus with a Formula 1 engine. It will be able to accelerate and develop high speed but whenever there is a turn it will always crash because it doesn’t have the steering and brake equipment to handle all the power of an F1 engine.
Ideally, we would all be F1 cars, but he says that it is almost impossible to achieve that because EQ and IQ in most cases are inversely related. He understood that success is more related to EQ than IQ, which is why he taught himself how to “speak human”. He worked really hard on developing his soft skills so that he could make the most out of his talents.
If a 197 IQ person understands that we have to develop our emotional intelligence in order to be a top performer, then anyone that is below that should just use that advice. Unless you are at 200 or above, you should be working hard to have the best steering and braking equipment.
How are Business Schools addressing this challenge?
It should be clear know that, even if we are able to speak genius, we should all be striving to be the best we can be at speaking human.
On the next part of this series, I want to share with you want we found most business schools are doing to address this topic. And also share some of the initiatives we are doing at Bauer to stay ahead within this trend.
Learning and sharing knowledge are my passions, let’s connect if those are yours too.
Alejandro I. Sanoja