Soft Skills are hard to attain

Well, not for everyone. But if you see yourself entering the business world sometime sooner, this is one skills that will be very critical and is the hardest to attain. Now what are soft skills about:

  • Speaking confidently in front of a crowd
  • Command over a language
  • Maintaining the correct body language
  • Presenting yourself effectively
  • Effective communication skills
  • Speaking precisely and concisely
This is just a list that I made casually while thinking of what I need to develop to be truly successful.

Expectations from an MBA

Experts have commented time and again that an MBA is not for academic oriented people. An MBA is not for someone who wants to attain a "degree". Of course, you gain a lot of hard skills during your course of an MBA, you gain better understanding of disciplines like finance, marketing, operations, etc.

But there is much more to an MBA. Your expectations should go beyond the hard skills that you attain. Look out for other sources of learning. Capitalize on the diverse peer group that you have. Interact with people from various backgrounds, learn how to connect and build relationships (professional). Prepare yourself for the future.

An MBA has a bigger role in preparing you for such a role in terms of soft skills. Most B-schools have a course called "Management Communication". It has all the elements of a presentation (or that is what I think): effective business writing, presentation skills, communicating effectively one-to-one or to a crowd. It is not easy to stand in front of a crowd and make them believe in your ideas, your vision.

Tuck on ManComm

ManComm as "Management Communication" is known in B-school parlance is one of the favourite subjects of Tuck students. While going through the latest blog entry on the Tuck Admissions blog: Hard skills are easy, soft skills are hard, I can imagine myself using the MBA as a perfect platform to develop on my verbal and non-verbal presentation skills. Tuck's close-knit atmosphere plays a big role here through open and direct feedbacks. Walking up in front of the class and speak on a topic you have just been give for 2 minutes requires courage (at least for me). But I really appreciate the minute details pointed out with respect to the body language, voice modulation, etc. The feedback is essential.

Stanford's Management Communication Program (MCP)

Stanford GSB has a different method of enhancing soft skills. They have around 60 communication workshops held throughout the year. The workshops range from Effective Listening to Delivering Bad News, from Impromptu Speaking to Voice Workout. The conciseness of the topics itself tells you how each and every minute details needs to be worked on.

I just used these two examples to show how B-schools place a lot of emphasis on developing communication skills.

In contrast, most one-year programs do not have such an intensive focus on enhancing one's soft skills. As far as I understand, this must be because of the following reasons:

  • Less Time. Since the course span is just a year, these skills can be picked up by students as they move along.
  • Different demography. Well, not exactly. But usually one-year programs are designed for professionals who want a quick MBA and return to business. So B-schools also expect incoming students to ready to take on management positions and thus focus only on hard skills.
So I agree with Will from Tuck:

Hard skills are easy, soft skills are hard.


Anonymous said...

As the results are out now, im eager to know ur results. u must be in. but wanna hear it from u. after the partying let us know.

Anonymous said...

see i told u, u r in. congrats. im r2 applicant. hope to be in 2010 class.see ya there.

MBAlmighty said...

Congrats for making it in buddy!!! The Indian Idol has returned!!! :)

Sugnyan said...

Congrats buddy .... ATB for your studies ...

Anonymous said...

Hey. What;s that??
No "I am in!!" post!!
Dear, that post is what the MBA blogs are made for!! (I am waiting for my time!!)

PS: got to know abt ur result from Pagalguy and a comment that u left on one of the applicants