In a report titled Time For MBA 2.0, self-awareness was at the bottom of a list of 17 skills that prospective students wanted to develop during their MBA. At the top of the list was leadership, followed by critical thinking skills, entrepreneurialism, negotiation skills and communication skills. Soft skills, therefore, remain of high priority despite the rejection of self-awareness as an important trait.
The report said, “Least important for prospective MBA students was the need to develop self-awareness, perhaps reinforcing some stereotypes of MBA students that already exist.”
The research was carried out by education consultants CarringtonCrisp with support from the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). The survey covered 1,000 students at 35 business schools around the world, including three from Australia: AGSM at University of NSW, Curtin Business School and La Trobe Business School.
The report also noted several contrasts between genders. Among them was that men are more likely to want to improve their entrepreneurial skills, with women prioritising being better negotiators.
The survey flagged a fast-changing environment for MBAs, pointing to a move away from the traditional two-year MBA towards options such as e-learning and blended learning. In addition, the popularity of specialist MBAs has “soared” to the point that interest in specialist and generalist MBAs is more or less equal – the most popular specialist MBAs were finance, international management, IT and entrepreneurship.
Students were also found to have high expectations that a business school will assist them with finding a job upon graduating. The top five career services that prospective students expect to be provided are: career coaching, a mentorship program, career development workshops, consulting projects with a company and a personalised career plan.
Prospective MBA students see self-awareness as the least important skill to learn from their studies, according to a comprehensive new survey of MBA applicants from all over the world.