Traits MBA Students Should Possess to Impress Employers

By Chris Hassan
Posted February 14, 2013 11:00 AM

Employers value adaptable and worldly employees.
Employers value adaptable and worldly employees.

Many graduates of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are landing jobs after business school, but not all of them possess the skills employers desire, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. While some companies simply have high expectations for their employees, it also appears that some MBA degree programs are not promoting the acquisition of key attributes.

"The basics are not enough anymore," Larry Boyd, GE Healthcare's director of U.S. strategic marketing, told Businessweek. "The bar is raised."

While every company looks for something different in new employees, applicants who wish to get ahead should make sure they possess certain traits before graduating.

Graduates Must be Adaptable

No matter what industry individuals work in, adaptability is typically considered a key trait. The Graduate Management Admission Council's (GMAC) 2012 Corporate Recruiters Survey found that 32% of the 1,096 respondents said that adaptability is a desired quality in new hires.

While adaptability is known to be a preferred trait among employers, Eric Thomasian, a business school graduate and the head of products for an early stage startup company, told Businessweek that finding MBA degree holders who possess this trait is harder than some might think.

Thomasian said there are some business school graduates who enter the workforce and are quick to define themselves. For example, a new employee may say he or she is "a marketing person," which makes it seem like they are not open to taking on new professional challenges. This, in turn, can leave bosses less than impressed.

A Broader Worldview is Required

In a time when professionals on opposite ends of the globe can communicate with one another, more companies need employees who have a worldly view.

"Today it's so much more about a global perspective," Joe Furino, Philips North America's senior manager of campus recruiting, told Businessweek. "They need to have an openness and flexibility to move to an international destination or just a general openness to the rest of the world."

Beyond being worldlier, business school graduates need to possess knowledge of foreign countries, as they may be required to collaborate with international colleagues, travel overseas on business, or even relocate for work purposes.

Aside from cross-cultural sensitivity, the GMAC survey revealed that leadership, goal orientation, integrity, initiative, motivation and the ability to handle pressure are also traits respondents value in their new employees.

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