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What Do Companies Want From MBAs?

Understanding what potential employers want and need from their employees is important, not only for job candidates but also for the universities and colleges educating these workers. The MBA faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington understand this and strive to tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of employees and their employers.

The online MBA program at UTA is particularly good for building desirable skills such as communication, leadership and collaboration.

Teamwork and Communication

Earning an MBA helps students build on their existing experience and skill sets, while they also learn new material. And while MBA programs are known for including lots of business math and other "hard" skills, the "soft" skills are just as important — if not more so.

Dr. Roger Meiners, professor of law and economics at UTA, said that the school took these needs into consideration in building the online MBA program.

"Employers never tell us, 'Your students need more finance.' They always harp on communication skills, the ability to work effectively in teams, do your share of the job and so on. That's a part of what's getting built into the online program," Dr. Meiners said. "It's a lot of teamwork, communication skills, writing short papers, doing video presentations — it's all a part of the skill set that goes beyond the functional specifics of business law, accounting, etc. Yes, you have to know something about that, but you've got to be able to communicate effectively and work effectively with other people."

Dr. Meiners, who has decades of experience working with MBA programs and the surrounding communities, said that the need for good communicators has been constant over the years.

"In every example that I have seen over the years, the response is always the same," he explained. "The greatest weakness is communication skills — written and oral. As a part of that, communicating effectively and working with others."

Because students in the online MBA program work together in group projects, they're compelled to collaborate and learn to work as a team — skills that employers are looking for.

Leadership

Companies also want leaders within their organization. To be successful, businesses of all sizes need good leaders. Fortunately, the UTA program also covers management and leadership as part of the core curriculum. Dr. David Mack, associate dean for communications and executive education for the College of Business, teaches a course that covers these key areas -- MANA 5312: Management of the Enterprise.

"There's communication, leadership, motivation — all those types of things," he said. "We cover the basics of what a manager's supposed to do and then the skills that students need in order to be able to do the job."

And while some may think that they're not good leaders or that you can't learn leadership, Dr. Mack would disagree.

"I've never met somebody who doesn't have some basic innate leadership skills, so it's really about helping them to identify their own strengths and challenges and then helping them to enhance the things that they've got going for them and to either reduce or eliminate the things that are holding them back," he said.

"There's no set form of leadership. In other words, there's no one style of leadership that is correct. It's the style that's right for you and the situation you're in based on your personality, your background, your education, your ethical standards ... all these things," he added. "And so really, what leadership education is about is getting students to understand that there are different forms of leadership and that they have figure out what theirs is."

UTA Online MBA

Students in the UTA online MBA program cover a variety of key areas of business, such as finance, accounting and business law. But they also learn to work together in groups, give presentations and lead team projects — all skills that employers are eager to find in their job candidates.

A well-rounded MBA experience helps graduates excel beyond the classroom.

Learn more about the UTA online MBA program.

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