The FT published one of its periodical laments about how business schools are failing the MBAs yet again by not teaching skills that are highly valued by employers. All such articles follow a familiar pattern: Employers want skills a, b, and c; But business schools teach A, B and C. It ends with a Kiplingesque lament of "and never the twain shall meet." Later, this spawns a spate on articles on the value of the MBA, the revision of curriculum ('Where is your digital strategy, my good sir/madam?"), the future of jobs ("where are the robots and have they finally risen?"), and other such mind-numbing nonsense. In the meantime, top (but not all) business schools inexorably increase tuition, but magically seem to find students willing to pay them.
The FT article made me laugh though. Above, are the five most and the five least important skills according to employers they surveyed.
So basically, employers want friendly and gregarious people who show up on time, access and experience the Interwebs in multiple ways, but can somehow grapple with complex problems. So what if they lack statistical and data skills, are ignorant of the basics of marketing and finance, unaware of the larger issues of business and society, and have only a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite. Ironically, these same employers find it hard to recruit people knowledgeable in financial forecasting, big data analysis, and brand building. The natural question is why do they even try to recruit such people since they deem these skills pretty much useless.
To get to this data, the FT surveyed 48 employers across 12 sectors from all over the world, including Brazil, China, Nigeria, US and Europe. As any MBA core course on statistics will tell you, this is severely under powered for a sample. Essentially, the sample size is too small to draw any robust conclusions. Employers who did not see the value of complex statistical skills will ironically miss this point but surely not the FT. If you are contemplating an MBA, do not base your decision on this survey.