Employer and graduate perspectives on where the value of the MBA experience lies
The AMBA & BGA Festival of Excellence for MBA students and graduates, held in January this year, was designed to showcase innovation and demonstrate the achievements of MBAs across the world.
As part of this virtual event, speakers representing the corporate world shared their insights and discussed how they’re making an impact – and how MBAs could do the same – around the theme of moving forward in a post-Covid ‘new normal’ with an onus on forward thinking and innovation. Over the next few days, AMBITION features some of the key points raised.
Ana Howes, Global Head of Education Services, Blue Prism
‘When we hire people, we look for soft skills and the ability to prioritise and work together in a team because that is very important. There is also the impact of digital transformation on businesses, which is why we would want anyone with an MBA to come with that knowledge, or willingness to explore and be up to date with current trends.’
Ehab Abdel Hafez, Head of Talent Acquisition (Africa, Middle East and Turkey) Johnson & Johnson
‘From an employer’s perspective, there is less emphasis on technical skills and a higher emphasis on people capabilities and leadership potential.
‘One of the key things [we look for] is learning agility, so how you are learning, unlearning and relearning as you go. The MBA should not be looked at as the end of the journey but really, that you are starting your learning journey, or continuing it.
‘Authenticity is one of the things you will find yourself being asked about in interviews, especially in multinational organisations, and they are going to ask for specific examples of what you are saying. Organisations are not just looking for buzzwords but a reflection of those buzzwords in your experience.’
Ritika Israni, Vice President, Israni Telecom Private Limited; Winner of AMBA’s MBA Student of the Year Award 2019
‘I would really encourage students to step out of the classroom during the MBA. Put yourselves forward for case competitions, for example, because it’s a great learning experience and networking opportunity.
‘A lot of the time, this is how roles emerge. Sometimes you get exposed to things you don’t know you are interested in. One of the case competitions in which I participated was about blockchain procurement, which is something I knew nothing about previously and made me realise it could be a potential option for me – that was a short-term opportunity that converted to a full-time role.
‘An MBA is not just about the grades, I had so many opportunities outside the classroom. All these case competitions and all the people I networked with made up the real learning.’
Stephanie Mullins, Associate Director, BlueSky Education
‘Flexibility and creativity are really important buzzwords employers are looking for – but it has to be authentic. It’s no good filling your CV or talking to people and thinking you are saying all the right things without it being you. You shouldn’t pitch someone that you are ultimately not.’
Udo Richson, Manager of Strategic Projects, Eli Lilly and Company; Winner of the MBA Student of the Year Award 2020
‘Nowadays [organisations] are much more open [to recruiting] different profiles but the transferable skills you need to stand out are always in focus. What recruiters are looking for are people with potential, that they can then develop for future leadership positions.
‘Creativity and emotional intelligence are things you always hear and
are highly valued, but of course, so is the ability to think strategically and have those people skills in place, alongside the more technical skills that are required.’