The months leading up to the start of the MBA program are extremely valuable.
You can use this time to brush up on those fundamental skills that will form the ‘bread and butter’ of your MBA experience.
But, focusing on skill-building just before the MBA is not enough. It is important to keep sharpening your skills even during your MBA study breaks and holidays.
Here are 5 basic skills that are worth their weight in gold and deserve your immediate attention:
#1 Speed Reading
Why It Matters: So that you can grasp lengthy case studies quickly
If there is something common about every MBA program, it is the endless amount of reading that you need to put in a short amount of time.
From pre-reading before lectures to in-the-class case studies to group exercises to examinations, you are not only expected to read, but also absorb and articulate your knowledge.
That’s why it makes sense to register for a Buzan Speed Reading workshop, and learn the tips and tricks to zip your way through reading material at a pace faster than usual.
#2 Public Speaking
Why It Matters: So that you can ace your Powerpoint presentations
You might end up delivering more presentations during your MBA than you would have done before joining the program.
From company evaluations to board briefings to case analysis to brand storytelling to chapter summaries to class debates, expect to be called upon to speak every now and then.
If getting up on stage and facing an audience gives you the jitters, it’s advisable to join a Toastmasters Club to overcome your inhibitions in a safe, non-competitive environment.
#3 Active Listening
Why It Matters: So that you can be an effective team player in groups
One of the highlights of an MBA program is working in groups composed of different students from your cohort and these groups are formed anew for different units/subjects.
Lecturers tend to choose groups that are balanced in gender, nationality, sector and function to provide a real-life experience of working in diverse teams.
To succeed in team work in groups, active listening is a key skill that you would do well to develop so that you do not come across as a narcissist.
Why It Matters: So that you can communicate crisply through reports
Writing might be one of the most underrated skills, but it is the skill that will make the difference between scoring a distinction or a high distinction.
The MBA curriculum will expose you to stretch your writing muscle in the form of reports, papers and dissertations, and not to forget the examination itself.
Practise different forms of writing in the run-up to the program will boost your confidence when it actually comes to putting pen to paper.
Why It Matters: So that you can form meaningful and lasting connections
Every MBA program is abuzz with business lunches, formal dinners, informal get-togethers, fun parties, and relaxing sun-downers.
It is important to form a positive impression during the fleeting minutes you spend with a company CEO, an industry leader or a famous investor.
Attend as many events as possible to get accustomed to meeting people from different walks of life. Who knows if a chance interaction can lead to your dream opportunity!
Last Updated: 9 May 2017