According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 89 percent of employers are planning to increase the number of MBA graduates they hire, and they expect to offer those MBA grads a median starting salary of $110,000 compared to $60,000 for those with only a bachelor’s. So what’s setting those MBA grads ahead of the pack? According to the vast majority of survey respondents, communication and teamwork.
We already know these skills—particularly communication—are the two top priorities for recruiters, and also the most difficult to find. But clearly, many MBA programs are tackling these skills effectively, giving their graduates a leg up on the professional playing field.
Why Is Communication So Important for Hiring?
When you stop and think about it, you spend the majority of your day communicating in some form or fashion—whether you’re sharing your opinion in a meeting, giving feedback to a team member, presenting to a large group of investors, or simply writing an email or Slack message. In fact, research has shown communication alone—in person, online, or over the phone—takes up 80 percent of our workdays. It stands to reason that we should be highly skilled in the one activity that takes up more of our time than any other, doesn’t it?
The GMAC survey broke the coveted communication skills into four categories employers are looking at:
- Oral communication
- Written communication
- Listening skills
- Presentation skills
And as far as teamwork is concerned, skills like adaptability, valuing others’ opinions, cultural sensitivity, and ability to follow leaders are highly valued. (Interestingly, many of these skills, particularly valuing opinions and cultural sensitivity, also hinge on communication.)
How Can We Make Sure Our Students Have the Same Advantage?
Traditionally, communication has been considered a soft skill that requires high-touch (and high cost) long-term coaching to improve. As such, communication training has been out of reach for large groups, especially in higher education settings, where both budget and curricula are often highly regulated.
But today, there is a way for educators to teach communication as a measurable, teachable science, collecting objective data on students’ individual and collective strengths and development opportunities and leveraging insights and feedback from world-class communication experts to tailor lesson plans to the unique needs of every class.
Quantified’s AI-driven communication platform, built on years of academic research, communication expertise, and algorithm refinement, is designed to provide objective analyses of any speaker’s communication skills. We can compare a speaker to colleagues, competitors, and aspirational benchmarks and provide actionable, data-driven recommendations for improvement in fifty critical communication metrics—on both the individual and aggregate level. And we can track users’ progress and improvement as they learn.
This platform empowers educators to give their students’ the benefits of traditional, high-touch communication coaching—with the added bonus of objective measurements and tracking—within both a budget and a timeframe that fit academic parameters.
We’ve used our platform at higher education institutions across the United States—including the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, and the Wharton School, among others—to help professors drive quantifiable, lasting improvement in their students’ communication skills. In fact, at Wharton, we helped create an average improvement of 17.4 percent across a group of fifty-four eMBA students.
If honing communication skills is the key to giving graduates a competitive edge in the professional field, why leave it to chance? After all, in the words of Peter Drucker, whatever can be measured can be improved. And now, we can measure communication.