Ronald Alsop’s two Wall Street Journal articles on MBA Skills and How to Get Hired illustrate the importance of soft skills in MBA Programs. As someone with a background in a liberal arts field (women’s and gender studies), I find it reassuring to hear that the strong written communication and interpersonal skills I developed from my undergraduate degree are relevant in the MBA world. While it is important to have the technical understanding of business to rise to the top of companies, being able to communicate with other employees and clients is essential to success as well. Both of these articles highlight the demand for well-rounded employees, which means having the necessary technical AND soft skills in order to perform the job. Many MBA Programs are realizing the feedback of companies and recruiters through new courses specifically designed to allow students to develop their soft skills in such areas as listening, public speaking, and the role of ethics in business. My goal throughout my time within the MBA Program at UNR is to gain the technical knowledge I currently lack in order to become a more well-rounded professional, but also to continue to work on developing my soft skills. One area I would really like to focus on is public speaking because too often I let my fear of embarrassment (failure) prevent me from giving presentations I know I’m capable of giving.
In addition, the additional reading on the 2004 Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) winner, Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business (MCB) at the University of Northern Colorado, emphasizes the importance of quality in business programs. Although in the 1980s, MCB had a sizeable number of students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the college decided to make the decision to focus on the quality of its undergraduate program rather than trying to overstretch itself by offering a graduate program as well. This chance proved to be successful for MCB as it has gained a reputation of being a quality program with high caliber students. This article illustrates the significance of business programs that strive to make their programs great rather than large. This attribute makes the program and the students who graduate from it more in demand. I believe the MBA Program at UNR is held in the same regard throughout the Reno/Tahoe community, and that if we as students continue to demand and strive for quality, it will ensure the value of our MBA degrees remain high as well.