Careers and Employability Service

What can I do with my MBA?

Skills gained


Employers want MBA graduates to be able to offer more than their academic subject knowledge and professional experience. They also look for a range of skills: transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving and time management skills plus, depending on the employer, more practical skills such as languages, numeracy, and quantitative methods. These skills are important for jobs in all areas, not just business, and you will need to show them on your job applications. 
The transferable skills most often sought by employers of MBA graduates are:

Written communication skills The ability to use the English language effectively in order to express your ideas clearly and at a level appropriate for your audience.
Verbal communication and presentation skills Again, using language effectively but with the additional ability to speak confidently and clearly and to pitch what you say in such a way to have the desired impact on your listeners.
Analytical ability Considering differing ideas, information and theories; picking out key points and details in order to construct or support your arguments; following complex reasoning; applying logic.
Leadership Able to take responsibility, use initiative and motivate other people; seeking excellence; having confidence in yourself and inspiring confidence in others.
Critical and strategic thinking Ability to question and to see the “bigger picture” rather than just the immediate issue. Interpreting information and arguments; considering their validity in the light of issues such as their source, the evidence provided to support them and other material on the topic.
Project management Approaching tasks and projects systematically; managing time; setting targets; monitoring progress; delegating; ability to handle a number of different tasks simultaneously.
Innovation Ability to take a fresh approach, think laterally, be original and creative, willing to try new things and adapt to new environments.
Problem solving Taking a systematic approach to problems; being flexible in finding solutions; looking at different angles and approaches; identifying the most appropriate solution for the situation.
Maturity and confidence Wide experience of life generally and specifically of working with other people; strong career focus; credibility with employers and clients.
Self-motivation  Ability to work independently without the need for constant direction or feedback. Anticipating what needs to be done; setting your own goals and working towards them. Being positive and professional. Taking responsibility for your own work and personal development.
Commitment Seriousness of purpose and determination, demonstrated, for example, by taking time out from your career on a reduced salary (or no salary) in order to improve your qualifications or by combining work and part-time study.
Commercial awareness An awareness of the environment in which an organisation operates (public sector and charitable organisations face commercial and financial pressures too!). A focus on the purpose of the organisation and its clients and/or stakeholders.
Co-operation The ability to work with other people, inside and outside your own department or organisation. Working together to achieve a common goal. Allocating and sharing responsibilities and tasks.
Cultural awareness The ability to work with people of different nationalities, ethnicity, gender etc. Understanding different behaviours, expectations and etiquette, being sensitive to others and able to build relationships. Having a global outlook.

This is not an exhaustive list of skills - you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities and work experience. You can find out more about the skills employers look for and how you can develop them here.
Many of these skills are developed to a high level through postgraduate study. Others can be demonstrated through other aspects of your experience, such as your previous employment outside academia and extra-curricular activities.

Analysing your skills

Our Employability Skills pages include a skills inventory and a progress file to help you identify the skills you have developed through your studies and those you wish to develop further:
Once you have worked through these resources you may wish to talk over the results with a careers adviser – see the CES webpages for contact details

As well as their subject-specific knowledge and skills, a graduate in subject will typically:

This is not an exhaustive list of skills - you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities and work experience. You can find out more about the skills employers look for and how you can develop them here.


Careers and Employability Service - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7ND, T: +44 (0)1227 764000 ext. 3299

Last Updated: 10/09/2019