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7 Interpersonal Skills You’ll Gain from an MBA

See also: Commercial Awareness

Pursuing a master's in business administration is a massive and life-changing undertaking, and can change you in many ways.

As with all fields of study, pursuing an MBA teaches the degree candidate a very particular set of skills along the way - not all of them academic, but nevertheless important skills to support one's long term success in the business world.

If you are considering completing a master's in business administration, you will gain a great deal more than business and accounting skills - you will also learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with people and clients.

Whether you pursue a traditional two-year or a one-year MBA, or whether you complete an MBA in Italy or on the east coast of the US, ample opportunities to develop soft skills lie within every course of study.

Here are seven interpersonal skills you'll gain from earning a master's in business administration.

1. Collaboration

Most scholastic programs teach some level of collaborative skills via group projects and the like - but an MBA program takes it to a whole new level.

Part of becoming a capable business administrator is learning to work with a team - congenially, effectively, and efficiently. Pursuing this degree will grant you ample opportunities to work with teams on projects, mock scenarios, and other team oriented tasks.

Collaboration is quite potentially one of the most powerful skills demanded of future business administrators. True collaboration requires not only willingness to compromise and overlook small differences of opinion or approach, but a willingness and ability to put aside ego to achieve the task at hand.

2. Speech and Language

While "speech" may sound like a class you took in elementary school, the way you speak in a professional setting will undergo significant changes during the course of a master's in business administration.

Different approaches with verbal communication, public speaking, and various methods of motivation, teaching and training will be honed and practiced.

Critical thinking about the way you speak is essential to the success of the business manager or administrator. Learning also to read the body language and speech of someone else is key to learning how to most effectively communicate with them.

3. Networking

It seems like a buzzword these days, but the importance of networking in the business world - no matter what your specialization is - cannot be underestimated or understated.

The ability to network rises from the roots of good communication and a willingness to engage with everyone you meet in the context of networking.

Especially important to consider is that networking requires a suspension of judgment. In the business world, everyone is connected in some way - and even something that seems very niche may one day be useful or even vital to one of your undertakings. Exploring the connectivity of the business world and learning to network within it are facets of business administration that you will master further in an MBA program.

4. Leadership

Good leadership can take many years to master, but the rubrics of leadership will be studied vigorously during the course of a Master of Business Administration degree. Many degree holders go on to find themselves in leadership and management positions.

Rooted once again in solid communication skills, effective leadership skills are critical to the long-term success of both degree candidate and the company they eventually work for - or potentially even captain. Leadership skills go hand in hand with collaboration skills, and this connection will be stressed in many programs.

5. Motivational Ability

The ability to motivate those you supervise to high levels of performance is yet another vital skill to degree holders.

Motivational ability yet again rides in tandem with solid communication skills - communication skills being the foundation of all soft skills essential to business success. In your program classes, you will explore motivational ability and its role in effective leadership, along with various methodologies of motivation.

6. Adaptability

As they say in the business world, the only constant is change.

The importance of adaptability and flexibility will be stressed in a Master of Business Administration degree, and how it can assist you in becoming a truly capable businessperson. Learning to be adaptable will also assist you in negotiation and collaboration - negotiation very often being the meat and drink of business and economics.

7. Receptiveness

Learning to be receptive is a tandem skill to leadership.

Receptiveness also assists in motivating people to perform, particularly those you supervise directly, by learning to take the concerns of those you work with seriously and listening carefully to ensure that you can address those concerns as effectively as possible. Being receptive will help those you work with and supervise to understand that you are on their side, and can help motivate them to work harder as a member of your team.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills eBooks.

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills

Develop your interpersonal skills with our series of eBooks. Learn about and improve your communication skills, tackle conflict resolution, mediate in difficult situations, and develop your emotional intelligence.


A tremendous number of high-quality institutions at which you can earn a master's degree in business administration exist all over the world, offering standard two-year master's degrees and one-year MBA programs.

The Bologna Business School, for example, offers a one-year MBA for those interested in undertaking their MBA in Italy, and offers a variety of concentrations for the master's in business administration degree.

The soft skills aspect of business administration is becoming increasingly important in the business world, and very often will make a significant difference in whether you are hired and by whom. While these skills will certainly undergo much greater development through practice in the business world, pursuing a master's degree in business administration will help to either introduce these skills or to elevate them to much greater heights.

People make up the heart and soul of the business world - learning to communicate, negotiate, motivate, lead, and engage with them will be the key to the longevity of your career in business administration.

About the Author

Muse en Lystrala is an entrepreneur and creative professional living in the northeast United States.

Currently, she divides her time between upstate New York and Scandinavia, and writes extensively on business, marketing, the arts, entrepreneurship, and career development.