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What Does an MBA Teach You: 6 Key Skills

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Published on: 03/14/2024
Last Updated: 03/14/2024
5 minute read

An MBA degree is commonly thought of as the most prestigious and popular business degree on the planet, the golden ticket to a flourishing and lasting career in a field that will only continue to expand and accelerate.1

While the benefits of obtaining an MBA degree are widely known—from the cachet it provides to the career opportunities it may offer—what do you learn in an MBA program?

The answer to this question is partly on the institution you enroll in and the specialization you choose as an MBA student, but esteemed MBA programs should equip you with a set of soft and hard skills that are crucial in a broad range of roles and industries.

Here are six of the biggest takeaways of earning an MBA and how these MBA skills can be applied outside the classroom.

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#1 Analytical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Whether your ultimate aim as an MBA grad is to secure a position as the Director of Marketing for an up-and-coming brand or score a spot as an investment banker, strong analytical thinking and problem-solving skills are vital to succeeding in nearly every endeavor and organization. Challenges inevitably arise, and informed, strategic choices must be made—often urgently and always with level-headedness.

An MBA program aspires to help students unearth, develop, and refine these soft and hard skills. This is achieved through several methods, including:2

  • Team projects and discussions – MBA programs may vary in size and format. Still, group projects and the discussions they spawn are ideal for practicing your critical thinking and interpersonal skills when you’re presented with a problem.
  • Case studies – There’s a huge difference between reading about an organizational issue and thoroughly examining it to arrive at a viable, balanced solution. Analyzing case studies—another standard component of MBA programs—can help you hone your ability to assess a problem from several angles and propose multiple ways to tackle it.

Additionally, many MBA programs require students to participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which teaches them to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life scenarios through client projects and supervised training. This part of the MBA course sharpens analytical thinking and problem-solving skills and prepares grads for the rigors of varied business analytics settings.

#2 Effective Communication Skills

Outstanding verbal and written communication skills aren’t just nice to have; they’re indispensable, particularly in leadership and management positions.

An MBA can help hone your leadership skills. Through group discussions, one-on-one engagements, and workshops, you can cultivate emotional intelligence and learn how to:3

  • Initiate and steer difficult conversations, such as with an employee you must terminate
  • Mediate conflicts between team members
  • Request, provide, and implement feedback
  • Handle day-to-day internal and external communications
  • Actively listen 
  • Deliver clear and compelling presentations

#3 Financial Literacy and Business Acumen

You don’t need to specialize in finance as an MBA candidate to step out of the program with enriched financial fluency and confidence in the inner workings of a business. Several of the core classes in MBA programs are aimed directly at helping students develop this knowledge, such as: 4,5

  • Accounting
  • Statistics
  • Economics
  • Corporate budgeting
  • Forecasting

In an MBA program, you may also learn how to manage time effectively, perceive a project or organization’s risks and opportunities, and analyze data.

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#4 Negotiation and Relationship Management 

Whether you’re brokering a deal for a client or dealing with an angry customer as a hospitality manager, knowing how to negotiate confidently and manage relationships gracefully is important in countless environments.

An MBA may prepare you for this through coursework in business mediation and conflict resolution, as well as role-playing exercises and other group activities.6 Ultimately, these MBA skills may allow you to manage relationships with team members, clients, and stakeholders with increased tact and intention.

#5 Project Management Expertise

Deadlines and target goals are paramount to a thriving business. An MBA may teach you how to:

  • Perform risk assessment
  • Schedule and meet deadlines
  • Manage multiple assignments and projects

#6 Entrepreneurial and Innovative Thinking

Succeeding as a business leader certainly demands several finely tuned technical skills, but it also requires creative thinking.  You might encounter a problem within an organization or relationship with no clear solution, instead requiring an innovative strategy, just as you might be tasked with launching a daring new product or rebranding a company.

This is where entrepreneurial and innovative thinking may prove invaluable.

MBA programs foster this mindset by encouraging every MBA student to think outside the box, use simulations and case studies, and emphasize collaborative learning—where diverse opinions and approaches may fuel creativity and resolution. Ultimately, this may result in your ability to drive innovation within an organization or spark your desire to start your own business.

Ignite Your Passions at Alliant International University 

If you’re a prospective student wondering what you can do with an MBA, look no further than Alliant. We’ve established the valuable skills that carry through from entry-level to high positions in the business field. Many ponder if it is hard to get an MBA, which does require dedication and effort to embark on this prestigious educational path.

A team of experienced instructors leads the MBA program in San Diego offered by Alliant International University to guide the next generation of business leaders. You can choose on-campus and online courses for your training. Our MBA program provides eager students like you with the hard and soft skills that can help you prosper in your profession. Beyond these essential skills, the benefits of an MBA encompass a wide range of personal and professional development opportunities.

Check out the business programs at Alliant International University to ascend in the world of business.


  1. Garner, Bethany. “What Do You Learn in an MBA Program?” │, April 25, 2022.…. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  2. Reyes, Arnoldo. “How Does an MBA Degree Help You Develop Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills?” CollegeRanker, August 29, 2023.…. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  3. Cook, Shannon. “Top 10 Skills an MBA Will Teach You.” │, June 2, 2023.…. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  4. Team, The “What Is an Mba? All about the MBA Degree and MBA Programs.” What Is an MBA Degree? MBA Programs and What MBA Stands For, November 6, 2023.…. Accessed February 12, 2024.
  5. What’s the curriculum of an MBA degree in financial ……. Accessed February 14, 2024. 
  6. “How Business Schools & MBA Programs Teach Negotiation Skills.”, December 21, 2023. 

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