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MBA Jobs: 4 Key Skills Entrepreneurs Look for When Hiring New MBAs

What goes through an entrepreneur’s head when they’re hiring a new MBA? Don’t you wish there was some way of understanding what specific skills they’re looking for?

We went through countless resources online to help identify the main skills entrepreneurs look for in hiring new MBAs, and found four that were repeated numerous times: creativity, communication skills, problem solving ability and expertise.

Read on to find out what these skills are useful for, and why you need to carefully develop them during your MBA program.

Hiring new MBAs

Creativity – Elon Musk, CEO Tesla & SpaceX

“Professional managersare not very creative or adaptable, and their skills don’t suit a startup.” – Elon Musk.

Modern day MBAs resolve this problem effectively.

Adaptability and creativity are the two key skills most entrepreneurs look for when hiring managers. An innovative attitude works wonders in a startup as most are still working out business processes.

Many of the leading universities and MBA schools have now hired technology experts and startup innovators as instructors. As a result the students already understand the challenges that modern day companies face in terms of planning and execution.

“The MBA program is designed to teach people to look at prior data and patterns in order to identify future outcomes. In the real world, this just does not work when it comes to new markets or innovation,” says Jay Bhatti.

As an MBA student you don’t need to take these opinions negatively. Instead, you need to understand the challenges of modern day businesses and how you can tailor your profile according to their needs.

The key is to be adaptable and focus on producing the right results.

You will have a much more focused and process oriented approach thanks to your MBA program. You only need to add flexibility to the mix in order to add real business value.

Businessman with entrepreneur

Be Nice and Have Communication Skills – Stephen Schwarzman, CEO Blackstone Group

“To be hired at our place and work with us you have to be nice. I don’t like people who are not nice,” said Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Group.

That sounds surprising; given that private equity is considered a cut-throat business. However Stephen says they prefer people who play nice with each other, and don’t look for politics in the workplace.

“At work or at home, leading a team or participating as a team member, promoting yourself or recognizing others, effective communications skills can truly set you apart.” – Aniko Delaney of BNY Mellon.

Communication skills are undoubtedly one of the most important skills you need to have.

From your first conversation with a potential employer, to signing new deals and dealing with clients, you’re going to depend on your ability to effectively communicate every day.

No other skills is as necessary across the board, regardless of the job you sign up for.

That’s why entrepreneurs look for managers who have strong communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively will help you work better in closing deals and bring in more business for your company.

This is where MBA graduates are heads and shoulders above the rest. They have excellent interpersonal skills and know how to manage diverse groups of people effectively. These are key skills that entrepreneurs and prospective employers crave for.

Problem Solving – Gaurav Rekhi, eBay

“I look for individuals who are problem solvers,” people who “can take on different roles,” who are full of “passion” and who exude “confidence”, says Gaurav.

Think about the first few years of a startup. There is very little clarity in what the core product is, you need to be able to pivot if required, put in time doing a number of different tasks, and essentially be a jack-of-all-trades.

Nathan Furr, a leading entrepreneur, says “Early in the life of a company, during the startup phase, uncertainty is high and the entrepreneur is forced to wear a dozen hats to create value. Core tasks include search and discovery in an effort to create a customer.”

Most MBA graduates can effectively tackle business issueswithin their specialization. But they can also effectively wear multiple hats thanks to the diverse nature of projects they’re required to work on during their studies.

This ability to wear multiple hats is something entrepreneurs are on the lookout for when hiring managers.

“The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them,” Dropbox Co-founder Drew Houston.

In order to become a dream employee, you need to develop this ability to become a problem solver and start looking at the ultimate business objectives instead of just focusing on your own skills.

Expertise – Richard Branson, CEO Virgin Group

“I’m always startled to hear about young people going into consulting right after school, without having a lot of real-world work experience under their belt.” – Richard Branson

Experience in the workplace takes precedence while hiring because there is a finite limit to what you can learn during an MBA.

Since a lot of the classroom learning is focused on case studies and projects, there are always going to be gaps in your education no matter what degree you pursue.

But the advantage MBAs have over others is the practical management experience that they get during their extensive course work and projects.

MBAs are future managers.

People management, business planning, risk assessment and value addition are some of the most important skills they develop during their studies.

When you add 5-10 years of experience on top of an MBA degree, what you get is an irresistible package of skills and expertise that no employer can refuse.

You can only gain experience with time.

But you can fast track your growth by pursuing voluntary positions and internships at different companies. Being an MBA, you will be able to grasp a lot more from the professional environment of these corporations.


If you read the thoughts and opinions of some of the leading entrepreneurs, you‘ll see a certain trend. They all want to hire managers who are self-motivated professionals, with the ability to communicate effectively and wear several hats at the same time. They want problem solvers, not problem identifiers.

No other academic program gives you the opportunity to develop these skills as an MBA degree. The extensive course work and theories combined with practical projects, internships and mentoring sessions gives you a solid understanding of the challenges of modern day businesses.

But if you truly want to shine and be counted among the most prolific MBAs, you need to tailor your profile according to the needs of your future employers and demonstrate the skills that they so badly require.

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