One of the most compelling reasons why students pursue MBAs is to learn new skills they wouldn't otherwise obtain as quickly. Being a manager or executive in any industry is tough, and being able to see the big picture past the day-to-day challenges of running a business is one of the most valuable takeaways for MBA graduates. MBA programs teach students analytical skills, long-term strategic thinking, networking, leadership, and more.

MBA skills

Executive business skills don't always emerge neatly from on-the-job experience — and in the rapidly changing world of contemporary entrepreneurship, knowing the latest leadership strategies and business practices is imperative to succeed. According to education researcher Mansoor Iqbal, there are five main areas in which MBA programs improve student performance:

  1. Interpersonal skills, or working efficiently and collaboratively with others.
  2. Strategic thinking, or understanding what steps companies must take to succeed.
  3. Entrepreneurial skills, or evaluating markets, setting ambitious goals, and thinking creatively.
  4. Communication skills, or conveying core values and strategies to others.
  5. Leadership Skills or inspiring team members to contribute meaningfully.

The Bottom Line

Many MBA students are interested in the increased earnings and additional employment opportunities available to them upon graduation—according to one recent report, 88 percent of MBA graduates from the class of 2015 were employed post-graduation, and alumni of full-time, two-year MBA programs working in the United States reported a median annual starting salary of $94,900. But these benefits aren't because MBA graduates possess pieces of paper from prestigious schools. These opportunities are the direct result of skills obtained, mastered, and leveraged in professional settings.

Quiz: Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?

The GMAT is not the only test in the business school game anymore. Answer a few questions and will help you decide whether to to take the GMAT or the GRE.