A top business school might provide an overview of management principles and training

about how to handle challenging situations. After you enter the real corporate world, however, you need to know more than just the basics if you expect to overcome difficult situations and achieve success.

Let’s take a look at the skills you must acquire if you want to stand out:

Effective Listening

You likely learned and practiced speaking skills during your MBA program, but the skill of listening is all too often overlooked. Contrary to popular belief, speaking and listening are of equal importance when it comes to effective communication. Because many managers fail to truly listen to their team, developing the skill of listening effectively will help you rise to the top.

Business Etiquette

Corporate executives have noticed that MBAs do not immediately adhere to business etiquette upon entering the workforce. They underestimate the importance of manners, personal appearance and interpersonal etiquette which makes MBA graduates seem too casual and entitled. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, you need to develop superior interpersonal skills that fall in line with corporate business etiquette.

Career Goals

After graduating from business school, you might be ready to take on the world and achieve success as quickly as possible. If you are rushing to hit a specific benchmark, the overall quality of your work will suffer as you constantly switch jobs looking for everything to click right away.

That’s why it’s important to stay focused on your goals and realize the amount of investment in time and effort required to achieve them. During the first few months of your new job, complete every task to the best of your ability and with enthusiasm. No task is below you or not worth your time if it supports your career goals.

Computer & Internet Literacy

Nowadays nearly all work is completed on a computer or over the internet and new employees are expected to know how to use technology. Employers often discover that MBAs might know the ins and outs of Microsoft PowerPoint, but fail to grasp the advanced capabilities of Excel. Likewise, MBA graduates know their way around Facebook and email applications, but need to improve their use of LinkedIn and search engines.


Out of the skills on this list, working on your teamwork abilities is arguably the most important. The corporate world is very competitive which tends to turn people into self-involved and overconfident employees. Invest yourself in team projects by successfully completing all tasks assignment to you and reporting back to your other team members.

Fortunately, you can get a boost from technology to improve your teamwork skills. Take advantage of business management software to collaborate and organize the final work product. You can also suggest other sales management tools to streamline order processes. When you lead your team to complete high quality work, senior management will truly be impressed.


If you can practice patience during your first few years with a company, you’ll be better off in the long run. Many MBAs sign on as management trainees only to later complain that they are really just in a continuation of business school. Bear in mind that you are now on salary so any learning you can do on the job is a bonus.


A common mistake made by highly talented MBAs is to switch companies as soon as things get challenging. It’s easy for MBAs to boast about a competing job offer, but much harder to deal with the challenges present at their present company. You must prove your loyalty to the organization that hired you. Loyalty in this context is not about the number of years you’ve been employed, but the contributions you are making.


It might surprise you to learn that humility is one of the most sought after attributes in recent MBA graduates. While employers review potential MBA hires to find the best and brightest, many new employees make the mistake of appearing over-confident. Resist the urge to show off and instead be respectful of senior management and listen to what they have to say. Expressing ambivalence or resistance will get you nowhere, whereas humility will help you learn and improve.


We should all be aware of those who contributed to our success, including professors, mentors, colleagues, and family members. It is your responsibility to express gratitude to those that have helped you and remain in contact throughout your career.

Too often, MBAs forget about the people who assisted them when they achieve a bit of success. Being grateful says volumes about your character and is directly reflected in your professional attitude.

Individual Social Responsibility

Your business program likely discussed the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, but you should also be practicing Individual Social Responsibility (ISR). Every corporate professional, as well as every citizen in general, should find ways to make their community better.

Volunteering and giving back is something you can do today so don’t put it off until your retirement. Practicing ISR comes in many forms, including: restoration of public land, education for the underprivileged and support for the elderly.

Whether you’re fresh out of college or have been in the business world for awhile–these tips will never go out of style. If you keep these tips in mind you’re likely to be a successful business man or woman for years to come.



Author Bio: Susan Ranford is an expert on career coaching, business advice, and workplace rights. She has written for New York Jobs, IAmWire, and ZipJob. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.

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