Traits of an all-rounder

Published: 25th October 2013 12:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2013 12:33 PM   |  A+A-

Business school applicants are always in search of the right skills needed to crack a place in top management schools like Harvard, Wharton and so on. How important is GMAT score, past work experience or other extracurricular activities? What is the one factor which is important for them to make the cut?

For a business school it is difficult to have a fixed definition of business talent. As the admissions team at Harvard Business School say, “We look for applicants who bring a variety of skills, accomplishments, and aspirations to form a very special community.” Business schools look for an all-rounded personality. We present the top five traits, which qualify you as an all-rounder in the eyes of the admission committee of your dream business school.

Experiences of being a leader

Have you led your friends on an excursion trip? Have you led a small team in your office? These experiences demonstrate that you have some idea of what is it to lead. Being at the helm of affairs is an important trait of being a business leader and your application should demonstrate traits of a leader.

Quantitative aptitude

There is a lot of focus on quantifying business problems. Most companies are in search of those numerical quantities, which empower them to understand what is wrong with business and how it can be improved. In such an environment it is imperative to be comfortable with numbers and statistics. Even MBA curriculum includes courses in business statistics and numbers. A good academic background in disciplines, which require being numerate augurs well for an applicant.

An analytical mindset

This quality is different from being very numerate or strong in quantitative aptitude. An ability to know what is important to business among a lot of clutter, to understand the various knobs, which run effective business and how the various knobs are interconnected is tested in the various case studies, which a management student or applicant has to go through.

Engaging with the community

Managers should be good to work with, should demonstrate integrity in work and sensitivity towards needs of colleagues. The admissions committee will look for the desire in an applicant to give back to the society he comes from.

Communication skills

Quantitative and qualitative skills are important, but the single key skill in senior management is communication. It is the ability to frame your ideas and opinions and express it effectively to clients, colleagues, investors, regulators, lawyers, partners and so on.

— The author works for, an MBA consulting firm

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