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Whats the most valuable thing you learned in business school?

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Christopher’s Answer

There are two aspects to this. The first is gaining technical skills, and the second is gaining soft skills.

Given that I am currently working in mergers and acquisitions, I would say that my accounting and finance classes contributed significantly to becoming proficient in my current job, especially the valuations and financial modeling classes. During my master's degree in finance, the focus on the latter two was much greater. You have to learn how to think critically about issues and link many concepts at once. Each business case is different and each time you will be challenged with a certain issue, whether it's an accounting treatment or a logical assumptions.

As for soft skills, they were important in how you communicate and convince others with your ideas. The is the biggest gain, because no matter where you go and who you work with, if you establish rapport with the person in front of you, it will make the workflow much easier for you. Some people have this skill naturally while other develop it over time and with practice.

Effectively, technical skills can be picked up, but soft skills cannot always be acquired. Soft skills take time to develop and nurture.
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Chirayu’s Answer

I learned a lot of valuable things in business school and some of the most essential skills and knowledge include understanding financial statements, budgeting, and financial management are crucial for success in business. Also learned how effective management involves leading teams, managing operations, and making strategic decisions. Developed the ability to analyze and evaluate complex business problems and make informed decisions is an essential skill for success in business. Lastly built good communication skills which are key to success in any business setting, including writing, presenting, and negotiating skills.
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John’s Answer

For starters Michael, the skills you learn in a business program can be easily transferred and adapted to just about any future career or job position imaginable. Business programs place a huge focus on teaching students the ability to think critically, problem solve in innovative ways, and manage their time logically. Few programs of study these days really examine things beyond a local lens, but studying business will force you to look at things globally, especially in today’s international economy. This is great for those who want to work towards having a more global perspective and outlook. In your business program, you’ll learn a number of valuable communication skills that will be useful in any job down-the-road. From learning how to write coherent reports to even communicating with people from different cultures, you’ll strengthen your ability to relate to and speak with the people around you. A big part of studying business is also learning how to read body language and practice active listening. And when you think about that, those are skills that will benefit you not just in your future jobs, but in your everyday social interactions as well.

What many people don’t realize when they consider a business degree is that, often times, it is also possible to combine a business program with another program of your choice. This way, if you’re interested in business but ultimately want to pursue a career in another field, you may still be able to combine other online business courses within your program of study to obtain a double-major or similar accolade. This is quite common, and many universities offer these types of programs in a five-year capacity. Imagine being able to walk across the stage and collect not just one, but two degrees that are going to help you reach your career goals—and potentially being able to do so with just one extra year of study. Who doesn’t dream of someday being able to work as their own boss? The skills you learn in your business program can help to make that dream a reality. From knowing how to more wisely manage your money to learning the ins and outs of writing a business plan or finding your own clients, you’ll have the skills you need to start your own business. Whether you dream of running your own large organization or would simply like to work as an independent contractor, a degree in business is a great way to start paving those first blocks towards a path to independence.

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Simeon’s Answer

The most valuable aspects of my business degree were learning the basics of how businesses are organized and function. Between accounting, finance, and marketing (among other skills), there are a lot of foundational pieces of knowledge for successfully running a business. These are the most important things that you pick up when you are using education as a background for business-related jobs.
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Padraig’s Answer

During my MBA, the most valuable lesson learned, was about Cash Management (Cashflow).

You can have the most profitable business in the world, however, should cash not come in, your business can go bust overnight. (this is why 80% of startups fail).

'Cash is King' is a cliché, but so very, very true.
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Rahaf’s Answer

I learnt that each function of a business can not operate on its own. The most important thing about leading a successful business is having synchronization across all departments and neglecting something can cause the business to fail either from Profit - Loss perspective or moral and operations.
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Gregg’s Answer

The basics about finance. It is helpful at work for budgeting, networking with others, and for my personal life.
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Julie’s Answer

Business school did a good job of taking the mystery out of all the different aspects of being in any kind of business. It helped me become a generalist - meaning I could be valuable at many different types of companies and in many different types of roles because I understood the basics of all key aspects of managing a business - whether it was a nonprofit, for profit, etc. The most helpful specific thing I learned was creating a pro forma budget and understanding the basics of accounting and finance. Learning how to think through business planning was also very helpful, for starting a new business or just a new program within an existing business.

Julie recommends the following next steps:

Business school is great for people who are not sure what they want to do. It is a "generalist" degree, that can allow you to change fields.
Business school takes the mystery out of what it means to run a business. You will learn all the aspects that apply to most organizations - for profit and nonprofit.
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Alejandro’s Answer

Recognize your team mates and specialization in your network, you can not know everything, is impossible, so always get support from them and build bigger things.
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Vincent’s Answer

The most important things I learnt in business school were 1. logical problem solving, 2. dealing & influencing people having different opinions, backgrounds, incentives.

1. intuition is important, and is often based on accumulated past experiences. But this needs to be complemented with logical problem solving to reduce biases that are inherent in how we process information. The hard skills useful in business include modeling, decision trees, simulations, scenario planning, etc.

2. soft skills are as important as hard skills in business. In business school, the multiple projects involving group work will help sharpen collaborative skills. The right answer without wide support is not going anywhere unfortunately.
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Maylene’s Answer

Most valuable lesson I learned from business school is it develop the basic skills in business management practices. It also help me become familiar with modern-day business technology and applications, and build my skills to facilitate interactions with others in a variety of roles and industries.
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Michael,
Great question! The most valuable thing I learned was being able to take away key concepts discussed in each of my business core courses that touch on areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, supply chain, etc. If it's not your business major, it still gives you that foundational perspective which can help you in the business industry after college. I also think another valuable thing to learn while you're in college is excel, especially formulas and short-cuts. If you're able to master excel in college even if it's something you learn on the side, you'll set yourself up really well when you start your career in any business profession.
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Connor’s Answer

School was a great training ground to develop my technical skills. During school I focused on gaining as many technical skills as I could before I went out into the real world. Your time literally is to learn so I made sure that I understood what I was learning in the classroom and then found opportunities outside of the classroom to apply these skills. Going into a real job I feel like where I am helping are in those fine skills that others who are older were not introduced to in school and don't have the time to develop now.
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Dawnyale’s Answer

Hello Michael,

When I was working on my MBA, I learned that understanding risks is very important. There will be risks that are worth taking and others that are not - as a manager or owner you will need to assess the differences between the two. Some risks are necessary in order for the business to grow and move from stagnation to profit. However, some risks involve financial or cultural impact that might be difficult or impossible to absorb once legalities and PR are considered. Ultimately, if the risk is greater than the potential reward, or the impacts of the risk leading to failure could result in damages that aren't recoverable, it's best to seek council before proceeding.

I hope this helps!
Dawnyale
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Rebecca’s Answer

I think the most important thing is I have established good network with the elites coming from different industries. Our classmates are from different industries background. We can exchange our experience and information. On the other hand, we can leverage the network in a many occasions.
The business school also invites great entrepreneurs and gurus of different industries to share their experience and insight. This is also another valuable thing we gain in business school.
And, last but not the least, we have learnt a lot of business knowledge and skills on how to be an entrepreneur or run business.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Orain’s Answer

Hello Michael,

I hope all is well with you.

Great question: Other from technical and soft skills, the most valuable thing i learned in business school was that applying and obtaining an internship from Sophomore/Junior year do set you up for an easy transition from the school realm to work realm. It also put you a level above the rest when you can showcase you had an internship and therefore experience for the job you will be applying for post college.

Please feel free to reach out with further questions.

I hope this helps

O.M
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Jason’s Answer

Someone always knows more than you. Its an important lesson regardless of what specifically you learn in school. Important to listen to others' ideas.
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