10 Things They Won’t Teach You in Business School

A prestigious business school might teach you an overview of management concepts and possibly train you to handle difficult situations you might encounter. When you hit the real corporate world, however, you need a new set of skills that you can't learn in business school if you want to overcome challenges and build a successful career. Here are 10 things you need to know to succeed in business: 

Effective Listening 

Your MBA program probably stressed the importance of speaking skills but might have overlooked the importance of listening. Contrary to what many people think, both speaking and listening skills are required to be an effective communicator. Many managers only hear when they could listen. Develop the skill of effective listening and you'll be poised to succeed. 

Goal Management 

Typically speaking, MBAs seem to be in a rush after business school and believe that everything will go according to plan. You must set career goals and in doing so–you should begin to see how much time and effort it will take to achieve them. 

When you get started in the corporate world, make sure that you finish every task with the utmost precision and maintain a positive outlook. With your goals in mind, every task you are assigned will be worthwhile and advance your career

Technology Literacy 

With the widespread use of technology, it is natural for employers to expect new employees to be literate in popular computing and Internet platforms. Employers often discover that MBA graduates have an advanced understanding of Microsoft PowerPoint, but lack an advanced knowledge of Excel. Similarly, while MBAs are well-versed with Facebook and responding to emails, they could improve how they utilize LinkedIn and search engines. 


Of the skills featured here, developing your teamwork abilities might have the most direct impact on your career. Because the corporate world can be cutthroat, people turn their attention on their own success instead of helping the team succeed. 

When working with a team, complete all tasks as assigned before communicating with your team and sharing your work. Using technology can help bolster your teamwork skills. Collaborating with your team and organizing shared work becomes seamless with business management software. Show the senior management what kind of leader you can be by helping your team succeed. 

Corporate Etiquette 

It is common for the senior management team to see that MBAs are not fully up to speed on business etiquette when they enter the workforce. Many recent graduates underestimate the importance of basic grooming, manners and interpersonal communication which can make an MBA graduate seem too informal and entitled. To succeed in the corporate world, you need to familiarize yourself with corporate etiquette. 


It is a surprise to some recent graduates to find out that humility is an essential characteristic that an employer looks for when deciding between applicants with an MBA. Although companies want to hire the most qualified, they give extra consideration to employees who show respect toward senior management. Boasting about your accomplishments makes you seem over-confident and resistant to additional training from senior managers. For example, if management wants to start using electronic billing software–don’t fight against the extra training, or act like you’re too good for it. In the long run, making positive changes in a company will benefit everyone. As opposed to bragging, humility will help you succeed. 


A wise suggestion for any MBA starting out with a new organization is to be patient. It is all too common for a recent graduate who is hired as a management trainee soon begins complaining that their job feels like a continuation of business school. If this sounds like your current job, keep in mind that you are now earning a salary so learning at work is ideal. 


Many highly qualified MBAs boast about their ability to switch companies as soon as things get challenging. While it is easy for an MBA to find another job, it is much harder for an MBA to stay at their current company and get more involved. 

The first thing you need to show your new company is that you are loyal. In this case, loyalty refers to what you are contributing to the team as opposed to the number of years you’ve been employed. 


There are likely plenty of other people who contributed to your success, including mentors, family members, colleagues, and more. Make sure that you thank those who helped you along the way and stay in contact with them as you progress through your career. 

Many times MBAs neglect those who assisted them as soon as they start to experience success. When you are grateful, it is directly reflected in your professional attitude. Make sure to have the attitude of gratitude!

Individual Social Responsibility 

Your MBA program likely covered the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, but you should also consider ways you can practice Individual Social Responsibility. Every employee is responsible for creating a positive impact in the local community. There is no reason to leave ISR to your retirement. Some ideas to give back to your community include restoring public land, mentoring the underprivileged, and spending time with the elderly. 

Never Stop Learning 

Just because you’re finally done with school, doesn’t mean you’re done learning in life. It is likely you will make mistakes along the way–and it’s better to learn from them and move forward rather than letting them hold you back. As long as you are making a clear effort and being thankful for where you are in life, you are likely to go far.

Business schools also don't usually teach you how to work with very limited resources and promote your business on a budget. That's where Bootstrap Business comes in! Make sure to subscribe and check back for new articles daily!

I hope you enjoyed this article about important skills and characteristics that they don't teach you in most MBA programs.

Interested in more articles about business education?

Read My Posts:

- How To Shake Up Your Current Career Or Start A Business

- Could Social Media Be Sabotaging Your Career?

Published by Michael J Schiemer
Owner of Bootstrap Business
Money - Marketing - Motivation
Digital Marketing | SEO | Social Media
Mike Schiemer Builds Better Business

Share This On Social Media:

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Guest Posts, & Blog Outreach Services