The Qualities that Employers Seek in MBA Recruits


The MBA may be about gaining the knowledge and skillsets necessary for success in the world of business. What sort of qualities do top business leaders seek in their employees?

AACSB International (AACSB), the global business education network and accreditation body, sought the views of four professionals on the advice they would give the current students and MBA aspirants on career preparations. The business leaders, in turn, shared their experiences while pursuing the program.

What Do employers Seek in MBA Recruits?

Be Ambitious but Not Self Interested

Ken Languedoc, workforce planning lead at NextEra Energy, said he was looking for smart, creative people, willing to collaborate on projects. “We are looking at people who are easily intellectually stimulated by the work we do. It’s important to be ambitious but not necessarily self-interested. Ambition works in our company, but not self-interest,” he added.

Ken’s LinkedIn profile describes him as experienced finance, talent, workforce strategy, and university relations professional with an extensive history working in the renewable energy sector. He is also into mentoring & career development, workforce planning, college and MBA recruitment.

Be Global in Your Thinking

Kodjo Adovor’s advice is to be global in your thinking. “So, you have to learn about everything else as much as you can. In Business school, it gets hectic, especially during the first year. But you need to get out, as much as you can, to the other parts of the school. One of my favorite courses was the Future of Global Finance. Issues like the impact of China and the rise of India in global finance and it’s important for you as a business leader to know how it can affect you.”

He also says he would encourage b-school students to step out and visit the students of other programs like law, religion and other such disciplines since Businesspeople have to deal with all sections of society.

Kodjo is a graduate of the Yale School of Management’s MBA for Executives program 2018 batch. He is the founder and CEO of Kevi Capital that he started creating even while he was studying at Yale. Incidentally, he was selected as one of AACSB’s 2019 Influential Leaders for his investment firm that funds healthcare and education infrastructure development in Africa.

Keep Asking Questions and be Prepared for Lifelong Learning

Russ Kliman, global leader at SEI Ventures, stressed the need for lifelong learning and never shy away from being inquisitive. “I think it’s important being inquisitive. You always have to be asking questions…that’s important for anybody coming into the business.

Russ, according to his LinkedIn profile, is a Corporate venture capitalist, innovator and design leader. He is also a global speaker on fintech, innovation, and design thinking.

About design thinking, he says it involves understanding the situation you are in and the people involved. It also involves elements of empathy, a human-centred approach.

Networking With People Outside Your Social Circle

Irvin Ashford, senior vice president of external affairs and the national director of financial education for Comerica Bank, gave his views on networking with people from different backgrounds, schools, and professions, and why learning about these other perspectives matters.

He also stressed the role of religion as it provided insights into the non-logical emotional part of human nature. “It helps in understanding the way people behave in certain situations that could have a bearing on business decisions,” he added.

With the belief that “with knowledge comes power,” he uses his role at Comerica Bank to implement programs that teach financial literacy to low- and moderate-income individuals.

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