Key skills from your MSc to take into the workplace
15 February 2021
WBS Career Coaches Nuo, Davina, and Peter share their thoughts on the most important skills an MSc graduate can take into their future role.
Nuo: For me, there are 5 key skills that any MSc student, whether on a Business, Management, or Finance course, should focus on during their course.
- Communication. Communication is the soft skill required in all business roles—it includes written, verbal, and listening skills. Strong communication means you can deliver your message in a clear, precise, and concise way. Also, you’re able to tailor your way of communication to different audiences.
- Team working/Leadership. You need to prove you’re able to work with others effectively to achieve a mutual goal. You’re able to create or help to create positive working relationships, inspire and motivate others, proactively take ownership, and make sure the team can complete the task.
- Data analysis. It’s a digital world now, COVID-19 has pushed businesses to increase digitalisation. Businesses gain data from everywhere, which requires practitioners to be able to collect data, analyse it, recognise messages, explain and visualise the data, and use it to make business decisions.
- Business acumen. This is about knowing what’s happening and how the business world works. Be sure to display your understanding around the company, the industry, the trends, and its impact. It would also help if you showed that you’re able to recognise major issues and perspectives to approach the issue.
- Problem-solving. You need to prove you’re able to use a logical and analytical approach to solve problems. This includes the ability to define the problem, generate creative alternatives, and evaluate the alternatives through analytical thinking and decision making. Be resilient with potential risks and difficulties.
Peter: There are several key elements that make an MSc graduate employable. Companies hire students based on their motivation for the role, fit with their company, and proven relevant skill set for the job.
An MSc is overall a great way to help boost both technical skills and soft skills - such as teamwork or leadership, which come near the top of every company's most important requirements. For example, WBS MSc students work in multi-cultural groups with students from different countries, strengthening their teamwork ability and international mind-set which companies consider important for new hires.
Our MSc courses also provide technical knowledge which increase any student's day 1 value when starting at a new company. This higher level of technical expertise from MSc students can be particularly appealing for specialist firms. The MSc students also develop practical knowledge and commercial awareness from events such as the Finance Fest, Consulting Case Challenges, and the Marketing Insights series, which include presentations, interactive workshops and simulations.
Davina: To ensure that an MSc student is able to pick up all of these skills and be ready to take that first career step, I’d advise that you consider enrolling in optional courses offered by your university which align to your current skills gaps. Most roles going forward will have a technical component to it so the more you can upskill in practical terms the better. More specific activities very much depend on the type of role you want to secure. If for example you are interested in pursuing a role in consulting, some complimentary societies such as Warwick Consulting Society or Enactus would be good activities to join and get involved in. If it is more of a finance focus, then co-curricular activities like managing your own online trading portfolio or joining a Finance society, such as Warwick Finance Societies, would be beneficial. Online webinars to supplement your knowledge, increasing your presence and engagement on social media and being as proactive as possible, are all advisable.
Lastly, expanding your network is a time-consuming activity but proven to be one of the most valuable to pursue prior to securing employment as statistics found that 70% of jobs are found through networking and using your contacts – (US Bureau of Labour Statistics). You can read more about building your network here.
All of our MSc students can get access to our bespoke CareersPlus support, including one-to-one sessions, workshops, CV advice, and much more. Discover more about our tailored approach on our MSc Careers pages.