Will developing your creativity and personal leadership skills propel you to the C-suite?
It might well do that but, at a minimum, leadership development could serve as a solid differentiator as you build your personal brand.
Business schools are increasingly adding or retooling classes focused on “soft skills” to meet the needs of employers who want to hire M.B.A. graduates with strong leadership potential, according to an article by Melissa Korn and Joe Light in The Wall Street Journal.
In fact, the writers point out that BASF Corp.’s recruiters assess an M.B.A. candidate’s leadership capability, customer focus and creativity prior to extending a job offer. Other companies, such as Deloitte LLP, also evaluate soft skills.
While a burgeoning trend, leadership skills and personal development classes have a long history. Stanford added a class in interpersonal communications 40 years ago and has upped the number over the years.
These classes differentiate Stanford’s business program in the eyes of some students, selling the school to students seeking the leadership-training advantage.
Korn and Light highlight the experience of Arnulfo Ventura, who received his M.B.A. from Stanford in 2008. Ventura selected Stanford’s business school precisely for its extensive leadership offerings. “The analytical side, you can get anywhere,” he said.
Despite the development need, the challenge for business schools remains. Educators say these skills are some of the hardest to teach.
Now it’s your turn. Is a classroom the best setting for developing leadership skills and creativity? What do you consider the most important leadership skill?
You might also enjoy An Entrepreneur’s How-To for Accessing Creativity.