10 Basic Skills You Need In Business School

By Elana Goodwin on March 29, 2016

This article is brought to you by Kaplan, the leader in test prep for over 90 standardized tests, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT.

There are a lot of unknowns and myths surrounding business school so if you’re a student in business school or planning to study business, you may want to do some research to find out just what you’re getting yourself into.

Aside from that, you’ll want to have certain abilities in business school — and here are the 10 basic skills you’ll want to have before you enroll.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Guilherme Tavares

1. Time Management. You need to be able to get things done by when they need to get done. Learning how to manage your time is a critical skill you need not only for business school, but also when you’re working and will have deadlines. In the real world, when you have a deadline or will need to present in a meeting, if you’re not finished with your work and prepared, you’re going to look unprofessional and you’ll be stressed. So learn to set aside time for tasks and assignments now, so you can get them done before they’re due — and if you can get them done and turned in early, all the better.

2. Creativity. While this may seem like an odd skill you’d need in business school, it can be immensely helpful when it comes to setting yourself apart from your peers. Use your imagination when it comes to brainstorming and projects. Don’t always go for the low-hanging fruit and learn to think outside the box. Not only will you stand out in business school with this skill, but you’ll stand out and be more of an asset in the corporate world as well.

3. Note Taking. Besides being useful in classes, the ability to take good notes may be good to have in the corporate setting at meetings and conferences. Developing a shorthand, improving your legibility, and understanding what’s important enough to write down and what you can just listen to, are important skills you should work on in business school.

4. Napping. The art of a power nap may be the best thing you learn in college. Knowing how to relax and let yourself catch up on sleep, even at the cost of not being hooked to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, will help you be better prepared to tackle days when you didn’t get as much sleep as you needed to the night before. Bonus points if you learn how to nap in places like the library, on the quad, and other locations on campus so you don’t have to head back to your apartment or house to catch some z’s.

5. Money Management. Even if you’re not interested in going on to be the moneyman (or woman) at a company, knowing how to manage your financials is a crucial skill you hopefully learned in undergrad, if not earlier. Understanding how to balance a budget — especially your own — will help you succeed and cause you less stress than if you overspend while in business school.


6. Public Speaking. Public speaking is a super important skill that will serve you well in business school. Whether you are talking to future employers, presenting a project in class or at a conference, or conducting an interview, you need to know how to speak eloquently, confidently, and intelligently.

7. Networking. Hand in hand with public speaking, being able to network and make connections is imperative for your employability. Even if you’re not an extreme extrovert or social butterfly, practice and get comfortable making small talk and connecting with people you don’t know. This will come in handy at business school events, job fairs, and in life.

8. Cooking. If you’re not eating well, your brain won’t be as productive and you won’t have as much energy — so knowing how to cook is a good skill to have. Even just being able to cook a few simple dishes and then alternating them will not only save you money, but ensure you take some time away from your studies to do something else and actually take a break. Eating in is pretty much always cheaper than eating out and leftovers are always a good idea.

9. Writing. Besides papers and other writing assignments, writing is something you must be able to do before you’re in business school. You’ll need to know how to write to correspond via email, draft proposals, create your resume, and more. If you don’t know how to write good, that’s no good. (And if you didn’t recognize that the first “good” should’ve been “well,” then you really need help!)

10. Leadership. Business school is a great time to brush up and perfect your leadership skills. Take the lead on projects, band together a group of otherwise unconnected people — whatever the opportunity is and whenever the chance to be a leader rises, take it and excel at it.

Learn more about Kaplan’s test prep options and start building the confidence you need for Test Day.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at elana@uloop.com.

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