Business Management Careers List – For example, it is critical for business owners to ensure that all members of their organizations are equipped with skills such as critical thinking, time management, and effective communication to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly and achieve business goals.
Here’s an overview of why it’s important to improve your business skills and ten you should prioritize to advance your career.
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A foundation in business can not only lead to greater confidence in the workplace, but also open the door to countless career opportunities. For those who have expanded their knowledge by taking a course at Harvard Business School, the experience has led to results such as:
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If you want to achieve similar goals in your career, here are ten business skills you should develop.
A basic knowledge of economics can be valuable in any industry. In addition to a thorough understanding of pricing strategies and market demand, studying economics can provide a set of tools for making key decisions in your company.
For Nicholas Greco, a former CORe participant who works as an educator and healthcare administrator, the lessons learned in Economics for Managers were instrumental in helping his organization invest in solar energy.
“I knew a solar investment was a good opportunity, but the Willingness to Sell (WTS) concept helped me understand and explain why,” says Greco. “Because of the additional incentives from the city program and group purchasing power, electrical contractors were willing to sell solar energy systems at a much lower price than usual, thereby increasing our consumer surplus. By explaining WTS, I was able to convince the owner to move forward with this project.”
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Research shows that a growing share of businesses—including Microsoft, Uber, and Blue Apron—are using analytics to generate growth and improve their services and operations.
According to LinkedIn, analytical reasoning is one of the most sought-after hard skills in today’s job market. Knowing how to summarize data sets, spot trends, and test hypotheses can provide an analytical framework for approaching complex business problems and help you make informed decisions that benefit your company.
“Using data analytics is a very effective way to make an impact in an organization,” says HBS professor Ian Hammond, who teaches the Business Analytics course. “If you can go to a meeting and other people have an opinion, but you have data to support your arguments and recommendations, you’re going to be influential.”
Accounting know-how can benefit your career even if you’re not in a numbers-focused role. While it may seem like an intimidating topic, it’s much more accessible than you might think.
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Concepts like cash flow and profitability are useful for understanding your organization’s performance and potential, while knowing how to read and interpret a balance sheet is critical to communicating financial results.
Pankaj Prashant, an engineer who took the CORe course, says the principles he learned in financial accounting helped him build on his technical expertise and advance his career.
“I’ve been following my company’s annual accounts and the accounting I’ve learned helps me understand where the business may be heading in the future,” says Prashant. “I also tracked several other companies for investment purposes and realized that I could make more informed decisions with my improved knowledge of company finances.”
Whether you are just starting your professional journey or working at a senior level, it pays to be an effective negotiator. A report by the World Economic Forum identified negotiation as one of the top 10 human skills needed to succeed in the future workforce.
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Improving your deal-making skills can not only help provide value to your organization at the negotiating table, but also to yourself when advocating for a higher starting salary or promotion.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting a successful negotiation strategy. The key, according to HBS professor Mike Wheeler, who teaches negotiation mastery, is to be open to improvisation and plan to think on your feet.
“However much you see yourself as a negotiator, most people you work with probably have a different style, at least to some degree,” says Wheeler. “Therefore, to succeed, you have to be nimble. It means being flexible so that you deploy different skills depending on the situation and who you’re dealing with.”
Strong management skills are inextricably linked to organizational performance. A Gallup study found that managers account for 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement, highlighting the need for companies to develop leaders who drive team productivity and morale.
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For experienced and aspiring managers alike, it is valuable to know how to conduct meetings and communicate organizational change. It’s just as important to be aware of the common mistakes team leaders make.
In the case of Monica Higgins, director of public relations, taking the Management Essentials course was a way to expand her management knowledge and develop a new perspective on her role.
“I’m better at looking at things through a bigger lens, from different perspectives,” Higgins says. “I’ve always been a fan of asking thoughtful, edifying questions — as opposed to making statements — and now I’m a big fan of playing devil’s advocate.”
Whether you are in a management position or not, leadership skills are vital to success in the workplace. While some people consider leadership and management to be the same, there are differences between the two. While management is focused on implementing processes, leadership is more focused on the people and vision that drive change.
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In addition to honing your management skills, building your leadership skills can be beneficial in any profession. From learning to stay calm under pressure to developing your own leadership style, these skills can help you understand how to bring your vision to life and position your team for success.
In any business environment, professionals rely on communication to coordinate efforts and achieve organizational goals. Ineffective communication – or no communication at all – can be disastrous.
Along with developing your skills, understanding and adapting to the communication styles of others is a major contributor to success. Other key communication skills include active listening, empathy and reading body language.
Emotional intelligence is another important business skill, and research shows it’s a leading indicator of workplace performance. According to a TalentSmart study, 90 percent of top performers have a high level of emotional intelligence.
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Emotional intelligence is usually divided into four concepts: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. In short, this skill refers to your ability to understand your own emotions and to recognize and influence those of others.
Regardless of your industry or position, being aware of yourself and the people around you can allow you to have more control over your interactions and effectively achieve goals.
All professionals need strong decision-making skills to deal with complex challenges in the workplace. For those specifically working in business or management, the need for such skills is even greater.
Determining how to allocate resources, which employees make up a team, and how to implement a new organizational initiative are decisions that require careful consideration. With the growing number of tools and resources that can be used to collect data, managers can fuel their processes with valuable insights to make data-driven decisions and generate better results.
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Whether you want ideas or advice on a specific challenge or are preparing for a career change, the people who make up your professional network can be valuable resources.
To make the most of your network, be open to opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and build new relationships. Once you’ve built your network, it’s important to maintain the connections you’ve made and find new ways to expand your network of contacts.
If you are looking to advance your career, the value of business skills cannot be overstated. In addition to hard skills (such as financial accounting and understanding economics), you need soft skills (such as emotional intelligence and leadership) as your organization grows.
Regardless of your industry, knowing basic business concepts can help you better understand your organization’s performance and gain the tools you need to spearhead initiatives and drive strategic decision-making.
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Want to take your career to the next level? Explore our core business courses and download our free career advancement e-book with core business skills to learn how improving your knowledge can help you make an impact in your organization and be competitive in the job market.
Matt Gavin is a member of the marketing team at Harvard Business School. Before returning to his home state of Massachusetts and joining HBS, he lived in North Carolina, where he held news and content marketing roles. He has a background in video production and previously worked on several documentaries for Boston’s PBS station, WGBH. In his free time, he enjoys running, exploring New England, and spending time with his family. Proven job specific example + writing guide to land your next job in 2023 You can edit this business manager example to get started quickly and easily build a perfect one in just minutes. Just fill in your details, download your new one and start your job application today!
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