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Wanted: Human Beings, MBA Preferred

Predictions of how quickly automation will significantly overhaul the job market are all over the map. In 2013, an Oxford University study claimed 47 percent of jobs in the U.S. could be automated in the next 20 years.1 Last fall, Forrester said automation would eliminate nine percent of U.S. jobs in 2018 alone.2 And in March of this year, Bain Consulting forecasted that U.S. employers will need 20 to 25 percent fewer workers by 2030.3

Whatever numbers you believe, there’s no denying the job market is changing dramatically. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, bots and other advanced technologies are taking over tasks in practically every industry, leaving humans wondering what kinds of jobs will be available to them in the future.

For people thinking about going back to school to strengthen their skills or pursue a new career path, there’s good news. Many experts say that in an era where technology is pervasive, human skills like communication, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and leadership are more important than ever. In fact, a Harvard professor’s research shows people who work well on teams, are flexible and demonstrate sound judgement are critical to success in a tech-driven workplace. He found that these and other social skills, which are difficult to automate, are often required in higher paying jobs.4

Getting a master of business administration (MBA) degree is one way to gain these valuable skills, increase your attractiveness to prospective employers and future-proof your career. The combination of general management, core business, social sciences and humanities skills developed in an MBA program creates a solid foundation on which to showcase capabilities vital to the evolving business landscape. A survey of employers by the Financial Times bears this out, showing the top five skills employers look for are:

  1. Ability to work with a wide variety of people.
  2. Time management and ability to prioritize.
  3. Understanding digital impact on business.
  4. Ability to build, sustain and expand a network of people.
  5. Ability to solve complex problems.5

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[1]The Future of Employment, by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, University of Oxford, September 17, 2013

[2]“Forrester Predicts That AI-enabled Automation Will Eliminate 9% of US Jobs In 2018,” by Gil Press, Forbes, November 12, 2017

[3]“Bain forecasts 10-15 year automation driven economic boom but many impacts from wages losses and job losses,” by Brian Wang, March 26, 2018

[4]The Growing Importance of Skills in the Labor Market, by David J. Deming, May 24, 2017

[5]What employers want from MBA graduates — and what they don’t,” Financial Times