To be successful in management education and career, you need to acquire three ingredients viz., knowledge, skills and attitude (KSA). These are the three pillars of success. Basic skills and knowledge are needed along with a positive mind-set or attitude in order to effectively manage business. One way to think about attitude, knowledge and skills is to think about what you need to believe and feel (attitude), what you need to know (knowledge) and what you must be able to do (skills) to successfully drive business initiatives.
Knowledge: Managing business requires a broad base of knowledge on many subjects. A sound knowledge on concepts, theories and applications are important. A manager needs:
1. Knowledge in functional areas such as marketing, human resources management, finance;
2. Knowledge in integrative courses such as Quantitative Techniques, Economics, Business Strategy & Policy, Ethics and Governance, Leadership and Change Management, etc.
3. Advanced and contemporary knowledge in the areas of specialization;
4. Problem-solving and decision-making models and processes;
5. Project management;
6. Team building; and
7.Organizational development and design.
Knowledge by itself is not enough to successfully manage business processes and development. Applying knowledge is of equal importance.
Skills : Skills move you from knowledge to action. They involve the performance of mental or physical tasks. To be skilled one must be able to undertake a task competently. Skills are learned and repeatable.
There are many skills needed to successfully manage business. The approach taken here is to cluster the needed skills into five primary areas:
8. Communication, interpersonal and presentation skills;
9. Team-building and team-management skills;
10. Management skills;
11. Problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills;
12. Research, planning and appraisal skills; and
13. Organizational design and development skills.
All these skills do not need to be well-developed at the beginning of your career. But as you move forward in your career, all these skills will be required.
Attitude: Attitude is very difficult to define with precision as it consists of qualities and beliefs that are non-tangible. Attitude is the preference of an individual towards or away from things, events or people. It is the spirit and perspective from which an individual approaches a business issue. The following are key qualities and beliefs that experience tells us determine whether or not an individual has the attitude needed to successfully lead or actively participate in a business management:
14. Respect for people;
15. Strong sense of responsibility, commitment and ownership;
16. Empathy (understanding where others are coming from);
17. Openness to look at alternate solutions, new opportunities and ways to improve;
18. Patience, perseverance and endurance;
19. Creativity, innovation and intuition;
20. Willingness to participate without always having to lead;
21.Trust in others; and
Consistently demonstrating these qualities and actions can be quite difficult. Hence take stock of these periodically and improve yourself. MBA colleges in general and many faculty members in particular do not focus on these three pillars of building your career, although they may talk about them. The fact is that ‘the do how’ of these are not known to many management teachers or they do not practice them.