What do companies really want when hiring talent?


Digital transformation, globalization and now a global pandemic have drastically changed the needs of a company. But what are these needs? Which skills do companies value and search for today when hiring new talent?

MSM conducted research among more than 250 companies to find out what skills these companies are looking for in the talent they want to hire. In this blog we would like to highlight the top 6 skills proven to be most wanted skills for employers…and more importantly, how you can develop and improve these skills through MSM’s Master in Management program.

1. Creative problem solving

New digital frontiers = New problems. As new challenges pop up due to new technologies, companies are in need of employees that are able to develop multiple ideas and concepts to solve problems in an innovative and unconventional way. Creative problem solving is much more than brainstorming to find new ideas. It helps to define unique solutions to business challenges, to create innovative solutions for customers and to identify opportunities for growth. To do this, understanding the bigger picture plays an important part of successful problem solving.

2. Understanding the bigger picture

Ever heard of the “Butterfly effect” (or seen the movie)? Basically, a small change somewhere can result in a big change somewhere else. In business, understanding the knock-on effect of changes that are made in one department, and how these will affect the company as a whole, has become an important skill to have in good management. With every decision you take in your job at a company and for every solution you come up with to a certain challenge, you need to understand the bigger picture of your company. It often starts with critical thinking, and by asking ‘why’? Without understanding the why behind a company’s strategy, you cannot take well-founded decisions or come up with the right solutions.

3. Sensitivity to cultural differences

Cultural sensitivity refers to the willingness, ability and sensitivity required to understand people with different backgrounds. With workplaces becoming more diverse and globally oriented, it is obvious that this is a highly wanted skill by employers. In this globalized world, it might seem like a skill that comes naturally, however in reality it is a skill you definitely need to develop through training and personal reflection.

4. Ability to work in a team

Large open spaces, hours of team meetings and inter-departmental projects form a major part of most of the work in companies today. In fact, companies cannot be successful without effectively and efficiently working teams. Teamwork involves working together, helping each other and applying your individual skills for the greater common goal of the team. Soft skills that contribute to a successful teamwork includes communication, listening, negotiation and influencing skills, as well as open-mindedness and cultural awareness.

5. Adaptability

An increasingly important skill, that is expected to become even more important in the digitalized future, is adaptability. It means that you are flexible, willing to learn and able to embrace change in order to be successful. As a future manager you have to prepare yourself for making difficult decisions in unusual circumstances. The impact of the current pandemic is a very good example of an unprecedented situation that businesses might encounter. Adaptability requires a number of other soft skills, like the aforementioned creative problem-solving skills, communication and listening skills, but also being persistent, able to learn, and being curious.

6. Self-starter attitude

As technologies continue to change, companies need to change with it. This means that many technical skills and work knowledge learnt today will be useless tomorrow. Having the motivation and pro-activeness to continue to learn to stay ahead of the game is a key element to being a successful self-starter. Knowing how to research the questions to find your own answers and to inspire the team to go beyond set expectations will increase confidence levels for all involved. This important mind-set can be developed by embracing challenges, showing initiative, consider failures as learning opportunities, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and by being positive. In addition, developing skills like adaptability, complex problem solving, understanding the bigger picture, will also contribute to your self-starter attitude.

These seem like a lot of skills to develop when you want to stand a chance to get hired, however the above shows that all these skills are strongly interrelated. But where to start? Since none of these skills can really be learnt from reading a book, MSM’s Master in Management program has been created to help you develop, train and improve all these skills in a “learning by doing” approach.

How the MSM Master in Management will help you to develop the most in-demand skills

The curriculum
The Master in Management curriculum offers courses that future-proof your career and that help you in developing your complex problem solving skills, understanding the bigger picture and improving your cultural skills. Unlike most “traditional” Master in Management-type programs, at MSM  core courses in the curriculum include Data Analytics, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Digital Transformation, Strategy and Planning, and Managing Cultural Diversity, all of which will help provide a theoretical and practical foundation to the various skills mentioned above.

International classroom
A typical MSM Master in Management class consists of around 30 students with more than 15 different nationalities.  For a whole year you will interact with each other in- and outside the classroom, work together in group assignments, participate in competitions and engage in social activities. No doubt that you will be forced to come out of your ‘cultural’ comfort zone. It is the perfect environment to constantly train and reflect on your open-mindedness, cultural awareness, your communication skills and your teamwork skills. At the start of the year, you will participate in a team-building workshop to prepare you for future group work.

MSM Teaching Philosophy
MSM’s teaching philosophy is built on the learning-by-doing principle. It is a hands-on, cased-based learning approach and includes relevant company visits, expert-level guest lectures and simulation games. The learning-by-doing approach includes individual and group assignments to help you to put the theory into practice. To successfully complete these assignments you will simultaneously be  addressing all the mentioned skills.

Group Consulting Project
During the program you will conduct a group project for a company. You will work in a team with fellow students on solving an actual problem for a specific company in the region. With your team you will compete with other teams consisting of fellow students working on the same case for the same company. The theme of this group project is either related to the topic Sustainable Development or to the Digital Economy. In this project your complex problem solving skills, your teamwork skills, your communication and cultural skills as well as your self-starter attitude will all be challenged. As you are providing a solution for a real company, it is also necessary to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Student competitions
Next to the group consulting project, you can participate in other student competitions which focus on relevant topics like Internet of Things and Sustainable Development Goals. Like in the consulting project you will train many skills and you will challenge yourself in other domains in competition with fellow students and students from other schools.

Personal Development Portfolio
Throughout the year you will participate in various workshops to help you develop your personal and interpersonal skills, like communication skills, active listening and negotiation skills.

Career and Personal Development Track
With the optional career and development track you can benefit from network events and workshops specifically designed to prepare you for entering the job market. You can follow workshops on CV/Motivation letter writing, interview techniques, networking, career planning, psychometric testing and improvisation skills. And you will have access to job-searching support in the form of conducting mock interviews, having your CV reviewed, participating in the Corporate Week and learning more about job platforms.

In fact, throughout the whole Master in Management program, you have to address all the most in-demand skills to make a success out of it. Do you want to challenge yourself and become a skillful, relevant and highly sought after employee? Then show us your self-starter attitude and apply now!