· 2 min read · News

Teams lack complementary skills


MBA students and graduates bring different skills to teams but don't feel employers take this into account

More than one in five (22%) MBA students and grads feel that less than half of the teams they've been part of have the right personality and skills dynamics to succeed.

In research seen exclusively by HR magazine, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) partnered with psychometric tool the Game Changer Index (The GC Index) to identify the number of MBA students and graduates that fell into five different categories at work.

Of the 865 MBA students and graduates interviewed, 27% believed themselves to be 'implementers,' meaning people who get things done, 22% perceived themselves as 'game changers' who bring original ideas, 21% said they are 'strategists,' 18% said they are 'polishers' who can improve other people’s ideas and raise standards, and 12% identified as 'playmakers,' able to get people to work together.

Will Dawes, research and insight manager at AMBA, said that the positive side of the findings was that they showed that business schools are encouraging students to develop independent ways of thinking.

“This research shows that student and graduate MBAs see themselves as having different styles of leadership," he said. "This indicates that business schools enrol future leaders onto MBAs who may have varying approaches as leaders, or that MBA programmes influence students to think about themselves in different ways."

However, many MBA students and graduates feel that employers don't take into account the different skills they can bring, the research revealed.

Just 29% of those surveyed said that their teams had the right make-up for success more than three-quarters of the time. Less than 1% felt confident that their teams had the right combination of skills to meet objectives 100% of the time.

Additionally, only 20% said that other team members’ complementary contributions had been made clear to them.

John Mervyn-Smith, chief psychologist at the GC Index, said that employers should make sure that everyone within a team is aware of their role in contributing to success.

“The key to achieving long-term success is to transform individual action into collective power," he said. "In order to do this effectively, you need to not only understand how you can best contribute and make an impact but also how other team members make their impact – only then will you be able to place them in the right roles and right environments.

“The teams and organisations that get this right and communicate openly about how everyone in the team makes an impact are the ones that are winning when it comes to transformation.”