Tech Skills All MBA Students Should Know
In the Information Age, MBA students must be tech savvy. These basic skills can present a steep learning curve, but they are all vital to maximizing your success both as an MBA aspirant and a budding professional. Try to find time to accumulate the following skills.
How to Type
Typing is obviously a skill you need to compose papers on the computer, but fast and accurate typing has far reaching benefits. You require typing skills to take notes, conduct web searches, compose emails, and much more. Pecking with two fingers will not suffice! An MBA student’s schedule is too packed for such inefficiency. There are many online tools to help you improve speed and accuracy.
Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, PPT
Programs by Microsoft Office are widely used to create and edit documents, devise spreadsheets, and build presentations. As an MBA student and professional, your days will be filled with using these programs, so knowing them inside and out is a necessity. The ubiquity of these tools make it imperative for professionals in virtually any field to master their use. Ashford University students are each issued a Microsoft Office 365 account. With an Office 365 account, all students will be assigned a student email address and have access to Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel, OneDrive, Skype, and Sharepoint. Students can use an online version or download and install Office 2013 to their computer.
How to Use Google for Research (not Plagiarism!)
MBA students require the necessary skills to do a proper Google internet search for research. This skill includes using appropriate and effective search terms and modifiers. Other tips for an effective search include starting with a simple query and gradually adding more words if you aren’t getting the results you need. The fewer the words, the broader the results. Also, using quotation marks around a set of words instructs Google to only consider those exact words in that order, which can be helpful in tracking down documents by searching for specific quotes.
Videoconferencing: Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting
The rise in remote learning and telecommuting demands the use of videoconference platforms of all kinds, from Skype to Google Hangouts to GoToMeeting and many more. Fortunately, most videoconferencing programs are intuitive and new users can be up and running fairly quickly. When you do participate in a video conference, mute your microphone if you’re not speaking, as background noise can be disturbing to the meeting or even embarrassing. In addition, make sure your surroundings are clean (check the wall behind you for any unprofessional pictures or artwork) and that you are wearing appropriate attire.
Proper behavior when you participate in email correspondence or in an online discussion forum is an important skill that every MBA student needs. What you say and don’t say is especially important when communicating with your professors, classmates, and later your colleagues when you enter the workforce.
Basic netiquette behaviors include always identifying yourself, beginning each communication with a salutation, using a signature line, and leading with a descriptive subject. Avoid using all caps, as this is akin to SCREAMING online. Observe good grammar and spelling, and always respond promptly.
Back Up Data
Since the majority of your important documents and data are likely stored on your computer, it is critical that you back up your machine on a regular basis. Several hardware and cloud-based options to backup data exist. To be extra sure to not lose any data, you may want to use a combination of external hard drive, flash drive, and cloud storage. Like learning a language, tech savviness requires curiosity, repetition, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Learning these valuable tech skills does take some time, but mastering these basics pays dividends in your academic and professional endeavors.
Written by Ashford University staff.