A business school education is great, but there are skills that you simply cannot learn in a classroom. There is a high premium placed on a diploma, but plenty of people manage, own and operate successful businesses without a business degree…or a degree at all. Many important business skills are learned from experience or a good mentor. You don’t have to hear it from a professor in order to have good business sense.
Communication is a skill that many people simply do not have, yet it is essential for business success. Proper communication is much more than just knowing what to say, but rather pertains to when to say certain things, how to say them — and when to keep your mouth shut. Talking is easy, but it can be rather daunting when you are uncomfortable with verbal communication. Fortunately, communication is a skill that can be fostered and developed over time. Work with a mentor or professional coach to improve your speaking skills, if necessary.
Discipline is a trademark of every single person who has found success in the business world. The discipline to simply do what needs to be done is rather rare, as it requires hard work, extra hours at the office and a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. People in positions of authority have to juggle many different tasks at the same time, and discipline is required in order to effectively complete them. Disorganization or a general feeling of being overwhelmed may indicate that a person should cultivate and intentionally strive toward a more disciplined approach to business.
Attention to detail and an overall vision are two seemingly polar opposite things, but are rather two sides of the same coin. Small business owners and entrepreneurs must be able to recognize the small details that are necessary to propel the ultimate vision forward…and must be able to flip the switch between “small details” and “the overarching vision” at will. This is not an easy task, and business school does not have a class on multitasking. As a person develops his or her personal discipline and gains experience, this skill becomes more clearly developed over time and with intentional effort.
There are many benefits to a business school education, but success can be found without a degree. Learning the skills to properly and successfully operate a business does not require a 10-step process or graduate-level class, but can be developed over time. Don’t be afraid to work with a coach or mentor to further develop these skills, and try to be specific and honest about areas where you struggle. Acknowledging a shortcoming is the first step toward overcoming it!