Working in management comes with a lot of responsibilities and skills needed to be successful. There are hard skills and soft skills, people skills and tech skills, and education and experience required to provide balanced organizational leadership. If you are a current or prospective Online MBA student, you need to check your inventory. What do you have in your toolbox that will help you along this journey in business management? In an article written by Sonya Krakoff, here is a list of skills businesses look for in potential employees.
- Management & Leadership
- Financial Intelligence
- Information Technology
- Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving
- Creativity and Innovation
If these skills are in your toolbox, you are on the right track for a business career. As you refine your skills, we want to add more to the list to ensure you have all you need to be well on your way into your business management career.
In fact, one of the important hard skills that managers need to continually refine and expand on are technology skills. As our global tech world continues to grow and evolve, our businesses grow and evolve. That means that our business leaders need to continually grow and evolve too. Check out our top tech skills for managers and our suggested courses we list to help you brush up on your skills.
What is blockchain? Blockchain is a decentralized database system that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat. In simpler terms, blockchain is a distributed ledger that records digital assets in a secure way. Blockchain has become of great importance to the finance world with the emergence and popularity of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. If you want to build up your knowledge about blockchain, there is an excellent course offered by the University at Buffalo through Coursera. This beginner-level course provides a broad overview of the foundational concepts of blockchain technology. Students will start by diving into Bitcoin protocol followed and then proceed to Ethereum protocol in order to understand applications and programming. Students will learn how to create a blockchain, create accounts, unlock accounts, mine, transact, transfer Ethers, and check balances. While Bitcoin was the first application of blockchain, the idea of a secure and decentralized database has sparked some exciting ideas on how it can be used in the future. Understanding the basics of blockchain will be a great asset to business managers as this sector continues to grow.
Business analytics takes in and processes historical business data to make data-driven business decisions based on those insights. Business Analytics is not an option anymore for business leaders. Business leaders must be able to harness the vast amount of data that is currently available to organizations and capitalize on its insights. We found a business analytics specialization, a collection of five courses, offered by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. It offers a basic knowledge of business analytics in order for business managers to build a strong foundation as they forge ahead. This specialization introduces big data analytics for all business professionals, even beginners in analytics. Students will learn how data analysts predict, describe, and inform business decisions. This specialization will help students develop basic data literacy, an analytic mindset, and help garner the toolset of making strategic decisions based on data. In the final capstone project, students will apply skills they’ve learned to interpret real-world data sets and make business strategy recommendations.
Cloud computing delivers computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. We have all heard about “the cloud.” Depending on the size of the organization, this service might be a small or large task based on the needed cloud space. Here’s a six-minute video that breaks down the cloud. If you want more in-depth training on cloud computing, we suggest you look at this course offered by Coursera and IBM. Students will learn the foundational terminology of cloud computing and the history, business, and emerging technologies that cloud computing enables. The course will describe IaaS, Saas, and Paas cloud service; public, private, and hybrid models; and infrastructure, networking, and storage. This beginners course will touch on upcoming cloud trends, including Cloud Native, Serverless, Hybrid Multi-cloud, Application Modernization, and Microservices. Students will then finish off by creating a cloud account and working with cloud services.
Because cash flow is the life-blood of any business, understanding finances and everything to do with costs is a must for every business manager. Cost analysis is simply a comparison of costs. But the analysis consists of looking at variable and absolute costs and controllable and non-controllable prices. If you are a product or project manager, cost analysis is a skill you will need to develop. If you are searching for a little help in getting the tech part down of cost management, take a look at this course offering training in Microsoft Azure. This course will take you through a guided project of starting an Azure account, analyzing costs, and creating a budget. Having a base knowledge of cost analysis systems and principles is a great tool to add to your toolkit.
The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) website at Northern Illinois University defines Data Analysis as the process of systematically applying statistical and logical methods to describe, illustrate, and evaluate data. Data analytics is a little bit larger in scope than business analytics. Data analytics is the undertaking of uncovering trends and insights from data, and business analytics uses those trends to accomplish business goals. If you are interested in sharpening your data analysis and presentation skills, there is a course offered by Coursera. Students will explore Microsoft excel, data visualization, presentation, data-informed decision-making, big data, data cleansing, data virtualization, and communication.
Digital Marketing is a specific aspect of marketing where electronic devices such as computers and phones expose a customer to a business’s product or services. MailChimp defines it as any marketing that uses electronic devices and can be used by marketing specialists to convey promotional messaging and measure its impact through your customer journey. We live in the age of technology, and many companies’ success is built on digital marketing strategies. From email blasts to e-banners and pop-up messages, companies can use methods such as data analysis and funnels to learn and cater to their specific customer. Some companies have gone green and only use digital marketing to reach their customers. Digital marketing is note just on the rise, it has become one of the most used forms of marketing due to technological advances through the years. The large majority of Americans – 97% in fact– own a cellphone of some kind. Those Americans that own a smartphone have reached 85%, up from 35% in 2011, reported by Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership. With statistics such as this and the boom in social media, businesses can reach their customers instantly. Coursera offers an entry-level course where you can learn the ins and outs of digital marketing. In their class, students will explore pricing strategies, marketing mix, product strategies, data collection and analytics, marketing performance, and marketing channels.
Product management is overseeing new product development; planning, forecasting, pricing, and launching a product at all stages of the product lifecycle. Similarly, product lifecycle management (PLM) integrates all the data, processes, people, and business systems involved. It provides product information for organizations and their extended supply chain enterprise. This management concept is needed to see a product’s life cycle from inception, launch, and sales to closing. Coursera offers a course titled Digital Product Management. In this class, create and manage a team charter that drives alignment and autonomy. Lead from the front with an actionable design narrative. Students will learn the importance of creating a culture of experimentation with hypothesis-driven development. Instrument relevant, actionable analytics into your product program. Skills you will gain:
- hypothesis-driven development
- Product Management
- Design Thinking
- Lean Start-up
- Product/Market Fit
- Innovation Pipeline
- agile user stories
- User Experience Design (UXD)
- Agile Software Development
- Software Development
- Usability Testing
Project management is the process of leading teams to achieve all aspects of a project’s goals from beginning to end. The primary conditions are scope, time, and budget. This is where many of the skills listed above come to use. Also, leadership style and capabilities. What is your leadership style? Are you great at team building and allocating duties and responsibilities? A great project manager has to have these skills in their toolbox. Coursera offers a specialization called Project Management Principles and Practices. In this class, you will learn to define a project’s scope and write a project plan. Build a work breakdown schedule. Create a project budget and identify and manage risks. Students will learn scheduling, risk management, budgeting, budget estimation, and change management.
Sales and CRM
Sales & Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process in which a business or other organization administers its interactions with customers, typically using data analysis to study large amounts of information. Here is another area of business management where all of the skills mentioned above come to play. When executed well, businesses have the opportunity to make lasting relationships with their customers. As a loyal customer of any company, knowing that the company wants to form a relationship with you is comforting. From the business standpoint, more relationships bring repeated sales. A great resource is Coursera’s course called Sales and CRM Overview. In this class, students will learn how CRM works in the context of marketing, sales, and customer service in today’s businesses. Understand and explain how Salesforce can provide value to sales teams. Use the official learning platform of Salesforce called Trailhead. Demonstrate a working knowledge of Salesforce Sales Cloud.
Video Production is a tedious process, but when produced well, it can bring a lot of traction to your social media platforms and visually put your brand out there. Creating visual content for your platforms is one of the cheapest ways to brand your business. There are plenty of apps on IOS that help create content, but if you want to take it to another level, you need to master Final Cut Pro and Adobe Video Editor. This is a skill that works hand in hand with digital marketing. Coursera offers a course called Mastering Final Cut Pro. This video production course unravels the post-production world for editors. Students will dive into the critical aspects of Apple’s Final Cut Pro software for Audio and Video Editing and learn elements for creating professional videos using transitions and effects, color correction, titles and motion graphics, 360 Video, and Media Management. This course will teach students how to:
- Create and edit video using the Final Cut Pro software
- Import and export files for collaboration and archiving
- Follow editing scenarios to create a project
Here are links to other video editor software:
Business management can be a rewarding career, and it comes with a lot of responsibility. You must be trained and very knowledgeable in many areas to be successful. When considering a top Online MBA and a future career in business management, you need to be prepared to study an array of topics. But learning nevers tops in business.
As we stated in the opening paragraph, we need you to take inventory of your skillset. This is your first action plan. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you a good and effective leader? Where are there gaps in your management skills?
The next step is to try and close some of your skill gaps. Are there any tech skills that you need to explore or expand? Do one of our classes fill a need or do you need to explore other options or even a certification? Certifications are always a good idea because they are a tangible addition to your resume and business management can be very competitive. The world of business management is a vast one and trying to work your way into a successful career can be daunting, but start with one step. Then take another. Then pause and realize that you are already on your way!