MBA News: B-Schools Emphasize Writing Skills

The quantitative skills of MBA students have long been prized by employers, but these students’ writing skills have been a source of complaint. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many business schools are responding to these complaints by adding courses and changing policies to improve students’ writing. Last fall at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, all first-year students participated in a mandatory writing competition, and in 2012, the school will double its communication coursework. The University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business hired two writing coaches last fall, and Northeastern’s College of Business Administration will have student papers graded by both a professor and a writing coach. Bruce Clark, writing coordinator for Northeastern’s MBA program, says the main problem is that students rarely get to the point, and “one of the shortest writing assignments at Northeastern is one of the most frequently bungled.” Employers are finding that MBAs are focused on analytics and tend to ramble on with complicated terms, and thereby struggle to communicate simply and effectively.

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