Every year, Bloomberg Businessweek devotes one issue to MBAs and the schools that love them.

In the latest, a sidebar shows the survey results from 1,320 corporate recruiters who were asked to identify most valued job skills and score each institution for delivery of those skills. The charts revealed what industries want, skills employers value, and where schools succeed. 

Oddly enough (tongue firmly in cheek), the skill on almost every industry’s list was … communication.  Of the 11 industry sectors, from chemicals to transportation, only one – consumer products – didn’t mention communication in its top three ‘most wanted’ skills.  Six of the 11 industry reps ranked communication skills as number one; 68 percent of recruiters say it’s one of the five most important skills.

Then the disconnect begins. 

Of the top ten full-time MBA programs (as ranked by the magazine), from Duke’s Fugua to Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper – including the usual Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Columbia, Stanford, and Northwestern – guess how many scored super high on communication skills?


Therefore, since business schools don’t do a superb job of training its grads on communication, it seems to be the responsibility of industry to do just that.  And sure, corporate courses available through Open Sesame, SkillSoft, Harvard’s ManageMentor do an average kind of job teaching communications.  But why couldn’t it be the province of the communications department and its siblings (like marketing) to supplement the standard learning?  Why couldn’t the function set up a mentoring program to coach managers, early talent, hi-pos, and the like on the ins and outs of communications?

No budget is no excuse.  What is?