Did you stress over the decision to pursue an MSM or an MBA? I’m sure you looked at many different schools and programs, both online and face-to-face, while keeping your work, home and family life in the forefront of your decision making. What ultimately helped you choose? Many of us in higher ed would tell you to think about the difference between an MSM and MBA; an MBA focuses on the ‘hard skills’ while an MSM finds a balance between the hard stuff and ‘soft skills’. Was this difference one of your deciding factors when choosing the MSM program, and ultimately Emmanuel College?
The idea that ‘soft skills’ can be a marketable and worthwhile programmatic focus is backed by the research of some pretty smart people. You may have seen quotes floating around social media of the latest research from David Deming, Associate Professor of Education and Economics at Harvard University. His paper, titled “The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market” touts that ‘the labor market increasingly rewards social skills’. Those skills include cooperation, empathy and flexibility; skills we take for granted but have proven to be vitally important in the workplace. His research abstract is succinctly summarized below:
“The slow growth of high-paying jobs in the U.S. since 2000 and rapid advances in computer technology have sparked fears that human labor will eventually be rendered obsolete. Yet while computers perform cognitive tasks of rapidly increasing complexity, simple human interaction has proven difficult to automate. In this paper I show that the labor market increasingly rewards social skills. Since 1980, jobs with high social skill requirements have experienced greater relative growth throughout the wage distribution. Moreover, employment and wage growth has been strongest in jobs that require high levels of both cognitive skill and social skill.”
So how has the workplace become like a preschool? In his article, Deming states, “preschool classrooms look a lot like the modern work world. Children move from art projects to science experiments to the playground in small groups, and their most important skills are sharing and negotiating with others”. To read more about this topic, check out this short article from Inside Higher Ed or a slightly longer read from the New York Times. The moral of the story? Next time you are struggling at work with a tough coworker, or group project isn’t going well, just think, “How would a preschooler handle this?”…OR… “What have I learned in my grad program lately?” According to the research, both could help.