Management Articles


The Top Business Schools in Terms of 'Soft' Skills

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

Interpersonal communication and other so-called soft skills are what corporate recruiters crave most but find most elusive in M.B.A. graduates. "The major business schools produce graduates with analytical horsepower and solid command of the basics -- finance, marketing and strategy. But soft skills such as communication, leadership and a team mentality sometimes receive cursory treatment." (WSJ)

"As much as business schools talk about leadership, I don't think they do a very good job teaching it," said Marshall Dahneke, a recruiter and vice president of global marketing for the Hill-Rom unit of Hillenbrand Industries Inc., Batesville, Ind.

When asked to rank B Schools in the Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive Poll, 2002, recruiters made comments such as “cutthroat,” “soften the edges of the students,” “humility should be a core curriculum course,” “arrogant,” “tone down the egos" as well as "creme de la creme," "marketing gurus," "quant wizards," "salt-of-the-earth, but not in touch," and "top notch." Results?

  1. IPADE was rated 1st for Leadership Potential.

  2. Dartmouth was rated 1st for Communication & Interpersonal Skills

  3. Dartmouth was rated 1st for Ability to Work Well within a Team. However, it placed 5th in Leadership Potential.

  4. IPADE ranked high in all 3 areas – 2nd in Leadership Potential, 3rd in Communication & Interpersonal Skills, and 3rd in Ability to Work Well within a Team

  5. Instituto de Empresa was strong overall as well – 1st in Leadership Potential, 2nd in Communication & Interpersonal Skills, and 5th in Ability to Work Well within a Team

  6. Yale University also placed in all 3 divisions – 3rd for Leadership Potential, 6th for Communication & Interpersonal Skills, and 2nd for Ability to Work Well within a Team

  7. Purdue - 5th in Leadership Potential, 1st in Communication & Interpersonal Skills, and 1st in Ability to Work Well within a Team

  8. Business Schools placing in the top 10 in all 3 divisions were: Instituto de Empresa, IPADE, Yale, and Dartmouth.

  9. The Top Ten for Leadership Potential in rank order: Instituto de Empresa, IPADE, Yale, ITESM, Dartmouth, IMD, Purdue, University of Buffalo, SUNY, Ohio State, and Michigan State.

  10. Also placing in the top ten in at least two of the categories were: University of Maryland, Emory, and College of William and Mary. IMD and Washington State placed in one division in the top ten. To read the methodology, go here:
Top ten overall (in rank order) were:
Dartmouth College (Tuck), 75.15
University of Michigan, 71.98
Carnegie Mellon University
Northwestern University (Kellogg), 71.12
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), 69.92
University of Chicago
University of Texas at Austin (McCombs), 68.51
Yale University, 68.49
Harvard University, 67.99.

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2003

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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