Friday, March 04, 2011

Wall Street Journal -- MBA writing is important and needs to improve

The Wall Street Journal just published an article on the decline in writing and presentation skills of MBAs. The article reports that GMAT (admission test) writing scores are down. They also interviewed employers at General Mills, Booz Allen Hamilton and Morgan Stanley, who are dissatisfied with the writing ability of newly hired MBAs. In response, business schools at The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Rochester, Northeastern University and Cornell University have increased the emphasis on writing in their MBA programs.

The article speculates that some of the decline may be due to increased numbers of foreign students and poor habits picked up on the Internet. My own belief is that writing and careful reading are more important in the Internet era than they were before. Internet writing is also different than writing for print -- it is more likely to be conversational, collaborative and concise.

I consider Internet reading and writing skills to be part of basic IT literacy, and have created several teaching modules on the topic. I am also working on a teaching module on presentations, which are also discussed in the article.