Writing skills lacking in business school graduates

I have always felt insecure about my mathematical abilities, so I understand why engineers and technical employees may feel linguistically insecure: It seems that most of us operate better either in technology or in language.

I was glad to see an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Students Struggle for Words: Business Schools Put More Emphasis on Writing Amid Employer Complaints.”

Here are a few representative quotes from the article:

  • While MBA students’ quantitative skills are prized by employers, their writing and presentation skills have been a perennial complaint.
  • MBA students often have to unlearn bad behavior, such as using complicated words over simple ones…”edifice” instead of “building,” for example.
  • At Morgan Stanley, managers look over new hires’ emails before they’re sent out to clients…

And from the 163 responses to the article to date: ““ Most writing is taught by English departments, who require a certain number of words, have all writing assignments about novels, and reward flowery prose. Business writing has to be completely different; very direct and to the point. So even those people with ‘good writing skills’ in high school and college will have to unlearn their style when they move into the business world.”

I couldn’t have said it better!

My thanks to Liz Willis, my esteemed editor, for sending me this article!

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