M.B.A. graduates need more writing instruction, employers say

March 7, 2011

Employers prize the quantitative skills of M.B.A. graduates but complain about their writing, The Wall Street Journal reports. Business-school graduates tend to ramble, use pretentious vocabulary and compose overly casual e-mails, employers and writing coaches say. Constant digital communication and undergraduate programs that de-emphasize writing instruction may be partly to blame, said Sharon Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project in Berkeley, Calif.

Employers are urging schools to try and improve their students’ writing. In response, The University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business hired two writing coaches last fall. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania plans to double its communication coursework starting in 2012; while at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration, many students’ papers are now double-graded by the professor and by a writing coach, the Journal reports.

Despite such measures, the writing of M.B.A. graduates is still watched closely after they enter the work force. At Morgan Stanley, managers reportedly review new hires’ e-mails before they’re sent to clients; and at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., recent business school grads aren’t allowed to work on a written proposal alone. — Greg Beaubien

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