Does your EQ matter? Business schools seem to think so.

As if test scores, student loans and letters of recommendation weren’t enough, business schools are now looking at students’ EQ, or emotional intelligence, to decide which future M.B.A. hopefuls will make the cut.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes that many companies select for top talent with this very assessment. The test is designed to gauge emotional traits like empathy, motivation, and resilience — a reflection of how people feel, not just how they think.

It makes sense.

What use would a consultant be who knew the ins and outs of business, but had no personal skills? What about a manager who could recite the entire company handbook, but avoids one-on-one conversations with employees?

Individuals with a high EQ have a strong ability to cope with pressure, an innate intellectual curiosity, successful relationship-building skills and sensitivity to others. Who wouldn’t want those traits in an employee? It’s a concept that works in business to consumer as well as business to business relationships. Strategies and number crunching are easily taught, but self-awareness and empathy are another story. It can be the difference between a client signing a contract and/or a high recommendation from a peer.

What one student, employee, or client may lack in one area may be compensated for in another. As the article states,

While a low EQ won’t outright ruin someone who otherwise dazzles on paper, Mr. Garcia says, a high EQ —in certain cases, at least—can offset mediocre performance elsewhere.

If the trend of EQ assessments continues, we can expect to see more and more fresh graduates who are further ahead in regard to communication skills, intuition, and the ability to work with and lead teams, like never before.

What are you doing to keep up?


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