According to The Wall Street Journal, “measuring EQ — or emotional intelligence quotient — is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.” So now if you’re hoping to set yourself apart with an MBA you’ll need to be able to demonstrate empathy, motivation and resilience as well as academic credentials and career achievement.
The senior associate director of M.B.A. admissions at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business is quoted as saying, “Companies select for top talent with assessments like this. If we are selecting for future business leaders, why shouldn’t we be similar tools?” The school’s 206-item online questionnaire screens for traits found in successful students and graduates, such as teamwork and leadership abilities.
The Yale School of Management’s 141-item test measures how well applicants might manage or understand their own emotions through questions about everyday scenarios.
This trend is an extension of the increasing data collection used to analyze the traits companies look for in hiring. The emerging field of workforce science adds data analysis, a k a “big data” to guide hiring, promotion and career planning.
For example, Google is applying data-driven decision-making to human resource management, according to an article last month in the New York Times. It reports that since 2007 Google has conducted extensive surveys of its work force and found “the most innovative workers… are those who have strong sense of mission about their work and who also feel that they have much personal autonomy.”
Google’s VP for People Analytics Prasad Setty explained, “Our people decisions are no less important than our product decisions, and we’re trying to apply the same rigor to the people side as to the engineering side.”
Of course, data-gathering technology raises questions about worker surveillance. As Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center points out in the Times’ article, “The larger problem here is that all these workplace metrics are being collected when you as a worker are essentially behind a one-way mirror. You don’t know what data is being collected and how it is being used.”
Emotional Intelligence may be the last frontier for American Business. Just as not every business leader will be a statistician, some may need to buff their people skills…or depend on others to handle the ‘softer’ side.
But those who plan to lead in the coming decades will do well to learn EI.