This article was originally published on February 8, 2015, by www.thenational.ae, ‘Social media appearances matter for Hult International Business School’.

So-called “soft skills” and social media etiquette are not what you typically associate with intensive – and notoriously expensive – MBA courses. But for one international business school, such subjects are up there with accountancy and financial planning when it comes to tutoring the top executives of tomorrow.

Katharine Boshkoff, Global Head of Career Development at Hult International Business School, explains why skills like communication and collaboration are on the curriculum of its one-year MBA programme – for which the fees will set you back a cool Dh256,400.

Hult – which runs courses in Dubai, the United States, London and Shanghai – also offers Executive MBA, Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programmes. Speaking on a recent trip to the school’s Dubai campus, Ms. Boshkoff explains why candidates holding such qualifications are in high demand among UAE employers – but only if they get their LinkedIn profiles in shape first.

The National: Is there anything in Hult’s business courses specifically geared to this region?

KB: One of the most important things we advise students on is to really understand the culture and how they would fit in. Generally, if something does not work out in employment, it’s typically not because of skills – it’s because the cultural fit wasn’t right. Our new innovative MBA curriculum really focuses on all those soft skills that are going to make you more adept both across cultures and within a company. I think that is going to help our students who are not from the region navigate the culture with more fluency.

How many students does Hult have in Dubai?

Our system is that you can start at one Hult campus, and then rotate around. We have 440 students in Dubai right now. And that will go up or down based on how they rotate throughout the year. I see more demand as we talk internally about the opportunities in Dubai – we are able to excite students whom maybe hadn’t thought about this market before.

What are the job prospects for your graduates in Dubai?

The Dubai campus last year had a 95 percent employment rate, and our global employment rate for the whole school was 85 percent – so we were a bit better here. In Dubai, as well as globally, the consulting firms employ a large number of our students.

Which other sectors are keen on hiring your students?

The Dubai Expo 2020 means a very large hospitality network is being built here. We see demand for students in hospitality, services, and IT. And there’s been consistent interest among luxury retail [operators] in our MBA students. We believe that there is going to be job growth, and that we will see an increase in tourism.

Any advice for professional jobseekers in the UAE?

Always know yourself, your best skills, your employer, and what they need. I also tell people, especially the younger generation, to make sure that you have a fabulous social identity. Because social media is used very frequently now in recruiting – but students often haven’t thought about that as much as we’d like them to. It’s not just the presentation of a résumé or LinkedIn. We’ve seen some very creative digital résumés, videos – all sorts of interesting ways to differentiate yourself in a competitive market.

What are the key dos and don’ts for someone looking to do that?

We always advise that they make sure that their pictures are very professional. It’s amazing how many students don’t have a nice LinkedIn picture. It’s just taking a simple picture against a white background, and making sure that you’re professionally dressed, and that any other digital media that shows you is professional. There is not a lot of privacy in the digital world … recruiters will look, they will Google and look at LinkedIn. So Google yourself and see what you find – and make sure that you’re as happy with it as a recruiter would be.

Some say there are too many MBAs out there, and that graduates no longer stand out from the crowd. What’s your take on that?

Our programme is highly differentiated, very innovative, and directly addresses what employers want. And we have innovated very rapidly and we will continue to innovate. That will make our programme one that students want, whether the other schools have great MBAs or not.