I learned through experience what they don’t teach in business school. You can learn a lot of great stuff at business school, from building financial models to marketing principles. But to get ahead in your career, you’ll need to keep sharpening the saw.  

Here are a few things you’ll need to study on your own to learn.


Nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold to. Likewise, most people going to business school don’t exactly expect to become salespeople with their new degree.

But learning the art of sales is something almost everyone can benefit from. We sell things every single day;

  • We sell an idea to our boss
  • We sell our supplier on why they should give us a discount
  • We sell our buyer on why they should continue to be our customer
  • We sell our coworker on why they should help you with a project
  • We sell our spouses on what movie to watch
  • We sell companies on why they should hire us

Sales is important for everyone, but don’t expect to see a “Sales 101” class. Sales skill comes from the school of hard knocks and maybe picking up a few books on the side.

Interdepartmental Relationships

Frankly I’m not sure if this can be taught, because every organization and department is different. But these relationships are important in understanding how a business operates.

For example, here are a few types of relationships you may see in an organization:

  • Customer care working with the sales team on processing orders or refunds
  • Scientists and R&D working with marketing to develop new products
  • Operations is in touch with sales to create forecasts and manage shortages
  • Marketing and sales work together to create presentations for customers
  • Finance works with both sales and marketing on pricing

Working with cross-functional teams is a daily occurrence for most professionals. While you do get that experience in business school, you don’t get a formal class on how these departments work together in the real world.

Emotional Intelligence

The goal of business school is to give you new skills and knowledge to succeed in the marketplace. One skill they don’t usually teach is managing your emotions, or emotional intelligence. It’s being able to understand, control, and express your emotions.

Emotional intelligence is important for leaders. Leaders who don’t understand how to manage their emotions are more likely to make the wrong decision.

  • Someone who’s angry may make a brash, rushed decision
  • Someone who’s nervous may keep delaying the decision until it’s too late
  • Someone who’s frustrated might just give up

Unfortunately, you probably won’t learn much about managing your emotions in business school. It’s something that we tend to learn from experience, mentors, and maybe a book or two. But since emotions drive the decisions made by most people, it’s a good area of study for any professional.


There are a lot of other things they don’t teach in business school. The important thing is to realize that school can’t prepare you for everything, and you’ll need to be self-disciplined to learn these things on your own.