Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Courses: How They Translate to Real World Success
By Gregory A. Cronce, MBA, MAOM, PMP, CBM
Faculty Member, Business Administration at American Public University
MBA courses teach you how to make better decisions. Yes, of course you will learn new skills because they are new, but upon reflection, you see the goal is to get you thinking differently. Of course, you need an in depth understanding of operations, project management, accounting, finance, and so on, but they are a means to an end. Your journey will involve scores of case study discussions, simulations, and team assignments to develop skills to make decisions.
Coursework in an MBA program involves a wide range of courses, from accounting and business strategy to human resources and marketing. The higher-level individualized coursework will give you a foundation for your specialization and theoretical aspects that cross the lines of many industries, businesses, and operations.
Consider an MBA for Mid-Career Advancement: Those with experience may be best suited for the Program
Cron.com states, “Mid-Career Workers” are professionals with ten or more years of professional experience. If you are making a career change or transitioning from the military, the skills you learn in a MBA program will transfer across many different operations, and it will help increase your competitiveness!
An MBA course, graduate certificate or MBA program may be the answer. Returning to school for many may seem like a challenging, overwhelming and risky task, but it can be worth the effort. The Graduate Management Admission Council states “59 percent of employers reported they were very satisfied with MBA graduate employees’ work performances.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, “job growth outlook for MBA holders may be as high as 11 percent higher through 2022, some fields like securities, commodities, and financial analysis may be higher yet.” WetFeet.com, a job seeking guide site states “many business schools are focusing on candidates who have some real world experience.” Real-world experience will give you more opportunity to contribute within the classroom to apply your experience to the problems and case studies you will solve in your courses and the program.
What DO MBA courses teach you?
MBA courses teach you to look at business problems holistically. Most business problems can be broken down into analytical frameworks, such as risk assessments, cost-benefit analyses, and strategic plans, that you can apply to any problem encountered. MBA courses prepare you to solve business problems. The courses teach you how to plan, and design solutions for any business problem through a structured way of thinking. Without this mindset, you run the risk of being too rigid, too slow, or too limiting in your solutions. This process can be applied in a variety of situations from one course to another, from one business problem to another.
MBA courses teach you to understand and interpret financial statements, marketing plans, market analyses, audit reports, and business development plans etc…This is the language of business, and understanding how to analyze and understand these documents will tell you the health of your operations and the strength of a vendor’s business. The courses will develop your analytical abilities and teach you to research, develop written analyses, and you will become more polished in your written and communication skills. You will ask better questions and make better decisions because you will know the difference between cash-based accounting and the accrual method, operations and project management, earned value and net present value…etc. This way of thinking analytically will become second nature and give you the ability to view all situations from a diverse analytical perspective. You can implement what you learn in the classroom into your job on a daily basis as you attend. MBA courses provide real-world problems with real-world solutions and applications.
Is the cost and time commitment of an MBA worth it?
Have you found yourself unable to advance in your career with many years invested? Business courses can give you new skill sets that complement your experience. Many corporations target MBAs, and the federal government has done so for over 20 years according to GovCentral. Many agencies have sought candidates with MBAs for both contract appointment programs and long-term positions and average salaries generally tend to be higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree, according to Indeed.com.
Wetfeet, Who Should Get an MBA and Who Shouldn’t, on the internet at http://schools.wetfeet.com/advice-tools/career-planning/who-should-get-an-mbaand-who-shouldnt (visited 8/19/15)
Cron.com, What Does Mid-Career Professional Mean? on the internet at http://work.chron.com/midcareer-professional-mean-29000.html (visited 8/19/15)
Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), Corporate Recruiters’ Survey, 2011 General Data Report, on the internet at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED540683.pdf (visited 8/19/15) –
Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012, on the internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-4 (visited on 8/19/15)
About the Author
Gregory A. Cronce is a retired automotive industry executive and has served in leadership roles for over 25 years. He also held leadership roles in education, and government positions. He has taught management and business courses at the university level since 2002 as well as leadership, quality improvement and lean manufacturing training in the corporate setting. Currently, Greg is a Professor of Business, American Public University -School of Business.
Greg has attained a lot of education in my 55 years, this includes a PhD (ABD), two Masters Degrees: Masters of Business Administration (MBA-Management Concentration), Masters of Arts-Organizational Management (MAOM-Human Resources), Four Undergraduate Degrees: B.Sc.-Business (Management), B.Sc-Engineering (Electro-Mechanical), B.Sc-Organizational Management, B.Sc-Aviation Management and an Associate of Arts. He is a U.S. Navy Veteran with eight years active duty and enjoy shooting sports, reading technical material, competitive bowling (Professional Bowling Association, PBA 50), and golf.