New wave of MBA programs prepare students for wide range of career paths
We decided to dive into the world of higher education in our region, specifically the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. We carefully researched programs at local universities, assessing the importance of an MBA degree as a whole and how local institutions are adapting their programs to meet the needs of a changing business climate.
With today’s job market as competitive as it is, the distinction of the MBA degree is more lustrous than it ever has been before. Employers can now choose from a wealth of talented candidates who are suitable for job positions.
Individuals need every edge they can get on their peers, and a master’s degree, particularly the MBA, is one major step up on the competition. Ultimately, companies and organizations are going to hire who they feel best suits the job, but an MBA degree betters your chances, says Dr. Siamack Shojai, dean of Cotsakos College of Business at William Paterson University.
“Today’s employers are looking through hundreds of applications for a select number of openings and the MBA allows for students to stand out, because the business skills they learn are omnipresent in almost every area of the workforce,” says Shojai. “A blend of quantitative knowledge and soft skills are essential in today’s workforce to implement change and address the ever evolving needs in an organization.”
Stephen Hudik, the assistant vice president of communications and public relations at Ramapo College of New Jersey, says that that, “Earning a Master of Business Administration is perhaps one of the most versatile of all the master’s degree programs. It prepares an individual for success in any industry or job function throughout one’s professional career.
According to their website, Ramapo College of New Jersey is referred to as one of the top qualified graduate schools for business administration. The new part-time curriculum is designed specifically for the working professional looking to expand their knowledge in leadership, critical thinking, international immersion and experimental learning. Ramapo College’s MBA program has been designed specifically to aid their students in becoming ethical and effective leaders in the business world.
Part-time MBA programs provide internship opportunities between the student’s first and second year of study. This provides the student with the chance to experience the workforce and gain a better understanding of how to work in the field of study.
“In addition to our MBA Program, Ramapo College of New Jersey offers a Master of Arts in sustainability studies along with a wide range of professional certifications including project management, business essentials, paralegal & advanced paralegal, real estate broker pre-licensing and web development,” says Hudik.
With a focus on managing money, people and resources, MBA programs are built to grow the knowledge and expertise about a wide range of business topics.
“The common theme among MBA applicants is that they find themselves in a business—for profit or nonprofit—without the skills to move ahead,” says Hudik. “More than half of all MBA applicants majored in something other than business management.”
Graduates will find many different opportunities in the business world by applying the knowledge the students learned in the classroom, says Hudik.
“In a typical graduate program, it’s possible to have more than one subject matter expert in the classroom,” Hudik says. “Depending on the topic, a great deal of the learning often originates from the collective professional experience of the class. That’s why having work experience prior to starting an MBA program is so important.”
Felician College builds their students’ creativity, ethical decision making, communication, teamwork, critical reason and emotional intelligence competencies which have an immediate impact in the work place. Their advanced coursework provides scholarly and practical project work culminating in a “real life” scenario and portfolio.
“Every advantage helps. Employers need to know that those candidates can perform the duties of the position. A strong MBA program, such as Felician’s, provides the practical experience and competencies that provide immediate payback in the work place,” says Michael Szarek, who currently works at Felician College as assistant vice president and has spent 26 years in higher education administration and college counseling experience.
Most colleges and universities design their programs around business administration. However, after receiving an MBA degree, graduates are prepared to work in many other fields such as healthcare, human resources, public relations and marketing.
“The true value of the MBA degree is that it provides for advanced knowledge in business often with a specific focus. At the master’s level, students benefit from being able to specialize in certain areas of expertise such as finance, marketing, management and so on,” says Shojai. “They take courses specifically geared to these areas and spend much of their time advancing their knowledge and translating it to the workforce.”
Felician College offers the MBA degree for students who look to be in the business world, with a specific focus on the healthcare industry. “We also offer a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration for those interested in healthcare,” says Szarek.
Felician College also offers a more advanced degree that goes beyond the scope of the master’s. “We’ve just launched our DBA—Doctor of Business Administration—for those ready for the next step in their professional development.”
Today, it is not about what you know but who you know. According to Srinivas Rao, a blogger who reports on entrepreneur trends, the MBA experience provides students with opportunities to network and meet new people. Interactions with business professionals can help a student in the near or far future through internships and job opportunities. Networking offers the opportunity to create influence in the workforce and introduces candidates to potential employers upon graduating.
Networking is an effective way of meeting new people who can help students in business and merely attending class and being in the classroom is not enough to acquire the networking skills to succeed in business, according to Szarek.
During many MBA programs, students are provided with opportunities to attend functions where they can network with employers and peers but Szarek believes students should go beyond these events to build their networks.
“To grow in the professional business world, you should always be networking. If you are in an MBA program, go to outside networking events—chamber events, organizational events, all of them,” Szarek says. “But also remember that your classmates are also great resources. Network through your classmates; they may be some of your best connections.”
By pursuing an MBA, employees and students can fill in the gaps in their educational careers. Having an MBA shows employers that this candidate is committed to the field of business and is willing to go beyond the basic knowledge and dive into much more learning experiences and job opportunities, according to the MBA Programs Guide published by the Graduate Educational Information Service.
Throughout the course of the semesters, students have the chance to make some lifelong friends who will carry out significant things in their business careers. Your social life is another remarkable outlet for networking, says Rao. Trying to accomplish something as significant as an MBA is not easy to do. However, friendships along the way with the other graduate students make it easier to get the job done.
Curricula cover all the aspects, functions and activities within a business organization. Part of pursuing an MBA involves learning what businesses do to make money and grow. People enter the business field to strive and be successful; learning how to use the science of probability to calculate your businesses future plays a significant part in receiving an MBA degree, says the MBA Programs Guide.
Graduate programs as a whole are controlled differently than most undergraduate programs. This is evidenced by the channels and tools used to teach students.
“At the graduate level, case studies and seminar style discussions replace textbooks and lectures,” Hudik says.
An MBA is perhaps the most adaptable of all graduate programs, according to business blogger Bryce Hammons. MBA programs intertwine these courses in a large, in depth curriculum so that students can dive into what it takes to become a successful business leader.
Anthony Schifano is a full time student at Ramapo College of New Jersey working towards a bachelor’s degree in communications. He can be reached at email@example.com.