Finding the right fit
You don't have to have an undergraduate degree in business, or even work in the field of finance or accounting, to want to pursue a Master of Business Administration; all you need is the desire to learn more about the intricacies of managing a business.
"The MBA is a professional degree to learn about business management," said Tamer Boyaci, associate dean of master's programs at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management. "You need to have business exposure; you need to be working somewhere and you need to be exposed to a professional working environment."
The skills and knowledge acquired within the MBA program reach across a variety of disciplines, some of which are familiar, and others that are recent or emerging.
Lesser known areas include human resources or operations management and newer fields include e-commerce/e-business, to help corporations grow and succeed in the electronic side of business; entrepreneurship, for individuals who have a strong interest in business and who want to start their own venture; global management, for greater success in navigating world markets; and technology.
"Technology management is for a person who is in technology and wants to go to an enterprise where they learn about managing technology," Boyaci said.
"There are others who may want to go into consulting and be a management consultant, learn about global strategy and leadership. They can gain a holistic understanding of global business and executing strategies on a global level."
An MBA can also enhance people's potential within their given field.
For example, an MBA graduate with a finance specialization may learn a variety of subjects such as corporate finance, costing, budgeting, international finance, working capital management, investments and securities. If they are already working in a bank, the graduate degree could give them added skills to advance their career, or they can move into a corporate environment.
In another case, an engineer with his or her own company may want to take on the marketing or financial responsibilities of the business. With an MBA, such people are able to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills in these sectors of their enterprise. Someone interested in working in human resources will gain vital management skills in dealing with an organization's employees, and an MBA in marketing brings an extra level of expertise into sales and brand management.
During the first year of most MBA programs, the courses studied are those that focus on the pillars of business: such core subjects as accounting, finance and operations.
Once the foundation is set, students can spread their wings and move into other areas of interest.
"The idea is to really give that fundamental knowledge set first. After that you can decide to specialize in an area, or choose to be more general," Boyaci said.
Deciding on which MBA program to follow depends upon the individual...
Read full article: The Gazette, February 9, 2012