The life of a business owner is one of decisions. These choices can help set up a company for success and are often determined based upon past results and goals, whether they’re short term or long term.
However, some of these decisions may be better arrived at through greater experience and an ability to adequately assess all the possible scenarios and outcomes.
How do you obtain these critical thinking tools and techniques? A worthwhile strategy is with a master’s degree in business administration. The MBA program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is 100% online and helps students develop the hard and soft skills they need to improve their chances of success in business management by refining the decision-making process in mission-critical aspects of a company’s life cycle.
The UAB Collat School of Business is a top business school, recognized as such by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as well as The Princeton Review. Courses such as Accounting and Finance for Managers, Management and Organizations, as well as Strategic Cost Analysis and Decision Making provide students with the intellectual and practical tools they need to improve their business acumen and help advance their career opportunities. That’s because an MBA is a universally recognized credential.
Before you speak with an enrollment advisor to begin the MBA application process, there are a few important things to address so you can better determine if an MBA — or something more focused — is the right track for you.
1. Know the differences between an MBA and an EMBA
While MBA and EMBA programs feature courses that are very similar, they’re typically designed for students at different stages of business experience. An MBA is an ideal choice for those who may be seriously considering starting a business. An MBA can supply them with the credentials they need to be successful at launch point.
An EMBA, or Executive Master of Business Administration, is ideal for those who already have several years of experience. In fact, some programs require students to be involved in business ownership for a certain number of years. Both programs are designed for working professionals, but the learning outcomes and curriculum are geared toward those at different levels of expertise.
However, the number of years of experience students typically have is the key difference between pursuing an MBA and an EMBA. Both programs are comprehensive enough to enable students to graduate within two years.
2. Do your research
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits nearly 1,200 active MBA programs across the country, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Also, understand that some MBA programs may not be accredited. Be sure to look for AACSB accreditation logo on the program’s homepage. The UAB Collat School of Business is accredited with the AACSB and has maintained this distinction for nearly 40 years.
With more universities transitioning to partial or fully online, make sure the program provides full access to the same resources and professionals that are available to on-campus students. This includes technology, faculty, and professional development services. Online students have full access to UAB’s Career and Professional Development Services, which provides them with the networking and resume-building strategies that can help them land a job upon completing the MBA program curriculum.
3. Prioritize the professors
The strength of any MBA program is ultimately a function of its curriculum in terms of quality and depth. However, professors and instructors play a key role as well. They should be engaged in learning outcomes and provide hands-on experience that gives greater insight into business administration that goes above and beyond MBA courses in the classroom. According to polling conducted by Gallup, approximately 50% of students at smaller colleges said they believe faculty employed by universities with lower levels of enrollment tend to care more about their students and their ability to learn.
While the University of Alabama at Birmingham boasts a sizable student body, the online MBA program provides students with full access to instructors so they can receive one-on-one time as needed to glean better understanding about more complicated concepts. Students can also draw from faculty to broaden their network of industry professionals within specific disciplines.
4. Have a goal in mind
While earning an MBA is great for building one’s resume and can introduce concepts that may not be as comprehensively addressed through an undergraduate degree alone, it’s important to approach an online MBA program with a goal in mind. For instance, you may be interested in a line of work you would be better off pursuing primarily through hands-on experience. The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers the best of both worlds, so students can work and go to school simultaneously through part-time MBA programs. However, be sure that you approach any MBA program having thought how it can further your aspirations.
5. Develop motivation
Earning an MBA takes time and won’t happen overnight. Faculty will provide the tools, resources, and education needed to improve your knowledge base and expertise, but it will also require plenty of willpower, discipline, and motivation to read and complete assigned projects, papers, and exams. In short, be sure that you have the mental capacity and physical stamina to remain focused on the prize — an MBA degree — so you don’t run out of energy before crossing the finish line.
Whether you’re an aspiring business owner or looking to advance your career, pursuing an MBA may be the best decision you’ll ever make. For more information and course descriptions, please visit the MBA program page.