How does an online MBA offer opportunities for career advancement and leadership?

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Students who choose to earn an online MBA degree likely have some specific outcomes in mind. Common goals include a better understanding of business management practices, enhanced leadership skills, increased opportunities for career growth, and a stronger grasp of concepts such as finance, marketing, management information systems, and health services, which are all concentrations of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s MBA program. Let’s review how an online MBA can position graduates for a variety of opportunities tied to leadership and career advancement.

A hiring manager interviewing a businessman for a new position.

Understanding MBA career options

Students in MBA programs generally have a background in business, whether through their undergraduate degree, practical experience in professional settings, or a combination of the two. An MBA is an especially useful degree because it’s applicable to so many professionals and their goals for their career. Far from being tied to a specific profession or discipline, an MBA is broadly applicable in a number of different settings. The topics covered in the concentrations offered through UAB’s program provide specific enrichment in fields like finance and marketing, but the General Track option for the degree gives those in many other occupations the chance to sharpen their business administration and leadership skills. Whether working in a rapidly expanding or traditional industry, taking on a management role at a startup or at an entrenched multinational industry leader, an MBA degree provides the information, context, and skills to fill these roles effectively.

How the UAB online MBA curriculum helps students develop leadership skills

A well-rounded leader can consider a problem or opportunity from many perspectives, taking a wide variety of information into account to make the best decision possible in the given situation. The UAB online MBA curriculum offers detailed instruction in topics ranging from Accounting and Finance for Managers to Quantitative Analysis for Business Managers and Strategic Cost Analysis and Decision Making, along with many more. Students bring these many areas of knowledge together in the capstone course of Strategic Management, developing valuable experience applying the principles of the MBA program to a variety of contexts.

By gaining a range of valuable perspectives it’s possible to become a more thoughtful, effective, and proactive leader. Students develop a diversity of thought that lends itself to more senior management positions and high-level leadership roles, allowing them to make holistic decisions that take all aspects of operation into account. For professionals who want to move beyond their specific fields and roles, an online MBA degree can make it that much easier to progress to the next level of leadership.

In terms of specific positions MBA graduates can compete for, it’s difficult to create an exhaustive list. Many companies looking to fill top executive jobs, from chief executive officer to chief marketing officer, chief financial officer, and chief information officer, will prioritize candidates who have an MBA along with the requisite experience and knowledge. Director-level roles, department leaders, regional and general managers, and other high-level positions also benefit from having an MBA holder in them, thanks to well-rounded leadership skills and deep understanding of the modern business world that this degree helps to develop.

How an MBA degree prepares graduates for professional growth

An article published by the Harvard Business Review refuted a concept that holds some currency among MBA graduates: That earning an MBA from an elite institution is critical to reaching a top-level position such as CEO in fewer than the average of 24 years it takes to go from the beginning of a career to the top of the ladder. In reality, just under a quarter of MBA graduates from the most traditionally prestigious universities earned a CEO role in that timeframe. However, there’s an indicator that has a much stronger correlation with significant career advancement at a faster than average pace — taking a calculated career risk that allows individuals to display leadership skills and demonstrate professional knowledge and versatility. The study identified three types of very positive career jumps, which are building a division or entire company from the ground up, taking on and succeeding in a position much higher on the ladder than their current one, and inheriting a major issue that needs to be resolved. More than 95% of those who quickly rose to a CEO role had accomplished at least one of these jumps.

The most important thing for prospective MBA students to recognize is the need for an effective professional education that provides the knowledge and skills necessary to prosper in difficult situations, build a new business or product from the ground up, and making a large career jump. In this case, identifying an MBA program that focuses on building a comprehensive business perspective and understanding the modern economy is critical.

How UAB prepares students to display leadership in the business world

The UAB online MBA degree program combines leading faculty members, a curriculum focused on the modern world of business, a flexible progression toward a degree, and an asynchronous learning environment that aligns with the existing professional and personal responsibilities of active professionals. The result is a well-rounded education that gives students the vital context that can make career development easier and improve leadership skills.

Recommended Reading:

How to narrow down a career with an MBA

What sets the online MBA program at UAB apart from the rest?


UAB Collat School of Business: Course Descriptions MBA

UAB Collat School of Business: Online MBA Degree Program

US News & World Report: MBAs and Leadership

Harvard Business Review: The Fastest Path to the CEO Job, According to a 10-Year Study

Association of MBAs: Leadership Is The Most Important Skill That You Will Learn On An MBA