MBA Leadership: How Students Can Build Skills Through an MBA Program

When you enter the working world, the goal of most of your coworkers will likely be to advance toward a leadership role with the company. With a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), you can learn all of the skills you’ll need to succeed. Our degree program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as in the top 21% of the nation’s “Best Online Programs.”

Here are even more reasons that an MBA leadership program should be the next step in your career:

Who Is an MBA For?

It may seem daunting knowing the time commitment and expense involved with earning your degree. However, UAB’s program can also help those looking to work in many different fields such as:

  • Marketing
  • Health services
  • Management
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship

Leadership skills may seem to come easy to some and not to others. However, they are learned and practiced abilities. Learning how to lead with intention and see the bigger picture is key to making a difference in the workplace.

A leadership program is for anyone willing to learn and work hard.

As Steve Tobak, author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow, wrote in an Entrepreneur article, “The business world is changing, and that means we need to adapt. But we don’t just want to react to a changing world; we want to shape it and be out in front, leading the pack.”

The leadership program is for anyone who wants to lead by inspiring others, empowering their teams, and being open to adapting to a new world.

As you learn the soft skills of leadership you can take your lessons into the real world through an internship as well. The nice part about an online program is that you can take the course at your own pace while you gain more experience in a working environment. An internship or even a full-time position can not only help you see your lessons in action but also advance your working relationships at the same time. This means possibly meeting a mentor or expanding your network of professional contacts.

The MBA leadership program is for any hard-working graduates who want a competitive advantage in their careers.

Benefits of an MBA

This two-year MBA leadership program can prepare you for thinking critically about the world around you and equip you with new tools and perspectives around business, business strategy, and more. When you come to the table with these skills, you can feel a greater sense of confidence knowing that you can provide an employer everything they’re looking for in a candidate.

Aside from the curriculum — which we’ll go over later — here are more benefits to earning your MBA.

1. Career Advancement

Earning an MBA doesn’t mean your only career choices are in business or marketing. Indeed listed 20 different positions MBA students could land after graduating. This list ranges from a human resources manager or project manager to a CEO or chief financial officer (CFO). You have the potential to achieve as much as you put your mind to.

2. High Earning Potential

Differentiating yourself from the competition by earning your MBA degree and demonstrating your leadership skills does more than help you get ahead. You can earn more as well. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Salary Survey of 2020, MBA graduates earn around $20,000 more than those who never earned their master’s degree.

Male student in business casual wear.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s career center can help you understand what your options are for your future and even coach you on how to negotiate a higher salary.

3. Interpersonal Skills

The MBA program at UAB attracts ambitious students from all over the world. This diversity reflects the working world you’ll encounter and provides multiple perspectives. Each opportunity for class participation can offer lessons in how different groups choose to approach a task. Take note and keep an open mind as you begin each assignment.

Learn from your professors and your fellow business school students as you gain practical skills toward your MBA.

4. Networking Opportunities

You’ll also have access to thousands of business school alumni who have been through the same courses as you. Many are respected professionals who are currently working in your field in some capacity. Not only can you get to know them and learn about their journey, but you might also meet someone who could help your career further down the line. Networking is an invaluable resource for your career.

5. Leadership Development

Navigating your career and aiming for top spots like C-suite positions or upper-level management calls for strong leadership skills. Leadership is more than just telling people what to do: It requires demonstrating effective verbal and written communication among the people around you to convey ideas and concepts.

In an interview with Forbes, Brandon Swenson, CEO of Pros, said, “Having the ability to show respect, empathy, and care to those that follow you are all attributed to being a great leader. Earning respect is crucial to a successful relationship with someone, while also showing that you care about their work or ideas. Being empathetic allows a leader to tap into the emotions of that individual to connect in a way that lets that person know you understand what it means to be in their situation. Combining all three of these traits can definitely make someone a great leader.”

A strong leader can meet their colleagues in a way that they can understand and relate to.

Get the Most Out of Your MBA

Your bachelor’s degree can get you far, but to get your master’s, you must have a goal in mind and manage your expectations. Earning your master’s degree is more than just another line on your resume or a talking point during an interview. It’s a challenging goal that will test your skills and push you to become the best you can be.

You’ll learn ethical business practices and how to strategically manage a team as well as financing, cost analysis, and more. You’ll sit next to some of the smartest minds who have just as much drive and determination as you. You’ll work toward a degree that has the potential to open many doors for your future. And you’ll have the flexibility of an online program to put these skills to use right away in an internship or full-time position.

Some may second guess getting their master’s degree because of the cost and time it’ll take to complete. While this is a 36-39-hour program, you have the support of all of the Collat School of Business staff.

The Curriculum

Your coursework will be intensive and comprehensive, so you feel prepared after graduation. It will help you feel ready to hit the ground running as well as help you gain more specific skills.

The online MBA program at UAB was designed to offer foundational management principles and practices that call on modern technological strategies. U.S. News & World Report ranked the online MBA program at UAB within the top 21% in the nation in its 2021 edition of “Best Online Programs.”

Here is an idea of what you can look forward to:

Tools and Perspectives on Business will dive into how to manage from many perspectives. You’ll learn how to finance accounts, manage organizations, and balance the economics of a business. Your final class for this course will focus on how to assess how well a business is doing using mathematical and statistical techniques.

Functional Core will give you the foundations for operating as a leader through understanding cost analysis, how to make ethical decisions, and marketing strategy. You’ll even dive down into how to manage a supply chain and what it means to finance an entire corporation.

Your Capstone will give you back the reins as you focus on an area of study at the end of your courses that has meant the most to you.

If you choose a concentration, you will navigate through the coursework associated with the available fields:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management Information Systems
  • Health Services

Generally, this program can be completed in one to two years.


Your MBA could be the first step towards achieving higher-level career goals. Applying for the MBA program has a set of requirements you must meet. The UAB admissions process includes a few steps such as:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Supplemental essay

For those who passed PreCalculus with a “C” or better in the past five years before applying will not have to take a Business Math prep class. You may also present a GMAT waiver if you have relevant academic and career experience.

You can build your skills through the MBA program and enjoy a world of learning and opportunities with your MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. An online degree program can give you the flexibility you’ll need to place the building blocks of a long and successful career while continuing to earn real-world experience.

Learning is a journey that you can start today by applying online or chatting with an admissions advisor.



Is An Online MBA Worth It?

What Is Transformational Leadership and Why Is It Important in Business?



Entrepreneur, 5 Skills You Must Develop to Succeed in Business

Indeed, 20 Best MBA Degree Jobs That Pay Well

Forbes, 10 Unique Perspectives On What Makes A Great Leader

USNews, Best Online MBA Programs

NACE, Salary Survey