The world of business is full of industries, fields, products and services that require professional guidance - people from a variety of backgrounds who bring their own special brand of expertise and add intrinsic value when it comes to new ideas, plans, strategies and ventures.
Typically, people who already have a few years of work experience and want to advance their careers consider making the commitment to earn an MBA (Master of Business Administration).
A beneficial degree for working professionals, an MBA provides graduate education in foundational business practices including accounting, finance, marketing and management. By focusing on the practical side of business management, when combined with just about any undergraduate degree, the additional education required to earn an MBA often plays a vital role in obtaining career goals and climbing the corporate ladder.
“A few years ago we started the discussion of promoting a Graduate Certificate in Management through the Indiana University Northwest School of Business and Economics, which is the only public university in northwest Indiana to have achieved AACSB accreditation,” director of graduate and undergraduate programming John Gibson said. “We envisioned a program for people with undergraduate degrees in fields other than business who may not wish to pursue a full master’s degree at this time for any number of reasons – from whether they’ve been out of school for a while, to the investment of time and/or money – but are still looking to gain a competitive edge that would differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace.”
Offered around the world, MBA programs were first started when the Tuck School of Business was established at Dartmouth College in 1900. The Master of Commercial Science degree was the predecessor of the MBA, which was first offered to students at the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1908.
“MBA programs have certainly grown in number and range of subject matter,” said Gibson, who is also director of the IU Northwest Center for Economic Education. “In 2010 we crystallized the certificate program, and said let’s do this completely online so students can learn from wherever they are – sales people, for example, can access the coursework from anywhere in the world.”
With five 3-credit-hour courses, the Graduate Certificate in Management at IU Northwest includes:
• Statistical Tools for Management
• Economics for Managers
• Accounting for Decision Making
• Marketing Management
• Financial Management
“While the intellectual knowledge gained in an academic degree program is important, when it comes to navigating the business world, it’s how you apply that learning that counts. The Certificate program hits all of the key functional areas – statistics are huge in decision-making today – combining critical thinking and problem-solving skills with vital communication, leadership and organizational practices,” Gibson explained. “In today’s competitive environment, knowledge of basic business processes can give you an edge if you want to move into management from areas such as nursing or radiology in healthcare, or sales in the steel industry.”
As more and more businesses realize that they can keep down the rising costs associated with bringing in talent from the outside by nurturing and promoting from within, well-rounded and highly-educated employees will continue to rise to the top.
“What we’re seeing is that everybody, no matter what your degree area, needs to understand basic business processes. For the money you are going to invest in this certificate, the return on your investment is going to be relatively strong and quick.”
Gibson estimates that the average student can complete the Certificate Program in nine to 12 months (usually two courses each in the spring and fall, plus one course in the summer) for an investment of around $4,500.
“These courses are designed for the person who is out there working, who is doing this stuff everyday and wants to know more,” he added. “Ninety-nine percent of our people are working professionals, and so far I think all of them are going to end up completing their MBAs.”
Once a student earns the Graduate Certificate in Management, the 15 completed “foundation” credit hours apply to the pursuit of an MBA, where an additional 36 hours of “core” courses are required.
“If you are asking yourself whether you should go back to school to earn your MBA, consider the Certificate Program,” Gibson said. “While a bachelor’s degree and work experience are invaluable commodities on any resume, graduate-level education shows employers that you have the knowledge, abilities and motivation necessary to succeed in higher-level positions.”
Along with greater employment opportunities, a Graduate Management Admission Council 2011 Alumni Survey shows that 93 percent of respondents said that they were employed and 55 percent reported significant satisfaction with career progress since pursuing their management education.
For more information on the Graduate Certificate in Management at IU Northwest, contact the School of Business and Economics at 219.980.6552 or go to www.iun.edu/business/graduate/.
Students will need to submit a completed application, application fee and official transcripts showing their undergraduate degree. Certificate students must meet MBA admissions requirements if they wish to apply Certificate courses to their MBA program. New students will be advised of their options when they meet with the Graduate Director once they have been admitted.