Does an MBA Curriculum Include Classes to Improve Management Skills?

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As business professionals consider pursuing an MBA, many wonder whether they will learn additional management skills in an MBA degree program. The good news is that good management skills are an essential part of any MBA curriculum. Furthermore, most MBA students won't just learn about basic business management. In most cases, they'll learn about management in the context of finance, economics, marketing, administration, accounting, and many other fields. Thanks to the availability of elective courses, students can even choose the type, style, and nature of management that the degree delivers from start to finish.

Resource: Top 20 Best Value Online MBA Programs

Getting Started: Evaluate the Curriculum Before Enrolling

It's easy to make a blanket statement about the management skills conveyed in MBA courses. The hard part, however, is finding a program that actually teaches sound management skills and doesn't leave this critical area of out of the mix. The good news for prospective MBA candidates is that most of today's most prestigious schools list their full curriculum online, including both core and elective courses that are part of the program. In the vast majority of cases, the list of required and elective courses in the program is paired with full descriptions of the concepts and skills taught during the class. Potential graduate students can easily evaluate whether or not they'll learn about management in the right context, with the right professor, in the right setting, before they even pay the school's graduate application fee.

Opportunities Abound for Learning New Types of Management

At the undergraduate business level, students typically learn "general" management. Their courses focus on the fundamentals of hiring, reprimanding, firing, and motivating. An MBA is a general degree, much like an undergraduate business degree, but it focuses on a broad array of business disciplines and common managerial decisions. In fact, many MBA programs market themselves as a way for business professionals to gain experience making tough management decisions.

In order to teach these skills, the MBA requires students to take courses in financial management, managerial accounting, marketing strategy and marketing management, executive leadership, managing human capital, and several other fields. The MBA typically permits a concentration to be chosen when applying for the program as well. Available concentrations vary between each school and each program, but they can include everything from executive leadership to management, marketing, and financial management. Students who pick the right concentration can further enhance their management skills and their decision-making processes.

Don't Be Afraid to Seek Internships and Promotions

Another way to learn about management while enrolled in an MBA program is simply to work in a managerial role. Most major financial companies and other corporations will offer MBA students a high-level internship during either of their two years of study. This internship gives students real responsibility to manage teams and lead strategy while they work on their graduate-level coursework. Many other companies actively recruit MBA candidates for management positions before they have even graduated with their degree. In both cases, students learn about management in the classroom while actively applying these lessons in the workplace. There is perhaps no better way to master leadership and decision-making than actually practicing these skills for today's largest employers.

Today's MBA programs focus on a broad skill set, from marketing management to managerial accounting and executive leadership. Students who wish to boost their management skills in an MBA program will find that the right combination of core classes and elective courses will help to build those skills in great ways as they work through the curriculum.

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