Boost fundamentals and leadership development through MBA courses

MBA courses have long been seen as a means for the ambitious manager in training to launch into the fast lane. Yet as MBA degrees become thick on the ground, some are questioning whether true value remains to be had from MBA courses. Should you bother with an MBA degree? The important thing is to study MBA for yourself – not for the letters on your CV. Look for the best school for MBA, find out all you can about the program and make sure there is a fit between your learning needs and MBA courses.

Business fundamentals: the foundation phase of MBA courses
All MBA degree programs begin with business fundamentals. Traditional 2year MBAs will often spend the entire first year on this. Their MBA courses on fundamentals should be in-depth, moving from theory to some experiential. A 12 month MBA, which is typically attended by people with a few years' experience as business managers, will assume that you have already gained a good basis of fundamentals. These MBAs should cover business fundamentals more actively, keeping the theory light and putting the focus on linking fundamentals to real-world experiences, as well as exploring personal strategic style. Fundamental MBA courses may include:

  • Finance courses
  • Business analysis courses
  • Marketing courses
  • Business development
  • Strategy leadership
  • Negotiation courses
  • Leadership courses
  • Operations management
  • Corporate governance courses

Leadership development: the action phase of MBA courses
MBA courses make a clear difference for young executives if they provide strong hands-on training for leadership development. At least the second year of 2 year MBAs should be dedicated to this. As for MBA 1 year programs, leadership development training should be integrated into virtually every MBA course along with intense, specific training. MBA courses designed to develop understanding of human nature and group dynamics provide a basis for better reading – and leading – of situations. Projects such as global trends and strategy analysis also help boost capacity to act decisively and quickly in leadership situations. Leadership coaching and leadership exercises help students “feel” their leadership skills and develop personal leadership style. Finally, some of the best leadership training happens through in-the-field experiential learning. Critical MBA courses or modules for leadership development include:

  • Self-awareness and personal leadership development
  • Global leadership development
  • Leadership assessment
  • Leadership coaching
  • Leadership exercises
  • Strategy management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • People management
  • Diversity, values and perspectives
  • Leadership roles training
  • International consultancy (providing a context for leadership in action)

Can MBA courses help you achieve your professional goals? Too many managers in training have looked at the question in this way. This has unfortunately led to some devaluation of MBA degrees, as some schools have thrown-together MBAs to serve people looking for a quick-ticket. Instead, you should ask if MBA courses will provide the knowledge and leadership skills training make you a better business manager. At good business schools, you have the opportunity to truly grow – personally as well as professionally – through MBA courses.

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