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Develop Your Management Skills in Henderson State University’s Online MBA Programs

According to Harvard Business Review, the challenges of juggling “a growing series of paradoxical demands (do more with less; cut costs but innovate; think globally, act locally)” are forcing businesses to adapt to these demands. Therefore, the need for versatile leaders to manage change amidst competing priorities is soaring. To become influential, adaptable leaders, business professionals must refine their management skills — a foundational element of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs.

While MBA programs vary in focus and specialization, they foster key business skills that guide successful organizations. For example, the Henderson State University (HSU) four online MBA programs — focusing on Management, Engineering Management, Data Science and Aviation Management — all feature courses that develop students’ practical management skills.

Demand for Diverse Skills: Why MBA Programs Emphasize Management Skills

Professionals in management must effectively optimize operations, anticipating and resolving any issues. As skills management provider AG5 explains, “Modern-day organizations have to be able to respond rapidly and effectively to ever-changing developments — now and in the future,” this is equally true for those with management responsibilities. Such developments take many forms, whether implementing technological advancements, evolving business philosophies or bolstering employee values.

Due to changing business landscapes, the demand for solid management skills will remain significant across all industries. According to the 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), employers seek five critical management skills across all sectors, including those in:

  1. Interpersonal relations
  2. Communication
  3. Data analysis and interpretation
  4. Learning, motivation and leadership
  5. Strategy and innovation

Programs like HSU’s online MBA offerings give students skills relevant to current managerial practices and with the potential to support future business practices. For example, GMAC’s survey reports that “employers agreed communication, data analysis, and strategy skills are not just important for graduate business school talent to master now, but will also grow in importance in the next five years,” while “skills like technology, understanding human behavior, and media communications are not as essential now [but] may become more valuable to the future workplace.” GMAC classified the latter as “Growth Areas” skills that employers will place increased value on in coming years.

The necessity of these skills means that the value of versatile business leaders will increase. GMAC reports that “hiring was highest among MBAs and experienced industry candidates who are likely to have capabilities that appeal to a wider range of company types.” This demand drives MBA programs to develop a breadth of hard and soft management skills to enable graduates to succeed. When students weigh their options, accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) is a clear mark of quality.

What Is AACSB Accreditation and Why Does It Matter?

According to AACSB, this “accreditation is known, worldwide, as the longest-standing, most recognized form of specialized accreditation business programs can earn. Accreditation is a voluntary, nongovernmental process that includes a rigorous external review of a school’s mission, faculty qualifications, curricula, and ability to provide the highest-quality programs.”

By earning AACSB accreditation, business schools show their commitment to “strategic management, learner success, thought leadership, and societal impact” — all factors contributing to successful student outcomes.

AACSB accreditation ensures institutions meet standards of excellence in the following areas:

  • strategic planning
  • physical, virtual and financial resources
  • faculty and professional staff resources
  • curriculum
  • assurance of learning
  • learner progression
  • teaching effectiveness and impact
  • impact of scholarship
  • engagement and societal impact

AACSB includes more detailed accreditation eligibility criteria in its Guiding Principles and Standards report, including factors such as the minimal acceptable number of full-time faculty. AACSB accredits HSU’s four online MBA programs at The School of Business. These programs ensure student support throughout their journey with qualified faculty and abundant educational resources. In addition, the range of the programs gives students the flexibility to specialize and still develop management skills, regardless of their business aspirations.

Build Evidence-Based Leadership and Analytics Skills in Management MBA Program

Luckily, HSU offers an array of online MBA programs that emphasize management skills. HSU’s online MBA programs include the following options:

Each program teaches students to engage key business concepts, use ethical reasoning in leadership roles, employ strategic solutions and adapt leadership strategies. The following sections provide an overview of HSU’s online MBA programs and coursework relevant to business professionals seeking management roles. For example, the Managerial Leadership and Ethics course is core to each program’s curriculum. In this course, students explore leadership styles and how ethical reasoning informs management. According to Forbes, ethical leadership allows business professionals to optimize their organization’s reputation and culture.

Forbes adds that ethical leadership “fosters trust and confidence” and “resonates with individuals and groups who value transparency and the greater good.” In turn, this improves brand value, attracting top talent. For example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff attracted attention in 2019 when he advocated “for equal pay, gender equality and social responsibility. This commitment to ethical leadership not only reinforced Salesforce’s reputation as a socially conscious organization but also positioned it as an employer of choice.”

Each program develops management skills, such as decision-making informed by economic analysis and evidence-based strategies. Coursework is 100% online and taught by experienced faculty members, many with PhDs, which leads to a comprehensive business education that prepares students for success in a competitive business environment.

Build Evidence-based Management and Analytics Skills in the Management Program

Designed to broaden students’ foundations “in essential business functions,” the online MBA in Management program emphasizes the skills required to motivate others and achieve objectives.

Courses in the online MBA in Management program cover a variety of skills students need to effectively manage individuals and teams. A required concentration course in this program, the Evidence-Based Management & Analytics course teaches students how evidence-based management and analytics principles help leaders “manage an analytics workforce, lead analytics team/project, and operate as an analytics translator.” Students learn how data literacy and evidence support managerial decision-making.

According to Sue Kraemer, writing for Tableau, data literacy is central to improved decisions, innovation and organizational unity. Kraemer references a Forrester Consulting survey, which discovered “that organizations that invest in data literacy and upskilling at scale experience powerful benefits like improved decision making, innovation, productivity, customer and employee experience, and more.” These potential outcomes underpin the value of leaders with “the skills necessary to understand, explore, use, make decisions with, and communicate using data.”

Data literacy and the ability to incorporate evidence into decision-making are essential for those in modern management roles, and employees need leaders who can educate others on best data practices. For instance, according to the Forrester Consulting survey, almost 80% of leaders claim that “departments equip employees with needed data skills.” However, less than half of employees agree that they have gained the necessary data skills. This shows a disconnect that leaders can bridge with a combination of data proficiency and communication skills.

MBA in Management graduates can apply these skills to support their teams and organizations. The degree emphasizes skills relevant to roles such as marketing director, project manager, human resources director and business consultant. For instance, marketing directors or managers oversee “product development, public relations, and sales staff” and must possess the data literacy and management savviness to effectively lead teams to perform “market research studies and analyze their findings to understand customer and market opportunities for businesses.” By applying strong data literacy and other management skills, marketing managers earn a median annual wage of $157,620, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For those interested in an advanced business education focused on management in specific industries, there are options like the online MBA in Aviation Management program.

The Aviation Management MBA Program Prepares Students for Operations and Administration Roles

Students in the online MBA in Aviation Management program “examine airport management techniques, aviation regulations, aviation ethics, and current issues as well as future trends related to airport operations.” According to Aeroclass, success in aviation management roles requires skills and proficiencies in the following areas:

  • Hiring and dismissing employees
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Coordinating activities and agendas across departments
  • Planning, creating and executing strategic business initiatives
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other authorities
  • Reporting to executives and the board

These are valuable competencies in an industry that “has already seen a growth of around 76% of pre-pandemic levels.” A required course in the program, Airport Operations and Administration covers the airport planning process; organizational, operational and administrative aspects of airports; airport management; and access and security concerns. Other major topics include the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) from the FAA and the Part 139 Certification of Airports.

Knowledge of airport operations and administration is essential to productive aviation management careers, including roles like aviation operations manager, director of operations, chief operations officer (COO), project manager and business consultant. According to Aeroclass, “Being an aviation manager involves overseeing and taking responsibility for all the operations of the organization,” which means pursuing airline or airport management positions requires essential skills covered by the MBA in Aviation Management program curriculum. These include economic analysis, ethical leadership, process improvements and even liability and insurance knowledge — all addressed in the program’s Aviation and Aerospace Law course.

For those drawn to management roles in engineering environments and seeking skills to thrive in those areas, the online MBA in Engineering Program might be perfect.

Gain Supply Chain and Project Management Insights in the Engineering Management MBA Program

In addition to building on a foundational business education, the online MBA in Engineering Management program gives students insights into logistics and supply chain management as well as quality control and improvement.

For example, the curriculum includes two required concentration courses, Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Logistics and Supply Chain Management II, concerned with managing and improving supply chain processes and performance. Students learn to evaluate metrics, make decisions relevant to the supply chain, understand global supply chain functions and engage with innovations. According to Indeed, supply chain management requires versatile leaders with the same extensive soft and hard skills highlighted by HSU’s programs including leadership, problem-solving and communication, as well as understanding the value of modeling and analysis in optimization.

As for management-relevant coursework specific to the Engineering Management concentration, the program features a Project Management course that introduces the basics of project management, giving students the ideas and tools to develop and complete projects and enable teams to flourish. According to The Digital Project Manager, effective project managers must be team-oriented, adaptable, decisive and prepared to take ownership of decisions affecting their organizations. Essential management soft skills for project managers include:

  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Research
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Leadership

In addition to project management, online MBA in Engineering Management program graduates can pursue positions as chief executive officer (CEOs), COO, director of operations and business consultant. All of these roles require the management skills addressed throughout the program. The return on investment is clear, with Indeed reporting an average salary of $114,923 and BLS listing a median annual salary of $165,370 for engineering management professionals.

For those interested in the impact and possibilities of data in modern business environments, the MBA in Data Science program highlights the value of data science skills used in tandem with interpersonal skills to boost organizational outcomes.

Learn How Data Insights Complement Interpersonal Management Skills in the Data Science MBA Program

Students in the online MBA in Data Science program prepare for professional leadership opportunities as they learn how to “transform data into strategic decisions and communicate them effectively.” They develop their “ability to apply best practices using analytical methods and technology to identify and solve business problems.”

In addition to courses in evidence-based management, analytics and economic analysis for managerial decision-making required in other HSU online MBA programs, the Data Science program includes concentration courses emphasizing the value of data science expertise. With data analysis as one of GMAC’s five most valuable management skills, courses like Data Science for Business and Special Topics in Data Science provide the foundational tools to leverage data science knowledge in management roles.

In these courses, students learn how to gather, optimally structure, transform, visualize, model and communicate data. Thanks to such coursework, students leverage their knowledge of advanced data science to bolster their careers. For example, with an introduction to best practices, graduates in data scientist roles can more efficiently determine the most relevant data points for specific projects and team needs and “use data visualization software to present findings,” as BLS notes. Also, BLS emphasizes data visualization techniques for clarifying the purpose and benefits of analyses to support strategic decision-making for shareholders, team members and clients.

With these practical skills and insights, students graduate ready for roles as data scientists, financial analysts, project managers, business consultants and marketing directors. According to a Medium article on the value of a data science MBA, those who pursue roles as data scientists, for instance, learn not only the data science ethics and essentials but also “the roles of Marketing, Sales, Finance, and Operations departments.” This allows them to understand “the interconnectedness” of these concepts and support “more pertinent solutions.”

Students gain technical data science skills, interdisciplinary insights and soft skills needed to “negotiate methodologies, articulate insights, influence stakeholders and present in a confident manner.” Equipped with these strengths, graduates can fulfill data scientist roles and earn a median annual salary of $108,020, according to BLS. Regardless of the career path students choose, the MBA in Data Science program provides the practical knowledge and management instruction to support an organization’s data leadership needs.

Choose Your Preferred Management Education Path at Henderson State University

Certain skills remain central to business professionals driven toward management roles, including those emphasized by GMAC’s most recent Corporate Recruiters Survey. As a result, an advanced business education must enable students to hone these abilities and understand how to apply them to all circumstances.

MBA programs are a proven path to business education and professional success. In fact, according to GMAC’s 2023 Business Master’s Degree Insights report, most students feel ready to apply these skills in professional situations. Findings indicate that “90 percent of MBA students … feel prepared to leverage their interpersonal skills in the workplace,” with 83% saying the same about communication skills.

The report emphasizes that “graduate business schools should not lose sight of the core communication and interpersonal skills that constitute” an advanced management education. This is because aspiring business professionals want “to develop their specialized skills without sacrificing the honing of their human skills.”

MBA programs, especially AACSB-accredited options like the avenues offered online by HSU, ensure graduates receive the management skills to optimize organizational functions and outcomes as well as the human skills to support colleagues and make informed decisions. Whether pursuing a career in general management, aviation management, data science or project management, HSU’s online MBA programs develop vital management skills.

Learn more about Henderson State University’s online Master of Business Administration programs.

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