Foundational business skills learned in only a year?
Poets&Quants spoke with 13 recent grads about their experience in a master’s of management program. Turns out, the shorter time commitment. ability to enter the program with little professional experience, and acquisition of foundational business skills were the driving factors of choosing a specialized degree over an MBA.
While these grads’ master’s degrees were similar, their post-graduation experiences were diverse. Some of their accomplishments include starting a management career successfully during a global pandemic, providing strategic advertorial consulting that resulted in 40% of their company’s monthly revenue, landing a dream job in Singapore, mentoring junior team members, and growing some of Amazon’s most strategic vendors across Europe.
For Lily Gandhi, a 2020 master’s of management grad from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, her proudest moment happened recently. “My biggest accomplishment so far was when I presented a construction loan, underwritten by my team, for a Life Science Lab space in Boston to vice presidents of Capital One. We gained approval for the respective $400M acquisition,” she says.
While a traditional MBA degree requires approximately two to five years of work experience, many master’s of management degrees let students advance their business acumen immediately following an undergraduate degree. The degree is especially popular in Europe where it is the predominant master’s program in business. At many European schools, including the number one Financial Times ranked University of St Gallen in Switzerland, the MiM is the flagship degree. INSEAD, one of Europe’s best business schools, admitted its first MiM class this past September.
A MASTER’S OF MANAGEMENT OR AN MBA?
According to Christine Mayer, director of admissions at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a master’s in management is perfect for those passionate about their future careers. “Master’s in management programs are designed for those who would benefit from gaining a foundation in business management prior to entering the workforce,” she says.
Claire Graham sought out a master’s in management for this reason at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Having just graduated from her undergraduate program, she didn’t have much full-time, professional experience yet. “I wasn’t even considering MBAs at the time when I was applying for the master’s of management programs. I knew that I wanted to expand my toolbox of tangible professional skills and build upon my foundation. The master’s of management program was a perfect fit for me because it was short, experiential, and targeted towards people like me: Freshly graduated but eager to keep learning and round out their undergrad education with practical business skills,” she says.
The decisive factor in picking this specialized degree over the MBA for Julia Schulze Bölling, a strategy consultant for EY-Parthenon, came down to the uniqueness of the global strategic management program at ESADE Business School in Spain. The year-long experience offered the chance to study on three different continents in Barcelona, Charlottesville, VA, and Guangzhou, China. She describes the program as “an amazing opportunity to learn more about the topics I am fascinated by, such as the world’s leading economies, global strategies, and different cultures. Through the diverse group of students from all over the globe, I was able to build my network internationally and get to know different cultures.”
Thomas Kidd, a graduate at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, was also drawn to a master’s of management over an MBA to improve his foundational business skills. “Coming from an entrepreneurial minor and UX design major, I was looking to improve my business acumen before starting my career. The length of the master’s of management program fit my desired timeline and helped me gain skills in business without having to commit to two more full years in school,” says Kidd.
For other grads like Billy Murch Elliot of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Business, he was looking for a career change. “The management program gave me the flexibility to gain the skills necessary to get into management consulting, while also keeping the door open for me to pursue an MBA down the line,” says Murch Elliot.
MASTER’S IN MANAGEMENT AT KELLOGG
According to Mayer, Kellogg’s Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS) program is intentionally designed to grow students personally and professionally, preparing them to enter into the workforce with confidence and a foundation of business knowledge. Consisting of small, intimate cohorts of only 35 people, the student experience is collaborative and tight-knit.
Although the program is only in its eighth year, it has undergone a few changes. When it was initially launched, students expressed interest in engaging more with the broader MBA community. In response to this feedback, students now get to take up to one-third of their classes with the school’s evening and weekend MBA students, providing exposure to working professionals at some of the top organizations across the country.
Not only do MSMS students get to learn from MBA students who are already in the workforce, but also from Kellogg’s world-renowned faculty. “Students receive a ton of exposure to the Kellogg School of Management’s world-class faculty through classes such as Leadership Development Models and Practices with Associate Dean for Leadership Development and Inclusion, Bernie Banks, and Strategic Communication for Organizations with Faculty Director of the Management Communications Program, Shana Carroll. The MSMS Faculty instructs across all MBA Programs at Kellogg.”
Plus, Kellogg’s location provides inspiration for fulfilling careers in management. “Of course, the MSMS classes are taught in Chicago, the third-largest city in the U.S. and a hub for virtually all industries,” says Mayer.
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