MBA Programs: Opening Doors To All Kinds Of Possibilities
Career Opportunities There’s no two ways about it — Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are demanding and rigorous, but if you are serious about your career, the payoff is worth it.
Not only will the degree give you credibility, you can walk away with solid business knowledge, leadership skills and critical insights as well as strong professional networks.
Generally geared to those with some professional or managerial experience under their belt, MBA programs provide a platform for students to advance their careers (and their income or to launch careers in new directions.
“Students grow personally and professionally and they start to see things differently, opening doors to all kinds of possibilities,” says Lois Fearon, Director of the School of Business at Royal Roads University (RRU) in Victoria. “They develop a way of thinking that is relevant to any context.”
In addition, MBA programs tend to be hands-on, meaning that students get to reflect upon and analyze real-life business problems and come up with alternate plans of action. In some cases, project work actually touches upon challenges students face in their workplace, allowing them to immediately apply the concepts they learn to their organization.
Learn while you earn
With more than 40 universities offering MBA degrees in Canada, schools are looking to differentiate their programs, some offering courses with small class size or in industry-specific areas. At RRU, for instance, you can complete an MBA in Executive Management or in one of three specializations, including International Business — Asia Pacific Trade and Investment. Royal Roads also allows students to select electives in sustainability, innovation or coaching for an individualized program that aligns with their career goals.
A key feature of the RRU program is its combination of residencies and online learning, allowing students to work full-time without suffering an income loss or foregoing potential advancement opportunities. Students come to campus for two three-week residencies, one at the start of the program and one 18 months later at the end. In between, students complete online courses.
"MBA programs tend to attract leaders from various industries, so the connections you create while studying can form a powerful network of support you can turn to during your program and beyond."
MBA programs tend to attract leaders from various industries, so the connections you create while studying can form a powerful network of support you can turn to during your program and beyond. At Royal Roads, a cohort learning model is used in which set groups of people work together, sharing personal experiences and diverse perspectives.
“During the first residency, students are generally awestruck by the beauty of our campus but also with the strength of the cohort-learning model,” says Fearon. “Students work together in teams from day one and the bonds they build are quite incredible.”
RRU students typically have significant managerial experience, something that enriches classroom discussions, says Fearon, who adds that the program attracts a number of students from outside the traditional business world, such as those working in arts and culture, government or health care. In addition, all faculty members have strong industry experience, “giving them a real appreciation of the reality of organizational complexities.”
Taking an MBA program requires dedication, perseverance and sacrifice — especially if you work full-time at the same time – but if you have the discipline, the motivation and the smarts, signing up could be one of the most brilliant moves in your life.