Written by ACHS Dean of Business Dr. Susan Marcus
Let’s face it: pursuing an MBA takes a commitment of both time and money. Is it worth it? What if I plan to open my own business — does an MBA really help someone like me? How does an online program work? Each of these questions are important and if you have not considered them, now is a very good time!
What an MBA is and what it isn’t
Fundamentally, an MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a management degree. Students learn how all of the various business functions operate in service to an organization’s mission and objectives. This premise applies whether the organization is publicly traded, privately owned, a public or government entity, or a nonprofit enterprise. Regardless of the location or industry sector, size or ownership structure, pre-launch phase or mature enterprise, certain general principles related to the internal and external environment apply. Even in our role as a consumer, it is helpful to understand the business dynamics that affect us all.
It is also important to have realistic expectations! For example, at the end of your MBA studies it is unlikely you’ll be prepared to sit for the bar exam, but you will develop an understanding of business law topics such as contracts, intellectual property, and risk management. You may not be prepared to work as a statistician, but you’ll have experience developing dashboards that help organizations track and achieve key performance goals. And although you’ll need further study to be ready for the CPA exam, you will know how to read, prepare, and present financial information that helps inform important decisions. It may take additional focused coursework to become a website administrator, but you will develop and demonstrate a marketing mindset that places solving a problem or filling a gap for a customer segment at the center of the organization’s efforts. In sum, you will learn the language and develop a strong sense of how business works, and also when to call in an expert in one area or another. You will also develop confidence and a network — a community really — you’ll take with you for the rest of your life.
The pros and cons of an MBA degree
Conventional wisdom sometimes gets stuck in antiquated thinking. Here’s a breakdown of some of the pros and cons according to Investopedia, along with my thoughts in response:
From Investopedia: When is an MBA worth it?
The ROI of an MBA depends on YOU
But the degree alone does not ensure a particular outcome. How do we calculate the ROI on an MBA? The return on investment is up to us! The example I like to use is this: let’s say we invest in some beautiful tailor-made suits. We specify the finest quality fabric and spend many thousands of dollars. They are gorgeous and we feel fantastic in them! That definitely helps, but more important will be where we go and what we do in them. In other words, who we are in those suits. The same can be said about your MBA. Who have you become through your studies and what do you bring to an organization? This is where confidence in your knowledge, insights, connections, and skills related to communication and collaboration all come into play. It is also what emerges during the course of acquiring an MBA degree, especially one with students, faculty, and administrators located across a wide geographic area. An added benefit is our emphasis on sustainability and wellness, competencies ACHS was founded on in 1978, and that in these times more than ever, position graduates to truly stand out from the rest.
The benefits of an online environment
That said, it is easy to doubt ourselves, especially if we don’t have years of business experience or did not excel at certain subjects in school. This is where a learning environment that combines asynchronous learning with opportunities for simultaneous interactions makes a difference. In a classroom, it is often the extroverted, gregarious students commanding the most “air time,” potentially leaving little opportunity for the introverts to interact with the instructor and peers. Online interactions eliminate the competitive dynamic and provide equal access for all. Reflective learners have time to compose their thoughts. Our 20+ years of experience teaching online prepares us to offer a robust and interactive environment designed with multiple learning styles in mind. And our program is well-suited for students seeking a part-time experience while continuing their “day jobs” (which is the approach taken by most of our students).
When I decided to pursue my own MBA, there were times when I asked myself, Am I worthy? Do I belong here? Is an MBA for me? The answer was (and is for you!): If this credential opens doors and provides a path to my goal of making a positive difference in the world, then YES!
Do I need to take the GMAT or GRE exam?
We are committed to delivering a program that is both affordable and immediately adds value for students. As such, we take a holistic approach to admissions and choose not to require a GMAT or GRE score as part of the application process. Experience shows standardized tests are not accurate predictors of student success. Our main interest is in helping students achieve their goals through a rigorous and supportive learning experience. We view ourselves as partners toward that end.
What makes the ACHS MBA different
Our MBA program emerged from a realization that to fully actualize our values related to sustainability and wellness, we must provide current and future leaders with an opportunity to understand the need, and also the path forward through business decision making that holds financial, environmental, and social goals in equal stance. Our holistic approach to health and wellness, which entails getting at the root cause and appreciating the interconnectedness between humans, their livelihoods, and our Earth, must be scaled and applied in organizations of all types, across all industry sectors. This means going beyond corporate philanthropy to bring about meaningful change at the structural level. It involves our entire value chain of partners joining us in this endeavor. And increasingly, organizations of all sizes are seeing that a focus on environmental and social outcomes leads to better financial performance. Our graduates, in addition to developing the solid skills expected of those with “MBA” after their name, will be prepared to help lead the way.
Some closing thoughts
Graduate school is often the path to career advancement. In some organizations, the acquisition of such a credential leads to an automatic raise and/or promotion, and tuition assistance might even be available. If you currently work in an organization be sure to inquire! There are also scholarships through various corporations and service groups. Our Admissions team can help identify some possibilities. Please contact me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
If you’re ready to apply to an online MBA program with ACHS, you can start your application here. If you’re interested in starting out with a single business course, start your single course application here.
Still wondering what to expect during the application process? An admissions advisor is happy to speak to you at a time that works for you. Schedule an appointment with an admissions advisor here.
Watch for our next blog in this series that addresses the question, What kinds of jobs can I get with an MBA from ACHS?
About American College of Healthcare Sciences
American College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.
This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.
We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us.
When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.
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