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Online master of management degree as leadership tool

By Kay Easton

Management is a truly universal career. Management professionals work in businesses, nonprofits, for the government, in consulting and in every business sector including health care, education, public administration, sports, technology and finance. Enterprises large and small and those that are local, national and global all require management professionals to manage people and systems within the organization. Entrepreneurs and aspiring CEOs of Fortune 500 companies could benefit from pursuing a Master of Management, or MM, degree to help them move into management or take their current careers up the corporate ladder.

Campus and online Master of Management programs

Because management students are often working professionals, there are many online graduate schools that offer convenient MM degree programs. On-site and online MM degree programs both can take from one to three years to complete; the length and course requirements vary depending on the school, but most offerings are similar in structure.

Standard programs generally include 10-13 courses or 30-40 units for degree completion. Students normally take six to nine required core courses early in the program and three or four electives later on. Many schools also require a capstone project.

A fairly recent innovation is the one-year Master of Management degree program. Common in European business schools, the Master in Management has been gaining popularity around the globe, and a number of schools in the U.S. are now offering MM degree programs. Master of Management programs can provide business know-how to recent graduates who have not gained significant work experience. An online MM degree program can also enhance skills and knowledge for business professionals.

The MM degree is not the only master's degree available; other options include:

  • Master of Arts in Management, or MAM: This degree is commonly for students who have undergraduate degrees in fields other than business.
  • Master of Science (MS) in Management: This degree can be research oriented and focused on the academic discipline of management or appropriate for students with undergraduate degrees in technology, engineering or liberal arts.
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Management: This program prepares graduates for leadership and management roles in elementary and secondary education.
  • Master of Business Administration or MBA in Management: MBA programs are often geared toward working professionals already in supervisory or management roles.

Master of management concentrations and coursework

Management studies can differ depending on the student's current position or professional interests, which is why most MM programs offer concentrations, for example:

  • International management: brings a broader perspective to management, including the political, social, economic and legal implications of doing business globally
  • Health care management: teaches industry-specific management skills for health care and medical services
  • Human resource management: emphasizes job analysis, recruiting, hiring, developing, evaluating and promoting personnel as well as understanding labor relations and labor law
  • Project management: examines the process from conception through planning, budgeting, resource allocation and implementation
  • Sustainable management: develops an environmentally conscious point of view for managers

Typical coursework covers the basics--management, marketing, accounting and economics--whether a student attends a brick-and-mortar school or enrolls in an online master's degree program. Depending on the specific program, classes may include the following:

  1. Conflict management
  2. Organization theory and behavior
  3. Team dynamics and problem solving
  4. Initiating and managing change
  5. Public relations
  6. Entrepreneurship
  7. Business law

Management salaries and career projections

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 2010 mean annual wages for all management occupations at $105,440 nationwide, with salaries ranging from $44,860 to more than $166,000. Managers in securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments earned the highest salaries.

It makes sense to pursue a management career in growth industries. According to the Department of Labor, fast growing industries between 2008 and 2018 include science, technology and design. These examples of "hot" specializations are shown with the employment growth projected by the government:

  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services: 83 percent
  • Data processing, hosting and related services: 53 percent
  • Specialized design services: 46 percent

Another field with expanding opportunities for managers is health care. Here are four health services occupations with the employment increase that the Department of Labor expects from 2008 to 2018:

  1. Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities: 74 percent
  2. Physical, occupational and speech therapy: 56 percent
  3. Home health care: 46 percent
  4. Mental health practitioners: 43 percent

For any management career, a campus or online MM degree program can improve the skills that make a leader successful, such as strategic planning, critical thinking, effective communication and decisive management. Any industry could use professionals with the training and the ability to identify, research, analyze and resolve key management issues.


Schools Offering Related Degree Programs

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