A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) forms the foundation for success in a variety of fields. MBAs made up four of the top 10 highest-paying graduate degrees in 2016 as shown by a recent Payscale.com survey. Yet it is a concentration that can ultimately determine where a graduate will take root professionally. Although Maryville University Online offers a general concentration, the school also offers specialized concentrations, with prescribed courses aimed at teaching industry-specific skills.
Why an MBA concentration is important
For MBA students, choosing a concentration means declaring a focus. While this may make some wary, experts like Stacy Blackman, author of “The MBA Application Roadmap: The Essential Guide to Getting Into a Top Business School” say that showing a specialization can attract attention from potential employers and help you stand out from the crowd.
For online students – tailoring your MBA program to only focus on the elements you are most passionate about can help limit the amount of time spent on topics you know won’t ultimately benefit you. A concentration shows that graduates have spent time reflecting on their skills and interests and chosen a pathway to cultivate this focus.
So what can you expect from Maryville University’s Online MBA concentrations? The following is a guide to the eight concentrations for the MBA program:
Payscale ranked a General and Strategic Management MBA third among highest-paying graduate degrees, with median salary for alumni less than five years out of the program coming in at $85,200. After 10 years, this median salary jumps to $146,000.
Management, in the context of this concentration, is about people. Although a business manager will have to juggle overriding concerns like operational efficacy and profitability, managing an organization requires being a leader to a diverse team, mediating and pushing through interpersonal conflicts and leading employees through change. As such, it requires strong emotional intelligence and interpersonal skill. Maryville University offers the following courses:
- MGMT 640 – Human Resource Management. Focusing on regulatory changes governing hiring practices and improving skills in employee recruitment, interviewing and training.
- MGMT 670 – Interpersonal Management. Concentrating on a greater understanding of human relations principles and practices.
- MGMT 687 – Leadership. Examining the current leadership literature and traces the development of leadership theory, with an emphasis on the strategic nature of leadership and its role in contemporary organizations.
- BUS 640 – Project Management. Examining the roles and skills of the project manager and project teams through the phases of the project life cycle.
2. Financial Services
An MBA in finance and financial services is one of the most in-demand degrees around, offering a foundational education in statistics, leadership, economics, strategy, and marketing. Graduates of the MBA with a concentration in Finance program can pursue becoming a financial analyst, a career which – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – can expect faster-than-average job growth of 12 percent from 2014 to 2024. For those looking to enter the financial services field, the Maryville University MBA with concentration in Finance offers the following courses:
- FIN 601 – Financial Industry Exam Preparation 1. Preparing students for licensing in the securities industry, a crucial preparation to enter the world of finance and financial advising.
- FIN 625 – Financial Institutions, Money and the Economy. Understanding the functions of money and the financial system in the economy. Examining the functions and main products and services of the major types of financial institutions, and how they manage their business risks.
- FIN 621 – Investment Alternatives And Portfolio Construction. Teaching the practical management of portfolios containing varied financial assets.
FIN 624 – Personal Financial Planning. Teaching financial service professionals, working through commercial banks, trust companies, multi-line insurance companies, credit unions, stock brokerage firms, regulatory agencies and other organizations to help customers successfully allocate and manage their financial resources.
With tax regulations for businesses and private individuals always in flux, the demand for accountants and auditors to help prepare and examine financial records is on an upward trajectory. The BLS points to an 11 percent projected growth from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, with the growth of accountants and auditors closely tied to the health of the overall economy. Maryville University offers the following courses to help graduates fully leverage the boom in accounting jobs:
- ACCT 614 – Tax Planning and Decision Making. Focusing on the fundamental concepts of common tax regulations and providing a broad overview of corporate and partnership taxation and individual tax planning issues.
- ACCT 618 – Strategic Accounting Issues. Dealing with the role that the accounting function plays in achieving the strategic goals of an organization.
- ACCT 620 – Financial Statement Analysis. Teaching the skills necessary to interpret and analyze financial statement information by discussing the four key financial statements and analyzing the financial information to evaluate profitability, liquidity and risk.
- ACCT 621 – Forensic Accounting. Specifically oriented around investigating fraud and fraud prevention, introducing the student to the topic of forensic accounting and how it pertains to various litigation support and investigative accounting settings.
Cybersecurity has become one of the fastest-growing, most cutting-edge employment frontiers over the last few years. According to Forbes, contribute Steve Morgan, the cybersecurity market is poised to jump from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020. Protecting organizations and individuals from hackers, malware and other digital threats is big business and those entering the field are likely to find steady employment while possibly netting a six-figure salary, job security, and the potential for upward mobility. Maryville helps students interested in an MBA with a concentration in cybersecurity by offering the following courses:
- ISYS 600 – Controls for Effective Cyber Defense. Teaching a recommended set of actions that will provide specific and actionable ways to deter potential attacks.
- ISYS 670 – Pen Testing. Teaching the assessment of target networks and hosts for security vulnerabilities.
- ISYS 684 – Forensic Examination and Analysis. Providing students with an overview of digital forensics and analysis to include acquiring, authenticating and analyzing digital evidence.
- ISYS 691 – Legal Aspects of Privacy and Compliance. Exploring fundamental questions the digital age raises regarding how existing legal rules/guidelines should be applied to new technologies.
5. Healthcare Practice Management
Driven by a large aging population and innovations in medical science, healthcare will continue to take on a greater role in the worldwide economy – with those trained in healthcare practice management being in high demand. The Maryville University MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Practice Management includes courses related to:
- HCPM 610 – Healthcare Industry Health Care Practice Management. Providing an extensive overview of leadership in the U.S. health services system.
- HCPM 611 – Healthcare Practice Management Operations. Applying a systems/process improvement approach to studying healthcare operations.
- HCPM 651 – Medical Law, Ethics, and Risk Management. Examining decision making along the legal dimensions of practice management.
- HCPM 656 – Quality and Population Health Management. Teaching principles related to the management of healthcare quality and the origin, distribution, and control of disease.
6. Human Resource Management
As organizational structures shift and regulations related to wages, benefits and non-discriminatory practices evolve, having a knowledgeable designated human resource manager is crucial to the success of any business. Salary.com reports that the average annual salary of an HR manager is currently $95,267, with significant upward mobility possible. The following courses are part of the Maryville University MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management:
- MGMT 640 – Human Resource Management. Evaluating the impact of federal regulations (e.g., EEO) on personnel practices.
- MGMT 650 – Workforce Management. Developing students’ understanding of recruitment and selection strategies, hiring aligned with organization-specific competencies, and training and recruitment methods.
- MGMT 655 – Employment Law and Compliance. Focusing on federal and state labor laws and regulations and their applications in the workplace.
- MGMT 660 – Compensation and Benefits. Examining the total compensation package with a special emphasis on employee benefits – both legally required such as workers’ compensation insurance and optional benefits such as retirement plans.
7. Project Management
This concentration examines the role that a centralized managerial figure plays in ensuring business initiatives are executed efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. The curriculum is focused on the business environment around an enterprise and managing these interactions. As part of this concentration, students can take classes such as:
- BUS 640 – Project Management. General coverage of project management issues commonly found in the project management certification resources relevant for a wide variety of project types.
- BUS 617 – Process and Operations Management. Examining how to effectively integrate operations across all functional areas of the organization.
- BUS 614 – Supply Chain Management. Addressing the integrated management of the set of value-added activities from product development, through material procurement from vendors, through manufacturing and distribution of the good to the final customer.
- BUS 625 Enterprise Planning & Control. Providing a comprehensive understanding of enterprise-wide resource planning and control.
There is a strong psychological and social element to maximizing exposure to your product – particularly in the age of social media and viral marketing. Leveraging social attitudes and the means of media consumption takes a strong understanding of the forces at work in our culture. To teach this, Maryville University’s MBA with a concentration in marketing offers the following courses:
- MKT 663 – Consumer Behavior. Examining external influences such as political and legal factors and internal attitudes and personality that affect consumers ultimate decision process.
- MKT 673 – Social Networking and Search Engine Optimization. Helping develop knowledge, understanding, and concepts related to direct and web marketing techniques, tactics, and strategies that enable a manager to make sound business decisions.
- MKT 680 – Branding. Exploring the role of the brand management function in building strong brands, measuring their equity or value, and in maintaining the strength of the brand over time.
- MKT 681 – Integrated Marketing Communications. Addressing the fundamental concepts of promotion management and applying them to a product situation.
To learn more about any of the Maryville University Online MBA programs, watch a recorded online information session today.