How A MS Degree Business Program Can Elevate Your Career Before You Even Graduate

The pursuit of a business degree has long been considered a key to climbing the corporate ladder. But if you’re already a working professional, it can be hard to balance the demands of both work and school.

One solution is an online graduate degree, which has grown from a novelty into a key element of many higher education programs. Carefully designed curriculum enables remote students to get the same level of education as in-person learners, often on a flexible schedule that lets them work at their own pace in their free time. The best programs typically combine live and pre-recorded class sessions with office hours where students can meet virtually with professors or advisors. Projects allow collaborative work among your cohort, letting you share skills and learn from each other as well as the faculty.

In the modern era, online education has shed much of the stigma it once had – now becoming a respected, and often preferred, way of obtaining a degree. The digital age allows us to not only access information from anywhere but also make valuable human connections. Online education is a powerful tool that generates real results.

A leading example is the online Masters in Management (iMSM) offered by Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The program, which costs a very reasonable $11K for completion, can lead to a degree in as little as 12 months depending on the student’s pace. Instead of simply moving their existing residential curriculum online, the Gies master’s in management program was built from the ground up in partnership with Coursera to create a business degree for the 21st century. Designed for working professionals who want to develop a foundation of business skills, the Gies iMSM is open to students from all undergraduate majors.

Established in 1915, Gies College of Business has produced a number of notable graduates, including several U.S. congressmen and CEOs of firms like General Motors and McDonalds. The school has won many plaudits, most notably being recognized in 2018 as the 4th best business school in the United States for employment after graduation.

The cliche of going to college just for the piece of paper you get at the end has never been less relevant. Modern business programs are about building valuable managerial skills that reshape the way professionals do business. These are skills that can be learned online one day and used in the office the next, helping motivated employees immediately advance their career goals.

Whether you’re looking to advance in your current career track or pivot to a new role, the advanced business skills gained in a master’s in management program can provide the lift you need. These programs are designed around a holistic approach to business that touches upon multiple key disciplines, and many offer additional freedom to customize your course load to better reflect your current industry. 

The iMSM at Gies College of Business begins with 24 hours of business fundamentals, including managerial accounting, strategic management, and leadership and teams. That’s paired with 12 hours of elective courses to allow students to customize their approach. The school also offers optional networking experiences both in-person and online. It’s an engaging combination of subjects that touch on the key toolsets for modern professionals.

In an increasingly competitive workspace, successful employees are constantly looking for ways to increase the value they bring to their organizations. That can be done by stepping up to take more responsibility or developing new skills. Bringing a business master’s degree to a negotiation demonstrates that you not only know your stuff but were also willing to put in the time and effort to prove it.

Pursuing a master’s in management can demonstrate employee value in multiple ways. The degree itself looks great on a resume, and there’s also the skills you gain in the process. “Soft skills” like leadership, critical thinking, professional communication and teamwork are vital to advancing in any industry. Being given a space in which to polish and test them is a key benefit of graduate business education.

The online master’s in management program at Gies will also enable you to speak the language of business, understanding the numerous accounting and strategic terms that are key to working across multiple disciplines. You’ll be able to walk the walk and talk the talk with co-workers in every department, using your new skills to create synergies and increase value.

No matter where you are on your career path, there’s serious value to be had in pursuing a master’s in management, especially if you don’t have to leave your job to do it. An online program that builds real skills in the process is a win-win proposition for professionals at any stage of their career.