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MBA Programs Are Suffering + Alternative Ways to Get a Leg up in Corporate America

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MBA programs fall on hard times: Full-time MBA programs in the U.S. are seeing marked declines in applications, according to The Financial Times. Every single one of the FT’s top 10 U.S. business schools have seen a dip in applications over the past two years, with Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and Duke’s Fuqua seeing double-digit declines of 22.5% and 14.6%, respectively. A tight job market may be keeping would-be applicants from leaving the world of full-time employment. And visa restrictions and trade tensions with China are not helping matters, the FT suggests. In recent years, business schools have come to rely on an influx of foreign students, particularly from China and India.

So what is the path of upward mobility in Corporate American? For those who enjoy corporate life and envision future success in it, there are reasonable alternatives to getting an MBA. Thanks to Investopedia they have given up an Alternative Guide to a MBA:

Alternatives to an MBA

When it comes to finding alternatives to obtaining an advanced business degree, ask yourself these basic questions:

  • What is your dream organization or company looking for?
  • What skill sets are critical to succeeding in the organization?
  • Is spending time and money on business school the only way to acquire these skills?
  • What work experiences, training, and exposure can help you develop these skills?

Companies look for employees who add value to the organization—that is, employees who have the drive to work quickly and accurately, provide unique insights and who can manage and lead teams aligned with organizational goals. Let’s look at a few development opportunities that can help you acquire these coveted skills without returning to full-time studies.

Leadership-Development Programs

Larger companies often have management or leadership-development programs tailored toward young professionals that display high potential. These programs can be in specific functions, such as engineering, finance, and accounting or can be general programs for future senior managers of the organization. Professionals are often rotated around various jobs and responsibilities every six months or so in order to provide exposure to different aspects of the business.

For instance, a new financial analyst entering the program can be placed for a few months in departments such as audit, treasury, mergers, and acquisitions, financial planning or investor relations. Having gone through such exposure can make the analyst a candidate for manager, controller, or CFO down the road.

Professionals who undergo these types of programs will have gained hands-on, paid experience in different aspects of the company as opposed to merely a theoretical approach to the function they would get in business school.

(See also: Top Job-Search Mistakes For Finance Grads.)

Change Your Work to a Different Function

A professional can dive right in and gain experience in a certain field. An accountant who wants to transition into marketing can network and look for opportunities in the marketing department of his or her company or join a marketing services firm. Yes, this can work.

Attitude and a successful track record are often the deciding factors in whether an applicant is selected for the job. An accountant with a solid history of success and strong references can be favored for such a position—if they properly communicate the reasons for the employment change. This can give an advantage over a former accountant with an MBA who has taken a few marketing classes.

Two years’ worth of experience in a certain function can be highly valuable, as one learns the intricacies and critical success factors in that field. A classroom does not provide the level of insight or the industry relationships you will need to succeed in the field.

(See also: Six Steps To Successfully Switching Financial Careers.)

Certifications

Moving up to management requires leading and managing teams and ensuring organizational goals are achieved. Managerial responsibilities also include financial planning and the handling of budgets and forecasts. Depending on which part of the organization you would like to transition to, you can prepare for a variety of designations to prepare yourself for added responsibilities and skill sets. There are certifications that are related to finance and accounting, including:

Other certifications that are more consulting-related include Six Sigma Black Belt (for process optimization), Project Management Professional, and Certified Information Systems Analyst, among others. There are a wide variety of certifications out there in virtually any field of business.

Obtaining these allows you to remain employed, and successfully passing all the requirements and exams will show others your competence in the specific field of interest. An MBA, on the other hand, may be too general to convey particular expertise in an area.

Besides, there are companies out there that will gladly pay for you to obtain these certifications. Imagine that: They’ll pay for you to become stronger in your field—for you to earn a higher income and future promotions. Now there’s a good deal.

Training for Professionals

Universities offer a variety of development programs for managers and executives that allow professionals to undertake training courses on-site during evenings and weekends. Some companies pay for such training if it directly tied to one’s job.

An MBA forces you to cover a variety of required topics, whether you want to or not. Executive programs and extension classes, on the other hand, allow you to target areas in which you would like to improve, allowing you to tailor learning according to your needs. These programs are typically structured so that participants must fulfill course requirements and can cover a wide variety of business topics, including:

  • Negotiation skills
  • Leadership
  • Public speaking
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Alternatively, there are various for-profit training centers that allow you to hone certain skills. For instance, finance professionals can undergo training in valuation or in accounting. You can remain employed while enhancing your skills, and some companies provide reimbursement upon satisfactory completion of requirements.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

T-Mobile’s Dream of Telecommunications Domination Gets the OK + How to Create Mental Toughness While Pursuing Your Dreams

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T-Mobile’s $26 billion takeover of Sprint finally got approved by a federal judge, a move that will leave most wireless consumers with three major operators to choose from, including Verizon and AT&T. More than a dozen attorneys general had sued to block the merger that had already been approved by the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission. The administration has required T-Mobile and Sprint to sell some units to pay-TV operator Dish Network as part of the deal.

Dream chasing isn’t for the faint at heart. It can take years before one sees the financial payoff of what was once an idea. T-Mobile is probably patient on the outside, but internal it is jumping for joy. It took them a few years to get to this point, but I’m sure they will be relieved at the fruits of their patients.

When building a business, your goal has to be more than money, or you will ultimately fail. Your drive has to be based on principle, change, and something greater than yourself. Here is how to stay mentally tough while pursuing your dreams.

Personal Development. The road to success is paved with character and growth. Personal development is one of the key drivers that sustain you on the path of your dreams. Trustworthiness, keeping your word, and dependability are imperative to any industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or painter, lawyer or doctor, these traits and non-negotiable and forever transferable to success.

Take Breaks. To get there, you must rest one mile at a time. The grind is overrated. Reflecting on how far you’ve come energizes you for the road ahead. Burnout is a danger to your accomplishments and leads to a failure by default.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs popularized this quote from an ad in The Whole Earth Catalog. It read Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. We come to a point when we are happy with a level of progress and think we’ve learned everything. Accepting the truth that we never stop growing, and there is no limit to our success gives us the ability to keep going. To continue, you must never settle. You must always seek new ways of fixing things and solving problems. Discover new opportunities and be open to learning more.

Faith. Steve Jobs also mentioned faith throughout his journey. Believing so deeply in an idea that you make it come to life. Belief takes ideas and materializes them; and when you realize you can actually make something come to life, the sky becomes your launching pad, not the limit.

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Amazon Plans to Add 15,000 Jobs + How to Prepare for the Job You Want

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Amazon says it will hire 15,000 more people at its Bellevue, Washington, campus, as part of the company’s effort to allocate new workers after it abandoned its plans for New York City. The e-commerce giant had issues in New York trying to open a facility there, called Bellevue, where 2,000 employees are already located, a “business-friendly city.” It’s also close to the company’s Seattle headquarters. This is good news for those in the job market but if this isn’t what you are looking to do then how do you make yourself valuable in the job market?

Here are four ways to prepare for the job you want no matter your age:

1. Focus on Your Strengths, Not What You’re Lacking

Whether you are 20 years old or over 40 instead of focusing on your age, you need to focus on your strengths. Many young people with limited experience or older people who may not be up to date with the latest technologies focus on what they’re lacking, and this is a big mistake. Do you have the qualifications for the job? Can you bring value to this position? Whatever your strong suits are you should play that up in your resume, cover letter or communications with the recruiter. It’s easy to focus on why you can’t get the job, but the trick is not to let that get to you. Focus on your value!

2. Attack Your Job Search from All Angles

Networking, Answering ads and/or working with recruiters are the most effective ways to land a job. It is important that you just don’t focus on one method but all three. Networking obviously is the ideal way because it allows you to communicate your value directly, but the other methods have their benefits as well. Be proactive and use each method effectively.

3. Show/Explain Your Leadership Abilities and/or Innovation

Leadership and taking the initiative have nothing to do with age. Young leaders and old leaders can be more or equally effective as those who have the “ideal” age. Focus on your leadership abilities and be sure to display this to your current or potential employee. Also, make sure you are keeping up to date with current trends in your industry. This will allow you to show your innovation and add more value to your company.

4. Ask For What You are Worth

Lastly, ask for what you are worth. Don’t let being “too young” or “too old” deter you from asking for a salary you deserve. In fact, trying to downplay your worth may very well backfire on you. Also, if you have been with a company for a long time and your salary outpaces what the position is worth making sure you are adding to your skill set and not staying complacent.

Following these four tips can help you gain or retain employment. What are some other ways? Comment below>>>

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New Survey Says that Young People Don’t Like Job Hopping + How to Get Paid What You’re Worth

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Contrary to popular belief young people are not keen on job-hopping as most people think. According to a new survey, U.S. millennials and Gen Zers want to stay at their current companies for an average of 10 years and six years, respectively. Additionally, they say work is a major part of their lives, with 65% of people in Gen Z and 73% of millennials saying it’s part of their identities, according to a Zapier-sponsored poll. The age groups’ actions reflect the findings: Seven in 10 say they constantly check work messages outside the office. This is great for corporations but what does that mean for business owners?

If you are a freelancer or entrepreneur you know all too well the fight to get what you are worth. You will constantly be bombarded with offers to work for less or even for “exposure” as many like to call it now. But how do you gain the confidence and know how to charge and get what you’re worth? Here are 3 tips:

Build Your Resume. It’s said that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. Pursuing your passions and getting paid for it is the ultimate professional dream. You may have to start by working for free or at a discount rate to builds skill, ability, and your resume but once you have some stats under your belt its time to get that money… Keep in mind that if you are only in it for the money it will be difficult to experience long term financial gains so make sure you are pursuing your passion not only the paycheck.

Set a Standard. Pioneers have the ability to set standards. And even if you are providing services already in the market, no one can deliver them quite like you. Style and quality set you aside from others opening up a field of buyers seeking exactly what you offer.

Don’t Give In. A colorist (a person who literally adds color by hand or digitally in films and visual media; yes, there is a path for everyone) from Brooklyn, NYC once told me he had to be firm with pricing because he didn’t want to become that guy who works for free. After you have put in the work and set a standard you must not give in to fees below your ability. Yes, flexibility is key but don’t short change yourself. Getting paid your worth is ultimately the result of you believing in your ability and knowing there are people who will pay for it.

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