Guest Blogger: “Is Real World Application for Real?”

Some MBA students find there is no relevancy in what they learn in class and the practical world. Yes, I was one of these doubters until I was engaged by one of my professors in an operations management course at Lincoln Memorial University.  The end results was assisting a local nonprofit organizations, writing my first book, and being thrust on the expert stage.

Operations management (OM) should be important to nonprofit organizations too. With shrinking funds for programs and a more competitive environment, nonprofit organizations will need to rethink their corporate strategies for future success.

This reality means managing their operations more efficiently and shifting their traditional thinking to a more entrepreneurial approach. Unlike businesses that are driven primarily by profit, nonprofits use any monies earned to be put back into the organization to cover their own expenses, operations, and programs. In 2005, there will be approximately 1.4 million nonprofit organizations registered to the IRS according to “Non-profit market” by Closerware.com.

My OM project called a “Real World Application” project was on the Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation based in Maryville, Tennessee; it is one of these nonprofit organizations looking for more operational effectiveness in the future.

Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation is a federal and state-funded program run by the Tennessee Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services to assist individuals of work age with physical and/or mental disabilities to compete successfully with others in earning a livelihood.

Based on the research data from the 2007 American Community Survey, approximately 12.8% of Americans between the ages of 21 and 64 have a disability.  In Fiscal Year 2009, the Division of Rehabilitation Services provided services to 30,289 individuals in Tennessee and 27,932 individuals met the eligibility criteria of the program. 

It is projected that 30,000 individuals will receive services and that 27,000 individuals will meet the eligibility criteria of the program and receive services during Fiscal Year 2011. Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation in Maryville supplies automotive parts to Denso where I work. 

 The work usually requires a packaging or simple sub-assembly task while is a training tool for clients to learn work skills and experience. The average training length is 4 months.  However, I found all the staff being occupied with the daily routine and the primary mission of serving the clients. The  staff didn’t have enough time to observe and evaluate its capacity and capability. 

Also, the Center manager was afraid of committing to additional work and contracts due to the unique labor population and the number of clients being fluctuated.  My recommendations were to provide a tool to analyze the capacity frequently and to establish the fine balance of time-sensitive and non time-sensitive jobs to absorb the fluctuations. For instance, the center can prioritize and focus on the time-sensitive jobs for the Just-in-time customer due to high absenteeism.

Working with Dr. Green,  I published my results. My new book, Second Chance, provides nonprofit organizations with information about how to use
operations management tools to make them more efficient and better equipped to assist their clients and constituents in meeting their needs.

Nonprofit organizations like for profit organizations must find innovative ways to compete with others. This includes competing on several dimensions which are (a) cost or price, (b) quality, (c) speed, (d) delivery reliability, and (e) coping with change.   The concepts, theories, tools, technology or reading materials learned in the classroom are not to keep in a closet. 

They are to practice in a real world for an advanced career or a way to help organizations who need the knowledge and expertise. The support can be a time study, data analysis, plotting graphs for visual control, standardized work, material flows, and finally mock interviews for clients who were ready for job placement.

I just had to ask the very last question to a client during a mock interview at the center.  “How did you know about this center?  How did the experience at the center help you prepare for a job?” He answered without any hesitation, “It’s the best thing ever happened to me.  I get up every morning and cannot wait to come here. The experience gave me skills and confidence to find a real job. ”  He also appreciated his mother for finding out the program and encouraging him to pursue.

There are many other individuals with disabilities who can benefit from the service like the client who I interviewed.  How can we optimize the capacity to accommodate more clients without increasing the operation costs? I learned that I can make a difference, using my operational experience.

As a surprising result, I found a practical side of my MBA learning by helping others in the community. If we spend approx. 40 hours per week for a career
job, 2~3 hours a week of investment outside of the work seems to be very little.  However, you will be amazed by the positive impact you can make for the people who need help. 

Don’t underestimate your talent!  It can be fully utilized and appreciated outside of the classroom.  Pursuing a degree is an accomplishment, but we can even capitalize the talent and skills even further by reaching out.  It’s a genuine accomplishment.

© 2011 by Noriko Chapman

Please comment on Ms. Chapman’s points.

 

Noriko Chapman helps social causes as an industry expert.

Noriko Chapman is the mother of two children. She lives in Maryville, Tennessee.  She is a Production Control supervisor in the Instrument Cluster Division of DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc. She worked at DENSO specializing in production planning, new products start up, service parts operations, supply chain and warehouse operations for 16 years and for 2 years as a full- or part-time translator at the beginning before the first Tennessee DENSO plant was built. Given the fact that she was raised in Japan, she wrote a chapter “Japanese Practices in an Autoparts Plant” for the book, Effects of Japanese Investment In a Small American Community by Scott Brunger and Young-Bae Kim.  Her Maryville College undergraduate research paper, “A Dramaturgical Analysis of Japanese Organization Behavior” won an undergraduate award by North Central Sociological Association.  She is currently attending Lincoln Memorial University MBA program and now serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services.

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46 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: “Is Real World Application for Real?”

  1. I agree that some MBA students believe there is no real-world relevancy in their studies. Relevancy in MBA studies are often best understood and used by previous work experience. I believe students who directly pursue an MBA degree after undergraduate studies are severely short-changed in their educational experience. Students must see how the business world operates and then learn why and how it is such. In general, today’s MBA students are part of the most diverse and dynamic group that have ever graced the halls of many graduate schools. Yeaple, Johnston and Whittingham suggest, “students with work experience may be more sensitive to the problems of managing a business and have practical insights that may complement material presented in class (2009).”

    Ms. Chapman, do you believe your work experience has enriched your classroom understanding and desire for acheivment in attaining an MBA degree?

    References
    Yeaple, R. N., Johnston, M. W., & Whittingham, K. L. (2009). Measuring the Economic Value of Pre-MBA Work Experience. Journal of Education for Business, 85(1), 13-20. doi:10.1080/08832320903217515

    • Hi Jamie,
      I love your comment and absolutely agree that “students must see how the business world operates and then learn why and how it is such.” In answer to your question, definitely YES! I truly enjoy connecting my work experience with theories and discussions in classroom. It’s almost like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. At workplace I’ve done it, seen it, and wondered… What we learn in the programs may help us see the whole picture to reason why! I hope you see the benefit, too!!

      • Hi Noriko,

        We appreciate you sharing your expertise and opening up the discussion with a stimulating topic.

        It’s encouraging to see dynamic students like yourself taking it to another level in sharing your expertise across the globe.

        Hope to see more topics from you.

        Respectfully,
        Professor D. Green

      • Dr. Green and All,
        Thank you very much for having me as a guest blogger. I truly enjoyed and will value all your well-thought comments.

        Kindly Regards,
        Noriko

    • Jamie, I completely agree with your assessment of the need to apply real world applications and working experience toward achieving your MBA. In today’s fast paced business world with ever-changing technology, MBA students must have something they can apply and relate to while pursuing their MBA. According to a 1988 study by Porter and McKibbins, there are six key features of an ideal MBA curriculum; integrated problem-solving, experiential learning, soft-skill development or analytical management, global perspective, information technology, and ethics and social responsibility. A recent study performed by Navarro revealed that many of the top U.S. business schools are facing pressure from, not only the students themselves, but from the organizations that hire them once they have finished school, to provide a solid education addressing those key features. Experiential learning, or the need to “supplant, or at least supplement, the traditional ‘chalk-and talk’ lecture format with more experiential exercises aimed at real-world problem solving and student-centered learning” is vital to the success of today’s MBA student.

      Reference: Navarro, P. (2008). The MBA core curricula of top-ranked U.S. business schools: A study in failure? Academy of Management Learning and Education, 7(1). 108-123. Retrieved from EBSCOHost.

      • Hi Michael,
        I like your research and agree with the six key features! A real world application (RWA) is definitely a great opportunity for MBA students without work experience to expose themselves to real problems and issues that cannot be learned in the classrooms. The consulting experience can be tactfully cited and discussed in job interviews to show our potentials!

    • Jaime,

      I believe that a MBA degree makes believers out of students. It wasn’t until my MBA classes that I related education to the real-world! I agree with your response that MBA studies can be applied better/more effectively with more work exerience.

    • I recall sitting in the undergraduate management classes relating the ideas and topics that the instructor used with my husband’s, friend’s and my own past work experience. I remember thinking “how can these young students fully grasp this concept without the work history?” My own professor emphasized that one needed to work before continuing with a master’s degree, and discouraged anyone from going straight into the program.

      According to Jim on College Online “Relevant work experience will create a richer learning environment as you can see how classroom concepts will apply to the daily rigors of work. Relevant work experience will also aid in relating with your peers as you network with them throughout the program”. After continuing my own studies after years of working, I can truly appreciate how much more valuable my education is since I can relate it to real life applications.

      References:
      Jim. (2011). 5 P’s of Choosing an MBA Program. Retrieved July 22, 2011, from College Online: http://www.collegeonline.org/library/choosing-program/mba-5ps

      • Hi Angela,

        I agree with your post completely. Working for a number of years before returning to school can enrich the classroom experience on a different level. According to Julia King, most of the top business schools do not even accept graduate students until they have had relevant work experience to back up their admissions application (p. 22). A student does not fully understand how to approach financial analysis or project management unless they have struggled through creating a budget for their department at work. King suggests one can work in different functional areas of business in lieu of attaining an MBA, but the MBA offers something different—a mind-set and a skill-set (p. 22). Thanks to case studies and real world applications, we, as students are able to capture a real grasp of the ‘big picture.’

        Reference: KING, J. (2011). Should you get an MBA? (Cover story). Computerworld, 45(1), 20-26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

      • Hi Angela & Windy,
        I agree with you both that our work experience makes the classroom learning more dynamic. Also I think that the diversity of work experience advantages our consulting tasks. I’ve been in the Just-In-Time, fast-pace, cost-conscious, competitive manufacturing environment for more than 20 years. So it was an eye-opener for me to work with the nonprofit organization that provides service. I could see problems and opportunities from the completely different aspects. I found tools I was familiar with may be helping. The tools were modified and applied to cater the service operations. The RWA is a perfect opportunity to try out something we learn in the classroom or something we know from our own work experience. It’s fun!!

    • Jamie, I definitely understand where you’re coming from, but I believe it is very useful to start an MBA program earlier in ones career. If you have just earned a BA much of what you have learned is still fresh in your mind. Also, you still have an unsullied and open mindset because you have not yet developed ideas about how certain operations and industries should work. Technology is ever changing as well, the more versed you are in the most up to date learning and research techniques the better equipped you will be to excel in your MBA program. Besides, you will have more years to reap the benefits of not only the education you have gained, but the prestige as well. Some real world experience is good, but as it stated in the Princeton Review article, “What is an Early Career MBA program? “With more years to reap the financial and professional benefits of your MBA, the return on investment can be the greatest early in your career.”

      Reference: What is an Early Career MBA program? The Princeton Review. http://www.princetonreview.com/early-career-MBA.aspx

  2. Having an MBA opens many doors to career and charity opportunities. Many charities or non-profits now look for financial and management expertise that an MBA can convey. The more popular trend is to pursue a business career and use that talent to create positive social change. An MBA is often seen as a corporate qualification. However, increasingly an MBA can open doors within the charitable, voluntary, and non-profit sector. Many charities are now big organizations with complex governance, management, and financial issues who need the expertise an MBA graduate can offer (Paton, 2011). A reason MBA graduates volunteer services is that, often, people who have accomplished many things feel the need or aspiration to give back to the community. An MBA empowers individuals to help those in need, endowing them in consequence. MBA degrees offer tangible and intangible assets to the holders and those surrounding. A desire to accomplish and become greater than average is seen in graduate students. This desire often carries into volunteering ambitions and civilian standards.

    References:
    Paton, N. (2011, January 22). Use your mba to open doors to jobs in the charity sector.guardian.co.uk, Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk

    • Keisha,

      I have felt the empowerment of the MBA classes and I can relate to your post. There is a desire to help those in need! After reading your post, I believe that a MBA relates to the world in two ways: 1) It relates to daily business operations and; 2) It gives back to the real world.

    • The pursuit and achievement of an MBA can open new doors, or provide a springboard to a new career. While those are great reasons, equally important is the simple joy of personal goal fulfillment. Downie, et al, said that neglecting to set goals that are personally meaningful is one reason many people fail to achieve them. Opening doors and new careers are motivations that fall into the “external” category. External goal motivation is characterized by getting something from someone else if you achieve it (Downie, 2006). Goals that are personally meaningful tend to fall into the “identified” category of motivation. This simply means one believes the goal is an important goal to have. An MBA is an important goal in today’s business climate. The hope or chance of getting something in exchange, however, may not provide the best motivation for success. People must invest themselves in the challenge of personal goal fulfillment in order to have the best chance for achievement.

      Reference:

      Downie, M., Koestner, R., Horberg, E., & Hage, S. (2006). Exploring the relation of independent and interdepenent self-construals to why and how people pursue personal goals. The Journal of Social Psychology. 146(5). 517-531. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.exproxy.lmunet.edu.

      • Hi Kevin,
        Opportunities are everywhere. Yes, I agree with you that we can make our hopes a reality when having courage to take the challenge. We are the ones to knock on the doors!

    • Hi Keisha and Christian,
      I totally agree with you both!
      Opportunities beyond an MBA degree, tangible or intangible, are infinite. RWA is one way to make us think through, try out and test our knowledge and skills. Those nonprofit organizations may be looking for the skills, and any help may be appreciated. It’s a win-win situation. We gain and they will, too!!

  3. An MBA is most certainly seen as a prerequisite for many positions in today’s workforce. Employers are requiring more output from their employees and desire to have the most educated and capable workforce possible. Also, many MBA students/graduates use their advanced education in charity and non-profit settings because they are more socially conscious. However, one particular reason MBA graduates may be moving toward non-profit jobs is that desirable jobs in the private sector are drying up. Mark Scott of Business Week explained, “The current recession, which has caused thousands of job losses in the global financial services industry, as well as the expansion of government oversight over business, is leading many MBA students to consider careers in the public or nonprofit sector (2009)”. Graduates who may have never considered the non-profit sector see many more opportunities for professional growth there compared to the private sector.
    References
    Scott, M. (2009). As Jobs Dry Up, MBAs Seek Alternative Paths. BusinessWeek Online, 25. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

    • Traditionally, MBA graduates have been linked to jobs rooted in corporate positions. This trend is changing. Today, nonprofits want to hire MBAs as well. In 2008, a survey conducted by the Aspen Institute found only 6% of MBA graduates planned to pursue jobs in the social sector (“The case for,” 2011). However, as the recession hit, for-profit jobs began to decrease in supply and job seekers have begun to look outside the traditional realm. What they have found is a greater amount of opportunity. As school recruitment went down during recession, government and nonprofit MBA recruiting activity increased by 35% and 12% respectively (“The case for,” 2011). Nonprofits seek the expertise of MBA holders and many of today’s graduates are finding these opportunities not only available, but attractive. While nonprofit jobs do not typically offer the salaries of for-profit positions, they can often lead to terrific leadership positions, an important trait if looking for career advancement (“Are nonprofits hiring,” 2010).

      References:
      Are nonprofits hiring mba graduates?. (2010, August 22). Retrieved from http://www.phoenix.edu
      The case for mbas in the nonprofit sector. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.cgcareers.org

  4. In my opinion, classes relate more to the real-world as they narrow down into our desired field of work, such as an MBA degree. All of the MBA classes relate to real world businesses and business applications. As classes narrow down, we grow mentally and our thoughts and outlook mature. It is very important to have a positive outlook on the classes that are taken. Also, it is important to be committed to the chosen class. According to Alison Stateman (2008), there are steps to take in order to get the most out of our classes. We must: 1) Asses the teacher – figure out if the teacher turns you on; 2) Audit if you can – take trial classes if you can; 3) Review the submission requirements; 4) Do research and; 5) Don’t limit ourselves. So, to answer your question Noriko, yes, real world application is for real!

    Reference:
    Stateman A. Class action: How to choose and get the most out of writing classes. Public Relations Tactics [serial online]. February 2008;15(2):22. Available from: Business Source Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed July 22, 2011.

  5. Thank you for sharing your personal story. I recently visited Washington to support the American Library Association. Being new to lobbying, I was given a course on how to make an impact. We were told to share our personal stories. I was critical of this practice, since, well, “who am I?” to tell some person in government how important libraries are. I shared that I was once a latch-key student who walked to the library each day after school and became a first-generation high school graduate, college graduate and MBA candidate. The library changed the way that I perceived the world and brought my family out of poverty by showing me a different way of living. Now, my son, also in college, has survived bone cancer. My story had a very big impact on the senators and congresspeople. My words helped shape the way policies were written.

    Business is no exception to the personal story usefulness. According to The Journal of Business Communication, “These stories enable founders to (a) justify the existence of the company; (b) convince others to devote funds and other key resources to the company; and (c) make key decisions in the short and intermediate term.”

    O’Connor,E.(2002).StoriedBusiness:Typology,Intertextuality,andTrafficinEntrepreneurialNarrative.JournalofBusinessCommunication,39(1),136-154.doi:10.1177/002194360203900103

    • Hi Laura,
      What an inspiring story! It’s amazing how our words and life stories can impact other’s lives. One person can make the positive impact. Can you imagine how the impacts can be multiplied to a community and maybe to a nation if a larger entity as a company promotes the positive act like volunteering and reaching out? Thank you very much for sharing your great story.

    • Laura,

      Your story is truly inspiring. It is quite obvious that you are enthusiastic and passionate about learning–and not just your own education.

      I would also agree with you that sharing one’s own personal story can help to inspire others, especially in the business world. Many employees need inspiration to feel motivated and compelled to succeed. As current and future managers, we can all benefit from this process of sharing. “Share your own story. Talk about why you believe the destination is compelling, and what it is it about where the company is going that inspires you. After all, why would your employees care about the mission of the company if their own manager doesn’t?” (Lorenz 2010).

      Reference: Lorenz, Mary. (2010, December 9). 7 Ways to Inspire Your Employees. Careerbuilder. Retrieved July 23, 2011. Retrieved from http://thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com.

  6. undergraduate was really an easy task for me and i never truly believed learning something exciting that i could use directly in real life . At 16 years old as a freshmen and athlete it was all about the 4.0 which i did with joy. For the first time i am applying what i am learning in life and enjoying it. For instance my MBA class in operation management visited a small business ” Chandler Deli ” in Knoxville TN …we had the chance to meet the owner and learn how we could help him ad how applying all we are learning in real life.
    Recognizing that significant learning occurs inside and outside of the classroom, CASE offers a variety of activities for students interested in social entrepreneurship. An MBA degree helps you in quickly climbing up the corporate ladder with a handsome salary package alongside a respectable designation. According to a recent survey, high performing successful MBAs are more likely to reach top management levels of Fortune 500 companies and other corporate areas. MBAs with specialized skills are commonly selected to lead start-up companies.

    REFERENCES:
    HARVARD UNIVERSITY DAILY REPORT: EDUCATION AND REAL LIFE
    Benefits of MBA
    MBA-GUIDE.NET

    • Hi Bassamba,
      Yes, it was an interesting tour to compare and contrast MBA materials and my work experience to Chandler Deli! I was very impressed by his pride and passion in his business. To become an effective leader, we also can learn great leaders’ management styles and personal values in real world settings!

  7. Basamba,
    I truly enjoyed visiting with the folks at Chandler’s, too. I agree that this training out in the field is both useful and very inspiring. I thought that it was interesting to see how the people at Chandler’s responded to their ever-changing market and customers. I am proud to have been in a classroom visit with Dr. Green and I felt honored that we got so much insight from the owner. I agree with you that real world learning provides better and richer challenges for us in MBA school than just traditional classroom learning. There is no replacing actual business and real people.

  8. For me, pursing an advanced degree was mostly for personal gratification. But in any profession, staying competitive only makes sense. “The bottom line is you have an advantage over those you compete with in the workplace” (MBA.com, 2009). I never want to be in a situation in which I won’t be considered for a position because I don’t have a master’s degree.

    It has been quite the challenge to complete this degree in my middle years. But the value of the courses has been unbelievable. I don’t think there is a day that goes by, that I don’t practice and apply core processes and terms I have learned in my job. As stated in the article, “an MBA gives you the tools you need to understand and implement fundamental and organizational techniques in order to be most efficient” (MBA.com, 2009).

    Going on this journey, has been difficult, challenging and with some obstacles. But as an adult learner, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning again. I find so much value in the content and application this has provided me within my profession.

    • Reference: Does Having an MBA Make an individual a More Valuable Employee? 2009, October 8. MBA.com. http://www.mbas.com/articles/ does-having-an-mba-make-employees-more-valuable.html

    • Hi Suzanne,
      I truly admire your courage and success to take the MBA challenge. As the technology advances, classroom tools also adapted the new technology to practice online classes, electronic library, online databases, blogs, virtual classes, and more. It was the challenge for me in my middle years to be back in school and adapt the new tools very quickly. But it’s worth being the program because I totally agree that you said, “I find so much value in the content and application this has provided me within my profession.” Thank you very much for your comment!

    • Suzanne and Noriko,

      I admire both of you for your candid discussions of returning to school and your reasons for doing that. After an 8 year hiatus, it was terrifying for me to return to school in search of my MBA. However, I knew that it was a step that must be taken to stay competitive in the market and it is comforting to know that others have felt the same way that I have.

      I also think that it is important for us to realize that one of the greatest benefits that we can gain and utilize during our studies, is the network of students and instructors that we are getting to meet. “Arguably the biggest benefit of an MBA, especially an EMBA, is the network you get. You go through WAR with your classmates and the bond becomes tight, ” (Wightman 2011).

      Reference: Wightman, Jackson. (2011, January 27). 5 Ways Getting an MBA Can Help PR Pros. Proper Propaganda. Retrieved July 23, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.jacksonwightman.com.

      • Natalie,

        What a great quote: “Arguably the biggest benefit of an MBA, especially an EMBA, is the network you get. You go through WAR with your classmates and the bond becomes tight, ”

      • Hi Natalie,
        Networking! Yes, I agree because I learned new learning tools, found new social connections and got help and encouragement by classmates and instructors. My favorite quote by Dr. Green is “Believing is becoming!” I’m glad to be in the LMU program where people care about each other’s success. I truly admire your courage and determination to take the step. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment!

  9. MBA provides students with tremendous opportunity to network including the internship opportunities to those who are new to this field and those who don’t have any work experience. An MBA class with students who have had sufficient and relevant work experience has a lot to offer. Imagine a class where you have students with different work experience, for example one from the IT industry or as they call it the ‘knowledge economy’, another from the manufacturing sector and the other from the services industry. The insights they can bring to the class discussions and case analysis can be amazing. We often relate better to the experience that our friends have had and what better if they can share their views about the work in their respective industries. Subjects like Organizational Behavior are areas that definitely need work experience to appreciate the importance of the course (Hindu, 2007). Personally, I was touched by your story, and I believe that, when I will be done with my MBA program at LMU, I will go back to my country (Kenya) and I will use the knowledge that I will gain in class room and I will be able to make a difference in other people’s lives over there.

    Reference
    Hindu (2007) Nothing helps like job experience in MBA study. Retrieved July 23,2011fromhttp://www.hindu.com/edu/2007/01/22/stories/2007012200020400.htm

    • Hi Jeruto,
      What a great plan you have with determination! You are already contributing your talent and passion to your country by obtaining higher education in a foreign country. There must be a lot more opportunities in Kenya to apply our skills and knowledge to assist thousands of people. Let us make our hopes a reality! Thank you very much for your kind comment.

    • Jeruto, I agree with you that one of the greatest benefits of participating in a MBA program is the diversity of opinions and experiences that each student brings to the table. I came to LMU with a very limited business background. I am a physical therapist and therefore the majority of my education to this point has focused on the sciences. I have found that I benefit greatly from being in the classroom with other students over online classes primarily due to the ability to interact with my classmates.

      In their article, “Delivering graduate marketing education: An analysis of face-to-face versus distance education”, the researchers list the following benefits for in-class learning: live practice in communication skills, such as presentation and negociation, increased instruction clarity, and networking opportunities.

      Ponzurick, T.G., Russo, K.F., & Logar, C.M. 2000. Delivering graduate marketing education:An analysis of face-to-face versus distance education. Journal of Marketing Education 22 (3): 180-87.

      • Suzanne, I could relate to your opinion and agree with it on how studying the MBA had transformed our business thinking and the impact of it on us in the real world. The goal of Master Business Administration programs is to add value to its graduates and make them better managers. In the MBA program LMU gives us valuable knowledge about business and all its related aspects. We learn about business strategies and concepts, teaches us how to use these skills in practical life and in day to day business operations. I have personally felt how it gives us the necessary abilities to handle real-life business situations. This helps to set us apart from those who do not have such expertise and can make us leaders in your chosen field.
        Baruch & Peiperl (2000) describes how the MBA degree arose in pert professionalism and to provide a conduct for disseminating scientific advances from inquiry to the field.
        Reference
        Baruch, Y., & Peiperl, M. (2000). The impact of an MBA on graduate careers. Human Resources Management Journal. Retrieved on July 26, 2011 from

    • Jeruto,

      I agree with you as well. The MBA atmosphere is amazing! There is an opportunity to meet people from different ethnic background as well as different career backgrounds. I was not sure what to expect from the LMU MBA program; I came into my first class with much fear. After about two weeks I was relaxed and 100% sure of my decision to choose LMU and a MBA. Also, although the MBA program has much diversity, we all share something in common—we work and have lives outside of school and this is our common bond. That is another reason why I chose LMU, because of the night classes. Arbaugh, Bento, and Hwang (2010), wrote about how MBA programs offer great opportunity to women and minorities. I feel as if this is true as well. The LMU MBA program has given me the opportunity (as a single mother) to be an employee, mother, and student because of the night classes and on-line classes.

      Reference:
      Arbaugh, J. B., Bento, R., & Hwang, A. (2010). Does the MBA Experience Support Diversity? Demographic Effects on Program Satisfaction. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(2), 391-415. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2010.00267.x

  10. MBA provides students with tremendous opportunity to network including the internship opportunities to those who are new to this field. An MBA class with students who have had sufficient and relevant work experience has a lot to offer. A class where you have students with different work experience, for example one from the IT industry or as they call it the ‘knowledge economy’, another from the manufacturing sector and the other from the services industry. The insights they can bring to the class discussions and case analysis can be amazing. We often relate better to the experience that our friends have had and what better if they can share their views about the work in their respective industries. Subjects like operation management are areas that definitely need work experience to appreciate the importance of the course (Hindu, 2007). Personally, I was touched by your story, and I believe that, when I will be done with my MBA program, I will go back to my country and I will apply the knowledge and make difference in others lives too.

    Reference
    Hindu (2007) Nothing helps like job experience in MBA study. Retrieved July 23,2011fromhttp://www.hindu.com/edu/2007/01/22/stories/2007012200020400.htm

  11. The world be a better place if everyone understood and applied the concept of passing on the blessings that we have enjoyed ourselves? Non-profits take burden from the government, alleviating gov’t from responsibility and financial obligation. Talk about efficiency, they spend every dollar that they receive through grants and such, five times over. It is like a family of twelve sharing one steak. Most non-profits provide services without cost. They give goods and services to others for nothing in return. The feds pass down responsibility without any dollars following behind. Volunteers are the main drivers behind a non-profits ability to meet its mission. MBA students can increase their own knowledge as well as be the catalyst for success for a struggling non-profit. A strategic plan can be difficult for the non-profit to create, but for an MBA student it is a simple task that you can help an organization with to get them on their way to utilizing their own strengths. ” A strategic plan is a tool that provides guidance in fulfilling a mission with maximum efficiency and impact” says R. A. Mittenthal, in his article Ten Keys to Successful Strategic Planning for Nonprofit and Foundation Leaders, (www.tccgrp.com/pdfs/per_brief_tenkeys.pdf- ).

    Mittenthal, R. A., http://www.tccgrp.com/pdfs/per_brief_tenkeys.pdfSimilar-

    • Hi Heidi,
      I totally agree with your comment about the shrinking funds for nonprofit. We suggest in the book that nonprofit organizations will need to rethink their corporate strategies with a more entrepreneurial approach. For instance, I’m glad to see that the center has recently benchmarked other centers to start utilizing database to store applications and training progress reports instead of a traditional way to process and file hard copies. Filing and sorting the paperwork may have taken one person to do the job. Filing cabinets are no longer needed. By adapting the electronic data storage, the efficiency and effectiveness will improve. It’s just an example to operate efficiently with the limited funds. Talents and knowledge by MBA students can find and introduce new or more efficient tools to help those organizations. Yes, the world will be definitely a better place if we pass on the blessings we receive!!

    • MBAs bring hard skills and a sharp understanding of teams and how to access resources that aren’t always obvious. The MBA degree is incredibly broad and teaches people how to approach problems from different angles. In addition to offering business savvy, MBAs can impact an organization’s culture in positive ways. Catherine Gill, of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, stated, “As a result of having MBAs on staff, our culture is more operational and streamlined”. There’s an organization-wide emphasis on efficiency. Our culture values processes and understands how they can help us more efficiently fulfill our social mission.” As Kevin Bolduc, the Vice President of Assessment Tools at the Center for Effective Philanthropy states, “The MBAs on our staff help round out our core competencies. The MBAs on staff complement our institutional knowledge with razor sharp quantitative and analytical skills, as well as performance assessment experience” (“The case for,” 2011). MBAs also possess the ability to develop strong relationships. While nonprofit jobs do not typically offer the salaries of for-profit positions, they can often lead to terrific leadership positions, an important trait if looking for career advancement.

      Reference:
      The case for mbas in the nonprofit sector. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.cgcareers.org

  12. Schweitzer (2001) explains that MBA degree is a prestigious degree pursued by many students since it focuses on different principles of business and management. This degree is considered important by many business organizations and it has become a form of necessity in the business world. Many firms which require business executives demand MBA degrees from applicants to vacant posts. Most MBA programs offer courses which focus broadly in management but at same time offer specialized curricula which focus on specific aspects of management. This knowledge becomes valuable to post graduates irrespective of the career they pursue since MBA are relevant to all professions and industries. The MBA degree is thus considered to offer theoretical knowledge which is practical in real world business environment.
    Reference
    Schweitzer, K. (2011). Understanding the MBA degree. Retrieved in July 25, 2011 from

  13. I find it interesting the difference in a bachelor level of education and a Master’s level of education. Many people around me ask if seeking a Master’s degree is much more difficult than seeking a bachelor degree. I must confess, that my answer is most generally YES! I found particularly interesting a statement from a blog posted by username Darthcaboose, they state: “While a bachelor’s degree teaches one how to DO things, a master’s degree is the way forward for the eager student to learn how to LEARN things. I’ve often said in casual conversation that the difference between a bachelor and master’s program is that you can find the answer to the discussion questions at the end of a chapter somewhere in the chapter in the bachelor program whereas in the master’s program, you must apply what you’ve learned to answer the discussion questions.

    Darthcaboose, B. (2010). What is the difference between associates,
    bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees? Retrieved from
    http://www.studentadvisor.com

  14. It was interesting to find in research some criticism against the effectiveness of real world application in the graduate programs. “Critics charge that there is insufficient reality training in MBA programs and that today’s business school faculties are woefully short of firsthand organizational knowledge and experience (Snell, S.A., Baldwin, T.T.)”. I would greatly have to disagree with this statement and did so as soon as I came across the statement. I recalled my personal experience and that of other classmates. I now am reading this blog and see that this statement appears to be quite inaccurate. However, after reading through the source, I found the date of this particular reading, and it was from 1987. The educational guidelines and business ways seem to have excelled greatly since then.

    Snell, S.A., Baldwin, T.T. (1987). Promotions in the corporate world:
    Comparing the perspectives of University professors, MBA students,
    and corporate managers. Journal of Management, 13(3), 587.
    Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

  15. Does school really prepare you for work? A question that’s been asked for a long time. Different people well answer it differently. Some very rich, famous, and powerful individuals like Bill Gates never attended college, but you cannot look at the exceptions. In general higher education does prepare you for the future. Like Dr. Brian Toy said in his article school vs. work “Upon nearing the completion of their undergraduate education, many students struggle to determine the best course of action to take upon graduation: attend graduate school or enter the work world. Many factors should be considered, including knowing your goals” (Toy 2005). I believe higher education doesn’t prepare you to do a specific job but it prepares you to do the job as a whole. It shows your ability to learn and adapt to different situation including stress and the unknown. Getting a higher education is just a weeding process to eliminate the weak and the unmotivated individuals.

    Toy, Brian (2005). School vs. Work. Retrieved from http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/tc/tc1502/schoolwork.htm

    • Hi Wala,
      Yes, I agree that the real job requires and tests our skills to perform well under pressure or a stressful circumstance. The RWA gave me a chance to practice problem-solving skills and critical thinking gained at workplace or school. Applying the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) cycle in the real business setting was a real test for me. We don’t have to wait to demonstrate it until after we get a diploma! Thank you very much for your comment.

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