FHSU's MBA Expands Career Opportunities

By Scott Cason on September, 30 2021

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FHSU's MBA Expands Career Opportunities

Massive industrialization in early 20th century America created never before seen challenges for American business leaders. While colleges and universities had long offered accounting and bookkeeping, the difficulties presented in managing increasingly larger and more complex operations called for a new set of skills. In response to emerging new growth opportunities, colleges began creating business schools, and from this initiative came a new graduate-level program of study-the MBA. While initially frowned upon as an area worthy of academic study, by the 1950s, the MBA began to take hold as an essential credential for the rising business executive. 

Fast-forward to America at the dawn of the 21st century, when American colleges once again begin responding to changes in business and society in an increasingly inter-connected world. Long the preferred educational pathway of choice for rising corporate professionals, leaders in non-traditional fields begin to see the value of developing sophisticated business and management skills in their professions. This emerging demand leads American colleges to start offering MBA’s with specific areas of concentration designed to meet the needs of rising executives in a wide range of non-traditional fields, including healthcare, public service, philanthropy, and agriculture. According to Dr. Muhammad Chishty, Dean of the W.R. and Yvonne Robbins School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University, “The MBA provides the graduate with the knowledge and skills to manage all the resources of an organization, regardless of industry. Whether in government or the private sector, preparing executives to and manage complex organizations is what makes the MBA invaluable.”

The MBA graduate of today bears little resemblance to the Madison Avenue tycoon depicted in the popular Mad Men T.V. series. The modern MBA graduate might be a doctor, a lawyer, or a farmer. As you will discover in this article, contemporary MBA graduates also include an office administrator, a tribal economic development officer, and a pharmacist.  


An MBA Expands Career Options

Cindy Cline’s mom never graduated from high school. Her dad went into the military before finishing high school and eventually earned his GED after completing his military service. This didn’t mean her parents didn’t value education. They encouraged all of their kids to pursue educational opportunities wherever they could find them. Cindy married right after high school and waited until her youngest son started grade school before pursuing a college education. Her first degree, an associate’s degree in secretarial administration, opened the door to a job as an office assistant at Fort Hays State University. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from FHSU as well. 

So why would a college office administrator be interested in earning an MBA? The most straightforward answer would be that during a period of turmoil in her office, she began to feel like she needed to create new professional options. The embodiment of the modern non-traditional student, Cindy found both the time and place flexibility she needed and the digital marketing concentration she wanted in the FHSU MBA program. While working full-time as an executive administrative assistant, Cindy devoted evenings and weekends to online classes, homework, and group projects and completed her MBA in three years.  

The COVID-19 pandemic drove organizations to adapt to remote operations. As the nation and world begin to rebound from the pandemic, one of the lessons learned is that remote work is an affordable and efficient option for employees in various fields as long as there is access to robust technology and internet access. Cindy looks forward to a possible career change, one that will allow her to put her creative and digital marketing skills to work in a remote work setting.

Natasha Corona is a newly degreed MBA student and an economic development officer for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. She invested in the pursuit of an MBA because she knows it opens doors. Her longer-term goal is to pursue a career in the federal government or the defense industry, and she believes her MBA will be a difference-maker. “By obtaining my MBA, I feel like I have an equal opportunity against other candidates applying for any position I will seek,” said Corona.


The MBA Develops Essential Skills Relevant in Any Professional Field

Nearing the end of a ten-year career as a United States Marine Corps officer, Geoffry Genna began to look ahead to civilian life in 2015. When he left active duty service, he chose to attend pharmacy school but continued to have a lingering interest in pursuing an MBA. “There is no workplace where business acumen would not be helpful, especially as I work to advance my career,” said Genna. The future pharmacist knew the MBA experience would help him gain the ability to think critically, and he knew it would enable him to analyze complex healthcare operations from a business point of view. 

The university he chose offered a dual pharmacy/MBA degree program, and he intended to pursue this option. He promptly completed the prerequisites for the dual program. Still, the demands of the full-time study in the pharmacy program, part-time employment in a hospital, and his commitment to his family and raising three young children drove him to look for an online MBA program instead. He also needed to find an affordable MBA program. He found Fort Hays State University’s online MBA program comparable to the in-person program at this pharmacy school and very affordable. The Fort Hays State MBA also offered specialized areas of study that he found attractive. “FHSU enabled me to complete the degree at a fast pace which was excellent. I wanted to complete the MBA before my final year of pharmacy school. FHSU allowed me to take three courses each semester, and I graduated a year before those in the dual degree program,” said Genna. 

The personal experiences shared by these three recent MBA graduates reflect the evolution of the MBA, the growth of new areas of concentration, and its expanding value for professionals in a wide variety of fields.  Fort Hays State University offers a wide range of MBA concentration options, including:

FHSU also offers a General MBA with no area of concentration. Students can choose any nine credits of MBA concentration course

Scott Cason

I am a former Navy helicopter pilot and middle school teacher, I find my work in higher education communications and marketing immensely rewarding because I believe in the transformative power of education, and because I love to be surrounded by smart, curious, creative and passionate people.


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