When Rusty Sloane retired as a Commander from his 22-year military career in 2011, he remained a pilot for nearly two years before he transitioned into his current managerial role. However, the Navy and Coast Guard veteran soon discovered he would need additional higher education to help him soar to new heights in his civilian career.
"I had plenty of leadership experience and all that goes along with it," said Sloane. "However, as I got out, I realized that no matter how much leadership experience -- or really just experience -- that you bring to the table, there are certain doors that are going to remain closed unless you have an MBA. For that reason, I decided to go ahead and do what I could to leverage my way into some of those doors."
Civilian Milt Flinn, who worked for consumer package goods marketing firm Crossmark in Plano, faced a similar plateau in his career and needed to improve his prospects.
"I felt like I needed something to differentiate myself. I just felt like I was doing a lot at my company, and there were a lot of people getting promoted ahead of me. I felt like I wasn't getting the visibility because several of these people had MBAs. I thought that was the determining factor that kept me out of the running."
Both Sloane and Flinn are Baylor MBA career reinvention success stories who represent thousands more.
The MBA Is a Platform for Career Changers
Whether you are a military veteran or a mid-career professional seeking to advance beyond your current plateau, the MBA is the postgraduate business degree of choice for career reinvention. According to data from TransparentMBA supplied to Poets & Quants, 87 percent of MBAs switch either functions or industries in their jobs directly before and after business school. Nearly 70 percent switch both functions and industries.
With the surging popularity of affordable and convenient online MBA programs, the option to pursue the degree is much less daunting for people in their 30s and 40s with heavy financial and personal obligations. What all of this suggests is that the MBA is a platform for career pivoting.
The MBA Adds to Existing Skills to Develop a Complete Portfolio of Leadership Capabilities
The MBA is also a degree that is highly preferred by employers across the United States and around the world. According to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey Report 2017, employers rank five major skill sets as the most important when hiring business graduates for mid-level jobs. In descending order, they are communication, teamwork, technical, leadership and managerial. Most positions in military and civilian life develop some of these skills, but not all. This combination has been shown to correlate with critical thinking and leadership success. It explains why demand for recent MBA graduates is so strong in the United States, where nine in 10 employers and three in four startups planned to hire MBA graduates in 2017.
Employers Value Flexible Management Skills
MBA programs prepare career changers to move beyond career plateaus by developing specific management skills that can be applied in leadership roles across industries, organizations and functions. These skills often determine the success of managers and their organizations:
Team building and management is one of the most essential of these transferable skills. This involves managing from an operational, as well as a strategic perspective, and includes establishing objectives, coordinating and inspiring people, promoting teamwork, delegating responsibilities, resolving conflict, and evaluating performance.
Project management involves leading a project through to its successful completion, including the delegating responsibilities, assigning tasks, keeping many balls in play at once and holding individuals accountable to deadlines.
Organization and time management skills assure an employer that a manager will not only be highly productive, but will be able to commit to completing a certain number of projects within a given time frame. Professionals without an MBA often struggle in this area. Students in business school learn proven methods for making these assessments. They also learn to accomplish more in less time by being highly organized and optimizing limited resources.
Whether you are a military veteran or a mid-career professional, pursuing an MBA at this stage of your life should prove to be a decision you reflect on with great satisfaction at retirement.
Learn more about the Baylor online MBA program.
Sources:GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey Report 2017 [DOWNLOAD]
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