Get the most from your MBA: Practice leadership

Many employers tell us that what they are looking for from MBA program graduates is simply put, leadership.  That is, upon graduation will the MBA graduate be able to effectively plan, influence others to get on board with the plan and then effectively adapt to inevitable change?  The Mason MBA program not only offers courses to enhance problem solving and analytical skills in areas such as accounting and finance, but it also offers opportunities for students to handle practical leadership challenges they will inevitably face, and what employers tell us are the hardest for to train.

Mason’s MBA program offers a set of popular electives that promote leadership skills for our students.  For example, MBA 725 Leadership, examines the critical roles and functions of leadership with a special focus on how leaders influence organizational performance and manage change.  MBA 726 Negotiations is an exercise-based class where theory and practice meet on a weekly basis to improve students’ approaches to negotiation and influence.  When in a leadership position, hiring, firing, managing, and motivating others becomes critical to sustaining a high-performance organization. MBA 713 Managing Human Capital focuses on these topics so students gain confidence implementing strategies to attract, retain, and motivate human capital.

Taking courses on leadership-related topics is not the only way to enhance leadership skills during the MBA program at Mason.  The Mason MBA provides opportunities for students to take on leadership roles.  The MBA Student Association organizes events to enhance the MBA community and to build networking opportunities for students. At Mason we pride ourselves on the cohort structure and rely on student cohort representatives to relay feedback to the program office in the spirit of continuous improvement.  Many MBA students enhance their professional development by seeking assistantships.  Research and teaching assistantships offer close interaction with faculty and opportunities to lead projects and/or class discussions with undergraduate students.

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Paige Wolf

As director of graduate programs at George Mason's School of Business, my vision is to have a vibrant, collegial community of active learners who develop enduring professional relationships with faculty, staff, and fellow students while pursuing their degrees. Prior to this position, I spent 11 years with the School of Business as an associate professor of management teaching both MBA and undergraduate courses in organizational behavior and human resource management. I have more than 16 years of experience as an internal and external consultant on strategic human resource initiatives including team building, organizational development, competency modelling, performance management, employee selection systems, career planning, employee training and development, leadership assessment, and human resource audits.

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