International business, leadership, and project management specializations in business administration

Professionals who perform in a leadership or managerial capacity know how challenging yet rewarding it can be. Getting the most out of a business or organization involves supervising every process and committing your time and skills to steady growth, efficiency, and productivity. Evidently, there are several relevant strategies for running an organization; however, education remains a solid starting point for increasing productivity and efficiency within the workplace.

Earning an advanced degree is a surefire way to show commitment to enhancing your career expertise and credibility. This undoubtedly makes a professional more competitive in the job market, especially one as saturated as business administration. Advanced degrees also help professionals develop relevant skills to take up more worthwhile and challenging organizational responsibilities.

Today, the internet and other technological innovations have made it much easier for professionals to explore these educational opportunities and advance in their selected fields. Several institutions now offer online programs spanning diverse areas, from nursing to business administration, technology, economics, and engineering, to mention a few.

On the topic of business administration, an online MBA from Kettering University Online is a solid starting point if you love to examine the big picture and explore career advancement opportunities. Master of Business Administration programs cover the essential skills needed for top practice in various business and management areas. As a professional, an online MBA will also give you the tools you need for an exciting career.

Business administration

Business administration is a vast field that incorporates several different responsibilities, professional settings, and career growth opportunities. It refers to the administration or management of an organization’s resources, time, and people. Professionals in this field strive to ensure every business process runs efficiently and productively, a very complex responsibility that requires highly developed skills from several disciplines.

As a result, MBA programs feature various courses from managerial accounting to financial, strategic, and marketing management, to mention a few. However, besides a basic understanding of these courses, business professionals must also specialize in a practice area. For instance, Kettering University Online’s MBA program offers students the option of specializing in one of three areas – International Business (BUSN 659), Leadership (MGMT 679), and Project Management (MGMT 619).

While these specialization courses feature different course codes depending on the institutions, they are prevalent courses in MBA programs. However, most professionals need help in selecting a specialization. Therefore, we will examine all three specialization courses in detail, highlighting their differences, advantages, and what they offer in terms of knowledge and skills.

International Business (BUSN 659)

International business refers to the trade of goods, services, knowledge, and other valuable resources across national borders and at a global or transnational scale. In line with this, a BUSN 659 specialization course in a postgraduate degree provides an overview of business practices in an interdependent, integrated global economic system. The course centers on students’ understanding of the opportunities and challenges businesses must contend with during international trade.

An MBA in international business is designed for professionals seeking to develop leadership abilities in a global business context. As part of the specialization, BUSN 659 also equips students with knowledge and competency in international business best practices, such as foreign policies, trade, foreign investment, export management, risk management, and other essential aspects of international business.

Typically, an MBA in international business is reserved for experienced professionals looking to explore career advancement opportunities in international business or at a multinational organization. The course helps to develop managerial competencies relevant to positions that require multicultural and functional expertise. Hence, a BUSN 659 pathway might be best for you if this is the case.

International business covers a wide range of business topics from a global viewpoint. An online MBA in international business could expose a professional to the following job opportunities:

  • Foreign trade.
  • Global supply chain management.
  • An organization’s import and export departments.
  • Working in the worldwide tourism sector.
  • Associate position at an international firm.
  • Investment banking management at international banks.

Sometimes, a professional with an MBA in international business could explore project management positions in multinational corporations. However, this position is mainly reserved for professionals specialized in project management – more on that below.

Skills developed from an MBA in International Business

The global market has changed significantly over the last few years. Across the industry, professionals are subjected to a volatile, complex, uncertain, and ambiguous business environment. As such, thriving in international business requires a comprehensive skill set that helps to address different complexities in the business environment.

Evidently, technical skills are essential in every field of practice. However, regarding international business, soft skills make a difference in a professional’s success level, the most notable being cross-cultural communication competency.

Different cultures provide individuals with distinct frameworks of understanding through which they interpret the world. As such, individuals from other regions will likely interpret the same event differently. Evidently, cultural differences have been a leading cause of cross-cultural business, which is why the BUSN 659 course develops a professional’s cross-cultural communication skills.

Professionals can also explore opportunities relevant to developing other top skills through an international business specialization. Some of these skills include:

  • Collaboration
  • Interpersonal influence
  • Resilience
  • Cultural awareness
  • Networking capabilities
  • Adaptive thinking
  • Emotional intelligence

Professionals opting for an MBA in international business also develop relevant technical competencies incorporating a solid understanding of basic economic principles, financial accounting, and various entrepreneurial frameworks.

Benefits of an MBA in international business

The demand for qualified professionals with an MBA in international business is high. This is because there is a gap left to be filled by professionals with excellent communication skills who are also skilled in coordinating exchanges around the globe. The global market is complex and features multiple cultures and perspectives; hence, professionals capable of navigating its complexity will always be a priority for international organizations.

Professionals specialized in international business can access several career opportunities in multinational companies, taking up positions from global market managers to foreign policy advisers, international finance managers, and trade consultants.

Leadership (MGMT 679)

In most institutions, this specialization was previously considered an MBA in management. However, the switch to leadership does not imply a radical change in curriculum, but rather, a relevant shift from the basics of workforce management to the more critical aspect of making every employee feel like part of a team.

An MBA in leadership emphasizes management through team and skill-building expertise, organizational management, communication, ethics, and more. Specializing in leadership offers professionals the ability to view an organization comprehensively and the skills needed to recognize opportunities and make effective tactical decisions.

The leadership specialization works for middle and senior executives looking to develop their leadership skills to explore more advanced responsibilities. It is also tailored to match the demands of an organization by exploring management, behavioral competencies, and various leadership strategies.

Leadership applies to every organization and every industry, making it multidisciplinary. As such, professionals looking to select the MGMT 679 specialization course would explore other areas in:

  • Business ethics
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Supply chain
  • Accounting
  • Human resources
  • Business law

Like other advanced qualifications, a leadership specialization offers profitable and stable employment opportunities in various settings. In completing an MBA in a leadership program, a professional qualifies for several career paths in an organization, some of which include:

  • Executive positions
  • Human resource management
  • Finance management
  • Management analyst
  • Administrative services management
  • Compensations and benefit management

Aside from stable and productive career paths, a leadership specialization also offers professionals the skills and competency required to delve into entrepreneurship successfully. Leadership MBA programs are highly versatile and relevant in all business ventures. This makes for a limitless professional option for business professionals specializing in leadership.

Skills developed from an MBA in leadership

Across the business setting, leadership and organizational management are closely aligned in that both competencies are intertwined and significantly impact a business’ success or failure. Obviously, some professionals have inherent skills relevant to leadership. Yet, everyone can become a good leader, and an MBA in leadership offers professionals the skills and competency required to run an organization effectively.

As part of the MGMT 679 course, professionals train to exhibit quality leadership through effective communication, decision-making, and critical thinking. Creative leadership has recently become a highly sought-after ability for several organizations. In line with that, professionals also develop creativity and the ability to realize innovative solutions, especially in the face of structurally complex or changing situations. In choosing a leadership specialization, other skills developed through the MGMT 679 course include:

  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Problem-solving
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Time management
  • Strategic and critical thinking
  • Conflict resolution

In developing these skills, alongside relevant business knowledge, professionals become better placed to translate an organization’s vision into reality.

Benefits of an MBA in leadership degree

Some professionals are naturally gifted to take on leadership positions because they naturally have specific leadership characteristics. For such professionals, a leadership specialization will further improve these skills and propel them to the top of their fields. The leadership course typically centers on aspects from communication to accounting and psychology, combined with several experimental learning opportunities to allow professionals to apply their knowledge to real-world business practices.

The importance of leadership in every phase of society is apparent. Hence, leadership positions represent the most profitable career opportunities in various organizations. Other MBA specializations also offer top career advancement opportunities. However, an MBA in leadership is the best choice for professionals looking to explore the top of the business world.

Project Management (MGMT 619)

Recently, there has been a growing demand for project leaders as more organizations are switching to project team-based business models. Project management specialization courses provide professionals with the skill, knowledge, and experience required to obtain advanced managerial roles.

The MGMT 619 course covers project management within an organizational context, incorporating the processes related to initiating, planning, executing, controlling, reporting, and closing a project. This specialization draws its foundation from several disciplines, including finance, accounting, strategic planning, and business operations.

Additionally, management concepts relevant to project completion, such as project integration, scope, time, cost, quality control, and risk management, are highlighted. Identifying project champions, working with user teams, training, and documentation are other key project management concepts detailed in the course.

The course is tailored for professionals seeking to advance in their current roles or break into a new career path as successful project managers. Some aspects explored in a project management specialization course include:

  • Microeconomics for management
  • Managerial finance
  • Managerial accounting
  • Strategic thinking
  • Human resources
  • Data analytics
  • Logistics or operations management
  • Human resources

Typically, a combination of technical proficiency, people skills, strategic thinking, and organizational competency are essential requirements for a great project manager. However, it remains a complex responsibility and one that has developed to be highly crucial in several industries and sectors.

As such, project management specialization courses offer professionals, especially individuals early in their careers, intricate details on managing teams, developing a project plan, and engaging in performance measurement, risk management, quality control, and other relevant business fields.

Skills developed for an MBA in project management

An MBA in project management undoubtedly bolsters any resume, qualifying professionals for advanced career responsibilities. This is because it fosters the development of skills, traits, and characteristics relevant to project management and various aspects of a business.

The skills developed through the MGMT 619 course include technical competencies incorporating industry and role-specific knowledge and other interpersonal skills relevant to successfully interacting and working with others.

For technical skills, project managers must be skilled at project management methodologies from agile to waterfall approaches. This competency helps to outline specific principles for supervising and completing projects. Planning and forecasting are other critical aspects of project management due to the need for managers to make educated guesses regarding timelines and resources.

A project is only relevant when it features good quality. As such, the Project Management course also takes professionals through a project’s standards and how to ensure the final product meets and possibly exceeds expectations. Other relevant skills developed through the MGMT 619 course include the following:

  • Risk management
  • Budgeting
  • Project management methodologies
  • Research and reporting
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Collaboration
  • Negotiation
  • Critical thinking

Benefits of an MBA in project management degree

Selecting a course in project management as part of an MBA degree gives professionals a comprehensive view of how quality projects can support overall business operations. In truth, project management serves as the future of businesses, offering a source of invention and improvement across all industries.

The MGMT 619 course sets professionals up for a challenging yet rewarding managerial role in a highly regarded field such as project management. Some other reasons to select project management as an MBA specialization include expert networking options, leadership development opportunities, and a chance to explore multiple career opportunities. Additionally, the MGMT 619 course offers a rare blend between theory and practice.

Critical differences between BUSN 659, MGMT 679, and MGMT 619

A Master of Business Administration is ideal for anyone seeking to move into higher-level management positions and expand career opportunities. However, depending on the professional’s preferred specialization, these programs are highly customizable.

In terms of all three specialization courses examined, an international business specialization stands out in terms of scope, career opportunities, and responsibilities. The scope of international business features distinct responsibilities compared to the other two domains.

However, the lines between project management and organizational leadership have been blurred, with several professionals taking up the roles of project leaders and managers. As such, it is crucial to distinguish one from the other and understand their unique characteristics to enable better leadership and management of a project.

Specialists vs generalists

Project managers are generally considered the specialists of an organization compared to the generalist tag placed on organizational leaders. This is because project managers are responsible for coordinating and maintaining the organization of a team. They must also be analytical and detailed in their responsibilities to prevent risks and project bottlenecks.

On the other hand, leaders focus more on the bigger picture. They create a vision for every aspect of the organization, including projects, making them all-rounders or generalists. Professionals in leadership capacities also offer team members a sense of purpose and motivation, which helps to influence their performance.

Planners vs problem solvers

Planning is the responsibility of an organization’s leadership, which makes these professionals effective strategists. They develop long and short-term plans and recommendations that help to vitalize individuals involved in a project.

However, project management specialization equips professionals with the skills to become effective problem solvers. In an organizational setting, project managers obtain an outline of what they need to do. These outlines also come with a schedule, and every issue that arises during the project lifecycle must be managed effectively and within the expected schedule.

Varying responsibilities

Opting for any one of these courses exposes a professional to varying responsibilities. For starters, professionals with leadership specialization are responsible for improving the organization’s performance and developing goals. In other words, they create a fostering environment that brings out the best in employees.

However, while leaders may strive to connect with a team personally, project management is more focused on the task at hand. Hence, project managers direct team members and delegate tasks depending on the project requirements and schedule and the issues and necessities that may arise during the project.