The master of business administration (MBA) is a long-standing, coveted professional degree, which involves short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. The reasons to pursue an MBA vary from person to person, but in the end, possessing the degree comes with both pre- and mid-career benefits. In Calgary, the Haskayne School of Business offers six different MBA programs, currently only delivered in an in-person format. With so many options, which program is right for you?
Designed for early- to mid-career professionals, this program is 20 months long and helps students develop the critical thinking and leadership skills needed to achieve career goals. A full-time program, it includes a combination of block week, day and evening classes. This path is intended for individuals with a four-year undergraduate degree and two to seven-plus years of professional work experience.
Also appropriate for early- to mid-career professionals, this program is 32 months long and offers the same learning outcomes as the Daytime MBA, however, runs only part time, with a combination of block weeks and evening classes. This format allows individuals to maintain their full-time jobs. Individuals must already have a four-year undergraduate degree and two to 10-plus years of professional work experience.
The Accelerated MBA is geared at early- to mid-career professionals and runs 12 to 24 months in length. It is designed to enhance students’ business acumen, critical-thinking skills and leadership capacity to achieve their professional goals. This program is a combination of block weeks with day and evening classes. It is built specifically for graduates of a four-year business program from a recognized/accredited Canadian or U.S. post-secondary institution with two-plus years of professional work experience. This MBA option saves participants up to 45 per cent in tuition cost, as well as significantly reduces the program length.
The Haskayne School of Business offers Combined MBAs with the faculties of law, nursing, Cumming School of Medicine, School of Public Policy, and School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. This full-time program is between 24 to 48 months in length and is a combination of block weeks, day and evening classes. To optimize the financial investment and time commitment, students are awarded degrees by both faculties without completing the full complement of courses in both programs. This program is intended for individuals with a four-year undergraduate degree and two-plus years of professional work experience.
The Thesis MBA is designed for those interested in pursuing an intensive, research-based program within the Haskayne School of Business and runs between 12 to 24 months in length. It combines block weeks with daytime and evening classes. The curriculum offers a challenging program suitable for those strongly interested and committed to research. It’s important to note that choosing a thesis-based graduate degree should not be considered a quick way to completing an MBA degree. The Thesis MBA degree is offered to students who possess a bachelor of commerce degree or equivalent.
For mid- to late-career executives, the Haskayne Executive MBA program runs 22 to 24 months and is designed to empower students to enhance their leadership ability, grow their network and advance their careers. This part-time program is a combination of block weeks, alternate Friday/Saturday classes and an international study tour, intended for individuals with a diverse educational background and seven to 20-plus years of professional work experience.
Choosing to pursue an MBA isn’t an easy choice. But for many, it’s a necessary next step in order to accelerate their career. Such was the case for Matt Pisko, senior strategy manager at Telus. While living in Vancouver in 2001, Pisko says he was ready to take his career to the next level. “I needed to do a bit of an upgrade on my understanding of basic business fundamentals. Most positions preferred candidates with advanced business administration degrees and I wanted a change in my career that would challenge and excite me.”
Pisko explains that he wasn’t prepared to become a full-time student and stop working, especially given the high cost of living in the Lower Mainland. “I saw value in an Executive MBA program based on attending a few meetings with administrators and potential student candidates.” He adds that his chosen program allowed him to complete the requirements in just 22 months, while working full time. There also was value in the learning model offered with his program.
“Boardroom learning teams utilized videoconferencing technology to attend biweekly classes,” says Pisko, “where I could leverage the expertise of those team members who were accomplished in their own right to extend and amplify my own knowledge and work collaboratively to solve problems, just as we do in my day-to-day job today.”
For Colleen Tynan, director of WestJet’s Contact Centre, completing an MBA was a personal journey. Tynan says, “I had a strong desire to know that I could accomplish it. I was internally driven and my MBA wasn’t for anyone and anything else. I knew that it would not hurt my career, but it was never about completing it to get something in return. In fact, I think I would have struggled completing it if it was for someone or something else. I am very happy that I made the choice I did.”
Tynan is proud of the fact that shortly after starting her MBA, she received a promotion to become a member of WestJet’s global leadership team. “While I don’t believe that it was the sole reason I was promoted, I do believe that it definitely assisted me. Having a growth mindset is something that all great leaders require, and as I continue to learn, I have confidence in my career being leveraged by my MBA.”
Caitlin The graduated with a nursing degree and spent many years working in a hospital. She eventually decided to get back into the classroom and pursue an MBA at Haskayne School of Business. She has no doubt that her additional educational credentials have helped her grow within the medical field. “My MBA has provided me career opportunities that I would not have been able to have with just a nursing degree. The experience and knowledge I gained from the MBA program has contributed to my professional performances, successes and recognitions.”
While most want to leverage their existing careers, others decide to pursue an MBA to completely change career paths. Glynn Pearson, manager of business development at a pipeline service company, says, “I was unhappy with my career and trying to change direction and saw the MBA as a way to move towards more responsibility and intellectual satisfaction.” Pearson adds, “I liked the way my program specialized in mid-career learners and their delivery methodology. An MBA is a toolbox that gives you good analytical skills and the ability to speak the language of the subject matter experts in business.”
When selecting an MBA program, it’s advisable to conduct research to ensure a well-rounded education. Dr. Martin Halek, director of MBA programs at the Haskayne School of Business, says, “We are committed to empowering students to become leaders as they live, work and learn. Our program is built on a foundation of academic excellence and real-world expertise and encompasses six elements that are critical to maximizing students’ experience both in and beyond the classroom: an enhanced understanding of business principles; unique degree specializations; an immersive and enriched learning experience; flexible programs; a connected and supportive network; and access to one of Canada’s most dynamic business communities. Core courses provide students with the functional tools and knowledge they need to confidently step into a leadership role and leverage their career.”