Article by Nick Knopik, contributing writer and former assistant director of leadership and service
Ready to take the next step in your education? Doane’s College of Business offers two master’s degrees that can help advance your career: the Master of Business Arts (MBA) and the Master of Arts in Leadership (MIL). Get to know the benefits of each program and discover which best aligns with your career goals.
So you’re considering an MBA or MIL — what will you learn in each program?
By completing your MBA at Doane, you’ll learn:
- Skills in essential areas of business. Broad exposure to coursework in accounting, finance, marketing, strategy, business ethics and international business prepares our MBA students to make effective and ethical decisions in their present or future companies. Doane’s MBA courses emphasize critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills.
- Data analytics. We live in a data-driven society, and modern companies value employees who can support their decision-making with data. Doane MBA students learn to run statistical models using Python, putting them on the cutting edge of data analysis software skills. In our analytics course, students are encouraged to analyze actual data from their workplace and invite their colleagues and supervisors into the classroom when they present their findings.
- Presentation skills. Through Doane’s partnerships with Nebraska businesses, MBA students will work on projects culminating in a deliverable they’ll present to clients. Students experience a flipped-classroom learning environment in many of their courses, where they present their knowledge on a specific topic to the class. Students graduate from the MBA program with the technical skills necessary to make an impact in their workplace and the communication skills to share their insights effectively.
In Doane’s MIL program, you’ll develop your:
- Strategic leadership. Using real-world situations, students explore the traits, styles and skills of effective leaders and the relationship between leaders and followers. Students hone their knowledge of leadership theory and use it to define a strategy for an organization. Students learn how to assess the needs within a team, building and testing ideas to understand, learn and solve problems with a human-centered approach.
- Critical reflection. The most effective leaders understand their strengths, the challenges they face, what kind of support they need and what they value. The MIL program uses guided reflection to help students answer these questions for themselves and focuses on “living leadership” daily.
- Coaching. Each MIL student is paired one-on-one with a faculty coach who models effective coaching skills, including asking powerful questions, listening at deeper levels, and self-management. Students also complete the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) with their faculty coach and receive an individualized personal development plan with suggestions for growing their intercultural competence.
Learning Opportunities That Fit Your Schedule and Needs
Doane’s MBA program offers courses in-person on the Lincoln campus or online. Courses are offered in eight-week terms, and an accelerated MBA program is available for students interested in completing their degree in less than a year.
Dr. AJ Chauradia, program director of the MBA and assistant professor in the College of Business, emphasized that students in Doane’s MBA program enjoy small class sizes and genuine connections with their professors, many of whom came from jobs in their industries before teaching in Doane’s College of Business.
“Our faculty members are teaching one class that is their specialty because they have work experience in that area. The finance professor runs his own venture capital business,” Dr. Chauradia said. “There’s Dr. [Charlena] Miller, who has worked for Fortune Ten companies.” He explained that Doane MBA professors bring their industry experience into the classroom to engage students at a deeper level.
Dr. Chauradia, who also teaches courses in the MBA program, has traveled worldwide while working for an international conglomerate company that owned companies like Expedia and Hotels.com.
“We bring in a global mindset to the classroom,” Dr. Chauradia said.
Doane’s MIL offers a fully online program that meets on Zoom once per week, a method that accommodates busy schedules while retaining the benefit of meeting together as a class. Courses are offered in eight-week terms, and the ten courses in the MIL program are intended to be completed within two years. Students who take two classes per term can complete the degree in one year.
Dr. Jared Cook, chair of the leadership department at Doane, believes that the MIL is a fantastic program for someone hoping to make a career change, make a difference in their current organization, move into management or refine their leadership skills.
“If you want to walk away being critically reflective, that’s a big piece for a lot of our students,” Dr. Cook said. “If you understand yourself and who you are, you are a better leader overall.”
Class sizes in the MIL are small, typically between eight and ten students, allowing faculty members to tailor the experience to students' needs. Dr. Cook explained that because of these small classes, students develop connections and learn from one another. For him, students’ willingness to share their experiences makes teaching classes in the MIL program exciting.
“You have eight to ten people in a class, but you’re getting these stories and this enriching kind of sharing experience where people start to see just how wide and diverse our society is,” Dr. Cook said.
- 92% of 2023 Doane MBA graduates were not seeking employment (i.e., they are employed or continuing their education further). Graduates worked at companies including Bryan Health, Allstate, Cargill and Mutual of Omaha with jobs including vice president, compliance analyst, network director and production planner.
“The majority of students feel that they’re either going to get promoted in their existing job or they feel that they’re equipped with the skills to find a better job,” Dr. Charuradia said. The numbers back him up.
- 90% of graduates in 2023 say they use more analytical, creative and effective thinking skills when considering issues and problems.
- 92% of graduates in 2023 say they communicate in a manner that is more purposeful, context-appropriate and conveys a clear message.
- 95% of graduates in 2023 say they can better articulate the knowledge and skills needed for future personal and professional development.
- 92% of 2023 Doane MBA graduates were not seeking employment (i.e., they are employed or continuing their education further). Graduates worked at companies including Union Bank & Trust Co., Southeast Community College and Rand Worldwide with titles including senior benefits specialist, human resources generalist and quality engineer.
- 100% of graduates in 2023 say they use more analytical, creative, and effective thinking skills when considering issues and problems.
- 92% of graduates in 2023 say they collaborate more effectively with others.
- 92% of graduates in 2023 say they consistently apply moral principles to their decision-making and behavior.
Dr. Cook explained that the MIL program’s emphasis on tangible takeaways gives students real-world skills they can apply during and immediately after their program.
“You have something that you walk away with that you can say, ‘I’ve done this, and it would be relevant to me in my current position,’” Dr. Cook said. “I’ve had at least four or five students per class that say this is something that I know I needed to do or we as an organization needed to do, and I did it.”
Still can’t decide if an MBA or an MIL is the better fit for you? Reach out to us to ask additional questions!