On a recent morning, student teams stood before their classmates in the bright, new Maloney Hall, presenting games they had designed with a box of props. As part of a team-building exercise, the students had been challenged one hour earlier to invent games using random supplies like beach balls, blindfolds, and a rubber chicken.
The exercise, intended to promote collaboration and effective brainstorming, was part of an orientation program for Catholic University’s Master of Science in Business Analysis (M.S.B.A.), a nine-month master’s program offered at the Busch School of Business. Other events in the orientation included a “Food Truck Challenge,” business startup computer simulation, and a 7-course etiquette dinner.
In addition to soft skills like teamwork, problem solving, and professionalism, the M.S.B.A. program exposes students to “building blocks for business,” said associate program director Herb Shatzen. Students in the program hold internships, work with local business owners, and gain practical knowledge pertaining to marketing, operations, sales, quantitative analysis, leadership, accounting, finance, and entrepreneurship.
“The program has shown me the world is bigger than a career . . . You can identify a problem, assemble a team, and go solve it.”
An alternative to a traditional Master of Business Administration program, the M.S.B.A. is designed for “students coming right out of an undergraduate program who might not yet be ready for a career in the business world,” said program director Stewart McHie. “By combining this one-year degree with their liberal arts background, they’ll be more equipped to go out and get that start on a very good career.”
Current candidate Kathleen Brophy, who earned a bachelor’s in theology and religious studies from Catholic University in 2015, said she enrolled in the program because of its mission of “cultivating virtuous leaders to be a force for good.”
Since then she’s been impressed by the experienced faculty members and the curriculum, which “is everything you need to know, when you need to know it.”
“I learned about website optimization in my marketing course and now I am leading the charge for a website optimization project at my internship at AARP Foundation,” Brophy said. “I use Gantt charts, data visualization, and project management skills that I've learned in class regularly in my internship.”
In the future, Brophy says she hopes to use her M.S.B.A. to solve new problems or even to start her own business.
“The program has shown me the world is bigger than a career,” she said. “You can identify a problem, assemble a team, and go solve it.”
The M.S.B.A. is not the only learning opportunity available for Catholic University students hoping to advance their business careers. The Master of Science in Management (M.S.M.) program, which is cosponsored by the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, provides educational opportunities and career advancement opportunities for adult learners who already have several years of work experience.
Students in the M.S.M. program can choose from five different management-focused tracks: leadership, sales, human resource management, project management, and federal contracts. They also have the option of completing their credits on nights and weekends, or entirely online.
After completing the 36-credit degree program, Harvey Seegers, program director, said many M.S.M. graduates earn promotions or are able to transition into new careers. The average salary for an M.S.M. graduate in the United States, according to payscale.com, starts at $75,957.
“There’s a finite set of tools good managers use to manage and many businesses simply don’t teach that,” Seegers said. “This provides more management training than you will find on the job.”
Current M.S.M. student Grace Hill has worked as a legal recruiter for a D.C. law firm for nearly five years. She chose to pursue her master’s degree to gain the skills and tools she would need to advance her career.
“I have found the flexibility between taking courses online and on campus to be most helpful,” she said. “My job is very demanding and the flexibility this gives me allows me to stay on top of my coursework.”
Laura Dunn, who works as the graduate assistant women’s lacrosse coach for Catholic University and is finishing her M.S.M. degree this May, said she enjoys interacting with professors who have years of experience in the business world.
“This program has helped me to explore a variety of different career options while giving me the opportunity to interact with professors from all different backgrounds,” she said. “My relationships with M.S.M. professors have helped me narrow down my career interests and learn more about myself as a professional.”
Whether students choose to enroll in the M.S.B.A. or the M.S.M. programs, Shatzen said the Busch School faculty has a common goal — to give students the tools to boost their careers, while providing worthwhile and ethical services to the world.
“We want to give candidates the background and experience to give them that confidence to be successful,” he said.