In business, technical knowledge is critical. But to effectively lead, students need to also be experts in communications, leadership, problem-solving and team building. The course work in Mays’ MBA programs provides leadership training by placing students in the role of decision makers during case analyses, team projects and class discussion. By building leadership concepts and experiences into the core courses, the program combines foundational business knowledge with strategies for influencing, motivating, guiding and supporting others in achieving a common purpose.
Janet Marcantonio, a Mays MBA graduate, oversees the signature consulting projects course. In the Full-Time MBA Program, the students complete semester-long capstone projects to address real-world problems for outside organizations. In addition to applying their MBA knowledge and skills, students learn to design a sound project plan and execute it effectively.
“Students consider their strengths, values, skills and developmental goals in defining roles and responsibilities,” says Marcantonio. “This forms the foundation for high-performing teams that create real value for our client companies.”
In the Executive MBA Program, participants identify a significant problem facing their organizations,” says Marcantonio. “Over a period of 18 months, they complete an individualized project designed to develop a data-driven solution.
“Participants integrate and apply what they learn in the classroom, while learning valuable lessons about creating successful change. Above all, the capstone project is a leadership journey.”
Professional MBA students have the option to complete an individual project for their organizations or a team project for an outside company. “By offering this choice,” says Marcantonio, “we allow students to align their project experience with their developmental needs and goals.”
Mary Lea McAnally, associate dean of graduate programs, says Marcantonio has “revolutionized the class, adding much content and structure.”
“Her contributions along with those of John Krajicek (assistant director of Business Communications Studies), are among the most significant things that distinguish our Full-Time MBA program from our competitors,” she explains.
Krajicek covers many important topics in the communication realm — for example, how to deliver effective PowerPoint presentations. “Contrary to the usual “death by PowerPoint’ approach, presentations don’t have to be boring,” he explains. “The key is restraint, avoiding information overload on every slide.”
Students’ writing skills are consistently tested and refined as part of their coursework, allowing them to be prepared for the challenge of successfully navigating the modern business environment, which places intensive scrutiny on effective communications. As Krajicek tells his students, “it really doesn’t matter how much you know if you can’t communicate it effectively. Excellent communication skills won’t guarantee you a successful career, but poor communication skills will undoubtedly hamper your career.”
Mays also has been recognized for its success in training students to be ethical leaders. In 2013, Mays was ranked seventh in the world in Bloomberg Businessweek’s “top schools for ethics” specialty report. The scores came from feedback from the MBA Class of 2012. McAnally says the topic of ethics is woven into the fabric of Mays, particularly in the Full-Time MBA program. “We don’t offer stand-alone ethics classes; we include frameworks for ethical decision-making in each course we teach.”
By providing students the opportunity to develop themselves as leaders, in addition to expand their core knowledge and skills, Mays’ MBA Programs are producing leaders who add immediate and significant value to their organizations.
But more importantly, such leaders have long-term impact. McAnally summed it up when she said, “Unlike accounting or finance or other subjects that can be learned in a semester, learning to lead is a lifelong process. Our hope is that we inspire our graduates to continue to develop as leaders. If we produce students who are continually evolving, learning and growing, we will have produced leaders with vision and longevity.”
About Mays Business School
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.