What A Graduate Degree Can Do for You

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in ComLead

What A Graduate Degree Can Do for You

Elizabeth Stebbins faced a decision. She wanted to make the transition from corporate America, where she was an executive with HSBC Mortgage in Buffalo, to the nonprofit sector, focusing on leadership and advocacy. Would she be better served with an MBA or a Masters in Communication and Leadership?

Stebbins chose the latter route to her new career. “I felt the more contemporary leadership degree would serve me better than the traditional finance and accounting of an MBA,” she said. In 2010 she graduated with a Master’s in Communication and Leadership from Canisius College, and now she provides strategic management consulting to nonprofits to strengthen their impact and sustainability. She is also co-founder and Executive Director of a national coalition to end puppy mill cruelty, National Puppy Mill Project, launching this spring.

Advanced education gives us the opportunity to continue to learn and reinvent ourselves. It is a transformative experience and a strategic process.

Globalization, mobile knowledge workers, and changes in how organizations create value, have rendered the top-down approach of executive leadership less viable. (Harvard Business Review, Jun ’12). Successful leaders, “rely more on persuasion, political currency, and shared interests to create conditions for the right decisions to happen.” (J. Collins, Good to Great).

According to the American Management Association, 82% of organizational leaders say analytical skills will grow in importance over the next five years. When Human Resource professionals, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and managers are asked to list the top skills employers seek, the response is resoundingly similar: communication, critical thinking, and leadership. Forbes magazine agrees. Why? Because thinking analytically means we organize, analyze and communicate information by questioning our assumptions.

Karen Lemischak, Senior Marketing Associate at Fisher Price, states, “The MS degree in Communication and Leadership gave me the ability to apply strong analytical skills to my day-to-day work objectives. More importantly, it prepared me to work interpersonally and effectively within groups of diverse backgrounds and skill sets.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that management-level employment will continue to grow by almost 25 percent in the next decade. The recent growth of nonprofits will create a leadership crunch in this sector as boomers retire. Canisius partners with leaders in the business community to identify what knowledge and skill sets are needed for those seeking to stay competitive.  To learn more about the MS in Communication and Leadership degree, visit www.canisius.edu/comlead.



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