Completing a top MBA program can elevate you from a business professional to a thought leader. You’ve likely heard or read different definitions for the term “thought leader” over the course of your career. We can use this definition from Forbes as a compass for our discussion of thought leadership:
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
Achieving this level of expertise requires the drive to succeed and a desire for continued improvement. You also need mentors and guides who can challenge you throughout your career. Your calling as a future thought leader rises when you select the right MBA program.
Suffolk University’s Online MBA program brings world-class faculty – thought leaders themselves – and business courses to the world. The Sawyer Business School crafted its curriculum to produce graduates who can transform businesses and industries. Let’s look at five ways that this innovative program can accelerate your evolution into thought leadership.
Learning to Connect with Others in an MBA Program
A thought leader without a team, proteges, or collaborators can’t make it far in the business world. Your transition to thought leadership requires engagement with others while staying true to your values.
A survey of marketing professionals revealed valuable skills held by thought leaders. Suffolk attracts professionals throughout the world hoping to develop these skills. The following characteristics were deemed essential or nice to have by respondents:
Clear communication (100%)
Challenges the way listeners think (97%)
Offering data to support their values (96%)
Revealing new ideas and concepts (96%)
Express bold opinions (89%)
SurveyMonkey also found that 70% of respondents saw motivating listeners as very important for thought leadership. You likely possess some of the skills and traits already needed to connect with audiences. Frequent collaborations with faculty and fellow students at Suffolk train you to reach new audiences.
The online MBA program is designed for students to learn from Boston’s leading business minds through consultation. You learn how to think and how to spot nuance in your analysis – key ingredients to thought leadership. Suffolk’s Online MBA graduates are well-placed to be the next generation of thought leaders.
Suffolk University Trains MBA Students for the Modern World
Suffolk’s MBA faculty members and business leaders model the skills needed to drive change in the knowledge economy. Each professor mentors future leaders as they complete projects. Online MBA students are instructed by the same skilled professors - business consultants themselves - who teach on campus. For over two decades, they’ve worked at customizing and tailoring the online program to be flexible and convenient for full-time professionals. We need only look at The Sawyer Business School’s mission to see how this program yields global connections:
“Our engaged faculty leverages a central Boston location and fosters collaborations with local, national, and global community partners to generate high-quality scholarships and enhance the integration of classroom lessons with experiential learning.”
The university’s extensive experiences with online learning help MBA candidates forge connections. You work with fellow professionals around the world on projects without setting foot in the same room. The two-year online MBA program means two years of connections that refine your leadership style. Ultimately, Suffolk graduates are connected to the growing body of alumni, currently over 80,000 international business professionals.
MBA students are on the fast track to becoming change agents because of their Suffolk University experiences. Every seven-week course reinforces the balancing act between enduring visions and nimble strategies. Graduates of this MBA program can confidently make changes, cultivate talent, and adjust to the global market.
Using an MBA Program for Personal Brand Development
Making connections and leading by example may not be enough to stand out from the competition. There are nearly 200,000 MBA graduates entering the job market every year. You can use a Suffolk University MBA to develop your personal brand as an emerging thought leader.
Personal branding allows thought leaders to create shorthands for what they believe and what they can accomplish. Medium pointed to several reasons why a brand can elevate your thought leadership credentials:
Branding shows your credibility in a crowded marketplace of ideas;
A personal brand identifies your strengths to new audiences;
Your biggest fans can evangelize on your behalf by pointing to your brand.
Mantra for Good founder Sonya Jackson placed a finer point on why thought leaders need strong brands. She identified the obvious returns on investment including business opportunities and fame. Jackson also noted an interpersonal impact from thought leadership branding:
“That’s what personal brands do. It is impossible to comprehend the value of your knowledge base to someone else who is struggling. Your thought leadership is truly a gift to those who are looking for someone to lead.”
Creating Your Thought Leadership Brand at Suffolk University
Suffolk’s live listening sessions with thought leaders around the world show students how to brand their work. Full-time faculty members work with students to turn raw potential into brand principles.
The online MBA program helps you answer important branding questions to clear your career path upon graduation. Medium published the following checklist for crafting your thought leadership brand:
What principles are essential to you?
How are you different from other leaders?
What obstacles have you overcome?
What are your passions?
What inspires you to lead?
As an online MBA student, your confidence is built by working with other students on real-world business issues. You are given the room to innovate and collaborate while developing your brand voice. Suffolk University continues to perfect student collaboration after more than two decades of online instruction.
Suffolk’s deep connections to the Boston business community provide a foundation for your leadership brand. The program’s global focus helps you build a portfolio that reflects the shifting ground of today’s business world. With your brand in mind, you are ready to learn how to identify the best way to work with clients and customers.
MBA Program Lessons in Multimedia Communication
Leaders with staying power are capable of communicating with audiences through different media. You may be a powerful public speaker, a social media expert, or a prolific writer entering an MBA program. Suffolk University gets MBA graduates ready to communicate across media after graduation.
LinkedIn’s study of the most in-demand skills for 2020 goes beyond the technical skills prized in some industries. The online MBA program deploys full-time professors to cultivate interpersonal — or soft — skills identified by the study including:
Suffolk’s online MBA curriculum hits these marks because these skills are honed in live interactive workshops as students work on diverse teams to solve real-world business problems with local businesses. LinkedIn noted that the top four soft skills were unchanged from 2019 to 2020. A survey of employers by The Financial Times showed overlap in soft skill needs including:
Working with diverse stakeholders
Priority and time management
Understanding the digital side of business and industry
Your search for an online MBA program that develops these skills should extend no further than Suffolk University. MBA candidates benefit from more than 20 years of online education plus roots in the Boston business community. You can create lasting connections in a non-traditional setting at Suffolk.
Developing a Global Network at Suffolk University
Boston’s economy is a powerhouse with the nation’s sixth-highest gross domestic product per capita. The city hosts headquarters for international corporations like General Electric, Liberty Mutual, and Fidelity Investments. Niche ranked Boston No. 7 in Best Cities for Young Professionals in America due to its thriving business community.
As an MBA student, you can consult with Boston’s leading companies and emerging startups. These experiences create a portfolio that places you apart from the competition after graduation. Suffolk brings the best of the Boston business community via online courses, virtual conferences, and workshops.
Candidates in the online MBA program strengthen their soft skills by collaborating with each other. You learn how thought leadership concepts work with different audiences through tutelage from faculty mentors. The relationships developed with fellow MBA candidates extend beyond graduation to future ventures and partnerships.
MBA graduates at Suffolk University tap into a valuable alumni network. The university maintains a network of 80,000 graduates and counting who look for promising business talent. You can meet new colleagues around the world who share the results of your educational experiences.
You aren’t left on your own if you need help navigating the MBA program or developing networks. The Career Development Center features experienced professionals who can assist with applications, interviews, and career advice. Each MBA candidate can also speak with a dedicated advisor throughout their time at Suffolk.
Real-World Solutions Learned in an MBA Program
The typical image of a graduate student is someone concerned with theories more so than practice. In the business world, thought leaders need to quickly jump from solution to solution underpinned by sound theory. Suffolk’s MBA program emphasizes solution-based learning that eases the transition from graduate school to high-level positions.
Employers big and small are looking for leaders who can create effective solutions. Bloomberg Businessweek surveyed recruiters and found problem-solving skills as their highest priority in new hires. Thought leaders synthesize soft skills, technical prowess, and vision to turn challenges into opportunities.
Recruiters have also identified the most challenging skills to find in MBA graduates. The remaining talents blend interpersonal and technical skills:
The ability to train colleagues and direct reports;
Forecasting financial and market changes;
Big data analysis;
Effectively communicating a company’s brand.
The problem-solving deficit in the job market means an opportunity for MBA graduates. Suffolk University’s Online MBA program helps professionals take advantage of this gap.
Gaining Problem-Solving Experiences through Online Interactions
Every online MBA candidate at Suffolk University receives the same world-class education as their traditional MBA counterparts. Visits and collaborative sessions with Boston-area business leaders aren’t bound by physical location. You can learn from thought leaders and problem-solvers without setting foot on the Boston campus.
Suffolk University’s vast experience in online graduate instruction makes it possible to have productive interactions. Faculty members are dedicated to guiding MBA candidates toward solutions for the business world’s biggest problems. Program guests work with business students to develop the problem-solving talents associated with business leaders.
Every program element prepares you to surmount difficult obstacles following graduation. The online MBA degree yields a 90% hire rate within six months of graduation. Interactive learning experiences make Suffolk MBAs more attractive to prospective clients and employers.
MBA Program Training in Business Strategy
Suffolk University is intertwined with the Boston business community thanks to close collaboration on business education. This collaboration infuses the online MBA program with real-world lessons in business strategy. MBA candidates learn in every interaction that success is the product of preparation rather than luck.
The program’s creative approach to business education uses real-world projects to show the value of strategy. Hubspot notes that a business strategy is a set of guiding principles rather than specific tactics used to fulfill these principles. Suffolk’s MBA program teaches future leaders to:
Identify your aspirations and measurements of success;
Focus on market segments where you want to succeed;
Reinforce what values set you apart from the competition;
Determine the skills and resources needed for enduring success;
Establish management principles to acquire these skills and resources.
All of these steps contribute to the following goal identified by Hubspot:
“It grounds your business in principles that can apply to almost any situation and, in turn, help your business achieve both its short-term and long-term goals.”
MBA candidates at Suffolk University also learn to gain buy-in from colleagues, direct reports, and outside partners. Virtual workshops with industry experts and group projects emphasize how leaders share their vision with others. You learn enough about business strategy in two years of the program to contribute immediately after graduation.
Refining Business Acumen with an MBA Program Concentration
Your professional and educational background act as the foundation for your career. The full-time faculty of Suffolk University’s Online MBA program builds off this foundation toward your career goals.
Suffolk offers MBA candidates choices about how to customize their degrees. Since 1999, the university has learned how to design online specialties that translate into successful careers. You can opt for an existing concentration or use electives to shape your path.
Four concentrations are available for MBA candidates who want to lead in specific business areas. Suffolk’s cutting-edge learning platform and renowned faculty prepare students with specialties in:
Health Sector Management
A concentration is not a requirement for completing the degree. Suffolk University allows candidates to craft their own specialization through 12 credits of electives. No matter the choice in specialization, the program prepares students to succeed in an ever-changing global economy.
The Value of an Experiential MBA Program
We’ve looked at five reasons that Suffolk’s MBA program sets graduates apart from the competition. The program achieves these goals through experiential learning sourced from Boston and beyond. From faculty lessons to virtual conferences, you are placed into the business world rather than above it.
Suffolk University’s Online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
AACSB promotes the value of experiential learning across traditional and online MBA programs. The primary reason why AACSB argues for experiential MBA learning involves the best use of limited time:
“In our information-laden world, learning by doing is often a better use of students’ (and teachers’) time than “learning by listening” in the classroom.”
AACSB also suggests that experiential learning meets employer expectations of MBA graduates:
“Firms looking to hire MBA graduates are less concerned about students carrying a head full of knowledge and more concerned about whether the students have learned to learn; that is, have they developed the habit of continuous learning while on the job?”
Review of Business & Finance Studies researched the impacts of experiential learning on MBA graduates. Suffolk University helps its MBA students go from virtual classrooms to consulting work by:
Fostering individual growth through customized help;
Garnering industry respect for well-prepared graduates;
Developing thought leaders capable of collaboration and teamwork.
National Recognition for Suffolk University’s Online MBA Program
Suffolk University has developed a reputation for innovative approaches to higher education since opening in 1906. The university started as a law school with evening courses for working students.
The Sawyer Business School created in 1936 appealed to professionals with part-time and full-time degrees. The school’s vision shows the expansiveness of its vision for MBA graduates:
“We foster transformative experiences that cultivate global-minded citizens who advance knowledge, lead positive change, and create value for society.”
U.S. News & World Report offered a clear picture of Suffolk’s benefits to students in its 2020 rankings. The university placed highly in categories including:
No. 21 in Most Innovative Schools
No. 38 in Regional University North
No. 71 in Best Value Schools
The online MBA program elevates Suffolk University to the upper echelons of modern higher education. Students and faculty helped the program receive recognition including:
The Princeton Review’s 2020 Business Schools
No. 16 on Online MBA Today’s Top Online MBA for International Business
A 2020 Tier One Global MBA distinction from CEO Magazine
Become a future thought leader with an MBA online from Suffolk University.