For many business degree holders, their general bachelor’s degree isn’t quite enough to help them climb the career ladder like it once could. While a typical business degree does have its merits, it’s also one of the most common degrees in the world and does little to specialize you in a particular business field or skill. These days, many people are proceeding with further education and earning MBAs, or Masters of Business Administration.
MBAs provide you with even more business skills and additional managerial and leadership courses and experience. They’re ideal degrees if you want to ascend to a top position in your company or start your own business. But an additional advantage of MBAs is that many of them come with specific focuses or emphases.
One of the most important is strategy. There aren’t many full-on degrees in strategy. Instead, these degrees are almost always attached to a broader MBA curriculum. This provides you with the benefits of extra leadership and communication education with a focus on strategic perspectives for your business. MBAs in strategy are comprehensive yet focused and are fantastic choices for anyone looking to become either a successful business leader or a consultant.
The study of strategy in the business context will provide you with the data analysis and statistical understanding necessary to make hard decisions and see trends before they impact a business. Many MBA in strategy degree holders go on to have successful careers in a variety of industries and positions, both as managers and as advisors. In fact, advisors are some of the more valuable professions in the nation, as fewer people go for this career in lieu of a traditional management pathway.
In this profession, you’ll spend time looking at the data and varying metrics of a company, either by working for them directly or in a freelance capacity. The skills you need to provide actionable advice and help a company make changes can only be obtained by an MBA in strategy.
But arguably the best benefit of this degree is its versatility. While it does have an emphasis on strategy, you’ll still have the general MBA degree to fall back on if you want to switch careers or start your own business after all. MBA degrees are excellent in that they prepare you for almost any professional scenario aside from technically specific jobs like that of an engineer. For this reason, MBAs, and especially those with strategy concentrations, are phenomenal choices if you want to progress with your education but don’t have a particular field or job in mind. This scenario is becoming more common as bachelor’s degrees become less valuable and graduate degrees are increasingly seen as the next “required” educational tier for certain positions.
Let’s take a look at the best master’s in strategy degrees and see what you can expect from each university.
Common Application and Admissions Questions
While MBAs in strategy are versatile and far from the most exclusive degrees available, they do adhere to most common graduate-level application requirements. That means that the majority of MBA in strategy programs will require that all applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree before sending in their documents. There is a slight benefit here for most, however; MBA degrees rarely require that the bachelor’s degree in question also be in business or a related field.
In fact, you can apply to an MBA program with any kind of bachelor’s degree under most circumstances. Only the rare MBA program will reject an applicant because they have a degree that they deem too technical or too focused on the liberal arts. However, many MBA or strategy degree programs will also prioritize applicants that do have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. To the minds of many admissions teams, business-oriented individuals are more likely to succeed than those coming to the MBA program from a different background.
Additionally, all applicants should have as robust a portfolio as possible. This includes a high GPA from your prior schooling and several letters of recommendation. The letters can be from your former teachers or faculty members or they can be from your direct work supervisors, though only if you work in a business environment for the latter case. Most graduate programs of any specialty require at least two letters of recommendation, though some programs demand three.
Furthermore, many MBA programs will also require you to take the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination. This exam is a little different from the SAT or ACT in that it tests your critical thinking and qualitative reasoning more than your advanced mathematical or spelling skills. You have multiple opportunities to take the test in a single 12-month period, but you should always aim for a particular score threshold based on the requirements for your chosen university. Some programs have higher GRE thresholds than others. You can retake the test up to five times to make it as good as you can before sending in your application.
It’s also important to know that many MBA and strategy programs prioritize applicants that already have some work experience in the business or strategic fields. If you hold a managerial position or work as a consultant in some capacity, you’ll be more likely to get into one of these programs. Again, it’s all based on the supposition that you’ll do better because you already have some foundational knowledge and can apply yourself more effectively than applicants without business experience.
One final thing to consider is the potential application windows for a given MBA or strategy program. Many universities follow a cohort class system, meaning that there’s only a single application window each year. This enables smaller classes to proceed along a regimented program curriculum together, benefiting from additional peer networking opportunities. Other universities have multiple start dates for their business programs, allowing you to jump in during almost any semester. Both types of application styles have benefits; just be sure about which one your school uses so you aren’t caught off guard by an application deadline passing you by.
What About Financial Aid & Scholarships?
Financial aid opportunities for those seeking a master’s in strategy are plentiful. First and foremost, all graduate students must first apply for the FAFSA, or Federal Application for Student Aid. This initial document automatically enrolls you in certain government grants and loan opportunities. These are some of the best regardless of major university because they’re often in high amounts or come in subsidized varieties. The FAFSA takes your economic position and demographics into account.
You can then look into your chosen university’s college page; for all MBA programs, this will be the college of business. These sub-websites often have dedicated financial aid opportunities or scholarship contests available for students of a particular discipline. These financial aid grants are usually funded by former alumni from that particular college, especially in the business sector. Many successful MBA grads go on to have exceptionally lucrative careers, and many of them feel generous enough to give back to the school that jump-started their career. Be sure to check these out and apply for as many as possible, even if they are likely to be competitive.
Next, check out whether your MBA program or Strategy program has a teaching assistantship or internship opportunity. Either of these will likely come with a tuition waiver or reduction element, lowering or eliminating the amount you need to pay for your education. Teaching assistantship positions also come with an additional stipend in exchange for a part-time job where you’ll assist one of your professors with their day-to-day classwork and grading necessities.
Internships are work experience based and are great for your resume and for securing a position after graduation. Either way, both of these opportunities are usually quite competitive and are much rarer than a standard grant or loan.
After these options, consider checking out various generic scholarships or loans on the internet at large. Business schools are some of the most popular for working professionals and younger students, so there are lots of nonprofit organizations and similar collectives seeking to empower and finance the future leaders of tomorrow.
You should also consider military or veterans’ benefits. The vast majority of schools in America have programs or discounts for active duty or veteran members of the military. In many cases, these benefits also extend to the spouses or family members of these individuals. Some colleges have extremely generous programs, like full tuition elimination, while most will have tuition reduction elements or further discounts on expenses like books or technology. Regardless of the amount, anyone who qualifies for these programs should take advantage as they are often far less competitive than most of the other financial aid opportunities around.
How Much Can I Make With a Master’s in Strategy?
Those with a master’s in strategy have a huge variety of careers they can choose from. This makes narrowing down your expected salary a bit tricky, but you can look at the most common career choices in this field and figure an average from them. Most individuals with MBAs or master’s in strategy degrees will enter management occupations or become consultants for firms and organizations.
According to the BLS, management occupations enjoy annual wages of about $104,240. This is actually the highest wage of all major occupational groups across professions: simply put, it pays to be a manager regardless of industry. Those with MBAs and a strategic focus will be well-positioned to become administrative services managers, financial managers, human resources managers and more.
In addition, some managers become CEOs or a similar position and eventually earn an annual salary numbering into the millions of dollars. You don’t get to become a successful CEO without having a solid grasp of economic strategy, after all.
Alternatively, master’s in strategy degree holders can become professionals in the business and financial sectors. Business and financial occupations in general make a median annual wage of about $68,350. This isn’t nearly as high as the weight you can expect from being the boss, but it’s still respectable. However, most individuals with MBAs of any kind will likely rise above standard positions in these sectors.
A more likely alternative to becoming a direct manager of an organization or team is the position of management analyst. Management analysts propose ways to improve the efficiency of their host company or organization and may work for a particular company or work on a more freelance basis, jumping from company to company and providing their strategic advice when needed. This profession relies heavily on the strategic aspects of the MBA we’ve described. As such, it’s a much rarer position and is more lucrative as a result.
Strategic or management analysts can expect a slightly lower overall salary of about $83,000 per year, but they have a fantastic upper average of about $152,760. This basically means that management analysts who can make a name for themselves and prove their worth to multiple organizations will have the opportunity to demand a higher rate of pay.
Strategic or management analysts will also benefit from a 14% job growth rate over the next 10 years. This is much faster than the national average and will eventually result in an additional 118,000 jobs across all industries. Management occupations (admittedly a much broader type of profession) are also expected to grow by about 7%. Because of their variety, these will result in about 700,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.
All in all, individuals with master’s in strategy degrees don’t need to worry about their employment prospects. They’ll be able to command excellent salaries and have multiple avenues for finding the career of their dreams.
What Are the Best Master’s in Strategy Degrees?
We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of Master’s Programs Guide utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following five aspects:
25% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
25% Graduation Rate: Number of students who start at the university and actually finish there
20% Earnings Potential: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
20% Selectivity: The number of students who apply versus the number who actually get accepted
10% Online Graduate Offerings: The number of programs offered online in each department
At Master’s Programs Guide, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals.
Check out our ranking of the best master’s in strategy programs!
Full-time MBA in Strategy
New York University was founded in 1831 and is one of the most famous colleges in the New York City area. It’s an innovative school that encompasses 19 distinct colleges and several top-rated programs. As a result of their rigor and overall value, they only accept one in five into their undergraduate class. Master’s programs are similarly competitive, so you’ll need an excellent portfolio and a high bachelor’s GPA to have a chance for acceptance.
If you do get in, you’ll benefit from one of the most diverse student body and faculty lists available. There are many financial aid opportunities at NYU, especially since it stands out as one of the best US universities for low income or first-generation college students. You’ll also benefit from a vast network of alumni both in New York City and across the world; arguably just as important an advantage as a quality education for business leaders and future strategic analysts.
The NYU strategy degree comes packaged as a specialization for an MBA, just like the majority of these degrees. It’s a two-year full-time program that also benefits from STEM designation. While this may not seem like much, it will qualify you for certain scholarships or grants that only STEM programs can benefit from. This also means that the program emphasizes the economics and mathematical points of strategic management and analysis more thoroughly than several of the other strategy degrees.
One of the biggest benefits of this program is that it takes place in New York City. The Big Apple is arguably the business and cultural center for the entire world, so all students in this program will benefit from a multitude of networking opportunities and internship chances. It’s no stretch to say that students can work and pursue their MBA in strategy at the same time in the best location for that kind of study. More business happens in New York City than anywhere else.
However, NYU also allows you to study abroad or online. They have several campuses in other countries, enabling you to travel while you complete your education or keep working at your current place of employment even if it’s not in New York. The online program follows the same course list and structure of the main program, although it’s a little better for those who need flexible schedules. The asynchronous nature of the program makes it a great choice for working professionals.
Regardless of how you complete the program, all students will benefit from a comprehensive selection of courses that focus on strategy and competitive economics in the workplace. Classes include topics like Strategic Talent Management, Operation Strategy, and Corporate Governance. Because it’s an MBA as well, you’ll enjoy plenty of classes focusing on the business or leadership perspective. All in all, this program is a great choice for future leaders of companies and nonprofit organizations alike because of the extensive classes focusing on leadership and communication.
For particularly industrious students, you can earn a dual degree in two to three years depending on how many classes you can take each semester. The MBA is offered with other master’s degrees, like a Master of Fine Arts or an M.S. in either finance or mathematics subjects. These are great ways to specialize your education even further and mark you as an especially talented individual for picky employers. The dual degree program is robust and comprehensive. It’s also quite competitive, and you’ll need to dedicate a full-time number of hours to complete everything properly. It’s a great choice.
MBA in Strategic Management
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is well known as a quirkier cousin institution of Harvard. While both universities are exceptional in terms of their academic rigor, MIT is a little less traditional and has a more unique college campus experience, ranging from the odd architectural design of the buildings to the proliferation of projects always going on somewhere on the campus. The school is spread out in the midst of downtown Cambridge, right across the Charles River from the Boston metropolitan area. This enables all MIT students to benefit from a bustling social lifestyle and plenty of employment opportunities both during and after their education.
MIT’s student culture is also quite interesting in comparison to many more traditional universities. The students are unique and individualistic, and a strong emphasis on personal projects or startups is prevalent everywhere you go. MIT has a strong engineer and hacker culture, so business students here will be inevitably immersed in a modern-day, digital social environment that should prepare them well for jobs in the future. It’s a lot like Silicon Valley but on the East Coast, in some respects.
MIT has a full-time and two-year MBA program with an available emphasis in technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategic management. This last option is one of their more popular programs, likely because of MIT student body’s enjoyment of statistical analysis models and overall mathematical appreciation. But MIT’s MBA program is also used primarily by students wanting to change their career trajectory: 85% of the students currently enrolled in their program are looking to change tracks rather than specialize further.
The MBA program is versatile and robust. All the MBA students are asked to analyze their personal strengths and weaknesses in order to learn how to market themselves and understand which lecture materials are applicable for their unique economic interests. This includes one-on-one career coaching; MIT has a low student to faculty ratio of 3:1 so most students will be able to benefit from individual conversations with their professors. The ability to tailor your MBA education and work with faculty to such a personal degree sets MIT above many other universities in the country.
The MBA program in strategy also requires you to build relationships designed to last a lifetime. You’ll collaborate with many fellow students in projects and real-world business case scenarios in order to fine-tune your strategy skills and understand how certain organizations are successful. This emphasis on collaboration is important, as most major business leaders work well with others. It also fits well with MIT’s overall focus on innovators and creativity; many students of this program undertake extra projects or even join startups while in the midst of their education. Regardless, you’ll join an exceptional alumni network of over 136,000 people across 90 countries.
The curriculum starts with a core semester within a cohort of peers. The cohort system means that you’ll accompany one another through the same classes and at the same pace. This does mean you can’t graduate more quickly like with some other accelerated programs, but it does ensure that you’ll connect with your peers much more reliably. You’ll then tailor your degree according to your interests and chosen specializations through the electives you choose as well as projects and case studies.
Ultimately, MIT is a great choice for individualistic and creative thinkers who want a top-tier MBA degree in strategy that’s a little different from the rest.
MBA in Strategy and Consulting
The University of California at Berkeley is arguably the most famous university in the entire UC system. It was founded in 1868 and has since become one of the most liberal (both politically and intellectually) hotspots in the United States. It has over 184 academic departments and programs and a decent student to faculty ratio of 17:1, enabling everyone to get the focus and personal attention they need to succeed. Its faculty are well-versed in their subjects and are often top researchers in their field: eight of them hold Nobel Prizes, along with dozens of other awards or merits.
Even beyond all these merits, UC Berkeley features a beautiful campus with a diverse student body and a school-wide focus on inclusion and mental health. Not only is the campus itself pleasing, but it’s filled with both green spaces and energy-efficient buildings, as the school is attempting to lower its resource consumption dramatically. The weather is great, and the academics are attractive to match.
UC Berkeley offers a strategy and consulting degree: another MBA with an interesting spin on the traditional specialization. The additional consulting title is notable, especially since one out of four Berkeley grads from this program enter a consulting career at a firm. This trend is so powerful that Berkeley has a well-trained career team available to help you find a job shortly after graduation without having to worry too much. Besides, Berkeley’s fantastic reputation as a college will also be a shining star on your record.
The curriculum uses many fundamental classes when first starting out, then branches into more specialized classes. The majority of these courses, such as the Fundamentals of Design Thinking, have experiential learning opportunities. Other classes include Corporate Finance, Marketing Research, the Future of Information Technology, and Data Science and Data Strategy. New methods in teaching students incorporate more hands-on experience and case studies than rote memorization and typical lecturing. As a result, many practically-minded students will find UC Berkeley’s teaching strategies to be particularly effective and might feel more prepared once entering the workforce.
Even better, UC Berkeley’s Haas Consulting Club is an exclusive organization for business students that can help provide opportunities for internships and even provide additional career-readying skills. Their case interviewing skills team and resume booster services are excellent advantages that any student unsure about their future in the workforce should check out.
The extracurricular bonuses from attending UC Berkeley don’t stop there. There’s an Innovation Design Club that’s perfect for students that want to dive deeper into design at the business or organizational level. It’ll help you understand how to apply these skills in the real world. The Data Science Club can help students more focused on statistical analysis to understand how large organizations work. The club hosts many skill-building workshops on detailed topics like Python or Tableau. Finally, the General Management and Leadership Club can help you grow your career opportunities further—they organize leadership spotlights and career treks to help you find your ideal place of employment before you graduate.
It’s clear that arguably the biggest benefit in attending UC Berkeley—even with the excellence of the academic program—is the additional services and assistance you’ll get when it comes to sharpening your resume and interviewing skills. UC Berkeley isn’t just focused on producing strategy and consulting graduates who can put together analysis models. They want graduates who can walk into an interview and ace it the first time. To that end, students of strategy who aren’t sure about their social skills in this field might do well to consider UC Berkeley.
MBA in Strategy
Harvard University is one of the most famous universities in the nation. It’s also one of the most exclusive; only around 20,000 students are on campus at any one time, with another 16,000 in the secondary extension school. The faculty has had members worthy of the most iconic and important positions and awards, including 49 Nobel laureates and 32 heads of state.
While the academic programs are great, the campus is another big draw. It’s spread across almost 5500 acres slightly north of downtown Cambridge, which itself is across the river from the Boston metropolitan area. Students have access both to ample green spaces and quiet reflective locations while still having the convenience and employment opportunities brought about by a big, bustling city.
Their MBA program has a strategy concentration, although unlike many of these degrees you’ll start by jumping into your specialization during the first year. The first year’s required curriculum will help you understand the operative environment of a firm, and how to generate new value for your customers and shareholders through a variety of interdisciplinary classes. It’s a rather broad curriculum focusing on the big foundational ideas for economic strategy before you move into a more customizable elective curriculum. During this first year, students will figure out how to effectively utilize a wide variety of analytical tools.
The elective curriculum for the second year is much more personalized according to your interests. In addition, the available electives change more often, so the catalog you see for the current year may not be the exact same during the year you actually attend. This can be a good thing, as the business environment is always fluctuating and leaders in this field will need to be adaptable.
You’ll also have the ability to complete projects to bolster your portfolio and demonstrate your skills to future employers. In fact, much of Harvard’s overall value is tied into your networking opportunities and the various internships and work experiences you can benefit from while at school. Harvard’s alumni network is particularly valuable, as many Harvard graduates have positions in Fortune 500 or other companies where you’ll be most likely to find a lucrative position as a strategy specialist.
Indeed, Harvard’s career services center is one of the best in the country. Not only do they have experts on hand to help you find a place of employment after graduation, but they also host regular resume building seminars and can teach you how to ace an interview. This is typical for most colleges, but the higher Harvard standard makes it special.
You will need to attend Harvard in person to complete this program, although the school does offer plenty of online classes if you want to cut your teeth on one of these offerings before committing fully. The entrance requirements are also fairly strict, with high GRE thresholds and GPA requirements.
MBA in Strategy
Columbia University in the city of New York is one of the top business schools in the city and provides one of the most flexible but consistent learning experiences around. It’s one of the top research schools in the nation in one of the best business locations in the world. Students will likely be awed by the campus, which is located in the heart of New York with modern and beautiful architecture and several advanced facilities for its classes and faculty.
Their strategy program focuses on immersing each student in foundational knowledge for real-world concepts. In other words, their program emphasizes practical skills you can use at firms once you are employed rather than more theoretical ideas. They use many case studies in their classes to help you identify and capture opportunities. Many aspects of business strategy focus on the understanding and recognition of economic patterns; students will be challenged to develop their own solutions to these patterns while attending this program.
Columbia offers two types of MBA: regular and executive. Both programs make use of a cluster system, which is a variation of the standard cohort model in which you’ll proceed through a regimented class structure along with a small group of 60 to 70 classmates. This enables you to enjoy additional peer networking opportunities and will require you to collaborate on many of the hands-on projects necessary for graduation.
The regular MBA program is full-time, while the executive program is designed for working professionals that can’t leave their jobs to complete school. Both variations of the program will allow you to graduate between 2 to 3 years depending on whether you can take classes during the summer semester. The executive program holds classes on weekends or in block week formats, allowing you to take time off work in chunks rather than over a regular timeframe.
All students of this program will also be required to do a residence period at the beginning of the MBA program. All the students in the cohort come together for between 3 to 5 days depending on the course schedule, and this experience is one of the best of the entire program. It allows students to complete almost a quarter of the coursework for the entire term over a few days. In this manner, most cohorts will complete the degree within less than two years.
Additionally, Columbia allows you to pursue a dual degree option by pairing your MBA with one of 11 other professional degrees in law, engineering, international affairs, medicine, and more. However, keep in mind that you must apply separately to every program and get advisor permission to pursue both degrees simultaneously. However, it’s a great option if you want to double your degrees before graduation.
Columbia is also valuable because there are several fellowships for the MBA programs available for academically advanced students. These fellowships come with tuition waivers and the less tangible but still critical aspect of social connection.
MBA in Strategic Management
Stanford University is one of the most famous colleges in the country and is arguably the best in California as a whole. It’s based in Palo Alto, so all students and the SoCal themed campus benefit from sunny weather throughout almost the entire year and a temperate climate. Stanford has a world-recognized faculty and a diverse student body, along with a multitude of opportunities for internships and for international experiences regardless of major. Several hundred student organizations and a booming Greek life round out the campus experience.
Their strategic management degree is fairly similar to other curriculums out there. The first year focuses on building every student’s general management knowledge and providing them with global exposure. These key points are important as the modern economy is more international and global than ever before. Managerial issues are frequently present during this first year through a shared MBA curriculum with other specialties, and many of the classes incorporate case studies in which the student takes the perspective of a senior manager or leader.
You’ll gain extensive practical experience and detailed insight from both your leadership coach and your classmates. Your leadership coach is either your main professor for a course or another member of the faculty. Despite the focus on foundational knowledge, most students will be able to fit in one or two electives during the winter or spring quarters provided they remain on schedule.
Additionally, Stanford has a global experience requirement for all MBA graduates. All students need to enroll in and complete one of these experiences. This involves spending at least four weeks during a summer semester working on projects for one of the sponsor organizations of your program. Industries available for this experience range from consumer products to international development to finance and more. Students will be able to apply for their ideal experience based on their interests and prior work experience.
Students will also need to attend a global seminar, during which they will have a small group learning experience prior to starting the MBA program. This involves spending 8 to 10 days at the seminar location, meeting with industry leaders and learning from key stakeholders. The trip locations vary from year to year, but most are international, guaranteeing that every MBA student in this program gets at least some experience abroad.
The second year of the program is more focused on electives and allows you to tailor your experience. New electives are added to the list every year or existing topics are heavily revised, making every new year at Stanford something different for both the faculty and the student body. It’s an adaptive program suitable for the modern business environment.
Finally, Stanford also allows students to take two-week compressed courses if you want to build specific knowledge in specific business topics. These can be great if you want to specialize in a particular business sphere or take a class to qualify for a position at your current place of employment.
MBA Strategy Major
Northwestern University is one of the most innovative colleges in the country, with an excellent interdisciplinary curriculum across programs and over 500 student organizations and clubs. They’re also leaders in athletics, with 19 intercollegiate athletics teams. Students and faculty at this university bring in $2.2 billion in revenue from patents and intellectual property licensing. Although it’s a huge research institution, there’s no denying that it’s a fantastic university for business-oriented minds as well. All this value comes with a strict admissions office; only 8.5% of applicants are accepted each year. But the above benefits, combined with a low 6:1 student to faculty ratio, make NWU a fantastic choice for many.
This MBA has a dedicated strategy major, and the courses are designed from the ground up to improve students’ understanding of how and why managers make the decisions they do. Many of the courses focus on analytical thinking and detail-oriented case studies rather than more generalized MBA topics, although the first year, of course, does incorporate several foundational classes. However, this MBA has multiple pathways to success. Students can complete the entire MBA in one year if they take several summer courses or in a two-year, more relaxed format if that works better for their schedule.
The one year MBA program starts in the summer and allows you to choose from among 200 courses, bypassing many of the foundational classes in favor of electives that work for your career goals. You’ll finish faster and spend less money with this timeframe, but you’ll also benefit from the cross-disciplinary “thought leadership” model that many classes at Northwestern utilize. This teaching initiative helps students graduate with well-rounded skill sets and utilizes the world experience of its faculty to the greatest extent. The one-year path is arguably best for students who know exactly what they’re after and who have the dedication to take many classes in quick succession.
The two-year degree is also excellent, with over 1000 experiential learning, or hands-on, opportunities. Chances for you to build your resume and prepare for employment after graduation are everywhere. Either way, you’ll benefit from the business school’s career management center—it’s well known for being able to meet the needs of the university’s MBA graduates.
Additional dual degree opportunities in business, law, or medicine are also available for industrious students. These can be completed in two to three years depending on how many summer semesters you fill with classes.
If you take any of these programs with a strategy concentration, you’ll also have the opportunity to join global programs in over 70 countries. These programs differ highly in their concentration or focus, ranging from collaborative work experiences to business startup assistance. You’ll be able to exercise your strategic management skills on real-world problems even before you graduate through using these resources, and get to travel the world at the same time. These are great resume builders and chances for you to spread your social network far and wide to secure a future job.
#8. Duke University
MBA Strategy Concentration
Duke University is one of the most well-known private research universities in North Carolina. While it was founded by both Methodists and Quakers, students of all faiths or walks of life now attend its academically rigorous programs. It’s often ranked among the top 10 in the United States and has been ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the best university for graduate outcomes for several years in a row. This is both because of the value of its academic programs and its schedule flexibility.
An alumni network over 170,000 strong means that anyone who attends this university will have multiple pathways to employment or additional career opportunities in the future. Everyone can also enjoy the beautiful South Carolina campus, which is over 8600 acres in total.
Duke provides several MBA varieties to accommodate several schedule types. The base MBA is a daytime variant that takes place over a full-time schedule for 22 months. It is only delivered in person. The second is also on campus only but is an accelerated format, enabling students to take additional courses during summer semesters and complete the program in only 10 months. This is a great choice both in terms of financial benefits and for those who want to jump into their new position as a strategic consultant or analyst as soon as possible.
For those with more flexible scheduling needs, the weekend executive MBA might be the perfect choice for you. In this program, Duke delivers its educational materials in a hybrid format of both in-person workshops and lectures and online classes. This is best for working professionals, as it takes place over 19 months—essentially the same amount of time as the standard MBA. The global executive MBA is another hybrid program type; many of the classes focus on international business ideas and incorporate a more relaxed schedule to help international professionals complete their education without having to fly to Duke very often.
Their strategy concentration is perfect for students who hope to lead strategy consulting firms or those interested in general management positions. The core curriculum is filled with traditional MBA topics like business leadership and communication, but the concentration also adds an additional six electives that focus specifically on strategy in competitive business environments. The program also recognizes the modern need for analytical skills and specialized knowledge, so many course requirements are built around themes. These various themes allow students to tailor the degree according to their interests without declaring an additional specialty aside from strategy.
In essence, students get to choose two courses from three main blocks of electives. These topics include strategy implementation, corporate finance, entrepreneurial finance, healthcare provider strategy, and others. The available classes are extremely diverse and deal with niche topics that many MBA programs in strategy don’t include.
Ultimately, Duke’s MBA in strategy program is perfect for a wide variety of individuals with distinct educational needs.
MBA in Strategy
Dartmouth College is located in one of the most beautiful areas in the country, next to the small New England town of Hanover in New Hampshire. The small-town New England charm is combined with on and off-campus housing options in modern and aesthetically pleasing buildings. Students can also join several clubs and activities, ranging from volunteer efforts to student-run symposia. It’s a perfect campus and college for students looking to get involved and build a peer network that will last for a lifetime.
Their MBA program is very exclusive and quite small, comprising only about 300 students, each with an average 3.5 GPA. As a result, entrance requirements are strict and competitive, but there are lots of benefits to be enjoyed if you make it in.
The program relies on a core curriculum as its cornerstone learning experience. It’s designed to teach the functional skills that strategic leaders need to execute business decisions in the real world. It combines many solid MBA concepts like management and leadership with strategic ideas surrounding statistics and data analysis. Interestingly, the core MBA classes are mixed relatively evenly with strategically focused classes throughout the entire curriculum. It’s also an MBA program that allows students to waive many of its classes based on their prior work experience; working professionals who have several years under their belt at their company might be able to complete the program ahead of schedule because of this.
Regardless, all students must complete a first-year project. In this project, students will apply the learning from the entire first year of the program to a real-world strategic management issue. The clients in these projects are real and can range from multinational corporations to early-stage startups in several different industries. The first-year project is different every year and students will collaborate with their peers to complete everything to their client’s satisfaction. All in all, this experience is a fantastic addition to the program as a whole and bolsters your skills in a way that no classroom theory can.
Furthermore, all students in this program must take at least one course in a country that is new to them before they graduate. Over 33 countries are available for this requirement, meaning students will have some international experience by the time they complete the program. This is invaluable in the global economy and provides exceptional opportunities for networking. For those with a taste for international experience, they can take the OnSite Global Consulting course, which is a second-year MBA elective class. It’s essentially an extension of the first-year project, but it’s another great way to bolster your resume and test out your skills in a real environment.
MBA in Strategic Management
The University of Chicago is the flagship private university of the state. It has expanded and developed since 1890, and has been the site of real-world breakthroughs like the discovery of the link between cancer and genetics. Located in the heart of Chicago itself, UChicago is well-positioned for student social lives and for all the economic opportunities present in a metropolitan area. The University is partnered with multiple local businesses as well, a big boon for MBA grads and their career ambitions.
Their program in strategic management is a fantastic option through and through. It takes place over 21 months and has a fantastic success rate—98.4% of graduates receive job offers within three months of graduation. All students also take a required leadership effectiveness and development course, which is perfect for future business managers.
The main curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach and incorporates classes and topics from multiple angles, including psychology, sociology, and economics. The analytical frameworks and skills you’ll develop will ensure that you emerge as a well-rounded graduate upon completion of the program. The curriculum is designed to help you understand how managers employ formal and informal relationships and come up with holistic solutions for a demanding variety of economic questions. It’s great both for future leaders and primary advisors.
Many co-curricular activities are also available. Outside the classroom, you’ll be able to build new skills and relationships or bolster your existing network. The available co-curricular activities include joining the Credit Restructuring, Distressed Investing, and Turnaround Group, which provides you with chances to showcase your skills and help clients in real life before you graduate. Or you can join the Corporate Management Group, which will help you develop your managerial skills much more effectively than any classroom experience. A Management Consulting Group is also available; it’s an ideal choice for future strategic advisors and analysts. Any of these options are great for your resume and your understanding of the topics you will learn in lectures.
General courses include traditional MBA offerings in leadership and management, while the strategic concentration courses cover topics like competitive strategy or technology strategy. The latter option is a great choice for those interested in the rapidly developing digital sector that’s changing the way business is done all across the world.
Aside from these programs, students will also need to take “lab” courses—a relatively unique aspect compared to other MBA in strategy programs. These laboratory classes provide you with hands-on learning activities and give you real-world business challenges to solve. A great example is the Energy and Clean Tech Lab, which focuses on clean energy solutions and projects. In this lab, you’ll work with a real clean-tech firm or research laboratory throughout the process. These laboratory courses, in conjunction with the main curriculum, will ensure that you emerge from the program ready to contribute effectively to a firm.
Apart from the efficacy of the main program, you can also develop additional specialized expertise and credentials with a dual degree program by taking extra courses. The MBA can be combined with a medical degree, a Master of Public Policy, a Master of Health Administration, and more. These are excellent opportunities to signal your interests to employers or qualify you for more advanced, specific positions.