What is an MA in Leadership, and What Can You Do With the Degree?

What is an MA in Leadership, and What Can You Do With the Degree?

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard someone say, ‘Leaders are born. Some people have it; others don’t.’ Gina Hernez-Broome disagrees with this misguided perspective. 

“Leadership can be learned,” says Dr. Hernez-Broome, program chair for Ashford University’s Master of Arts in Leadership degree program. “We all have the potential to be leaders in every aspect of our lives.”

Leadership in today’s globally connected workforce is no longer about a formal position, either. It doesn’t matter if your title has “manager” or “supervisor” attached to it because everyone has the potential to be a leader at every level of experience and responsibility. 

That potential, Dr. Hernez-Broome adds, is what the MA in Leadership will unlock for graduate students. 

Here she discusses the goal of the degree, what you will learn, and why you should consider a Master of Arts in Leadership in 2019.

What Does the Master of Arts in Leadership Teach You?

With courses that span leadership on organizational and international levels, including Leading Across Boundaries, Strategic Leadership, and Fundamentals of Coaching, an MA in Leadership is designed to enhance your global perspective while simultaneously asking you to look inward. That’s why an international element is a critical piece of the leadership puzzle.

“Every organization today is thinking globally,” says Dr. Hernez-Broome. “You have to communicate beyond the vacuum of a strictly domestic audience – every aspect of leadership has to take into account the global community.”

Rather than walking through a step-by-step process to becoming a leader, the degree program puts a strong emphasis on self-awareness and the mindset one needs to serve in a leadership capacity.  

This is where Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, comes into play. Being aware of and controlling your own emotions is a critical aspect of leadership, and students pursuing an MA in Leadership will learn how to keep their emotions in check when triggered by common workplace challenges, cultural clashes, and differences of opinion.

Courses such as The Focused Leader will train you to develop strategies for building productive relationships, rather than falling back on outdated managerial tactics

“Management is in many ways focused on processes and procedures. It’s about getting the work done and is very task-oriented,” Dr. Hernez-Broome explains. “Leadership is about the people side of it and achieving your goals through relationships and collaboration. “This program challenges you with the questions of: How do I influence people? How do I establish relationships and build networks that will get things done?”

What Are the Benefits of a Master of Arts in Leadership?

The goal of Ashford University’s MA in Leadership is to prepare you, as a leader of tomorrow, for a career in your industry of choice, whether youare part of a small startup or an international conglomerate. For that reason, the program takes a holistic approach to its subject matter and serves to strengthen and balance skills on three levels: inner leadership, interpersonal relationships and team building, and organizational and global leadership. 

1. Leading yourself

These courses are focused on self-reflection and self-assessment, so you work to recognize and build upon your individual strengths, while identifying gaps in your capabilities and seeking knowledge and skills to improve. Strategic thinking and planning, as well as emotional intelligence, are life-changing concepts and competencies that can benefit you in school and beyond. 

“The first courses you take – including The Focused Leader and Strategic Leadership – address you as an individual and how you can develop as a leader,” Dr. Hernez-Broome explains. “It’s about taking stock of where you are and how you can improve to make an immediate impact.”

2. Interpersonal relationships and team building

In addition to learning about yourself, as a student in the MA in Leadership program, you are challenged to assess how to become a better team leader. Courses such as Leadership and Management distinguish the difference between the two, while Fundamentals of Coaching train you to become an effective listener, give feedback, and establish rapport and purpose with team members.   

“We’re looking to identify those team dynamics,” Dr. Hernez-Broome says. “Leadership is about relationships, so students will look to improve the effectiveness of their face-to-face interactions, while also thinking about ways to network and grow.”

3. Organizational and global leadership

The third area of focus for your MA in Leadership aims at developing your organizational leadership skills and global business acumen. In Glocalization: Leading Across Cultures and International Communication, you learn how to communicate across cultures at the organizational level, while you examine the impact of glocalization over the past several decades. 

Why Should You Consider a Master of Arts in Leadership?

Leadership is needed in every industry, although those who have already earned a business-focused bachelor’s degree may find an MA in Leadership especially valuable. 

“This adds a layer of skills and competency that complements a business background very well,” Dr. Hernez-Broome says. “With a business education you have technical and operational expertise – this is the people side; very theoretical, [and] focused on applying leadership to your role in the organization and its culture.”

If you earn an MA in Leadership, you may pursue career paths such as:

  • Chief Executives
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Postsecondary Business Teachers

Upon graduation – no matter which direction you choose to take your career – you will leave college with a fundamental understanding of the global leadership landscape. Additionally, you’ll find your newly developed abilities to build relationships across cultures, economies, political philosophies, and geographic regions to be very marketable and respected skills.   

“Leadership is needed in all aspects of life,” Dr. Hernez-Broome says. “Work, community, family – my favorite thing about this degree is how it takes on the tone of a leadership development program.

“It’s about how you teach people what it takes to be a leader.”

If you’re interested in leadership, consider a master’s degree at Ashford University, and take the step forward by visiting our admissions page to begin the application process today. 

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Written by Ashford University staff
 

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