Why Choose an Executive Leadership Focused MBA?

Businessman showing his two colleagues some information on a tablet device, outdoors
Businessman showing his two colleagues some information on a tablet device, outdoors

Business professionals recognize the value of a master's in business administration degree. The MBA degree is the graduate-level program that provides people with an opportunity to develop further expertise in business practices while specializing in a niche area of business.

Those who want to pursue an MBA degree often have a specific goal in mind, such as achieving a new position in their career or increasing their opportunities to earn additional income. While a general MBA degree is going to enhance your resume and allow you to climb higher up the corporate ladder, it's important to recognize that an MBA degree with a distinct focus is going to truly set you apart from other candidates.

An MBA with a concentration in Executive Leadership is a unique online program available through Spring Arbor University. This online MBA in leadership provides students with a rigorous curriculum that trains them to become accomplished business experts with exceptional leadership skills they can utilize to take an organization to the next level.


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What is Executive Leadership?

Executive or strategic leadership has been defined as “the ability to influence others to voluntarily make decisions that enhance the prospects for the organization's long-term success while maintaining long-term financial stability.”

That last part about long-term success and stability is the most significant. Martin Shkreli, the unethical hedge fund manager who got very rich very quickly by lying to his stakeholders, will likely be forgotten before he finishes his current prison sentence, but the name of inventor Thomas Edison, who died nearly 100 years ago, still graces a dozen companies. Visionaries last as long as their particular vision carries, and great executive leadership is about creating sustainable structures.

You will generally hear the term “executive leadership” used most frequently by business schools, as they teach students how to apply the more general theory of strategic organizational management to a C-Suite context. This leadership context comes with numerous responsibilities, including:

  • Optimizing material and human resource deployment
  • Preparing for and adapting to change (technological, social, economic, environmental)
  • Accounting for analytical and human dimensions of decision-making
  • Building a winning team of senior managers to advance corporate goals
  • Risk assessment and analysis

There are also numerous different possible approaches, from servant leadership to paternalistic leadership. Deciding which style will work best in a given situation is dependent on the personal characteristics of a given executive, the makeup of their team and the context of the market. Strong executive leadership must always be focused on accountability, communication, problem-solving, empathy and developing policy that benefits all shareholders.

What is the ROI of Earning an MBA With an Executive Leadership Concentration?

Executive leadership programs are typically offered by business schools at the master’s level, often as a focus or specialization of an MBA program. Studying executive leadership has numerous immediate benefits, such as:

  • Demonstrating to employers that you have an interest and burgeoning expertise in the field of corporate growth and strategic development.
  • Opening a path toward C-suite executive salaries, which can range from $80,000 to $250,000+ USD per year.
  • Unlocking your potential quickly through programs which offer one-year accelerated track options.
  • Putting you in a position to effect real change in the world, in a corporate, governmental or nonprofit sphere.

Program graduates typically experience a significant bump in salary compared to their prior earnings within one to three years of completing their programs.

What Is Included in the Online MBA with a Concentration in Executive Leadership Curriculum?

A executive leadership MBA degree is designed to provide students with in-depth instruction in a variety of business principles, strategies and topics. At Spring Arbor University, students are required to complete 24 credit hours in the core MBA courses and 12 credit hours in the executive leadership concentration.

In the core MBA courses, students will explore a variety of topics ranging from accounting to marketing and international business. Each course challenges students and gives them an opportunity to explore detailed aspects of the business world. Traditional principles are combined with current events, allowing students to apply their knowledge in a way that is useful and relevant. In addition, the program aims to provide students with real-world experiences. For example, the international business course gives students the option of attending the annual four-day International Business Summit in New York City.

In the executive leadership concentration, students are required to take three different courses: executive Planning and Management, executive Leadership, and Management of Organizational Behavior. The courses give students the opportunity to become proficient in executive leadership practices that allow them to take on senior management positions. In these roles, they will work to influence the groups that they lead in order to move the organization toward its short-term and long-term goals. Topics covered in the executive leadership concentration curriculum include developing leadership skills, identifying effective executive planning techniques, organizational psychology and organizational behavior.

Executive Leadership Courses

Courses in SAU’s Executive Leadership concentration include:

  • Strategic Leadership: Analyze the traits of successful leaders and absorb the skills and tendencies that facilitate their achievements. Develop your strategic thinking and learn how to turn your plans into actionable results.
  • Management of Organizational Behavior: This course focuses on how to understand the way organizations function on a molecular and psychological level. How do executives ensure that employees are being trained the right way? What motivates productivity and well-being among the members of large collective units? People drive corporate innovation, but they can also bog it down without proper understanding and guidance from their leadership.
  • Strategic Planning and Management: Vision. Mission. Goals. This course is about understanding how your company works on a day to day basis, as well as its business context. The grand strategies of business rely on accurate intelligence, clear-eyed policy; and a willingness to remain adaptive and flexible.

Outside of the concentration, an MBA will give you a strong working knowledge of all of the aspects of the profession that concern senior managers, including finance, marketing, accounting and international business.


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What Job Opportunities Are Available for Graduates With an MBA in Executive Leadership?

Graduates who earn an MBA in executive leadership often set their sights on senior-level management positions. This is due to the fact that this program uniquely prepares them to lead a team of individuals and develop a executive plan for moving an organization forward. Some job opportunities that graduates may consider include:

  • Marketing Manager — A marketing manager is responsible for leading a team of marketing professionals who promote the goods and services of the individual organization. The marketing manager is often responsible for creating a marketing strategy and developing the plan for implementing that strategy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a marketing manager with a master's degree often earns a salary of about $134,000 per year.
  • Project Manager — A project manager is often responsible for overseeing a specific project that an organization is working on. They generally lead a team of individuals and designate specific tasks for those on the team. The average salary for a project manager with a master's degree is about $104,000 per year.
  • Organizational leaders and Executives — Top executives are the leaders of any given organization, and they are directly responsible for the company or group’s executive planning. Individuals in this role must create a plan of action that allows an organization to accomplish both its short-term and long-term goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals who have earned a master's degree can earn an average of $105,000 per year.

Advantages of an Executive Leadership Concentration

The traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a fantastic means to develop fluency in the essential principles of the field. For those who have already committed years to the business profession and want to accelerate up the corporate ladder to the executive level, obtaining an MBA with a concentration in executive leadership might be able to help in that climb.

Higher Salary Potential

One of the benefits of pursuing an online MBA with a concentration in Executive Leadership at Spring Arbor University is that it can expand the potential for higher salaries after graduation. While these numbers vary depending on the specific industry in which you hope to work, in general the upper echelons of executive management often rake in substantial sums.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, reveals that the mean annual wage in 2018 for chief executives totaled $200,140. In some fields, such as investment pools and funds, this mean rises to more than $250,000. What these figures suggest is that while you’ll need to invest time and money to complete your online Executive Leadership MBA, you’ll very often gain a return on that investment later in the form of a larger annual wage.

Greater Professional Responsibilities

In addition to the likelihood that your salary will rise in a new executive role following graduation from Spring Arbor University’s online MBA with a concentration in Executive Leadership, there is also the potential for greater responsibilities. These added tasks can range from managing larger teams to overseeing new or developing corporate divisions.

To prepare for these new challenges, Spring Arbor University’s online MBA with a concentration in Executive Leadership encourages students to expand their knowledge of the business field. This breadth complements the depth that many of the students have developed over their previous years of work in their desired industry. It can also prime graduates to embrace the new and dynamic challenges that an executive level position can bring.

Tap into Changing Industries

Pursuing an online Executive Leadership MBA can also facilitate the acquisition of new skills to better grapple with the changing landscape of business. With new technologies and workflow systems disrupting the business landscape regularly, dedicated executives will want to tap into that information to understand how new disruptors can be used to benefit their company.

This in-depth knowledge can be well-developed in SAU program courses such as “Strategic Planning & Management” (MBA654) and “Strategic Leadership” (MBA 657), wherein students can embrace the leading trends in their field and advance their understanding of how to use new ideas effectively in the corporate executive world.

Capitalize on Convenience

Amid the field of MBA options, SAU’s online MBA with a concentration in Executive Leadership sets itself ahead of the competition with a rigorous curriculum that also comes with the convenience of online learning. Enrolled students are challenged to learn and to improve, but they also enjoy a flexible schedule that allows them to continue to work throughout their courses. This transforms the workplace into a veritable laboratory, as ideas from class can be carried into real-world business scenarios that future executives experience every day.

Students who enroll in Spring Arbor University’s 100 percent online MBA are typically at a crossroads in their career. Many of them have gained years of experience in their given professional field but want to take their careers to the next level. The program offers an ideal opportunity to accelerate career progress and encourage student to reach their professional goals in the upper echelons of the executive world.

Why Choose Spring Arbor University's Online MBA Program?

The Spring Arbor University online MBA program with a concentration in executive leadership is an accredited program that takes place entirely online, giving you a flexible, affordable and convenient way to earn an advanced degree. Most students take one course at a time, and there are six different sessions available throughout the year. The program can be completed in as little as 18 months. Graduates are prepared to become the business leaders who have new ideas and innovative solutions that will drive any organization forward. To learn more about the executive leadership concentration MBA degree and to discover if it's the right fit for your career goals, contact the advisors at Spring Arbor University today.


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