The study of business management includes learning key concepts such as principles of organization, division of labor and allocation of resources, and the need for formal organizational hierarchy. Some of the essential qualities required for a successful career in management include superior communication skills, logical thinking, decisiveness, competence, credibility and leadership skills.

(Photo Courtesy of Paul Hamlen)

(Photo Courtesy of Paul Hamlen)

Paul Hamlen, an experienced management consultant and Fortune 100 executive with a Masters in Business Administration from McCombs School of Business, shares his perspectives on the value of a business degree.

What were some of the factors you considered that ultimately led you to decide to pursue your MBA?

“For me, three factors drove the decision.”

“The first was a desire to change careers. Following undergraduate school, I worked in the legal industry, but it was not something I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. Business school gave me a new set of skills with which to market myself to new employers.”

“Second, I was seeking knowledge that would allow me to become an entrepreneur. The first tech boom was taking place as I was evaluating graduate schools in the late 90’s, and I was fascinated with the startup culture of the time. I wanted the skills necessary to take that path, and lacking practical business experience, an MBA seemed a logical way to go.”

“Finally, I had always wanted an advanced degree and the opportunity to return to school. I found the idea of learning an entirely new discipline exciting and looked forward to returning to an academic environment, this time a bit better able to apply myself.”

In your current role, how often do you find yourself relying on the principles you learned in business school?

“I rely on what I learned and refined in business school every day. Some specific examples would include developing data-driven recommendations, performing a variety of analyses, understanding finance and operations and making decisions with limited information. For me, business school taught me several disciplines I had never been exposed to before I arrived there. Those include leadership development to understanding the importance of change management. My degree provided an excellent foundation to the consulting and management career that followed.”

Do you feel the investment in the degree holds its value over time?

“When people ask me whether they should go to business school, I typically tell them to consider their circumstance, their career path to date and their skills and experience because I believe the answer varies for everyone. If you are considering a full-time program, two years is a long time to not be collecting a salary and moving your career forward, and even with a part-time program, there are still sacrifices you’ll need to make in your career and your personal life – in addition to the investment. For me, there is no question that the investment was worth it, and that the degree holds its value over time.”

Warren White is a freelance writer covering all things Baltimore. His work can be found on


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