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    The StratEDgy blog is intended to be a thoughtful hub for discussion about strategy and competition in higher education.

Dual or Duel?
February 12, 2012 - 9:42pm

Increasingly, industries need individuals with a blend of both content expertise and business acumen. Where does someone acquire this combination?  He or she could learn on-the-job, or in an educational program.

Examples of these types of programs abound.  At the most basic level, students can take electives.  More formally, there are graduate degrees offered by one particular school, incorporating curriculum from multiple schools, like the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Doctor of Education Leadership.

There are degrees designed specifically to integrate content knowledge and management – like the master’s in engineering management, which grew 27% from 2005-2009, according to the American Society for Engineering Education. And there are all kinds of dual degree combinations: MD/JD, MD/M.B.A., MPH/JD, PhD/M.B.A., Social work/JD, etc. Not to mention the undergraduate/graduate combinations.

Add to this list partnerships between schools, like the new M.B.A./M.A. in Design Leadership offered by the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

We can round out the menu of options with dual degrees offered by MBA programs – including the unique M.B.A./Master’s in Pastoral Ministry offered by Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. As the AACSB reported in Businessweek's article, the number of dual degree M.B.A. degree tracks offered rose 54% from 2001-2011, however enrollments have not expanded accordingly.

With all these options, are students getting the dual-knowledge they need to be successful in the dynamic markets of tomorrow – including the education industry?

As market forces become increasingly intertwined in both K-12 and postsecondary education, individuals with both content knowledge and management expertise have much to offer. It goes without saying that those working in education must not lose sight of what it takes to educate. Whether it’s your calling, your profession, your job or your product – educating students should remain the focus.

However, in today’s world, it has become apparent that the skill set needed to run successful education organizations involves applying best practices from both business and education. Organizations that can do this will be better able to balance complex priorities to provide sound education in a fiscally responsible manner, using innovative ideas grounded in educational excellence.


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