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How Business School Can Prepare You To Make An Impact In Your Career

What is a high-impact career? How can business school help you launch one? Find out how business school can prepare you for success in the modern workplace


Wed Mar 6 2024

In business today, we hear the word impact more than ever. Professionals, business leaders, and entire organizations increasingly refer to the importance of making a positive and meaningful difference within society.

Today’s business school students are no different. A recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey found prospective students valued enriching their lives and developing their potential over developing wealth or increasing their income.

Launching a career that allows you to make an impact within an organization or respective field is increasingly a key motivator for those aiming to enroll in an MBA or business master’s to take the next step in their career.

So, how can business school prepare you to make an impact?

The chance to learn in a unique environment 

There are various reasons for enrolling in a business degree. Perhaps chief among them is the opportunity to develop your knowledge and build your business acumen.

Whether you choose to study a specialized degree, such as an MS in Sustainability Management, or a generalist MBA program, the chance to learn in a business school environment can expand your mindset and prepare you to make an impact after graduation.

For example, students at American University’s Kogod School of Business learn within a unique environment that blends theoretical teaching with highly personalized, practical learning opportunities.

Small, intimate class sizes—the flagship MBA program boasts one faculty member for every 19 students—allow students to build on both a professional and personal level as they interact with classmates and professors.

The school also offers a number of STEM-designated degrees, including the MBA, which focus on building students’ technical expertise.

Programs acquire STEM-designation when they demonstrate a sufficient focus on elements such as technology, business analytics, and data within the curriculum. Studying a STEM program can be highly beneficial when it comes to launching your career after graduation—the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that STEM jobs will grow by around 800,000 by 2031.

Combining a STEM-designated curriculum with practical learning opportunities such as consulting projects, internships, and even the chance to participate in an entrepreneurship incubator ensures that students graduate with the tools to make an impact in their careers.

Graduates from the Kogod MS in Sustainability Management go on to become project managers with Fortune 500 companies and policy advisors in the public sector. Likewise, grads from the school’s MBA program have launched startups, landed consulting roles, and even become CEOs.

Develop a skill set that fits with today’s business landscape 

A 2023 survey of top recruiting companies across the globe found that 90% of employers had plans to hire MBA graduates, while demand for more specialist programs in areas such as analytics amounted to 79%. 

One of the reasons behind the enduring demand for business school students is the skill set that you can gain while studying. Specialized programs can help unlock your functional competencies, while generalized degrees can enhance your ability to solve problems and manage others. 

As the modern workplace aligns with changes in areas such as sustainability transformation, technological innovation, and artificial intelligence, business schools that focus on cutting-edge skill areas can provide students with a platform to make an impact after graduation. 

The Veloric Center For Entrepreneurship at Kogod provides opportunities for all students to participate in entrepreneurship and innovation-led initiatives including workshops and problem-solving competitions. Those with an entrepreneurial flair can also incubate and launch their own startup. 

The center promotes skills that are essential for those who wish to manage change and lead in a dynamic workplace, including creativity, resilience, and critical thinking. 

All Kogod students can also avail of the school’s Center for Professionalism and Communications. In a similar vein, various initiatives provided by the center provide students with opportunities to develop skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. 

More than 70% of corporate recruiters agree that the most important skill for the future workplace is communication. Graduating with a broad array of relevant skills on your resume will therefore not only prepare you to make an impact but also make you a top candidate for employers. 

Expand your network with diverse connections 

Knowledge and skills could be described as the fundamentals of the business school experience. However there are various other components that make up a period of study.

Building relationships with your classmates and expanding your network as you interact with professors, alumni, and even business leaders are key to the value that you can gain by enrolling at business school.

Students at Kogod benefit from the school’s location in Washington, DC. As a result, local industry leaders often participate in guest lectures and networking events, giving students the opportunity to build their connections. Students also have the chance to get hands-on experience working on impactful pro bono consulting projects with local public and private sector organizations.

Professors at the school are also often involved in research that impacts both business practices and policy, and many of them held high-level positions in industry before (or during) becoming faculty. Professor Gwanhoo Lee, a specialist in information technology and analytics, served as an advisor to the World Bank for six years. Likewise, MS in Sustainability Management associate director, Julie Anderson, specialized in sustainable ETFs (exchange-traded funds) in her role as a director at BlackRock—the world’s largest asset manager—before joining the Kogod faculty.

Interacting with a broad array of professionals while you study at business school can provide a valuable resource of both knowledge and opportunities that you can take with you after leaving business school.

Today’s business landscape is defined by increasing regulation, heightened consumer consciousness, and economic challenges—all of which contribute to companies’ focus on hiring those candidates who can manage change and hit the ground running in an organization. Enrolling at business school can provide the knowledge, skills, and connections to make an impact.

Student Reviews

Kogod School of Business - American University




On Campus

Clean and well maintained campus

I am completely enamored with this school. The entire student body is driven, inclusive, and highly intelligent. The decision to attend American University is not made haphazardly. Its close proximity to Washington DC, making it one of the most strategically located schools after Georgetown, means it's just a short train ride away. The campus is well-maintained, with mostly attractive buildings, although there are a few that are less appealing. Additionally, there are numerous excellent food options available. The wide range of clubs and organizations to join is remarkable. It is undeniably a school filled with immense passion.




On Campus

City life

I’m having a wonderful time at American University. I love that I can get to a big city and still feel like a traditional campus. Sincerely, it is a school that may require some adjusting to, but in the end, it is a very good school with numerous opportunities for its students. The atmosphere in AU is so great that it pushes you in a positive way and offers every opportunity you could want.




On Campus

Amazing helpful professors

American College is an incredible school with astounding teachers. Best professors I could have asked for at an amazing school. My opinion is that American University's professors are its greatest asset. They are extremely intelligent and always eager to assist their students. They go above and beyond in their classes to make sure that their students do their best.




On Campus

AU Review

The workload is quite high and AU is definitely not an "easy" school. Students take their studies very seriously and can almost always find a group in the library, DAV, Starbucks or MGC. Courses can be quite ambitious if the right courses are offered and the admissions process can be confusing at times, but with the help of an advisor it is quite easy to navigate. The library can be crowded, and while it's not huge, there are plenty of other places to study on campus. The professors really want to help during office hours and interact with students. I've had good experiences with the professors and workload at AU, but it's an expensive city.




On Campus

Majoring in Political and International Relations

The instructors are unique and the classes can be boring at times. Check-in is stressful (but it is everywhere). The workload is what I expected. The most popular majors are international relations and political science




On Campus

I Love Being A Musical Theater Major

I love being a musical theater student, if you want to help behind the scenes, if you want to be an assistant director, if you want to be a director, if you want to write, you can do anything at this academy, very supportive, it's amazing, they are always there to help you. This is their working time. Even after the audition tells you what you did wrong, you can do better, or if you get picked, you know why they picked you, which is great




On Campus

AU's Business Model

Overall, there were a lot of good opportunities at UA, both in terms of course range and faculty. However, I had a few complete misfires. People who shouldn't have taught at all. Like all universities, AU's business model is to hire hands-on assistants so they don't have to pay them extra or perform well. They are signed and if that does not work, they are not hired any more. The problem with this is that you end up with people who are unqualified and bring their own agendas, biases that may or may not be based on research. Most of the professors were absolutely fantastic.




On Campus

AU - The Real Problem With Academics

Some teachers are amazing, some awful - typical of any school. But the real problem with AU is that many students don't care about academics as much as other things (eg, partying). The academics are really interrupted by the Greek life and the social life of the students. This makes it difficult for students interested in academics to get the most out of their school experience. Some students do not take classes seriously and do not respect teachers and other students. Courses and opportunities at UA are perfect for people who want to take advantage




On Campus

American University - The Best Place to Study

They know their stuff - I chose American University because the campus is beautiful and the biology program is relatively small. But after the first semester, I realized that all the professors, especially the people in the science department, are experts in their field. They are enthusiastic and helpful in lecturing; even the TAs who teach the labs are amazing and engaging.