Charting a different course

Instead of getting an MBA, Laura McLaughlin is taking a mix of business, sociology, marketing and PR courses at DePaul University in order to bolster her business resume.

( Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune / May 8, 2012 )

Instead of getting an MBA, Laura McLaughlin is taking a mix of business, sociology, marketing and PR courses at DePaul University in order to bolster her business resume.

Excerpt:

At DePaul University, graduate students can weave business courses into a master’s degree they design for their own interests.

With a sales background and a startup company on her resume, an MBA could have been a natural progression for Laura McLaughlin.

Instead, she is completing a master’s degree at DePaul’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program, combining sociology and communications courses with traditional business classes at the school’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.

“It’s a bit of a challenge to explain. I’m a real eclectic mix,” said McLaughlin, who went back to school midcareer to break away from strictly sales positions.

Ultimately, she envisions a career helping companies with their communications strategies. Already, she has started her own food-canning instruction business and companion social media presence (theglassrooster.com).

McLaughlin admits to the occasional worry that her degree will be viewed skeptically. She is confident she can connect the dots in a face-to-face interview, but without a traditional MBA her resume will fall through the cracks of recruiting software or strict hiring procedures.

“The degree isn’t a shingle the way an MBA is,” said David Gitomer, director of Interdisciplinary Studies at DePaul, where students are given broad latitude to design their degrees.

“If you are going into a gigantic corporate setting where they want someone with an MBA, then go do an MBA. But if you’re going into a smaller company where you may wear different hats, this can actually work quite well.”

The rest of the article can be read at http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/tribu/ct-mba-0520-choices-20120521,0,2462717.story

Source: Chicago Tribune