Organizational Leadership News & Views

How to decide between a Masters in Organizational Leadership and a Masters in Business Administration degree

  • Alvernia MOL

Before you enroll in a graduate program, ask yourself this important question; do you want to manage or do you want to lead? Organizations need both leadership and management. You need to know your end goal in order to decide if a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program or a Masters of Organizational Leadership (MOL) program will help you advance your career.

The HR website TLNT describes the difference between the two roles this way:


“… are future oriented and they envision possibilities that are often discontinuous with the past. They are adept at innovating, articulating a vision, architecting strategies, and inspiring growth and development in others on behalf of the vision.

Leaders are rich in determination and unwavering in resourcefulness. Thus, every person in every role has the opportunity and responsibility to demonstrate leadership — to be fully engaged and to perform beyond their day-to-day management responsibilities.”


“…attend to operational excellence and, at their best, deliver against expectations. Managers provide the business and its stakeholders with reliability, certainty, and predictability, all of which are essential to the viability and longevity of the organization.

Great managers attend to continuous process improvement, monitor progress against objectives, and track and report the data that allows for solid fact-based decisions. Thus, every person in every role has management responsibility — the requirement to ensure that others can rely on them and their teams to deliver as promised within the parameters agreed.”

The first step is to look into the future and envision what you want to do once you earn your degree. Then, take a moment to look at your present and your past, consider your current position and your undergraduate degree.

For example, if you work in public relations, you might have had undergraduate courses that helped develop your soft skills such as communications and creativity but you now need to learn the financial aspect of business. An MBA program might be a perfect fit.

Or, if you are an engineer, your undergraduate courses might have provided an understanding of how to manage processes but you might have had little or no emphasis on the ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills, which are hallmarks of effective leaders. These are the foundation for generating direction, alignment, and commitment for teams, groups, and organizations. If this sounds familiar, you would benefit from an MOL program.

There are endless positions where the MOL degree is the best investment for long-term career success:

  • Functional experts (engineers, accountants, attorneys, sales professionals) promoted into management
  • Those working in consulting
  • Executive directors of non-profits
  • Project managers
  • Human resource professionals
  • Directors of training and development
  • Mid-level working professionals looking for career advancement

MBA programs can be valuable. However, most professional careers are derailed because people do not understand how to lead, drive change, establish strategy, or develop talent. They do not understand organizational development or organizational behavior, or what is expected of them at different transition points in their career.

That’s why it’s important to also take a look inward. Being a good leader means taking the time for some self-discovery and self-development, which is explained in greater detail in this blog post.

Last year, CNBC shared the results from a survey asking 500 top executives what they feel is the biggest gap in the U.S. workforce skills. Almost half responded that the gap is in communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.

These are the exact skills that are taught in an MOL program.

Leadership is not common sense; it is both an art and a science that requires dedicated time to understand its complexity. Learn more about a Masters in Organizational Leadership program available in the Reading area that follows the guidelines established by the International Leadership Association for leadership programs. This MOL program also incorporates the best practices of the Center for Creative Leadership and the Harvard Business School.

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