Current presentation is prepared as a part of the MBA Capstone project. It summarizes the salient points of career field in higher education administration, explains projected personal success in the chosen career, and addresses the given competency areas.
With the MBA completion we all hope to advance our professional careers, whether it is to gain a position of greater responsibility in the current field, as in my case, or to switch from one area of business to another. I hope that by developing my professional skills and gaining MBA competencies, I would be able to not only maintain employability but to pursue a career in the field of higher education administration, emerging as a Vice President of Administrative Services one day. The executive administrative position is an upper management position that provides leadership and vision to an institution. With the vast scope of duties, it seems that there are several positions that play an integral part in following this career plan. One of them requires high involvement with budget preparation, the state budget law compliance, and revenue and expenditure forecasts that I currently perform in the position of the Budget Coordinator. The other involves finance knowledge that leads college in business and procurement decisions. The position of the director of accounting and finance provides the needed experience in this area.
Depending on the size of an institution, the responsibilities of a vice president for administrative services often include financial planning and analysis; accounting finance and budget development; purchasing, contracting, carrying out various administrative policies; developing and supporting an administrative team as well as clearly communicating with campus constituencies. They also include revision and execution of contracts on behalf of the college, coordination with other institutions on legislative changes, overseeing foundation funds investments as well as leadership in the college’s strategy formulation.
The challenges in seeking a career path in higher education are plenty. As will all aspects of higher education, the administrative terrain is changing. Today’s administrators must lead in a dynamic environment, facing issues of shifting student and faculty demographics, considering the impact of emerging technologies, political forces shaping the institutional agenda, and much more. Administrators are expected to create communities from increasingly diverse populations, develop strategic goals that recognize and account for changes in recruitment, hiring, salary and professional development policies, exercise leadership in a context of diminishing financial and human resources. With more than 6 years of working in higher education in different capacities and with combination of my education and professional development, I believe I can meet these challenges.
The completion of the MBA program has given me a much broader perspective on business operations, organizational behavior, leadership and strategy. With the higher education institutions increasingly borrowing practices from the for-profit industry, I feel that the MBA has provided me with a strong foundation for pursuing my career as an administrative executive. To achieve my goal, I am confident I can demonstrate competencies in leading people and teams, developing sustainable solutions, serving customers, managing products and services, managing technology and innovation, assessing the competitive environment and planning for the future by drawing from my experience, continuing my professional development and seeking opportunities to strengthen my abilities in these areas.
Perhaps, one of the most important competencies needed in the positions of administrative executives is leading people and teams. It includes fostering an environment of mutual respect including an establishment of personal trust between and among stakeholders. Other skills include creating an organizational climate that facilitates individual motivation, commitment, achievement and growth, team building and encouraging decision-making, effective communication skills and professionalism. I believe an effective leader places high values on ethics, integrity and accountability, and I strive to pursue these qualities in my personal and professional life. I am a believer in a continuous professional development and have been fortunate to become part of the Community College Emerging Leadership workshop in 2007, The Executive Leadership and Management Institute at Stanford in 2008, and Leadership UCC program during 2008-2009 fiscal years. These opportunities helped me to meet outstanding, educated, accomplished individuals that inspire me to improve. With the help of the MBA program, I gained knowledge about organizational behavior, leadership styles, the relationship between power, politics and leadership, and developed strong self–awareness and adaptability qualities that help me manage highly political situations. In my current role of a budget coordinator, I oversee the budget development process on campus with the operating budget of $23 million and preparation of the budget document. I lead an internal budget committee group during the budget process and provide financial forecasts to the executive cabinet. I find it extremely important to develop relationships with different campus constituencies and understand their roles in campus-wide operations of the institution.
Higher education industry is one of many that experiences constant pressures for finding sustainable solutions to operations and management with constricting resources and diminishing financial budgets. The MBA program gave me a foundation for marketing analysis, cost analysis, strategy management, government involvement, economics and understanding of the internal and external environments. Working with budget on daily basis, I know first hand how important it is to enhance organizational efficiency to stretch the financial resources for the institution. As a part of community colleges business officers group I keep current with emerging business trends and practices that influence higher education industry. Among them is a shift in the marketplace as it relates to the demand from customers, including students, for green products, services and solutions. I possess strong analytical skills. In combination with the knowledge of strategic planning, drivers of change and leadership skills, it provides a powerful base for me to practice and gain more experience in identifying opportunites.
Higher education does not differ from other businesses in its main purpose: serving their customers. The role of a business officer or an administrative executive is mainly about serving customers, even though a lot of them are internal customers; and designing, providing and managing services that meet the needs of the institution. In my current role I help with and educate internal stakeholders about budgets, resolve different financial issues, provide guidance to grant and contract personnel, and work closely with directors, department chairs and program coordinators. I believe that seeking collaboration and providing excellent customer service are my strongest skills. The MBA program competencies has given me a broader perspective on how to effectively evaluate and design services to customers and manage products through the marketing concepts; knowledge of organizational behavior and roles of different constituencies.
Managing products and services requires a spectrum of managerial decisions that are of strategic and tactical nature. In higher education industry they have to be highly integrated with the institution’s mission, strategic planning goals and the needs of the clients. In managing products and services I pay strong attention to the needs of the campus constituencies as well as assess the impact of the offerings on campus operations. Usually, implementation of new products or services requires a team effort and a close collaboration of different groups in the organization. My strengths are in providing analytical skills and having experience in forecasting information as well as analysis of financial resources Additionally, the operations management concepts helped me build a strong foundation for understanding productivity and efficiency, forecasting techniques, capacity planning, quality management and supply chain management. All these skills add to my development as a business officer finding its way in helping my institution manage operations efficiently.
Technology and innovation are the key driving forces that enable change and give institutions, private and public, an advantage in a highly competitive environment. They are the source of a competitive success and should be part of all business activities. As a part of my program study, I gained some knowledge about fostering innovation in a work environment as well as learned the managerial concepts of information technologies. In my career path to an executive administrator, I believe, I can apply these skills to promote process improvement and resource enhancement. Managing technology and innovation gives institutions a powerful tool to successfully re-engineer or design a program, improve service delivery of an administrative activity in response to campus needs, reduce costs, and increase productivity and revenues.
The graduate MBA study provides a new skill-set on assessing the competitive environment of the industry. In preparing myself to new roles on my career path, I learned to look at the operations of my institution by assessing not only internal but also external forces that are affecting the industry. The MBA program made me realize that higher education, especially not-for-profit public industry, is increasingly adopting risk assessment practices that come from the business world. Aside from learning financial controls, I am continuing to build skills to be able to assess business risks, internal and external environments, business and corporate level strategies, strategy implementation, and so on. The acquired competencies help me in managerial analysis and decision support.
In our rapidly changing world characterized by globalization, higher education institutions have to actively explore the paths to the future. It is important for the administrative executives to connect the institutional planning with the budget practices. In my experience of working as a budget coordinator for a community college, I learned about the budget models and multi-year forecasting techniques that help the institution to incorporate planning and budget processes while planning for the future, and seeking resources and solutions in response to upcoming issues. In addition, MBA program helped me form knowledge on what enables change, how to navigate through resource challenges and lean administrative structures. I strongly feel that the MBA program provided broad knowledge and skills for building my competencies and preparing me for my career in the industry.
Working through the MBA program has allowed me to focus on business administration, management and strategy practices that are applicable to a wide range of institutions, from for-profit to non-profit. I hope that the areas covered by the program help me strengthen my contributions to the organization I am working for and support my career advancement goals in pursuing administrative executive roles in the field of higher education. In addition, the current capstone project has given me a great opportunity to research, explore and cultivate my career plan based on the evaluation of my current and future potential.
Capstone Presentation Prepared by Natalya Brown
Key driving forces that enable change and provide a competitive advantage
Skills to promote process improvement and resource enhancement
Managing technology and innovation gives institutions a powerful tool to improve service delivery of an administrative activity in response to campus needs, reduce costs, and increase productivity and revenues.