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Organizational Leadership at WGU

Are You Looking to Get an Organizational Leadership Degree?

If your career goals include leading a company or managing teams, you’re likely wondering what kind of education you need. A degree can be key in helping you prepare for any leadership role—whether you’re ready to advance in your current job or break into the business world. One of your options is an organizational leadership degree that focuses specifically on the human elements of running an organization. However, it’s just one of many leadership-focused degrees you can choose from. 

While WGU doesn’t currently offer an organizational leadership program, this guide will help you explore how the skills learned in a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration–Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration–Human Resource Management, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Science in Management and Leadership degree can be applied to a range of leadership positions.

Pathways to an Organizational Leadership Career

There are many ways to break into this career field, and you might be surprised to learn that many organizational leadership jobs don’t require a degree in organizational leadership. In some cases, a business or human resources degree can be a better fit because it will give you a wider range of knowledge and skills that can be applied to all kinds of leadership and management roles. Either way, education is crucial for leadership development, and the right degree can give you the leadership strategies and techniques to help you thrive in any setting.

Many of today’s organizational leaders come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, including business administration, human resources, management, and more. Depending on your specific interests and what level of leadership you’re after, you might consider the below degree programs.

Bachelor of Science in Business Management

A degree in business management can give you the tools to excel in a range of leadership roles. Courses in this program cover business principles, ethics, emotional intelligence, workforce management strategies, and communication concepts, which are relevant to management positions in all kinds of industries.

With a business management degree you’ll gain several skills that can be applied to organizational leadership, including:

  • Organizational behavior
  • Strategy
  • Operations
  • Business communication
  • Leadership

 

 

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA will enhance your understanding of business principles and prepare you to become a more qualified, capable leader. Compared to an organizational leadership degree, this program puts a stronger emphasis on the technical parts of running a business. The curriculum includes coursework in economics, marketing, and accounting, in addition to courses covering principles of effective management, leadership, and teamwork.

Some specific skills you’ll learn in an MBA program that can directly apply to leadership positions include:

  • Managing human capital 
  • Management communication
  • Teamwork
  • Ethical leadership

 

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Human Resource Management

If you want to focus more specifically on a leadership role in HR, a bachelor’s in human resource management could be worth looking into. This degree will give you the tools to help shape company culture, set policies, work with employees to meet their needs, and serve as a business partner to your organization's leaders.

Some specific skills you’ll learn in an HR program that can directly apply to organizational leadership positions include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Organizational leadership
  • Performance management
  • Training and development
  • Employee relations

 

Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML)

As an aspiring organizational leader, this program can be a great choice because it will help you develop the managerial and leadership skills needed to inspire organizational change, drive strategic initiatives, and develop high-performance teams. It teaches leadership theory and ethics, leading teams, and strategic and tactical change management, which is knowledge you’ll need to be an effective leader. 

Some specific skills you’ll learn in an MSML program that directly apply to a career in organizational leadership include:

  • Managing organizations and leading people 
  • Ethical leadership 
  • Management communication
  • Change management
  • Leading teams 

$155,081

is the average annual salary for business leaders.

Careers Related to Organizational Leadership

Organizational leaders and managers are needed in almost every industry—from healthcare to human resources and beyond—and this role is gaining popularity as more companies recognize the need for their leaders to have strong people skills and interpersonal awareness.

A business or HR degree can give you the same knowledge needed to qualify for organizational leadership-related careers—plus, give you a broader set of leadership skills to work with. To help you understand your options, here are some jobs you can potentially land with any of the degrees mentioned above.

What Does a Management Consultant Do?

A management consultant works with company leaders to assess the business and identify problems, gather information, and come up with solutions. Management consultants frequently work in teams, and most work for consulting firms, rather than being on the payroll of the company they’re analyzing.

What Does a Marketing Manager Do?

marketing manager oversees the promotion and positioning of a brand or the products and services it sells. Their goal is to attract more customers to buy from the company and to raise brand awareness through the creation of marketing campaigns.

What Does a Sales Manager Do?

A sales manager oversees a company’s entire sales processes and strategies. They can have a range of responsibilities—from recruiting new sales people and setting price points to optimizing product descriptions and analyzing sales data.

What Does an HR Manager Do?

HR managers plan, coordinate, and direct the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization's management and its employees.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Project managers are responsible for ensuring an entire team understands the needs for certain projects or tasks. They take a leadership role, working across multiple groups within the organization, often utilizing software to keep everything on track.

9%

employment growth for management occupations from 2020 to 2030 (resulting in about 906,800 new jobs).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Why Choose WGU?

  • There are several reasons a WGU degree is a great fit for students:
  • Low, flat-rate tuition means that you're charged the same amount per six-month term, regardless of how many classes you take. 
  • Competency-based education means you can use your knowledge to your advantage, accelerating your program and graduating faster. Graduating faster also saves you money. 
  • Scholarships and financial aid help with our already-affordable tuition, making college education accessible for even more students.
  • The coursework in our business programs is career-focused, meaning the skills you learn are meaningful and will translate directly to your work post-graduation.

 

Prepared for Success
on the Job

From a 2021 Harris Poll of 300 employers of WGU graduates

97% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

95% of employers said that they would hire another WGU grad.

98% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.

Which Degree Should You Choose?

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management,...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Human Resource Management – B.S. Business Administration

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:

  • Time: 72% of graduates finish within 43 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Human resource specialist
  • Director of talent acquisition
  • Recruiting manager
  • Organizational learning specialist
  • Vice president of HR

Earn your B.S. in Human Resources and help build strong organizations.

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: 70% of graduates can finish in 20 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Director of operations
  • Executive director

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.