Shane Shipman and Timothy Berry take different paths to the same outcome—leading others. Shane Shipman: learning leadership in an MBA program. Timothy Berry: learning leadership in a PhD program.
What does business and industry want from its up-and-coming bosses?
“Business and industry is more interested in skill development and enhancement than credit,” says Bob Hoffman, vice president for strategic partnerships at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a longtime executive with the Taylor Corporation. “And the one big area is leadership.”
Leadership is a collection of your actions, but it’s also an area of study in MBA programs and programs in leadership and educational development.
Shane Shipman went the MBA route after a career as an Army officer. “There are a lot of similarities between leading soldiers in the Army and leading a business,” he says. “While I was in the Army, I was able to develop and sharpen my leadership skills in stressful situations.” The MBA program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management helps him sharpen those skills in business situations.
Timothy Berry went for a doctorate in educational leadership while working as a choral director at Hopkins High School as well as a musician and composer. “I am really interested in systemic educational issues. This was the way to dig into some of that work and impact systemic change.” He is about to graduate from Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Doctorate of Education Leadership program after attending classes at the Edina satellite, and he recently accepted a position as an assistant professor with the program.
Leadership, says Hoffman (quoting Gretsky), “is skating to where the puck is going to be.” Berry is there: “I will still be a musician, but this degree allows me to work in a way that will make me really productive.”
Shipman is there too: “The curriculum [at the Carlson School] is relevant and practical to tomorrow’s business challenges.” And as 34-year-old Shipman is now wiser than during his West Point days, he also benefits from “increased patience and desire to get the most out of each lesson.”
If you want to lead:
- “Look beyond Google as a source when making your decision,” says Shipman. “I set up appointments with professors, alumni, and students in the program to get a sense of the cultural environment. A school may seem like a good fit based on Internet searches, but the only way to get a true feeling is to mix and mingle with those who live it.”
- Trust your vision. “My decision was born out of a larger perspective of what I had beyond teaching choral music,” says 45-year-old Berry. He didn’t want to be a school principal, but he sensed there were other ways to lead in his field. He was right.