Strategic Management Degree

By Henry R. Steele - October 16, 2017
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Strategic managers use an array of activities and processes to systematically coordinate and align actions and resources with vision, mission and strategy throughput. Managers who practice strategically are capable of transforming a static plan into a dynamic business system that offers feedback on strategic performance. This enables better decision making and allows business planning to grow and evolve as circumstances change.

Strategy managers typically are upper level management professionals and possibly company executives. Typical skills of a strategic manager include:

  • Project management
  • Multitasking
  • Statistical and mathematical expertise
  • Ability to make fast decisions
  • Expertise in finance
  • Organizational and analytical skills

What Is Strategic Management?

Strategic management refers to the description and identification of strategies that managers use to attain better performance in the company and a strong competitive advantage. Strategic management also can be defined as a set of acts and decisions where the manager decides how to best improve the company’s long term performance.

The strategic management professional needs to have complete knowledge and analysis of the company and the general competitive environment so the correct decisions can be made.

Strategic management is also about planning for predictable and unpredictable outcomes. It is applicable to large and small organizations. It also is a continuous process that controls and evaluates the business and industries in which the company is involved. Strategic management offers a broader perspective to employees of a company, so that they can better grasp how their job fits into the overall plan of the organization. This allows better management of employees that maximizes the chances of achieving major business objectives.

Strategic Management Opportunity

For organizations to thrive in today’s rapidly changing business environment, strategic management can help companies to identify and capitalize on core competencies, which can lead to larger market share.

Using strategic management to develop unique core competencies in an organization are important for the bottom line for several reasons. First, a core competency is difficult for competitors to duplicate; it can be used in many different products and services; and it provides a unique benefit to customers.

Strategic management is also important for setting goals in a company, which is so important for driving profits and market share growth. Using strategic management to develop core competencies help an organization to understand its marketplace strengths, and also helps it to identify areas to be improved.

Strategic Management Careers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that there are many types of management occupations where strategic management skills could be critical.

For example, a management occupation where strategic management is of great importance is financial management. BLS reports that there were 555,900 financial managers in the United States in 2016. It reported that they were employed in these areas:

  • Finance and insurance: 29%
  • Management of enterprises and companies: 12%
  • Professional and technical services: 11%
  • Manufacturing: 8%
  • Government: 8%

Another important management profession where strategic management is important is in management consulting. BLS states that there were 758,000 management consultants employed in 2016 in the US. They worked in these sectors:

  • Federal government: 8%
  • State and local government: 7%
  • Management of companies: 5%
  • Management, technical and scientific consulting: 22%
  • Finance and insurance: 10%

Some of the related positions where a professional with a degree in strategic management could work are:

  • Accountant
  • Economist
  • Budget analyst
  • Cost estimator
  • Administrative services manager
  • Market research analyst
  • Operations research analyst

Strategic Management Salaries

BLS states that the median annual salary for all management occupations in 2016 was $100,790. In the specific field of management analyst, the median salary was $81,300, with the top 10% earning more than $149,720 per year.

The type of salary you will earn as a management analyst and in strategic management generally will depend upon in which sector you work. For example, management analysts working in the federal government earn a median wage of $90,000 per year; strategic management professionals in companies earn a median salary of $83,000; and finance and insurance professionals in management analysis earn $80,200.

Glassdoor.com also reports that business strategy managers earn an average salary of $118,231 per year. Payscale.com reports that the median salary for business strategy managers is $90,000 per year.

Some of the best paying cities for management analysts with strategic management skills are:

  • Vernon, Washington: $140,000
  • Odessa, Texas: $127,300
  • Nassau, New York: $125,900
  • San Jose, California: $119,900
  • Charlottesville, Virginia: $119,100

Strategic Management Employers

With a bachelor’s or master’s degree in strategic management, or an MBA with a focus on strategic management, you will be qualified to work in most industries. Some of the top employer possibilities for those with strategic management degrees are in the consulting field. Some of these companies are:

  • Bain and Company
  • McKinsey and Company
  • The Boston Consulting Corp
  • Accenture
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • IBM Global Business Services
  • KMPG
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services

Strategic Management Bachelor’s Degree

There are entry-level degrees that can be earned in strategic management at the bachelor’s level. These degrees will give you the foundational skills to work as an entry-level manager to manages resources for private and public organizations. Some of the common courses that you may take in a bachelor’s level program are business planning; organizational behavior; presentation techniques; leadership theory and HR management.

Strategic Management Master’s Degree

Most professionals who work in strategic management at higher levels have a master’s degree in the field. There are campus-based and online universities that offer a master’s degree in strategic management, such as Pace University. It also is common for universities to offer an MBA with a focus on strategic management. For instance, Regis University offers an MBA in Strategic Management

Also, the highly respected MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has a specialization available in strategic management. That program offers an interdisciplinary approach that involves sociology, psychology and economics so that you can develop advanced analytical frameworks that closely examine the tough strategic challenges that managers face.

Strategic Management Admission Requirements

All universities have their own admission requirements. Below are the admission requirements for the MBA in strategic management offered at the University of Chicago:

  • Professional resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts from undergraduate program
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Personal interview may be required

Strategic Management Curriculum

The curriculum depends upon the level of business degree you get and the program you select. Below are the courses that are required in the MBA program in strategic management mentioned above. All students must take foundational courses in an MBA program, such as statistics, finance, accounting, marketing and operations management. These are the specific courses required in strategic management:

  • Competitive Strategy
  • Strategy Symposium
  • Taking Charge
  • Technology Strategy

Strategic Management Financial Assistance

Completing a degree in strategic management, especially at the master’s level, is an expensive endeavor. Most students must deal with the cost of tuition, books and fees, but also must find the time to continue to work in most cases. Making ends meet while in graduate school can be tough. But the good news is that there is a strong need for good strategic managers today, so there is plenty of financial help available.

All universities have a financial aid office where you can apply for student loans or a variety of scholarships, grants and fellowships that are available specifically at that university. But there also external scholarships and grants available in the US that can be used at most universities. Below are some of the most popular and financially generous:

  • SILA Foundation College Scholarship: $2500 for a variety of business majors at bachelor’s and master’s level
  • Frank Greathouse Government Scholarship: $5000 for students in professional management of government financial resources
  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program: $1000 to $5000 for students in business administration, accounting, finance or criminal justice
  • AFCEA Young Entrepreneur Scholarship: $2000 for students who are under 40 and getting a business or entrepreneurship degree
  • GEICO Achievement Award Program: $1000 for students who are studying computer science, business or mathematics
  • Richard E. Bangert Business Award: $1500 for students at bachelor’s or master’s level in business
  • Cirilo McSween Scholarship $2500 for students at the bachelor’s level who are studying business
  • Cappex Business Majors Scholarship: $1000 for students in business, finance or management at the bachelor’s or master’s level

Strategic Management Certifications

If you want to earn the highest amount of respect and salary as a business professional in strategic management, it is recommended that you consider earning the following certifications:

  • Strategic Management Professional (SMP)
  • Certified Strategic Manager (CSM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Manager (CM)
  • Certified Business Manager (CBM)

Strategic Management Associations

Business professionals who want to thrive in strategic business management, project management or management analysis and consulting would be wise to consider membership in some of these associations:

  • Association for Strategic Planning (ASP
  • Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP)
  • Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals
  • Strategic Account Management Association
  • Association for Project Management

Developing your skills in strategic management is a wise decision because you will be honing advanced business skills that are of great value in all industries and management levels. Professionals who earn a degree in strategic management or a related field will find many tantalizing career possibilities, wherever they work and in whatever industry.

References

Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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