In today’s environment, earning advanced degrees and certifications has become increasingly important and often is required to remain competitive and advance your career. Gaining the best mix of complementary skills is also important and can be a great selling point to potential employers. Let’s break down the nuts and bolts of the MBA degree and Six Sigma certification and explore why they make a perfect pair!
Why an MBA?
The MBA degree covers essential business- and management-related subjects. Coursework, case studies, and team projects provide experience and knowledge in a variety of industries, cultures, and business strategies, with a focus on multi-disciplinary problem solving. Subject areas explored by the MBA curriculum include the following:
- Business analytics
- Global business management
- Marketing management
- Operations management
- Supply chain management
Although earning an MBA may be hard work, involve a major learning curve, and require a significant time and financial commitment, the degree is still valued in the marketplace, can open a lot of doors, and offers a strong return on investment.
Why Six Sigma?
Six Sigma certification provides a strong proficiency to improve business and production processes by utilizing proven tools and analysis techniques. Similar to the MBA, Six Sigma certification can be applied in a wide array of sectors, such as operations, manufacturing, customer service, and project management.
The principles of Six Sigma are executed through methodologies, or roadmaps to improvement, such as a workflow. One of its main methodologies is DMAIC, which focuses on incrementally improving existing processes:
- D: Define customer needs, requirements, and project goals.
- M: Measure the key aspects of the current process by collecting data on how it performs.
- A: Analyze data to see what types of errors occur and where they occur so you can target the largest categories of errors and find ways to reduce them.
- I: Improve processes. Test and verify that the improvements work.
- C: Control future process implementations to ensure that errors don’t creep in again.
DMAIC is the most widely known methodology and the one most associated with Six Sigma.
Successful leaders need to approach business problems and solutions from many angles, understanding the impacts to both the immediate area affected and the larger organization. MBA programs help build knowledge in the nuts and bolts of business areas such as operations, marketing, finance, and strategy, as well as communication skills, negotiation tactics, and data analysis. The Six Sigma methodology and its tools offer a proven way for leaders to challenge the status quo and utilize a specific set of data-driven, process improvement skills to lead cross-functional teams in solving important business problems.
If you would like to learn more, here are a couple of resources:
- American Society for Quality (ASQ): What Is Six Sigma?
- GoLeanSixSigma.com: Why MBAs Who Are Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belts Are More Successful
Thinking of applying to business school? Connect with Stratus for a free consultation to discuss where you are now and where you see yourself in a few years.