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PLANNING & FINALIZING THE DEGREE
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Subject: Sample #1 - A.S. Business, Management and Economics/Business Management
Also connect to the student's degree plan and the assessment committee response letter that coordinate with this rationale essay.
Student: Susan Sample
Degree: Associate of Science
Registered Area: Business, Management and Economics
Concentration: Business Management
I have always had a thirst for learning. Unfortunately, due to many factors, I dropped out of high school and went to work at a young age, quickly obtaining a G.E.D. I never let go of the desire to earn a higher education. After several years, the opportunity arose to attend night courses, after work, at Queensborough Community College. I savored every bit of knowledge, but, after several years of part-time study, my first child was born. This left me without the spare time to continue. Now, almost 12 years later, my circumstances allow me to gradually finish my A.S. degree. I am a manager for N.Y.C., and do not need a degree for my employment, but my eye is on my second career. I would like to remain in management or some operational capacity, so it makes sense to go after a BME curriculum. At this point, I would like to build on the work I did at Queensborough, and a degree will qualify me for consideration in many jobs that otherwise wouldn't let me in the door. A degree is as important to me professionally as personally. I see myself in ten years working in a stimulating environment, achieving some self-actualization. I have completed most of my core business courses needed for my degree. I will focus now on broadening my knowledge with many liberal arts electives. I will become a more well-rounded person with perspectives in Social Sciences, Humanities, and Critical Thinking.
Since I am a middle manager in civil service, I thought it would be appropriate to explore the field of Administrative Services Managers, when researching professional expectations. This is a very broad title, and it covers a wide range of managerial roles, in almost every sector of the economy. Depending on the size of the organization, a
mid-level manager of this type would be involved in making operational and personnel decisions, and would likely develop plans and set deadlines. This will likely be the category of management which offers the greatest opportunity for me after retirement. I researched professional expectations from several sources. I read the job descriptions of many similar jobs posted on Monster.com, I read the descriptions and requirements listed in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and spoke to an associate of mine, who runs professional development programs for N.Y.C.
Many of the qualifications that I reviewed were common, even across disciplinary lines. The most frequently mentioned qualities were strong organizational skills, strong communication skills (both written and verbal), a strong working knowledge of common Microsoft office applications, and the ability to multi-task. The sources I used all looked for self-starters, who require little supervision or direction. Human relations skills are of some importance also, as middle managers must deal effectively with all echelons of an organization, top to bottom.
The field of occupations is vast, so specific technical knowledge will be helpful when I choose my actual career path. It is not out of the question that I may one day seek a bachelor's degree. Positions at this level can be very competitive, but my experience puts me at an advantage over those just starting out. Business courses that I have taken earlier have given me keen insights and advantages, and helped me become successful. I hope to build on this, broadening my skills and knowledge, and solidifying my position with the credential of a degree.
I come to Empire State College with the majority of my core business courses completed. I have chosen General Education courses so far (in Natural Science and History), to give breadth to my education. I will continue along this path, completing the General Education requirements. I will take an additional information management course, to add some of the latest technology to my program, and meet ESC general guidelines for an associate’s degree in BME.
General Academic Expectations
Some of my courses which meet General Education requirements were taken in another regionally accredited institution. These courses meet the requirements in Social Sciences, Humanities, and Basic Communication. Choices I have made at Empire State College build upon those, and will fulfill requirements in Mathematics, Natural Sciences, American History, and The Arts. I believe that all of my General Education courses, although wide in scope and content, add quality and relevant knowledge, and complement my overall degree program.
It is important to realize the importance of seeing the organization that you work for, and the world in general, through a large, multi-faceted lens. Perspective on history and function lend breadth to a degree, and allow an individual to make better choices. To that end, I have chosen General Education courses that not only align well with my concentration, but will serve me well in my field. Among these choices are "Humanities through the Arts", which introduces many disciplines, such as art, music, theater, and mythology in varying contexts. Another enriching course is "Math for the Inquiring Mind", where I will gain additional skills in analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving. Both of these choices will become part of the larger blend of complimentary titles. These seven choices will meet the Gen. Ed. requirement of at least 21 credits in these areas of study.
Area of Study Guidelines
I reviewed the general area of study guidelines for the Business, Management, and Economics student. I felt a sense of confidence and relief that my degree program addresses all of the requirements spelled out by Empire State College for an A.S. in B.M.E., with a business management concentration.
My degree program is one that is broad based, and contains a range of courses both in the Business concentration and the liberal arts. The choices that I have made demonstrate a reasonable pattern and progression of learning. I have met the communication skills requirement by taking English Composition 1, and English Composition 2 (Introduction to Literature). These transcript courses, in addition to my professional career, have honed my communication skills and have enabled me to have productive dialog in the workplace. The ability to communicate well, in both verbal and written form, is always a main requirement when investigating professional expectations in this area.
Information management is a key component of any business situation today. This technology is always changing, and is vital to the management of a business. I have a transcript course titled “Introduction to Business Data Processing”. However, I have scheduled “Information Literacy” in my degree plan to enhance my skill level. Additionally, my course in Macroeconomics has given me the skills to apply economic principles to business management situations, meeting that requirement.
The business entity is accountable and responsible not only to its customers, but to its shareholders, employees, and the public as well. I obtained a broad understanding of the ethical and social responsibilities incumbent on the business manager in my Business Law course. My ESC courses “United States History 1492-1865”, and “Humanities through the Arts” offer good opportunities to understand organizations within broader contexts. These courses give an understanding of different peoples and their histories. Perspectives in these areas give the manager an appreciation of the diversity of the workforce on many different levels.
Quantitative skills in the area of business are wide in number, and include many of the areas of study previously mentioned. Some of the other important ones are:
|Course||Source||Credits||Gen. Ed. Requirement|
|Math for the Inquiring Mind||ESC||4||Mathematics|
|Human Nutrition||ESC||4||Natural Sciences|
|Introduction to Macroeconomics||Transcript||3||Social Sciences|
|United States History 1492-1865||ESC||4||American History|
|Eng. Comp 2-Intro to Literature||Transcript||3||Humanities|
|Humanities Through the Arts||ESC||4||The Arts|
|English Comp 1||Transcript||3||Basic Communication|
These courses are all important elements of what a manager in a business must know. Finally, it goes without saying that an understanding of people in an organizational context is of great importance. Personnel departments have all been renamed “Human Resources” departments, or “HR”. Business Managers are expected to participate in strategic planning and decision making. In some settings, these managers must apply these skills to H.R. situations. Career development, motivation, and labor relations are just a few of the concerns that a business manager has today. As such, my transcript course entitled “Personnel Management” meets this requirement handsomely. My choices all support my concentration in Business Management, because they are all extremely relevant to the real world environment that a manager operates in. A wide variety of business courses, in addition to pertinent liberal arts exposure, provide an excellent foundation in the management of a business. I have added Introduction to Entrepreneurship to my list of core business courses, to further solidify my concentration. In addition to my coursework, I have extensive, first-hand learning and experience in all of these areas. My 16-plus years of rising through the ranks in NYC Sanitation, from a Sanitation Worker, to a Supervisor, a Superintendent, and a Deputy Chief, has given me a level of expertise with all of the BME guidelines. It is through this experience and private learning, that I am pursuing credit by evaluation in Leadership and Emergency Management. I have acquired substantial knowledge in both of these areas through hands-on experience, and formal training provided by N.Y.C. It is on this experience and learning, that I seek to build upon; and provides the rationale for my degree program.
Similar Programs at Other Colleges
I researched the catalogs of several colleges in the New York tri-state area. I tried to keep my search as local as possible, to obtain as valid a comparison as possible. My criterions were to focus on Associate Degree programs in Business Management, or Business Administration, with a management core. When comparing the stated programs offered by Bergen Community College, CUNY Manhattan Community College, and CUNY Queensborough Community College (where my transcript credit originated), to my degree program, I saw similar requirements in each of the cases. Among the business concentration courses, they all required either specifically or as an elective:
· Business Organization and Management (also known as Introduction to Business)
· Elements of Marketing (a.k.a. – Introduction to Marketing)
· Business Data Processing (a.k.a. – Computer Applications)
· Principles of Accounting (a.k.a. – Financial Accounting)
· Introduction to Entrepreneurship (a.k.a. – Product and Service Creation)
· Macroeconomics (a.k.a. – Money and Banking)
· Business Law
· Principles of Finance
· Personnel Management (or a Human Resource Management elective)
Additionally, among the general education course requirements, each college required English Composition (1 & 2), and electives in Social Science, Humanities, Science (Natural Science in ESC’s case), and History (only 2 of the 4). The common link between all of the colleges that I researched was they all provided some basic business knowledge courses, and also required learning in a specific set of management related courses. While all business students are required to take “Business Organization and Management”, only Business Management majors are required to take “Personnel Management”.
The curriculums that were offered did not vary too widely. I suppose as lower level learning, these requirements are the minimum that any college would expect one to fulfill. My degree program incorporates all of the selections shown, in addition to some CBE credit requested in Leadership and Emergency Management. I carefully examined course descriptions in each of the catalogs, to make sure that the learning was essentially the same. I believe that my program meets the standard of a generally accepted A.S. in Business Management.
· Business Organization and Management
· Principles of Accounting
· Principles of Finance
· Elements of Marketing
· Principles of Transportation