A 2018 Merrimack graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and sports management, Johnson investigated MBA programs at several large universities that boast nationally prominent sports programs.
“The more I looked, the more I realized I didn’t need an MBA,” Johnson says. “The management master’s degree at Merrimack has a very broad scope. It covered all the bases that were important to me: the psychological side of business management, in-depth financial courses, and how to lead effective teams.”
Johnson also liked that Merrimack’s graduate management degree had much smaller class sizes than the MBA programs he considered. The curriculum’s hands-on, project-based approach appealed to him. He already knew, from his undergraduate experience, that Merrimack’s graduate business degree programs emphasized corporate responsibility and ethics.
After comparing the management master’s degree to an MBA, Johnson felt confident the Merrimack program would support his long-range goal to become a college athletic director. Then he compared the time and money of an MBA versus the master’s in management.
“At that point,” he says, “it kind of became a no-brainer.”
Johnson knew he needed a master’s in business to start his career on a management track. But even with a graduate management degree, he wouldn’t be starting out at the top of the salary scale—and he already had student debt to pay off from his bachelor’s degree.
“When I compared the MBA and the management master’s as far as affordability,” he says, “as well as the duration it would take to finish the degree, the MBA just didn’t make sense.”
Tuition for the average two-year MBA program runs about $60,000, according to ThoughtCo.com, and total costs (including books and living expenses) can top six figures. By comparison, Merrimack’s accelerated master of management degree – a nine-month program – offered Johnson a far more affordable option.
“Courses meet one night a week,” he notes, “so if you have to work while you’re in the program, it’s incredibly easy to navigate that. It’s rigorous and challenging as far as time management goes, but I couldn’t find a good MBA program that offered the same flexibility.”
Now that he’s in the workforce, Jeremy Blake Johnson knows he made the right decision in choosing a master’s degree in management over an MBA. As manager of marketing and ticketing for Merrimack’s athletic department, he leads a team of nearly half a dozen people, including interns.
“The Master of Management degree set me up to succeed in this job,” he says. “I got the preparation to assemble an effective team. I understand everyone’s strengths, I know how to leverage those abilities, I know how to direct them, and I have enough confidence in them to let them work autonomously when it’s appropriate. And I have confidence in myself.”
Johnson knows his education is just beginning. He’s still learning about the college sports industry, and there’s a way to go before he’ll be ready to step into an athletic director job. While the competition for employment at that level is intense, Johnson feels the Merrimack Master’s in Management has equipped him for the challenge.
“The ability to stand out in the job market is a huge plus,” he says. “That’s one of the main benefits of my management master’s degree.”
To talk to someone about the Master of Science in Business Management, contact the Merrimack College Office of Graduate Admission.
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