By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a standout achievement on any résumé. But what matters more is the focus of study behind that degree. MBA concentrations range from accounting and finance to human resources and business administration—each with studies that emphasize these areas of focus.
These different routes to an MBA create an important foundation of understanding for different careers and professions. And while finance, administration, and the like are all cornerstones of modern business operations, so, increasingly, are facility planning and management. It begs the question: is there a need for facility planning in MBA programs?
Traditional MBA tracks cover three umbrellas: entrepreneurship, leadership, and finance. Depending on a person’s intended career track, they’ll start with these umbrellas and explore opportunities below them. For example, if you’re aiming for the C-suite, you’ll pursue a leadership MBA—something in the realm of global operations management or strategic risk management.
Making the case for an MBA program dedicated to facility planning starts by understanding which umbrella it fits under—and that’s more difficult than it might seem. It’s easy to rule out the entrepreneurship track; however, facility planning lends itself to both leadership and finance, albeit indirectly. Facility professionals provide workplace insights and information used by executives and finance managers, which means they fit both and neither of these tracks. The solution to where it might fit is simpler.
There’s a fourth MBA track that’s increasing in popularity: the general MBA. This is more of a “jack of all trades” type of MBA that’s less focused on a discipline and more focused on aspects of business operations. Facilities touch every aspect of business operations, which would make facility planning a strategic focus for anyone pursuing a general MBA.
Certificates are a good start
Right now, most MBA programs touch on facility planning in a tangential way. To get a clear, refined, focused education on facility planning and management, professionals need to pursue a certificate. Some of the most popular facility management certifications include:
- Facility Management Professional™ (FMP®)
- Certified Facility Manager® (CFM®)
- Sustainability Facility Professional® (SFP®)
- RICS Chartered Qualification (MRICS)
- RICS Associate Qualification (AssocRICS)
Each of these programs—and others like them—instill facility-focused professionals with the information they need to manage, oversee, and optimize facilities. This is especially important in a post-pandemic workplace, where COVID-19 has disrupted traditional work. The problem is, FMP, CFM, SFP, and other designations don’t quite jump off the page like “MBA” does. Hiring managers may not understand the body of knowledge that accompanies these titles like they do for an MBA graduate.
The ideal candidate for a facility management position in our new era of work is someone with an MBA-level of credibility and an FMP-level (or similar) knowledge of facility management. It only makes sense to combine them. A résumé with the title “Facility Planning MBA” is certain to stand out in a way a general MBA or facility certification title simply can’t.
Demand for facility planning is growing
There’s a reason upwards of 85% of all MBA graduates find themselves employed immediately after they leave school. Businesses want to hire candidates that know their stuff right out of the gate—high-level thinkers who can bring new ideas and execution to the company. This is especially important in hiring MBA holders who’ve followed specific tracks and emphasized areas of focus like finance and administration. It only makes sense that a rise in demand for facility managers should equate to need for facility planning in MBA programs.
As businesses realize the far-reaching role of facilities in operations, they’ll find themselves seeking out professionals to help oversee and optimize facilities. What they won’t find is an MBA candidate with specific experience in this area, because a facility planning MBA track doesn’t exist. Instead, they’re forced to widen their search and cast a net that might only catch MBA holders or candidates with a facility management certificate, who might not possess the MBA-level perspective this position needs.
It’s getting more and more difficult to ignore the demand for an MBA-level program devoted to facility planning and management. Companies need thinkers who understand the objectives, design, and factors affecting the layout of a workplace, and who can govern them with an executive mindset.
An educational bedrock is essential
Is there a need for facility planning in MBA programs? Without a doubt. There’s growing demand for facility professionals—and while certifications provide an exceptional understanding of best practices, trends, and philosophy, it’s difficult to match the high-level expertise that accompanies an MBA. Combining the focus of facility certifications with the rigor and vision of an MBA program is an obvious, logical need for the future of education on this topic.
It all boils down to a very simple comparison. Would you rather hire someone who has a certificate in business administration or someone who holds an MBA in business administration? The answer is obvious, and it’s equally obvious when you replace “business administration” with “facility planning.”
Keep reading: Ins and Outs of Facility Management Certification