New Year’s Resolutions for Management Students

A New Year beckons, and with it, another semester starts for returning online students everywhere. That means a renewed dedication to the pursuit of concepts, connections and career opportunities in whichever field you’re studying. 

The start of the new year is an opportunity to strengthen your resolve to be a better student in your chosen field of study. For aspiring doctors, that might mean brushing up on evolving medical or surgical concepts in your spare time. For those professionals pursuing various management degree levels, it could mean finding new opportunities for end-of-term part-time or full-time jobs with corporations. And for those in the fields of engineering-related behaviors, the time might be best spent seeing the upcoming trends in computing, technical engineering and other future scenarios.

So how can you realize your 2013 study goals and turn them into practical, actionable opportunities? Follow some advice in the tips from NextGen Journal for clearing your head of distractions, freeing up more time for worthy causes and using your essential time for better gain. And we’ve also distilled some of our own resolutions for online students to use as part of your school-study-success arsenal.

1) Get Organized! The key thing to halting forward progress is lack of organization for students. This applies to all of us, whether new college students or returning professional seeking online degrees in technology, management, or other career disciplines. One step toward better organization is to create an online digital setup for your documents, videos, presentations and more. Check free cloud storage companies like DropBox and to store your digital goods. Having your work in the cloud frees you up from overloading large files to your laptop or other computing tool of choice.

2) Limit Time of Social Networks! Face it, we all know what a time suck checking friends’ feeds can be on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can be. Be aware of the time you’re taking away form solid study or work time toward your management degree. We understand that using social networks can put you in touch with people in your interest, but it’s best to use it in smart fashion, and with background research in mind, before you start following everyone in the business field of study.

3) Learn More about Your Teachers! Pursuing an online degree or a campus-based degree takes a certain amount of personal understanding with your educator or professor. How well do you understand the personality tics of your teacher? What part of the person’s background can you as a student explore to better anticipate the types of responses in reports and projects that will resonate? Taking a bit of time to research the teacher should be high on your list of new year’s resolutions.

 4) Work toward Great Grades! It’s no longer ‘good enough’ to coast by in your school work. Get more focused on excellent work. Study the notes, know the material inside and out. When the test comes, it will be more of a regular exercise than a surprise. Successful people are successful because they take the time to do the behind the scenes work to get great. Good musicians practice out of sight, writers write daily and business professional work long hours before the deals get done. It’s what you do to prepare that will translate into success.

5) See the Big Picture! Try to understand that much of what you are learning now is applicable in your chosen field. But don’t get bogged down in details for this work. See how certain study concepts get applied in business, technology or scientific pursuits. Research the chain of activity from how inventories work in business to their ultimate aspect of business management skills. Find the balance you are comfortable with in detail work to have a good understanding of the overall concepts necessary to further your career after finishing your degree work in college levels of study.

Letting go of distracting details that weigh one down, or worldy concerns that you can’t control, can help lead students to a greater focus on gaining the right education to fulfill the academic dreams.

Photo credit: @inhabitant

Management Tips from Simpson’s C. Montgomery Burns

Like most villains, C. Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons is known for being ruthless, creepy, and downright mean. He is unmarried, never sees his family, and appears to have less physical strength than little Maggie Simpson. Yet, at 104 years old, he is the oldest, wealthiest, and most powerful man in all of Springfield. While his management style may be unconventional, the man knows how to make money and, in this economy, it can’t hurt to investigate his methods.

Here are five management and life skills to take note of, courtesy of Mr. Burns:


Surround Yourself with “Yes” Men

The only companion, other than his beloved stuffed teddy bear, that Mr. Burns has around him constantly is his assistant and confidant Waylon Smithers. While Smithers may secretly pine for Monty’s affections, it is clear that he only keeps Smithers around for one reason—he tells him just what he wants to hear no matter what. From false success of his stocks to the morality of tormenting employees, Smithers only response to Burns is one of agreement.To even further ensure he’s surrounded with “yes” employees, Burns temporarily appointed a bird, Canary M. Burns, as President of his company to avoid backtalk, lawsuits, and federal jail time.

Coin a Catchphrase that Encourages Perfection

Fred Flintstone has “Yabba, Dabba, Do,” Quagmire says “GittyGitty,” Charlie Brown spouts “Good Grief” and Springfield Nuclear Power Plant employee Homer has the infamous “Doh!” While these catchphrases are amusing, they don’t exactly exude success.  However, Monty’s signature catchphrase of “Excellent” is the epitome of a perfectionist. He says this phrase with an evil, victorious look in his eyes and everyone around him knows he got his way, again. He puts excellence into the universe and gets it back in return. It is a small glimmer of contentment in his usual grim demeanor but it still evokes fear in those around him.  Most managers develop catchphrases like, “Good Job,” or “Way to Go,” with a pat on the back or an extra hour of lunch to motivate their employees.  Yet, Mr. Burns taps his bony fingers together and simply encourages his own excellence.

Be Smart with Your Money

Mr. Burns may be a billionaire, but one wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at him. He dresses modestly, keeps his home pretty free of extravagant décor and watches out for “get rich quick” schemes. On more than one occasion, Homer tries to seduce Mr. Burns with a con to try and rip off his boss while simultaneously making himself rich. Burns always has the upper hand because he has a huge respect for his money; no matter what the amount. For example, Homer once approached Mr. Burns with the notion that he “could experience eternal happiness for just one dollar” to which Burns simply replied, “I’d be happier with the dollar.” Whether it’s in your personal life or professional, having a conservative approach to spending is always a good thing!

[More on Management jobs.]


Balance Between Work and Pleasure

The components of life that most people feel make them human—love, companionship, family, and faith—are, to Mr. Burns, nothing but distractions from achieving success. As Monty Burns himself once said “….Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. When opportunity knocks you don’t want to be driving to a maternity hospital or sitting in some phony-baloney church. Or Synagogue.” Clearly, this extremist viewpoint is not recommended for most managers, but he does bring up a good point about balancing business and pleasure. It’s easy to run off and blow a week’s pay on a big getaway with a sweetie or a fancy watch for a parent’s birthday. Take a note from Monty and ensure that these splurges and escapes from work are the exception and not the norm. On the contrary, family, friendship and faith are essential to the human spirit so be sure not to neglect those important people and traditions while climbing the corporate ladder. It’s all possible as long as the scales remain neutral.

Disregard Safety Regulations and Environmental Guidelines

While most companies taut “safety first,” Mr. Burns seems to adopt a “safety’s the worst” management style. Instead of spending money on real fire extinguishers, he simply paints them on the wall. He also installed trap doors and falling weights in his office to threaten and exterminate employees, or anyone else, who tries to meet with him. If these tactics don’t work, he instructs his trusty sidekick Smithers to “release the hounds” on them.

Mr. Burns also has no regard for the environment or LEED certification. He dumps nuclear waste from his plant into nearby parks and rivers to cut costs and often admires the mutant reptiles that his dumping creates. In another attempt to boost revenue by simultaneously harming the atmosphere, he blocked the sun so that the residents of Springfield were forced to increase the amount of electricity they used—electricity produced from his power plant, of course.

This particular business tactic resulted in an assassination attempt; so it’s safe to say that if one wants to succeed in business, he/she should do the exact opposite of Monty in this case. Look out for the safety of others and the environment at all times. Not only is it good business, but it’s even better karma. With the recent natural disasters directly caused by the weather, it’s
highly recommended to stay on Mother Nature’s good side these days. Not to mention, a LEED gold certification can add major credibility to your place of business—undoubtedly benefiting your bottom line.

Love him or hate him, Monty Burns knows how to make more money and live longer than most CEOs in America. Perhaps, “Management According to Monty” will be the new “Who Moved My Cheese.” Wouldn’t that just be an “excellent” way to motivate employees in the New Year?

Photo by Pop Culture Geek

Author Bio: This article was written by a guest author. Dwayne Thomas is a marketer and staff writer for  He welcomes your feedback on Twitter @DwayneThomas15.

Management Lessons: Spotlight on Barry Gray

We had the opportunity to interview Barry Gray, Senior Vice President of EJM Investments and 30-year Corporate National Accounts Manager for Anheuser Busch. In this interview, Barry shares tips on business and management lessons, while also offering important pointers about what to look for in a business school or Management program. Here’s what he had to say:

“What is the number one thing you should look for in a college business program?” 

Barry: Before you enroll into a business program, ask yourself, “What do I want to go into and what is the school known for.” For example, I chose to attend Indiana University because I wanted to get into sales and management, which they are well-known for. Do your research ahead of time so you don’t get stuck attending a school that does not offer the degree (and career) specialization you ultimately want.

“Would you suggest advancing your education by obtaining an MBA?

Barry: Look for the cost/benefit of getting your master’s degree in Business, or MBA. Factors like your current income, employer tuition reimbursement, and your available free time should all be factors in your consideration set. Also, don’t just pursue an MBA for the title. Think about how this advanced degree can improve your employment potential in the future. If the stars align, then go for it!

“What characteristic did your favorite manager have? Was this something that is learned in school?”

Barry: My favorite manager cared about me in a work setting and also on a personal level. No, this is not something that is taught in school. It is a learned and often times natural trait people possess.

Good managers too also are leaders and not dictators. Good leaders give vision and offer guidance, rather than micromanaging their employees.

“How did you decide on what type of specialization in business you wanted to pursue?” 

Barry: You have to lead with your strengths. Pursue a career that you naturally excel in. For example, I was good at making and maintaining relationships. With that in mind, I was very successful in my career in sales and retail management because in that type of business specialization is all about communication, personal relationships, follow-up, building trust, and above else, FUN!

Best Google Chrome Plugins for Management

America loves the Google Chrome browser. It surpassed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for a week in May 2012, then for a month. Now Chrome’s market share is a commanding 33.8 percent, and Google doesn’t show any signs of releasing its stranglehold on the competitive Internet browser market. But why is Chrome so popular? Besides reliability and ease-of-use, Chrome features a cornucopia of plugins that make it fully customizable. This flexibility is a huge draw for Management students. Here are eight of the top plugins to augment a Management student’s overall learning experience:

Ginger: When it comes to grammar and spelling, no one is immune to mistakes. But making grammar mistakes publicly can reflect poorly on a grade, or worse, lend the appearance of ignorance or carelessness. Ginger eliminates the problem by placing a real-time spelling and grammar checker into documents under construction.

Web of Trust (WOT): advises: “If you have just one Chrome security extension, Web of Trust should be it.” WOT relies on millions of page ratings by internet users from around the world, and works by providing “traffic signals” for each page a user tries to access. Green lights indicate a web site is safe, while amber lights warrant caution and red light sites should be avoided.

Xmarks: Xmarks is a five-star rated bookmarking tool that allows its users to sync bookmarks across computers and browser platforms. Users with multiple browsers can choose whether to sync some or all of their bookmarks onto non-Chrome browsers, and can even decide whether to sync the bookmarks to certain or all computers they use.

StayFocusd: Busy professionals and management students face constant demands on their time, but StayFocusd helps streamline work and study goals. StayFocusd allows users to set daily time limits for specific websites, and to block others altogether. So if Twitter is too much of a distraction, a user can set a half-hour limit—and StayFocusd won’t allow access beyond that.

LastPass: LastPass offers free online password management and form filling capabilities. It tracks and remembers passwords used for online banking, social media, and shopping sites, then encrypts them to make them more secure. LastPass frees up professionals and students to focus on their work without being distracted by password issues.

Send to Kindle: In the middle of reading a long article on the internet and wishing it could be viewed on an e-reader instead? With the touch of a button, the Send to Kindle plugin, developed by, strips away all the advertisements and sends the content to a designated Kindle. This is a great way for professionals and management students to transport and read long files in a highly portable format.

AdBlock: Online advertisements, especially Flash versions, can contain security hazards and slow down a browser’s overall performance. AdBlock allows users to decide whether and to what extent these advertisements can run, resulting in a faster, distraction-free experience for students and professionals alike.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer: This plugin is a major productivity booster. It allows users to click a link to PowerPoint or PDF files and route directly to Google Docs to view the document in its intended format, rather than having to download and re-open the document in Office or Adobe Reader.

Google Chrome offers unparalleled flexibility. Users can download plugins that offer a browsing experience tailored to their preferences, and the plugin marketplace includes productivity and security extensions to meet the needs of managementstudents and even professionals.

[Want to get started with a Management degree? Learn more...]


How Do Online Management Degrees Differ From Traditional?

Online degrees are skyrocketing in popularity as technology has advanced to make programs more interactive and virtually incomparable to traditional education. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduate enrollment in eLearning courses increased from 8 percent of all students to 20 percent of all students in the last decade.

Based on these statistics, it is clear that online degrees are gaining popularity with undergraduate and graduate students. In fact, because many people earning a Business Management degree at the master’s level do so while working, online programs are highly advantageous because of their flexibility and self-paced nature. Students who are considering enrolling in an online degree program in management should consider how these online programs differ from traditional classroom education. But what exactly are online Management degrees all about? And how do online Management degrees differ from a traditional, classroom-based Management program? Let’s explore…

Video or Audio Lectures

The main difference between online Management degrees and on-campus learning is that students don’t have to formally attend classes. Instead, they access a series of course materials online, usually in the form of video or audio lectures recorded by the professors. In some cases, there may also be live streams of lectures or discussions to mimic a classroom setting, but it’s all accessed through the computer. To succeed in an online Management program, students need to be able to focus on the lectures even when they’re not listening and participating in person. These videos or audio lectures are hosted on an online student portal where students have 24-hour access to viewing the material.

Discussion Forums and Group Projects

In addition to multimedia, many online degree programs include an element of interactivity with classmates. Schools often set up discussion forums that students can access and post their responses to lectures or reading materials. In addition, students often work on group projects remotely with classmates. Groups may send emails to one another, participate in conference calls, and use collaborative software, like Blackboard or other open-source software, to work on projects together. Because interpersonal skills are so important in business careers, most online degree programs include group projects to hone these all-important skills.

Self-Structured Scheduling and Pacing

Online programs are much more independent than on-campus courses, which actually can benefit managerial students who usually have a natural-born independence and drive. The ability to access course materials at any time rather than being tied down to a class schedule is a huge value for working professionals. Students need tip-top time management skills to stay on top of learning the material and completing projects, though, which can be difficult when they aren’t touching base with classmates and professors in person on a regular basis or committed to a particular schedule.

Course Material

Although online Management degrees have a different format than classroom-based programs, the same course material is covered. Students can rest assured that regardless of what format they are using, they will still get a solid education in Management. The skills taught in the courses are both challenging and practical – and they will transfer to nearly any workplace and provide a foundation from which to excel in a management career. Students considering this route should research reputable programs to find the best way to earn an online degree that will advance their careers.

Keep in mind that if you lack a natural ability to “self-start”, tend to procrastinate, or prefer a face-to-face learning environment, then an online Management degree is probably not for you. On contrast, if you covet flexibility, already have professional or personal obligations, and are technologically proficient then this type of degree is perfect for you. Peruse through Management degree options, and see if any of the specialization pique your interest.

About the Author: This article was written by a guest author from

Inspirational Business Quotes For Students and Professionals

It’s back to school time, and do you know what that means? After those first few days of orientation, it’s back to the grind and sometimes you need a little extra motivation to get you through the dire straights of studying. Or if you are a working professional, do you need that extra push to get through that all-important project?

Here is a list of our favorite motivational quotes for Business degree students (and even professionals):

On Leadership

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” – Norman Schwarzkopf

“Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching.” – George Van Valkenburg

“Strength comes in numbers, but it only takes one voice to lead.” – Hillary Batchelder

“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” – Peter Drucker

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi

On Vision

“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” – Donald Trump

“The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas of enthusiasm.” – Thomas J. Watson

“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” – Benjamin Mays

[More Management degree specialization information...]

On Success

“A man grows most tired when standing still.” –  Chinese proverb

“Remove failure as an option and your chances for success become infinitely better.” – Joan Lunden

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you towards success? Or are they holding you back?” – W. Clement Stone

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

More Reading:

Dr. Shannon Reece

Management Lessons They Don’t Teach You in School

There you are with your online Business Management degree or MBA, calm and assured in the knowledge that your school has given you all the skills necessary to survive in the business world. You accept your first job as a manager and stride into your new work environment bursting with confidence. As time goes on, you may notice some things in the workplace that are not in your lecture notes. Here are some tips that will help you survive and flourish in your first years as a business school graduate:

  • Include the People at the Point of Delivery: Most business degrees focus on the theoretical aspects of management, but what they often leave out in these grand plans is that some person needs to get other people to actually execute these strategies. A marketing plan that is based on customer service or friendly attitudes falls flat on its face when customers encounter negative employees at the point of delivery. With today’s social media outlets, negative experiences spread like wildfire and corporations end up performing damage control. JetBlue prides itself on its supposedly award-winning service, but most people have heard more negative JetBlue stories than positive ones. If they included better policies and more training for flight personnel and gate attendants on what to do in certain situations, perhaps the late night comedians wouldn’t have so much fun at their expense.
  • People Skills Matter: You’ll be working with and for many different types of people and will need to know how to deal effectively with each. There will be differences in age groups, ethnic backgrounds, value systems and personality types, yet you have probably received very little training in managing or working with people. Your department could succeed or fail based on your ability to motivate your staff. Build your skills at giving clear directions, accepting input, delegating, setting expectations and communicating. Your job is not to do the work yourself, but to motivate others to do it effectively.
  • You Might Need to Teach Others: You’ve just spent a great deal of time and money earning your degree, but your supervisors or those working for you may not have the same educational background. Assess the level of understanding of those around you and talk in terms they will understand. Just because everyone at school knew what a certain theory involved, don’t assume those in your office do. You may need to do some teaching to get everyone on the same page.
  • Be Prepared to Speak in Public: Most people are terrified of speaking in public, but business men and women need this skill. You’ll speak at meetings, training sessions, sales presentations, and social gatherings. You might be asked to present your department’s budget needs in front of the board of directors, or selected to make a presentation to shareholders. If you’re uncomfortable in public, you appear to be lacking confidence and knowledge, even though you might have solid facts and a persuasive argument. Take every opportunity you can get to practice your speaking skills and build your self-confidence before you join the business world.

Your business school has given you a solid foundation, but for true success you’ll need to accept that you may not know everything and be open to continued learning experiences.

Worst Managers of All Time

Impatience, credit-taker, narcissistic, nit-picky, belittling, and visionless… These are all qualities that make a bad boss. From silver screen to the real world, here is a list of the worst managers of all time.

Frederick Winslow Taylor – Father of Scientific Management
Regarded as the father of scientific management, a form of management that analyzed workflows, Frederick Winslow Taylor was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. Though he was an intellectual leader of the Progressive Era and his ideas were highly influential and adopted, he took mirco-management and stringent leadership to the extreme. He stood over his workers with a stopwatch and a clipboard, timing their every movement and shouting, “work faster or be fired.”

Henry Frick – Carnegie Steel
A pioneer to the steel industry and CEO of Carnegie Steel, which was valued at $25 million in the late 1800s, Frick was a cutthroat anti-unionist who was once voted the most hated man in America. CNBC cited, “His response to a strike at one of his steel mills—which began after he attempted to lower wages—resulted in 16 deaths and is regarded as one of the most notorious incidents in U.S. labor history.” After the fact, Frick was shot three times and stabbed twice by an irate activist. Though he survived the stabbing, he will forever go down in history as a horrible boss.

Ken Lay – Enron
When it comes to bad CEOs, Lay was the complete package: dishonest, morally repugnant, and inept. Lay founded the multi-billion dollar energy company, Enron, which is now laid to rest as one of the worst PR crises of all time. Not only was Lay uninterested in the day-to-day tasks of running the business, but CNBC reported that Lay gave free rein to untrustworthy subordinates and signed off on transactions that were later uncovered to be a massive accounting fraud that would later bring down the corporation. Lay was convicted of fraud by the the Federal Court of Securities in 2006, and had he not died shortly thereafter would have served the rest of his life in prison.

Bill Lumberg – Office Space
William “Bill” Lumbergh is a fictional character from the late-90s film Office Space. Lumbergh is the division Vice President of a software company, Initech, and is hated by his employees for his mismatched priorities, micromanagement, and wrong priorities (pointless paperwork, moving desk spaces). Wikipedia he has been described as “the antithesis of the motivational management leadership ideal”

Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. – Horrible Bosses
Sex-crazed Dr. Julia Harris is a dentist, and the boss of Dale in the Hollywood hit “Horrible Bosses.” She takes workplace sexual harassment to the extreme she harrasesses her subordinate, Dale, while patients are in the chair, and even goes as far to sabotage his relationship with by drugging him.

Michael Scott – The Office
Where do you start with the epically worst manager of all time, the Office’s Michael Scott. Michel vies for his employee’s friendship and time-after-time his managerial tasks fall by the wayside. Moreover, he is an HR nightmare. He habitually makes cringe-worthy sexual and racist comments.

This quote pretty much wraps up Michael Scott’s management style: “ Would I rather be feared or loved? Um, easy…both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

Gordon Gekko – Wall Street
Wall Street, a 1990s classic film, shares the story of Bud Fox, a young and impressionable New York stockbroker desperate for success. As the story progresses, he is taken under the wing of his professional hero, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, who is a rich and unscrupulous corporate raider who would do anything to get to the top. Ethics are not a priority for him as he lies, cheats, and steals all for the “bottom line” and tries to take down everyone in the process.


So now that you’ve been enlightened with our pick of the worst managers of all time, it’s time to learn about what makes a good manager. A Management degree will explore these management principle:

  • Vision
  • Leadership vs. Management
  • Macromanages
  • Cooperative
  • Delegates work

More Resources:
MSNBC, “No Good Very Bad Bosses”