Why Pursue a Graduate Library Degree at a Business School

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Why Pursue a Graduate Library Degree at a Business School

When students want to advance skills and grow in the business world, they might typically turn to business management and accounting degrees. While these degrees can certainly be an asset in the boardroom, you might be surprised to learn that library science can also boost your business acumen. Many of the skills developed in library science degree programs are in-demand in today’s workforce.

Organizing Records and Balancing Financial Statements

One of the top skills that library science students need to sharpen centers on organizational development. The ability to create an organizational structure from scratch or change an existing one for greater clarity is crucial in the business world. This efficiency helps companies accurately report revenue to their governing bodies, as well as the IRS.

Even if you don’t work in a largely financial role, you’re likely to have to balance a budget allotted to your department, collect invoices from vendors, and make predictions for your spending needs in the future. This doesn’t require advanced math skills as much as it requires organizational ones. Without those skills, invoices don’t get paid and vendors start shutting off their services. Furthermore, by knowing how much current programs cost, you can estimate what future expenses for your department will look like.

Organization is also an important skill within legal departments, which need to keep strict records of hours worked, client information, and communication for upcoming cases. Most companies either have an internal legal staff or contract with a legal vendor to manage their contracts. Library science students with strong organizational skills are able to assemble the information these departments need efficiently and thoroughly.

Big Data Manipulation and Analytics

According to Forbes, the amount of data a company collects will double every two years, and many industry leaders already believe that “data is the new oil,” in the worlds of business and technology. Despite this, while companies are hoarding information and find the insights pulled from it incredibly valuable, less than one percent of all data collected is actually analyzed. This has made data analysis a key skill for employees and managers, who need to take massive piles of data and identify important elements. Furthermore, they need to be able to take action based on the insights they learn.

Learning about data analysis through a business school can take your skills a step further by teaching you how to use data analytic software programs that make analysis easier. It also helps library science professionals understand the needs of organizations and how to approach problems with a corporate and a scientific mind. Data analytics is often used as a tool to mitigate risk within an organization. Before making a change, companies want to know how it could affect business for better or worse. Data analysis helps them realize the complete picture of a project or initiative before deciding whether or not to approve it. Additional courses like Library Management and Project Management can help prepare students for leadership roles where they will use data presented to help them make decisions.

Improving Written, Presentation, and Interpersonal Persuasion Skills

Working in the business world is often about persuasion. For example, a department might lobby for a larger budget to get resources they need or try to persuade management to make a strategic business decision to create a new market. Interestingly, people aren’t always motivated by logic and tend to base their decisions on emotion and gut instinct. Data collected can fall flat without a narrative.

In an article for Quartz, a business and global economic change blog, psychologists explain that emotion plays more of a role than most people think in decision-making. They use cigarettes as an example. If people were purely logical thinkers, then the science behind cigarettes and their effect on the human body would be enough to make everyone quit. However, many people quit because of emotional reasons, like the fear of health repercussions from smoking or the love of a partner who finds the habit intolerable.

This is great news for students pursuing a Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) degree, who specialize in finding important narratives. Once they have the logical side of the story through data analysis, they can weave it into the greater narrative for the company and tell a story about why a particular action should be taken. Management Communication for Leaders is just one class that turns the skill of finding narratives into a tool for persuasion. Logic might not be enough to move a manager to try a new marketing strategy, but fear of missing sales goals and dreams of winning an award for improved performance might convince them.

Leading Teams and Organizations

The ability to lead a team is an important skill in the modern workplace.

According to a survey created by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and reported by Forbes, the ability to work in a team structure is the highest rated skill that today’s college graduates need. This is followed by the ability to communicate effectively within the organization and an understanding of how to solve problems.

Even the most effective teams struggle to work together sometimes, which is why hiring managers look for employees who are willing to communicate and compromise for the greater good. With an MMLIS, you develop the tools to mediate problems between co-workers and look for conflict resolution opportunities. Not only will your managers appreciate your ability to solve conflicts on your own, they will notice your mediation skills to help others.

This team mentality will help during your first few years in the field, as well as making you an effective leader. The best managers are those who listen to their team members and decide what is best for them and the company. With leadership skills developed in the MMLIS field, you can approach issues with a problem-solving mentality and work to find a solution that appeals to most, if not all, of your team.

Organization, presentation, and leadership are all skills that employers look for in their next hire. If you’re looking to advance your career or break into a business field, visit the USC Marshall School of Business Master of Management in Library and Information Science Online to learn more about the skills you can acquire with this degree.


Analyzing Big Data: 8 Tips for Finding the Signals Within the Noise – Forbes
Keep Losing Arguments a Psychologist Explains why Emotions are More Persuasive than Logic – Quartz Blog
The 10 Skills Employers Most Want in 2015 Graduates – Forbes