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Time is Money: Advancing Your Career in an Expedited Fashion

Dr. Wei-Chung Wang, Associate Professor of Business and Economics

Time is money, literally. Juniata College recently launched a four-year, two-degree business program that aims at helping business professionals hit the ground running and reach their career goals faster. With the program, students are expected to obtain both a bachelor’s degree in Business and an MBA at the end of their four-year journey at Juniata College, a nationally ranked liberal arts college.

The Importance of Credentialing

In my 20 years of professional experience, I’ve witnessed how credentialing plays a critical role in career advancement. When I worked at a Big Four accounting/consulting firm, I saw many colleagues lose out on the promotion opportunities because they did not have an advanced degree in hand. Some of these folks chose to enroll in MBA programs while working full time, spending weekday nights and weekends to finish course requirements. Some were able to finish the degrees in two to five years, at the cost of their physical, mental health, or even family time; while others failed to complete the programs simply because they were not able to strike the work-school-life balance. Some chose to quit their jobs and studied full time, but they would be risking their already-established career trajectory. The struggle takes place over and over again.  

Some might ask: is it really necessary to play into the game of credentialing? As an experienced business professional and a serial entrepreneur, I believe that the substance of your training and credentials are both important. It is imperative to understand that both signaling and screening are the key issues in making the hiring decisions. Employers attempt to screen candidates at the least cost while the candidates try their best to signal their fit for the jobs. All other factors held equal, who would the Human Resource manager pick for an interview if one candidate has a bachelor’s degree while the other has an advanced degree? We reckon there will be many other factors affecting the hiring decision. However, having an advanced degree in hand demonstrates your signal as a committed professional who is ready to get in the game. Some employers also take into account whether the candidate would leave for graduate school after working for a couple of years, as they just don’t want to waste the training cost. 

In designing the business curriculum at both the undergraduate and MBA programs at Juniata College, we have combined academic training and experiential learning opportunities to cultivate well-rounded business professionals. You will be ready to take on the challenges facing today’s business world at graduation. 100% of the full-time business faculty possess industry experience and 75% of the business faculty have come from Big Four consulting firms. We also have clinical professors in our MBA program that have had heavy-lifting industry experiences to share the latest information in the trench. Most students in the Juniata Business program have internship experience and job offers before graduating. Our Juniata business network has facilitated many to have a great start in their careers. 

Story of Joey DiGangi’18

As Joey DiGangi’18 could attest, a Juniata College business degree is special because of the way it gives you the chance to apply the theoretical ideas discussed in class to practical experiences offered throughout the curriculum. 

As an undergraduate, Joey held a part-time position in the College’s marketing department and had first-hand experience managing social media campaigns and writing content that was used in materials distributed online and at recruiting events.

He also had support from the business professors at Juniata when he founded AssureTech. Joey’s professors connected him with financial resources in the region that provided the funding needed to launch his own company and then helped him customize his undergraduate schedule to attend special training programs held in the state for entrepreneurs.

The MBA program also introduces him to new out-of-class experiences. The capstone MBA course, Project Management, includes working with three real-life companies. Students are tasked with solving problems facing the different companies and delivering project proposals that the management teams actually evaluate and provide feedback on. For example, two of the three companies in the capstone MBA course have an international element to them. The modern workplace rewards professionals that know how to communicate effectively with teams around the world and Juniata’s MBA helps us develop this skill set. 

Joey believes the hands-on experience accelerates his career. One thing Joey’s learned in the professional world is that people who know how to solve an array of problems have more opportunities to advance.

Write Your Own Success Story with Juniata’s Accelerated Program

With the accelerated program, you spend four years of tuition to graduate with an advanced degree with training and experience that could propel you in the type of business career you would like to have. The training we provide has enabled our students to get offers and work in Big Four firms, Fortune 500 companies, and multinational enterprises through our broad network. Join us in Fall 2021, we cannot wait to help shape your career! 

Professor Wei-Chung Wang is Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives and a professor in the Accounting, Business and Economics Department at Juniata College. Dr. Wang possesses nearly 20 years of professional experiences that include teaching at different types of institutions, consulting multinational enterprises, running start-ups, creating academic partnerships, and developing new courses and programs. Dr. Wang is also a co-founder and holds a leadership position at Kdan Mobile Software, a multinational Software-as-a-Service company.

Mr. Joey DiGangi is a 2018 graduate of Juniata’s ABE department and a current MBA student. Joey founded a software company in his junior year that provides life-saving technology for people living with food allergies – like himself. Joey’s professors helped him arrange his schedule as an undergraduate so he could start the company, even helping him earn internship credits for the experience. Joey graduated and was offered a full-time position with Kdan Mobile that took him to Taiwan for nine months and now continues in the U.S. He is also still growing his startup.