Graduate degrees can be a key factor to growing your career. U.S. News & World Report says graduate degrees can open you up to higher earnings and career advancement, can build your professional network, and can contribute to your personal growth.

Pursuing a graduate degree like the Master of Leadership and Management may seem like a daunting task, but there is an alternative pathway: a graduate certificate, such as the certificate in Global Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (GMEI) at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.

Aja Smith, associate director of online programs, spoke about what the GMEI certification is all about and how it can be a pathway to a graduate degree.

Other paths to graduate degrees

Smith said Thunderbird offers students different approaches to graduate degrees, from accelerated programs to the Francis and Dionne Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative to the GMEI certification. All provide a starting point for graduate students.

“The GMEI certificate is a really smart way for students to get that upskill that they need and that additional credential that will help them,” she said. “It will help students make sure it's a good fit if they want to continue and pursue a master’s degree.”

The GMEI is one way to get academic credit toward a graduate degree. But Smith said that’s not the only reason to go for the certification.

“It will really help those who aren't looking for a graduate degree,” she said. “Maybe they want more than just an on-demand class or two to give them more of a breadth of a global perspective in business. Many people are happy with this certificate.”

The GMEI certificate offers several advantages to students, Smith said.

“In our coursework, everything is centered around a global mindset,” she said. “So, if you did a traditional MBA, but now your company’s looking at global expansion or global business, they need people with that perspective. 

“A GMEI certification could definitely upskill you without having to take a full master's degree or commit to going to a school. You can get certification while still working.”


How the GMEI certificate works

The GMEI certificate gives students a thorough grounding in global management, honing their managerial and entrepreneurial abilities and assisting them in creating business plans for multinational, innovation-focused companies. The curriculum provides educational opportunities that are especially created to support global economic growth and innovation.

“In their coursework, these students will take the same coursework as those pursuing a  Master of Leadership and Management,” Smith said.  

By strengthening their leadership abilities, learners can prioritize sustainable business, make compelling business pitches, and assess markets to determine whether new goods and services are viable. The skills learned in the GMEI are useful for data managers, financial managers, general and operations managers, operations managers or project managers, as well as any position in the entrepreneurial space.

The GMEI certification is comprised of five courses: 

  • Data Analytics and Digital Transformation in a Global World - This course includes global examples across industries and how leaders make managerially relevant decisions based on data.
  • Global Accounting: Managing with Numbers - This course is designed to introduce the fundamentals of financial accounting and managerial accounting in a global environment.
  • Global Marketing in a Digital Age - This course combines macro issues, such as market orientation, segmentation, targeting, and positioning and their strategic implications, and then micro topics used to execute and implement strategies.
  • Global Leadership & Personal Development - This course cultivates introspective and skill-building competencies that include conceptual grounding that is based in an experiential learning focus.
  • Global Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Business - This course presents an overview of entrepreneurship and sustainable business. 

These five courses can help elevate your career by enhancing your professional development, updating your skills, providing a transition tool to pivot your career or move into a new field, and more. 

What you can do post certification

Each of these courses provides foundational concepts and knowledge for leaders and other students. While these five courses will earn students the GMEI certification, they’ll find themselves halfway to the Master of Leadership and Management (MLM) degree.

“When the students complete the five courses, they earn the certificate,” Smith said. “It can be placed on their resume or CV, which will already provide advantages, while they can then move on to the MLM degree plan.”

Smith says the GMEI gives students a good understanding of the work needed to earn a master’s without making the commitment.

“It's a good way to dip your toe in the water without a commitment to a full degree program,” she said. “Hopefully, though, you’ll continue on with the MLM degree.”  

If they do make the commitment, students will use the credits they’ve already earned toward the MLM, which can save them time and money in the long run.

Take the first step at Thunderbird

The Global Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate is perfect for students interested in upskilling themselves with entrepreneurial and managerial skills to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as students pursuing graduate degrees in engineering, sciences or humanities.

The GMEI could be your first step down the path to a life-changing master’s degree. Take your career to the next level with Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. Explore core curriculum and concentrations.

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