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Employers need critical thinkers and innovative problem-solvers. And if you’re thinking of returning to school for a master’s degree, you need a program that will prepare you to tackle big challenges and find innovative solutions. Here are three programs (plus a bonus!) that offer general business education and will position you for success in your career.

1. Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Management

“Businesses, nonprofits and government agencies are increasingly interested in sustainability,” says Peter Beck, director of the Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Management and Sustainability program at St. Edward’s University. But to implement “green” initiatives, they need people who understand both the science and the policy implications of such changes. In this master’s program at St. Edward’s, you’ll learn about ecology, project management, as well as Geographic Information Systems software. The coursework, which includes a month of field research in Costa Rica, prepares you to become a sustainability coordinator at a large company or organization — or for careers such as policy analysis or environmental management  .

2. Master of Accounting

To earn a CPA designation, students must take an additional 30 credit hours beyond an undergraduate degree before they can sit for the exam. “If you’re going to spend 150 total hours at school to get a CPA certification, I think it makes sense to have a master’s degree at the end of it, too,” says Louise Single, director of the Master of Accounting (MACT) program at St. Edward’s University. “During a hiring process, for example, a hiring manager might decide to exclude anyone who doesn’t have that degree.” To become a chief financial officer, a partner at an accounting firm or a controller, you’ll need the expertise that comes with a CPA designation, too.

3. Master of Science in Leadership and Change

The difference between a successful and a stressful change often comes down to leadership. The Master of Science in Leadership and Change at St. Edward’s University prepares leaders — in nonprofits, startups, government and the corporate world — to enact positive, strategic organizational change. Graduates of the program, says MSLC director Tom Sechrest, are prepared to lead in difficult times. “They look at issues systemically, and they are able to use big data in creative and innovative ways,” he says. “They are able to turn conflict into collaboration, and they stay focused on strategic goals, even when the context around them is chaotic.”

Bonus! Master of Business Administration

The MBA isn’t an unexpected business degree, but today’s programs might surprise you. Social responsibility — ensuring that business is conducted ethically and has a positive impact on people and the planet — is a growing component of MBA programs like the St. Edward’s University degree. And entrepreneurs are increasingly incorporating a “social good” dimension in their business ventures. “The social enterprise element we’ve incorporated into our mission statement at The Bill Munday School of Business is about creating value, managing risks and reaping the rewards — and that doesn’t mean only money in your pocket,” says Executive in Residence Tony Alvarado. “It also means money in the pocket of those that share your values, whether it’s a certified benefit corporation, a nonprofit, or a foundation that you set up.” With social enterprise resources like Impact Hub Austin, MBA students at St. Edward’s are well positioned to make a difference.

St. Edward's University offers a variety of daytime, weekend and evening graduate programs, all of which are designed to give you the knowledge, industry insights, global perspective and professional network you need to take your career to a new level.

Robyn Ross is a special projects writer for St. Edward’s University.