This article was provided by White Knight Safety Solutions, a leader in mobile safety software.

Some readers had some questions about the new Executive MBA with a specialty track in Health Safety Leadership that the Sandermoen School of Business and University of Fredericton have created. The most common question was "is this the right program for me, and what might this potentially do for my career?" With the first class having started on September 2, 2014 it is still to early to answer that question. However, Sarah Chiasson from the University of Fredericton was kind enough to answer some of our questions. Some of this information can be found on their website.

The key take away if you are considering to apply to this MBA program is that you need to be in a current management role. This MBA is the bridge that some safety professionals will require to move into the executive ranks of your company. I think it is fair to say that there are a lot of safety professionals that have an incredible amount of hands on experience. They have climbed the ranks within their company and are pushing up against the executive ceiling. However, they might lack the training and education that is required to move into those executive positions. I cannot speak for other industries in Canada, but in the oil and gas industry there is a slow but steady push to create a baseline for each occupation. This includes the safety profession. Field experience is crucial and can never be replaced. To combine field knowledge with this MBA would make you a very valuable asset to your organization.

The future is pointing the way to a diploma being an entry level requirement for safety professionals. With an undergraduate degree following suit and an MBA program like this one capping the educational component of a safety professional’s career. However, I would urge all new safety professionals to get that much needed field experience along side an education. In the real world there are real problems that a text book sometimes cannot solve.

Program’s greatest asset?

There are many benefits to UFred programs, but one of the strongest assets to the Executive MBA for Health Safety leaders is its online delivery. As many working in the OHS field work remotely or have extremely demanding careers, our fully-online program provides students with the opportunity to continue their education and developed strong leadership skills without sacrificing career momentum, from wherever they have an internet connection.

In addition to this, our Executive MBA for Health Safety leaders has flexible admission requirements, meaning that students who do not have an undergraduate degree may still be eligible for admission by virtue of their extensive professional experience. We recognize that many OHS professionals have decades of safety management experience, but may not have completed previous post-secondary studies. The Executive MBA is a great way for these students to obtain the credentials they need to move into senior management roles.

Does the school’s mission and culture have any defining characteristics that have shaped the MBA program?

The UFred mission is to provide a lifelong learning path for today’s professionals, with a particular emphasis on leadership development. Our fully-online programs allow for students across Canada and around the world to further their education, without losing the collaboration and networking that is so valuable to professional education. We have an extremely interactive community and campus that facilitates engagement between students, alumni, and professors alike, and provides students with the opportunity to develop those leadership skills that are integral to our mission.

Do all your instructors have experience teaching online?

An overwhelming majority of our professors do have experience teaching online, and for those who may be relatively new, we provide extensive faculty support and learning opportunities to help orient them to the UFred style of learning.

What percentage of graduates do you project that will find jobs in their field of study? What would their respective salary be?

Given that our program is oriented towards professionals who are already in the workforce, more than 99% of our graduates are employed upon completion of their respective programs. We’ve designed programs to enhance leadership skills and help professionals succeed in their educational and professional goals from the very beginning, which has allowed an overwhelming majority of our graduates to maintain or secure positions in their chosen field of work.

Why was this program created? What drove the university to create this program? Anything in particular?

Evidence has shown that well-designed and managed OHS programs support health, resilient and productive workforces. However, many, if not most, managers of health and safety units have risen to their management positions without any prior post-secondary education in management, and face the dual challenges of a potential performance deficit, and reduced probability of promotion into executive ranks. This program has been developed by UFred in partnership with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) to address these challenges, by improving the post-secondary educational landscape for upwardly-mobile health and safety managers and executives.

Who should apply for this program?

Our online Executive MBA with a specialty track in Health and Safety Leadership is designed for advanced-career professionals and managers of health and safety units who aspire to lead their businesses towards much higher performance. Applicants must have at least five years of relevant work experience, with two of those years being in management.

What are some of the admission requirements of the applicant?

Applicants must have at least five years of relevant work experience, with two of those years being in management. It is preferred that applicants have an undergraduate degree.

How much does it cost?

Tuition is $24,500 Canadian dollars.

Who would benefit most from this program? At what stage of their career should they be in?

Applicants should be advanced-career professionals seeking to take their careers to the next level. As the program is an Executive MBA, those interested should already have a strong foundation of relevant experience that they wish to augment with this advanced degree.

How many students does each teacher work with?

For our Executive MBA program, we cap our classes at 22 students. This allows us to maintain a high-degree of interaction between students and professors.

What education and experience do your teachers have?

An overwhelming majority of our professors have a terminal degree (PhD, DBA, etc.), as well as a plethora of professional experience in their instructional field. Given our emphasis on practical, applicable learning, it is extremely important to us that our professors have real-world, industry-related knowledge.

If a safety professional has a CRSP (Canadian registered Safety Practitioner) designation and this MBA would they see a potential increase in their salary or is this predominantly a knowledge/value add?

The value of an Executive MBA is significant. Students enter the program with substantial health and safety knowledge, but may not have as much post-secondary experience in business. The ability to marry OHS practices with business principles is an invaluable asset in today’s OHS field, and our Executive MBA is designed to poise students to be able to do exactly this. Typically, MBA and Executive MBA graduates as a whole do enjoy higher salaries than those who do not hold the degree, though this of course varies from employer to employer.

If you are currently attending the MBA program, we would love to hear your feedback!

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