Critical Thinking Skills

Graduates of the MBA program will be capable of possessing critical thinking skills commonly utilized in business settings.

Critical Thinking

  1. Data Description - Observes and describes given information in relation to a question where ideally, the student can identify appropriate main issue and describe it accurately, select key component points, recognize priorities in relation to given question, and pick up unstated implications.
  2. Data Analysis – Analyzes the given material and shows structure of an argument showing connections among key points with a visible structure, indicates contradictions and continuities, shows cause & effect relationships, and demonstrates sound logic.
  3. Conclusion - Responds to question with conclusion or hypothesis and ideally, clearly states conclusion or hypothesis, shows how it emerges from evidence, demonstrates its relationship to the given question.
  4. Evaluation -Evaluates conclusion or hypothesis within relevant context. Ideally, the student appropriately assesses conclusion/ hypothesis in terms of reliability and further evidence needed, assesses external implications of the hypothesis within a larger context.

Critical Thinking in Business

Critical thinking is the objective analysis of an issue to form a judgment.1 The purpose of an MBA is to prepare students who have a desire to one day be executives in organizations. The main responsibility of executives within most organizations is to objectively evaluate the internal and external environment of the organization in a manner that allows for said organization to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Therefore, it is appropriate that critical thinking would be included as an objective of any institution of higher education’s MBA program.

 

Developing the ability to think critically is important for MBA students for several specific reasons:

  • First, as technology improves in the near future, humans will need to do the work that machines cannot, including critical thinking. Edward D. Hess, professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, cites a 2013 study performed by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of the University of Oxford that predicts 66% of the US workforce is employed at jobs that have a medium to high risk of being replaced by technology within the next 20 years. The tasks that will require humans will be those requiring “either creativity, innovative thinking, complex critical thinking, moral judgments or high emotional and social intelligence.”2
  • Second, because critical thinking requires challenging assumptions, including those commonly held to be true, it is a necessary skill for anyone wishing to do something outside of what is already commonly done.3
  • Third, critical thinking skills help graduates deal with ambiguity. In a complex, global, rapidly-changing environment, not all variables can be identified, much less quantified. The ability to reason logically and without bias is necessary to navigate this environment.3,4

References

  1. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/critical-thinking accessed 09.10.2016 at 9:22 am.
  2. Edward D. Hess. 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/darden/2014/10/01/the-mba-of-the-future-how-many-doing-what/#5b5a83e75537 accessed 08.17.2016 at 3:09 pm.
  3. John Baldoni. 2010. “How Leaders Should Think Critically.” https://hbr.org/2010/01/how-leaders-should-think-criti accessed 08.17.2016 at 3:20 pm.
  4. What is Critical Thinking? UTC Walker Center for Teaching and Learning. http://www.utc.edu/walker-center-teaching-learning/teaching-resources/ct-ps.php accessed 08.17.2016 at 3:41 pm.

The MBA program strives to assist is graduates in developing critical thinking skills useful in business decisions.

 

Graduates of the MBA program are assessed on their ability to critically think by utilizing skills to accurately describe and analyze data, reach a conclusion based on data and evaluate their conclusion.

MBA curricular focus on Critical Thinking

BADM 724: Administrative Affairs: Critical Thinking, Leadership, Teamwork, Innovation and Design (3 hrs)

 

(UTM Course Catalog 2017-2018): “This course introduces the student to areas of critical thinking, leadership and teamwork, as well as innovation and design that are central to organizational administration. Students explore how each is integral to career and organizational development.”

MBA Assessment of Critical Thinking

  Data Description
(Observes and describes given information in relation to a question)
Above Average (3) Identifies appropriate main issue and describes it accurately, selects key component points, recognizes priorities in relation to given question, picks up unstated implications.
Average (2) Identifies main issue but describes it vaguely, selects some component points, does not pick up on unstated implications.
Below Average (1) Identifies inappropriate main issue or none at all, describes issue inaccurately, fails to identify key component points, and loses focus on given question.
  Data Analysis
(Analyzes the given material and shows structure of an argument)
Above Average (3) Shows connections among key points with a visible structure, indicates contradictions and continuities, shows cause & effect relationships, and demonstrates sound logic.
Average (2) Shows connections to some key points with a visible structure, indicates some contradictions and continuities, and shows some cause & effect relationships.
Below Average (1) Ignores key points or shows inability to manipulate them, shows confusion about relationships among key points, uses faulty logic, fails to create order from details
  Conclusion
(Responds to question with conclusion or hypothesis)
Above Average (3) Clearly states conclusion or hypothesis, shows how it emerges from evidence, demonstrates its relationship to the given question/td>
Average (2) Proposes vague conclusion or hypothesis, uses little evidence, somewhat demonstrates a relationship to the given question.
Below Average (1) Proposes no comprehensible conclusion or hypothesis, wanders from the given question.
  Evaluation
(Evaluates conclusion or hypothesis within relevant context)
Above Average (3) Appropriately assesses conclusion/ hypothesis in terms of reliability and further evidence needed, assesses external implications of the hypothesis within a larger context
Average (2) Somewhat assesses conclusion/hypothesis in terms of reliability, assesses some external implications of the hypothesis within a larger context.
Below Average (1) Fails to assess conclusion, raises no additional questions, fails to place argument within a relevant larger context.
Total Score: Mean Score:

Hybrid MBA Program

The Hybrid MBA program offered through the College of Business and Global Affairs is open to anyone holding a bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university, regardless of undergraduate major. Students complete their coursework through a combination of online and hybrid courses. Students can select either the General MBA or MBA with Agricultural Option.

View Admission Requirements >

Apply Now >

 

Online MBA for Financial Services Professionals

Open to students in all fields, The Online MBA is geared toward the financial services industry, and may be of particular interest to professionals with a connection to, or interest in banking and/or financial services.

View Admission Requirements >

Apply Now >