Why MPS?

The MPS program is about becoming a more strategic and effective organizational leader.

The multidisciplinary MPS curriculum is designed to build on your professional experience and expertise, giving you a big-picture understanding of your workplace, beyond the scope of the day-to-day. Understanding how organizations function as complex systems of people and cultures—and how they can change, by design or by accident—is critical for making and implementing strategic decisions to lead effectively.

People at all levels of organizations make choices. As you look toward the next stage of your career, chances are these choices will have a broader reach: impacting more people, utilizing more resources. How do effective leaders make and implement decisions? They ask the right questions. They have the ability to gather, distill, and apply the right data. And they have the skills to bring their people along.

Learning the world of organizations inside and out will enable you to be more responsive to senior leadership and develop greater insight into C-level thinking. You’ll reframe your questions and hone your abilities to define and communicate answers. Throughout the MPS program, you’ll gain competencies that can be applied whether you’re leading a team, a department, or an entire organization, and whether you work for an international corporation, a family-owned business, a public-sector agency, a non-profit, or as a consultant.

Shouldn’t I just get an MBA?

Many of our students come to the program having first considered an MBA. It’s a natural place to start when planning next steps for your career and thinking about a return to the classroom. While there is overlapping subject matter, the MBA can be thought of as facing outward from the enterprise, while the focus of the MPS is directed inward, on the organization itself and especially on the people who comprise it, from the ground up. It is this critical fluency in how and why people and organizations succeed that differentiates our graduates from the typical pool of MBAs and enables them to bring specialized value to their own organizations.

How is the MPS different from other programs in organizational leadership?

Many leadership programs are focused on personal leadership qualities: building coaching skills, understanding motivation and team-building, and navigating the political waters of an organization. These are critical skills, and they are an important part of the MPS curriculum. But the design of the MPS program is grounded in the belief that a significant part of successful leadership lies in the strength of one’s decision-making. That is, strategic leaders must chart the course and bring their people along. To do this effectively requires a solid grasp on a variety of factors both internal and external to an organization—economic, legal, cultural—that may appear to lie outside the scope of one’s responsibilities but can still impact, and be impacted by, the decisions one makes.


The MPS curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation for understanding the issues central to decision-making in an organizational context, allowing you to better anticipate how they might provide an opening for change in one case or block a plan of action in another. Throughout the program, an emphasis on data and analysis will provide you with tools to gather, understand, and communicate the information at the heart of strategic decision-making. Finally, the capstone project is designed to reinforce the practice of thinking across complex systems and support the transfer of learning from the classroom to application in real-world organizations.

About the ILR School

The ILR School stands at the nexus of critical thinking and societal impact. Since our founding in 1945, we’ve been at the heart of extraordinary transformations in the workplace and in the lives of workers. Today, ILR honors and extends that legacy. We connect, inspire, and challenge tomorrow’s leaders and equip them with bold new approaches to work, employment, and labor. We embrace multiple and diverse perspectives, encourage principled debate, and collaborate across disciplines. And we operate in the real world, drawing on the richness of our community to drive positive impact for people and society, today and in the future.