SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Spring 2003)
MBA at SUU
The Mission of Southern Utah University is very clear in relating the Institution's focus on students, and that means maintaining quality programs. Taking the equation one step further, master's degree programs particularly enhance a University's standing and infer a higher level of expectation. When it comes to examination of SUU's School of Business, then, things add up.
Just in its third year, it is the small size and burgeoning potential of SUU's MBA program that make it so viable. In fact, part of its mission statement is to become recognized as a small, high quality, selective program that produces well-rounded and thoroughly-prepared business leaders.
The masters of business administration who graduate from SUU's School of Business are primed for general management positions, particularly those whose undergraduate degrees are in an area other than business-related fields. For a student who is a business undergraduate, the SUU MBA program is an experience in the synthesizing of knowledge.
Conceivably, a master's degree in business administration from SUU can be obtained in 13 months, and for those with a business undergraduate degree, in just two semesters and one-half of a summer session. Students who do not already possess a bachelor's degree in a business field must complete pre-requisites totaling up to 18 credits plus a minimum of 30 credits in either a General Business or Accounting Specialty option. A minimum of 3.0 in the graduate studies must be maintained; grad courses may only be repeated once.
An average of 25 students in the program per year is optimum for capitalizing on the advantages of a smaller school. The attention each student receives from the faculty in the School of Business is uncommon. A hallmark of the program is the opportunity for students to pursue projects and mentored study on issues of their own interest. In fact, part of the application process is a required essay from each student defining their career goals and a description of the independent projects of their interest. Whenever possible, the program's design intends to involve students in activities that firmly establish linkage between all of the stakeholders in the education-to-career process.
Committed to the cultivation of leadership, critical thinking, and strong competency in the advanced tools of business, the program strives to empower students to integrate knowledge as they work to provide competitive solutions for the increasingly global and e-business world. An integral aspect of the SUU MBA program is the use of case projects that require students to tackle the broad issues of the day, while providing specific recommendations for improving business operations and strategies.
Obviously, beyond the hopes of a program, are the qualifications of the faculty. "We really have top scholar faculty in this program with terminal degrees, significant publishing endeavors, and an enthusiasm to nurture the one-on-one teaching philosophy we have here," Carl Templin, dean of the School of Business, says. "We believe that hiring and retaining faculty who are willing and able to provide exemplary teaching, and maintain an appropriate agenda of scholarship that will enhance their teaching and enrich their colleagues, all sets an example of lifelong learning for our students."
The most recent review of the SUU School of Business from the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC)--Commission on Colleges praised the School for its focus on teaching and publishing standards, specifically commending its faculty's commitment to teaching, and the School's explicit and actionable learning objectives.
Another point the NASC commended SUU for is its genuine commitment to its MBA program. "Our MBA is a flagship program," Dean O'Driscoll, SUU's director of marketing and public relations, declares.
He reports that the Institution is very pleased to be offering this special opportunity to even more prospective graduate students throughout southern Utah, as it has just been announced that SUU's MBA program will also be offered on the campus of Dixie State College in St. George.
SUU and DSC have been discussing the possibility of SUU's MBA program being offered on the DSC campus since its beginning three years ago on the Cedar City campus. "It has always been regarded as a win-win situation," O'Driscoll says. "Timing was key, we felt, and now is the optimum time for all parties involved. We're eager to begin serving this niche of students in southern Utah and the surrounding areas."
The accomplishments of the young SUU MBA program already are notable. For example, in its very first participation of the national Educational Testing Service (ETS) standard field examinations, SUU MBA students scored in the 70th percentile, i.e. SUU students scored higher than 70 percent of all other MBA students across the country who took the test.
For many, an institution's job placement success is what speaks the loudest about a program. SUU's School of Business has established a reputation for its comprehensive internship program and mentoring partnerships formed between students and corporations. "Where and how often graduates are getting jobs is the best direct statement as to the quality of our students as marketable job candidates," Provost Abe Harraf declares. "And, this of course, automatically reflects upon the quality of education they are receiving, and the superior qualifications of those who are preparing them in the classroom."
Interestingly, while the current economy brings havoc to many other areas of higher education, history shows that in times like these people often decide to go back to school to bolster their marketability for when the economic and hiring climate becomes more promising. Dr. John Groesbeck, associate professor of managerial economics, confirms, "This is a common response...when the economy dips. Staying in school, rather than entering the workforce is a very typical hedging strategy."
SUU's MBA program is a connection to the future. And, "Why not?" O'Driscoll queries. "If someone is interested in furthering their education in this discipline, they should take advantage of this opportunity. The people of southern Utah have a quality, competitive MBA program right here in their backyard."
Quickly though, SUU's School of Business is garnering a reputation beyond the borders of state and region. "Our business graduates are sought after," Harraf states. "A school's reputation is based upon the effectiveness of faculty and programs which interpret into what jobs and what kind of pay students are receiving upon graduation. With those factors as a gauge, the reputation of the School of Business is dynamic."