SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Build a rock-solid academic program based on market and workforce needs and students will be attracted. That's the basis for the success behind the Slippery Rock University School of Business's new master's of business administration graduate program. Nearly two-dozen students are already enrolled in the inaugural program that launches Dec. 18.
"These students are starting a program that can lead to their MBA by next December," said Larry McCarthy, assistant professor of professional studies and interdisciplinary programs, and coordinator of the MBA program.
"We have a great program planned. It is cross-disciplinary with rapid deliver and takes advantage of the latest in technology and teaching," he said. "Our program is called 'blended" because students will have both in-class sessions and online learning."
The in-class sessions will meet at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township.
McCarthy, who is also assistant to the dean of the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, said the program will be split about 50-50, in class to online. Students will participate two evenings each week, taking one course each evening during the eight-week sessions.
"This program will allow the student to complete two courses during each eight-week session or four courses per semester in addition to a winter and summer session," McCarthy said. "We have seen substantial interest in the program since it was announced. In fact, even more than we had originally anticipated. We think that by putting together a solid program, at times that are convenient to students and that will meet their expectations, we have lined up all of the factors that will make it a success," he said.
Initially, those planning the program had anticipated a large number of SRU graduates to take advantage of the program, moving right from their undergraduate business program to the graduate program.
"We do have a number of SRU students who see the advantages and have enrolled, but we also have graduates of other regional colleges and universities as well as working professionals looking to take advantage of the SRU MBA," he said. "We believe that advertising and word-of-mouth, as well as a pent-up demand and our competitive edge, have helped boost enrollment. In addition, we have students who have already signed up for the summer cohort."
"We have also been appreciative of the response by SRU faculty seeking to be involved in the program. They were eager to help launch the program and remain enthusiastic about its potential," McCarthy said.
All of the program's courses will be taught by SRU faculty, with Stephen Larson, assistant professor in the computer science department, and Diane Galbraith, associate professor in SRU's School of Business, heading up the first two classes.
Larson, who is looking forward to teaching in the program, said his course is outlined to be far more advanced than teaching at the undergraduate level. "We will be looking to turn out what I humorously call 'Spreadsheet Jedis' - students who understand spreadsheets and can use spreadsheets to analyze data to help a business better understand the importance and use of data analysis in their overall operations," he said.
Students in the MBA program will have full access, including online, to SRU's Bailey Library.
The SRU MBA program offers three tracks: General, which requires 36 credit hours; and the accounting/finance and the management/marketing tracks that each require 39 credit hours of course work. "We think students will select the track that best aligns with their individual career goals," McCarthy said.
"The core program is diverse, yet concentrated," McCarthy said. "It will offer specific courses in accounting, management and economics, but also include global dynamics of business, supply chain management, strategic corporate communication and business analysis and decision support courses. It is cross disciplined, a fact we think will be a real advantage to graduates."
"When we initially began the planning for our MBA, we knew that companies were seeking and hiring those with an MBA, so we knew graduates from our program would be marketable. We think our program will give our graduates a competitive advantage when they apply for jobs," he said.
Additional details about the program are available from SRU's Office of Graduate Admission, 724.738.2051.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.