MBA program to offer accelerated degrees

Dean James Williams of the Seidman College of Business

Andrew Mills

Dean James Williams of the Seidman College of Business

Eric Higgins

Getting a Master’s degree at Grand Valley State University has never been so easy.

With the introduction of GVSU’s Master of Business Administration program, the Seidman College of Business hopes to move students through the process of getting a Master’s degree at a faster and more efficient pace.

H. James Williams, dean of the Seidman College of Business, said the program was designed for students with little or no work experience.

“We’re talking about a full-time integrated MBA program, and the program is different because it is designed for students, first of all, who do not have work experience, and most MBA programs require their students to have anywhere from five to seven years of work experience before they enter the MBA program on a full-time basis,” he said.

The program, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, will allow students to complete the program in 14 months.

“As we looked at it, we realized that there was, most likely, an opportunity for doing something in light of a full-time program,” said Fred Kraft professor in the Marketing Department. “A full-time program would meet the needs of people in terms of getting them through in a shorter time but also would allow us to do some things in terms of some fairly innovative teaching methods.”

Finance Department chair Sridhar Sundaram helped develop the program and said the 14-month completion time was established to get students in the workforce as soon as possible.

“These are top talented people,” he said. “We don’t want them to spend two years in a traditional program, so we have an accelerated 14-month program.”

While in the program, students will attend the Washington Campus Program in Washington, D.C., to see how the government works.

“One of the things we need to understand as students coming from and going to work in businesses (is) understanding how government policies affect business,” Sundaram said. “A good example is to look at what’s happening out in Michigan. With a change in governor, there’s a huge amount of policy change, and that has an impact on every business.”

Each student who enters the program is guaranteed a paid fellowship that will coincide with the classes they take. Students will work 20 hours a week during the fall and winter semesters, and they will work full time for three months after the winter semester is completed.

Besides just going to Washington, D.C., students will also be able to study abroad. The study abroad aspect of the program will appear in a module pertaining to international business. There will be no extra fee associated with study abroad as all costs will be built into the tuition for the program.

The MBA program at GVSU is the only one of its kind in the state of Michigan. Williams said the program is important for the community to encourage talented individuals to stay in state.

“This community needs to find a way to retain talent, and one of the ways to retain talent is to educate our students to the next level so they don’t have to go somewhere else for an MBA program,” he said. “And if we can get them working in the companies here in this region.”

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