Putting Value Back into the MBA:
university launches re-engineered MBA to educate today's business
- For the past year, the Master of Business Administration (MBA)
credential has been derided by the media and corporate leaders.
Because traditional MBA programs are rooted in textbooks and case
studies, they have not kept pace with the changes and challenges
of business. In a recent report by the St. Louis-based Association
to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), member organizations
were challenged to provide MBA students with a learning experience
that is rooted in the real-world -- and the skills to make a measurable
impact in the workplace.
One of the first to anticipate the argument for practical application
in lieu of straight business theory was Capella University. A Minneapolis-based
online university, Capella introduced a re-engineered MBA program
in October 2002. Their MBA combines a core of classic b-school courses
-- such as marketing, finance, and strategy -- with professional
effectiveness courses that build skills such as negotiation and
leading teams. In addition, an executive coaching component is designed
to reposition mid-career managers as effective leaders.
Capella University performed an exhaustive review of its existing
MBA program and surveyed nearly 40 Fortune 500 companies to establish
a detailed description of the skills that employers desire in their
ideal managers. Executives from companies such as Hewlett-Packard,
Intel, Honeywell, Maytag and Nestle USA said they wanted leaders
adept in the "human" skills -- people who knew how to
build relationships, lead teams and manage change. They wanted graduates
with a full range of professional and personal skills, not just
pure theoretical understanding.
"The Capella MBA focuses on tangible outcomes," said
Shelley R. Robbins, Ph.D., executive director of Capella University's
School of Business. "Our intensive coaching process pushes
learners to identify strengths and weaknesses and to make changes
in their behavior. Unless you're born with leadership qualities,
most managers must develop the competencies to become leaders. This
program helps managers build relationships, develop and coach others,
lead teams, facilitate change, leverage workplace diversity and
negotiate for results."
Another unique feature of the Capella MBA is the facility with
which students can integrate their MBA studies with their current
job responsibilities: work-related issues are applicable to the
coursework and coursework has an immediate application to the workplace.
This MBA model delivers an instant return on investment for employers
providing tuition reimbursement.
"While I was taking my e-business course, I was simultaneously
writing an e-business plan for a new initiative in my division,"
said Michael Sharp, an MBA graduate and Honeywell employee. "In
fact, in almost every class, I learned something that I could use
directly in my professional life. The assignments were perfectly
matched, so the work I was doing in class helped with my job, and
the projects I was doing at work helped with my coursework."
Capella University was one of the first universities to offer
an online MBA program. The school?s nationally recognized MBA program
was started in 1998 and in 2001 was named in U.S News & World Report's
"best of the online grad programs."
Capella is now accepting applications for its MBA program. To
learn more, visit www.capella.edu/ara.
Courtesy of ARA Content