Westminster spruces up its MBA
May 15, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune
By Shinika A. Sykes
It and other universities are adjusting programs to fit the economy
Most people have seen ads - Professional MBA, Executive MBA and Fast-Track MBA - all touting one university's master of business administration program over another's.
Westminster College aims to distinguish itself from the pack.
Beginning in August, officials at the private, Salt Lake City-based liberal arts school will begin offering a redesigned curriculum for its two master of business administration programs - the 25-year-old professional MBA and its younger counterpart, the MBA in technology management.
For most traditional MBA programs, the study of business is limited to discipline-specific courses that are taught separately from one another. Westminster students now will study all elements of business in all classes from accounting to marketing to human resources to finance. And speaking of finance, the cost of the entire program is fixed - no annual tuition hikes - as long as students stay enrolled, and the $35,000 price tag includes the cost of textbooks, fees, workshops and an international trip.
Last year, students went to China. Next year, the destination is South America.
During the two-week trip, students will go to Lima, Peru, and meet with government officials, trade representatives and Peruvian business leaders. They will learn how to compete in an international marketplace, said Aric Krause, dean of Westminster's Gore School of Business.
"They not only have to understand their U.S. competitors, they also need to understand there's someone in Peru, who is just as excited about his [own] product and is ready to eat their lunch," Krause said. "Westminster MBA students will learn about business the way it occurs in the real world."
A number of universities are making changes to their MBA program as a way of standing out in a crowded field, said John Mathews, labor economist for the Utah's Department of Workforce Services.
"Universities are businesses and they want to attract as many students as they can," he said, adding that MBA programs rarely conform to a typical academic model because most MBA students already are working professionals.
"It never hurts to align your program with the needs of the economy," said Mathews, who also is an adjunct professor of economics at the for-profit University of Phoenix.
For example, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University have added Executive MBA programs in addition to their standard professional MBA.
Neither the U. nor BYU claim a fixed-rate tuition or include international travel as part of their MBA programs.
Jon Oslowski, a 25-year-old Salt Lake City accounting professional nearing completion of his MBA at Westminster, said because the school is relatively small, it has the "agility to change."
For the soon-to be certified public accountant, the redesign makes all aspects of Westminster's MBA curriculum more attractive.
"In the business world, you have to understand how an accounting decision affects a marketing decision and a financial decision and what it's going to do to your product as well," Oslowski said.
What you get
Fixed tuition rate