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New Professional MBA Program

07/30/2010

MCLA adds a new master's degree to its offerings as it introduces a Professional Master of Business Administration (PMBA). Program courses begin this fall, with the first class to be formally admitted in January 2011. 

According to Cynthia Brown, MCLA's vice president of academic affairs, the decision to add the PMBA came after campus officials considered the needs of the Berkshires, looking at professional development programs and advanced degrees that would enhance and build on opportunities available in and around the region.

It was clear that an advanced business program was needed.

"There are lots of businesses here, small and otherwise, and folks in middle management and above who need and want that credential and development. This is really a practitioner program. That was hard to get here," Brown said. 

An accelerated, part-time program designed to meet the needs of the working adult learner, the PMBA will offer courses that meet in a combination of online and face-to-face instruction. Brown expects students will complete it within about 24 months.

Brown explained, "It's going to be one of the things that will help busy professional students do this coursework - to have intensive alternative format of delivery, including hybrid courses weekend-style, so that people and work around their work and family obligations. We expect that almost everybody will be working full time."

Successful applicants to the program first must meet strict admission criteria: they must have a four-year Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, as well as at least five years of business or professional experience.

"For a traditionally aged student, we want them to go out there and get some job experience before they move on to this program," Brown said. "We expect applicants to have some exposure and to bring some life experience and some professional experience to their course work."

The first class will be limited to approximately 18 to 22 students. PMBA students will go through the program with a cohort of peers.

"Everyone has the same schedule," Brown said. "Once you start, it's the schedule that you follow all the way through to the end. It gives everyone a very concrete set of expectations to plan around."

According to Brown, it's important that students move through the program with the same group of people.

"It's the kind of thing that allows - particularly adult learners - to feel supported. It gives you a group of peers who are going through the same thing that you are. They'll come with lots of different experiences. We want have different sectors represented in each cohort, so that you're not just talking to everybody from the health industry or from a non-profit. It's important to have a mix so that you get exposure to different sectors," she said.

The PMBA program joins a Master's in Education (M.Ed.). MCLA also offers a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in education.

To learn more about MCLA's graduate programs, course listings, and how you can apply, go to www.mcla.edu/graduate.