First Class


Dean of Academic Affairs Monica Joslin speaks to the first graduating class of PMBA students at a recent ceremony in their honor.

MCLA's first class of its Professional Master's of Business Administration (PMBA) program recently took an important step to advance their careers with the successful completion of their degrees.

An accelerated, part-time program designed to meet the needs of the working adult learner, the PMBA offers courses that meet in a combination of online and face-to-face instruction. Its intensive format of delivery, which includes hybrid courses on the weekend, allows working professionals to fit their studies in with work and family obligations.

The class included Bonnie Howland of North Adams, Mass., and Elizabeth Ward of Lanesborough, Mass., both of whom have children at home.

Ward works full time as a controller at Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth in Canaan, N.Y. She aims to add value to the organization's mission by providing strategic direction for the finance department and the agency as a whole.

"With a full time job, two small children and an ailing grandmother, the program allowed me to manage all of that while completing my assignments in time. I felt the workload was appropriate and the instructors were always flexible when needed," Ward said.

"The program was designed to meet the needs of working professionals and the course schedule was flexible enough to balance my family and work life," said Howland, who for the past eight years has worked in MCLA's student accounts office.

"The course scheduling was convenient with classes being done on some Saturdays and online," Howland said. "I also juggle being a single mother of two children, so the actual in-class time worked well for time management."

Jeff Betti of Williamstown, Mass., a business and computer science teacher at Pittsfield and Taconic high schools, said MCLA's PMBA program was the perfect fit for him to finish the MBA he had started more than 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts.

"The PMBA program provided me the flexibility to work and earn a PMBA at the same time," Betti said.

A teacher during the week, he was an MCLA student on Saturdays.

"The hybrid program provided me the opportunity for interaction with the other students in the class, and at the same time offered flexibility for doing assignments online," Betti said.

"The MCLA business faculty is supportive, knowledgeable and professional. Obviously, for me the location couldn't be better. Most importantly, the overall cost of the PMBA program was very affordable, compared to other alternatives."

Jeff Puleri of Pittsfield, Mass., MCLA's sports information director and baseball coach, wants to use his PMBA degree to advance into an administrative career.

"The program allowed a wide range of professionals to grow as a group," Puleri said. "Our cohort became very close and easy to work with, which made it that much more enjoyable."

Another highlight of the program, according to the graduates, was the quality of professionals from throughout the Berkshires, who were involved with a number of classes.

"We received firsthand knowledge into the on-the-job training that many of these people went through," Puleri said.

"The program had some wonderful guest speakers in some courses," Howland said. "We were able to have real life experiences conveyed through the guest speakers and gain some valuable knowledge from them."

For more information, contact the Office of Admission at 413-662-5410 or go to To learn more about all of MCLA's graduate programs, course listings and how you can apply, go to graduate.