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MBA program at ASU expands opportunities in business world

Tuesday, March 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melinda Dorning

Posted 3-15-16 to

By Laurel Scott

JonesIf you are preparing to take the reins of your family's business, an artist opening a gallery or an engineer ready to launch your own firm, you might want the business training you can get with Angelo State University's Master of Business Administration.

That degree is easier than ever to achieve, thanks to continuous updates of the program, which has been led by Clifton Jones, dean of ASU's College of Business, since April 1, 2015.

"Roughly speaking, five out of six students graduating from ASU are not business majors because their passion is somewhere else," Jones said. "They might be in nursing or health care. They might be in civil engineering or education, arts and humanities, or communication. What many of those people discover after they've been out five or 10 years is that they are at a point, in terms of their responsibilities, where they could use the additional formal training in current business skills. That's when a lot of people come back."

ASU's MBA degree is an interdisciplinary program offered completely online with an emphasis on decision-making and leadership skills required by managers, executives and administrators in both the profit and nonprofit sectors of the economy.

Jones and his leadership team have been evaluating the course content and requirements, especially compared to peer institutions across the state.

"We were making sure we had the right amount of coverage of leadership, business ethics and sustainability, as well as an emphasis on the global nature of business," Jones said. "The program is now 30 credit hours taken in 10 courses. We do four courses in the fall, four in the spring and two in the summer. If a person wants to be that ambitious, the program can be completed in 12 months."

The changes in the MBA also make the College of Business's five-year integrated bachelor's and master's degree plans more workable. Under these programs, business students enroll for five years and receive both their BBA and MBA at the same graduation ceremony. ASU offers the integrated program with the BBA and MBA for marketing, business administration, international business, finance and management information systems majors. ASU also offers the five-year integrated program for accounting majors to simultaneously earn a BBA and master of professional accountancy.

With the redesign, it is now easier for a student to be several years into college and decide to change to the five-year plan or revert to a four-year bachelor's degree.

"We've made it so that each of these integrated programs is truly a four-plus-one modular structure," Jones said. "It's easier to advise the students. It's easier for the students to figure out what they want to do. If they want to jump over at the last minute, one way or another, they can. It's not a problem."

ASU's MBA has long been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), but Jones is now positioning it for further accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

"We are very proud of the ACBSP accreditation," he said. "It's an accrediting body that really emphasizes teaching excellence, and that's important. We are now seeking AACSB accreditation because that is the premier accrediting body for collegiate schools of business around the world. We feel that we have a very strong business program now, and we want that extra measure of recognition. It will signal to the world that our programs are on that same level with Texas Tech, UT Austin, Texas A&M, Baylor and all AACSB schools."

The process to attain the accreditation by AACSB takes four to five years.

"It's not an issue of getting ourselves up to the level of quality we need," Jones said. "It's more an issue of being able to document and demonstrate that we have been in this process of continuous improvement and that the documentation is consistent with what they want to see and what they need to see. That's why it takes so long."

Meanwhile, the recent MBA improvements are already showing results.

"Enrollment in the MBA program has almost doubled," Jones said. "We have a lot of additional interest coming in from universities in Asian nations, and there's great potential for the program to really grow. We're very excited."

Laurel Scott is a news and information specialist in the ASU Office of Communications and Marketing.

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