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World Campus iMBA program provides worldwide access|
By Karen L. Trimbath
| Twenty-eight students working in such fields as medicine, manufacturing, information technology, finance and defense have taken the first step toward earning a master of business administration degree completely online by enrolling in the new Intercollege MBA, or i MBA, through Penn States World Campus.|
Launched in September, the i MBA is the latest degree program to be offered online since Penn State debuted its World Campus five years ago. The i MBA features instruction by Penn State graduate faculty members that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. The program provides a learning option for people busy with career and family responsibilities. Students can complete the 48-credit program in two years, without having to quit their jobs or move.
Weve developed a niche that will attract new individuals to Penn State. The World Campus makes it possible because were online, were better able to meet students needs, said Dr. John Fizel, i MBA program chair and professor of economics at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Whether you live in London, Colorado Springs or Atlanta, you can become part of the Penn State family.
The i MBA draws on the expertise of graduate business faculty members located in four Penn State colleges: Penn State Erie, Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, Penn State Harrisburg and The Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration at University Park campus.
This combined effort brings together research and teaching about critical business issues that affect the global economy, according to Dr. Gary E. Miller, associate vice president for Distance Education and executive director of the World Campus.
Penn State faculty are at the forefront of advancing knowledge and instruction in business, Miller added. Were all helping to empower students worldwide to become leaders in their organizations.
The i MBA degree program is targeted to managers who have three or more years of experience in fields such as business, engineering, health care and technology and seek to position themselves for growth in the global economic environment. The program welcomes students with non-business bachelors degrees.
The programs first group of 28 students works for employers such as the U.S. Navy, Marriott, Dow Corning, Boeing and Bristol Myers Squibb, among others.
Students say the program is a convenient way to get a high-quality education. For instance, Marc Bjorkman, senior manager of conceptual spacecraft design for Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems in Newtown, Pa., said he likes being able to study on his own schedule, not somebody elses. He is a 1986 alumnus of Penn State and the last time hed been in a formal classroom setting was in 1989, when he pursued graduate studies in his region.
Bjorkman had been thinking of getting his MBA for a while, but he also wanted a program that could accommodate his busy schedule. So when he received a postcard describing the i MBA from the Penn State Alumni Association, he knew hed found the answer. Within 12 hours of receiving this mailing, he decided to give the program a try.
Being a Penn State alumnus, I know that the Universitys reputation is pretty good, Bjorkman said. I wanted to get an education and knew Penn State could do it right. I wanted to help the University do it.
As a member of the first group of students admitted to the program, Bjorkman says that hes having fun working with his team and meeting the course works challenges.
Penn States business education faculty members are all seasoned veterans of the business world. Decades of experience went into the design of the i MBA program and its courses. As a result, the program focuses on the most relevant topics of study for todays global marketplace, including leadership, strategic planning, customers and markets, information analysis, human resource management and process management.
Dr. Bob Crum, associate professor of accounting in The Smeal College of Business Administration, praises the high quality of the students enrolled in his i MBA accounting course, as well as the educational opportunities made possible by the online learning environment.
My involvement in this program has been one of the most fulfilling teaching experiences of my career, Crum noted. Certain aspects of the course are better than a traditional classroom experience. For example, the online bulletin board enables students to more thoughtfully respond to classmates comments at any time. In a traditional classroom, what often happens is that discussions quickly move on to new topics, and the opportunity for in-depth responses is lost.
Curriculum content is complemented by the i MBA CyberForum, an interactive gathering place where students and faculty discuss todays late-breaking business issues and challenges. Faculty members and students also share experiences to provide additional strategic insights to help solve business challenges.
In addition to the online courses, students will participate in two one-week residency projects. Both residencies will allow students to gain invaluable experience with analysis from strategic and financial perspectives and feedback and presentation skills, according to Dr. Diane Parente, assistant professor of management, Penn State Erie School of Business. She is an i MBA faculty member who will serve as one of the instructors during the residencies.
In the first residency, students will be able to apply the baseline knowledge theyve gained during the first two terms, Parente said. As they progress through the program and into the second residency, theyll apply more-advanced techniques learned in the core courses. The total i MBA package should allow students to operate at a more strategic level in their career.
Launched in January 1998, the World Campus provides learners with the anytime, anywhere education and training they need throughout their lives. Its mission is to provide learners worldwide with access to Penn State academic programs and resources in a sustainable, technology-based learning environment.
In addition to the i MBA, the World Campus offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs to students in all 50 states and 43 countries on every continent.
More information about the i MBA program and the World Campus is online at http://worldcampus.psu.edu/imba.