New program allows working professionals to get executive MBA

The Trulaske College of Business program has a mandatory international residency.

The Trulaske College of Business announced a new program that will allow working professionals to gain their MBA: the executive MBA program.

The program is made up of 75 percent online classes and 25 percent face-to-face classes on campus.

"We currently have a top-rated, top-tier, full-time MBA program that is limited in who can take it in a lot of ways," Crosby MBA Program Director Joe Stephens said. "The exec MBA program allows people who have been out in their field for a while, know that they want to go back to school but haven't found the right fit yet (to go back)."

Starting in August 2012, working professionals will have the opportunity to participate in the 21-month program.

"They'll come to campus eight times over 21 months, and the ninth trip is an international residency that will run from about 8 to 10 days," Stephens said.

The mandatory international residency is included within the tuition of the program. Students will be immersed in the culture and economy of the country, which has yet to be decided.

Stephens said this trip is meant to be a life-changing experience.

"What if you get out into the countryside, where there's a lot of economic development and opportunity, but you have a population base that doesn't have the knowledge or skills to pull that together?" he said. "What kind of impact could you make in a week if you were to work with local business people to help them set up their micro-economy?"

There are no scholarships for this program yet, but Stephens is hoping to change that in the future.

Current MU professors will teach the program. Stephens said they are planning to hire a liaison to transfer the syllabi of current courses to make them more appropriate for a blended delivery setting.

Associate professor of management Karen Schnatterly is most likely going to teach in the program. She said she is excited because of the use of technology and her love of teaching.

The faculty has not yet decided who will be teaching what courses.

"That's actually still up in the air," she said. "I don't actually know what I'd teach."

Stephens said professor and Missouri Bankers Chairman John Howe also plans to be a part of the program, but he could not be reached for comment.

The coursework during the program will be the same for every student, Stephens said.

Students must have been out in the workforce for at least five years before entering this program. Stephens said people of all professions are welcome, including doctors, lawyers and veterinarians.

He said many university staff members have expressed interest in the program.

"Our hope here is to admit a very diverse class because when you get different perspectives together in that setting some really interesting things can happen and the best ideas come out of those," Stephens said.

Stephens said there has been a lot of interest in the program since it was announced. The inquiry base includes people from all over Missouri and the country, many of whom Stephens predicts are alumni.

Based on his personal experience in an MBA program, Stephens said having the face-to-face aspect of the program is "sacred." He said he still is close with the members of his graduating class and they can rely on each other.

"I can call anyone that I graduated with, went to school with, met in that era, and if I needed some help with something they're willing to do it," Stephens said. "They're willing to offer help, and I would do the same for them. Without those personal relationships, I'm not sure that you would be able to replicate that type of experience."

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