Open for Business

Montclair State’s redesigned MBA program

Photo: Mike Peters

The School of Business’s innovative, new Master of Business Administration program isn’t just state-of-the-art—it’s world class.

“While there is no single way to design an MBA, we drew on the best features of regional, national and international programs to create a program that’s aligned closely with the needs of the marketplace,” says School of Business Dean E. LaBrent Chrite.

The groundbreaking program, which launched in spring 2012, has several advantages. Students can earn their degrees in as few as 18 to 24 months and it is a more affordable MBA program than others in the area. “We have created an MBA program that is, in the best sense of the word, user-friendly,” notes Graduate School Dean Joan Ficke.

An Enriching Cohort Experience

Whether enrolled in evening courses on the Montclair campus or in the Saturday program at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, students now take all of their classes with a single group—or cohort—of classmates. According to MBA Director Professor Nicole Koppel, “We are bringing the cohort experience more often associated with a full-time MBA program to our part-time program.”

The cohorts foster a vital community of learning and a built-in support system for students, Chrite says. “Students start forging invaluable and lasting networking connections with each other—and their professors—from day one.”

“Keeping students together will only enhance their experiences as they work and collaborate with each other. The cohort structure resonates more intensely with what business needs, and students want,” Ficke adds.

New Courses Explore Key Business Topics

“The new program offers more dynamic courses as well as a greater number of options,” says Chrite. Reconfigured to meet the needs of working professionals, the curriculum builds on 12 credits of foundation courses, which are waived for the 70 percent of MBA students with undergraduate business backgrounds.

After completing the foundation requirement, students enter the cohort program, taking 37.5 credits—including 6 elective credits—in an integrated core curriculum. “There are no waivers for these 37.5 credits. Everyone takes these 1.5-credit courses for a full MBA experience. They will take courses in every discipline in our program,” Koppel says.

Students can also pursue up to two areas of concentration—in accounting, finance, international business, management, management information systems, and marketing—by taking an additional 6-12 elective credits.

Koppel notes that new 1.5-credit courses in traditional business disciplines and current hot topics and trends expose students to more areas than before. “Faculty members are excited to develop courses that reflect the latest developments in the market.”

Koppel points to another popular program feature: each student gets an iPad. “Professors make case studies and textbook extracts available on the iPads, and students highlight, post, and share notes with their cohorts for an interactive learning experience.”

Beyond the Classroom

Ficke notes that, for the first time, students will take a required 1.5-credit, 7 to 10-day international study trip at the end of their program. “Business is global. Period. We’ve built in a terrific international opportunity for students,” she says. This year, students will visit Brazil to learn firsthand about its emerging economy.

A dynamic Executive Speaker Series reinforces academics by bringing top executives from leading New York and New Jersey metro-area companies to campus to share their knowledge, expertise, and insights with students. Speakers include Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of ADP; James Dwyer, managing director at JP Morgan; and Annette Catino, president and CEO of QualCare, Inc. Koppel believes these mandatory events are the “experiences that move your career forward.”

A Valuable Degree

Part of the value of the new program is “in the training rather than the initials,” Ficke says. “The rigorous focus on analytical thinking, quantitative skills, the global marketplace, and making connections with real-world business leaders and experiences gives students the preparation they need to succeed.”

“The MBA is the latest example of Montclair State’s ongoing, institutional commitment to providing focused, intense, niche-based terminal master’s degree programs,” Ficke adds. “It’s the shape of things to come.”