New online masters of business administration program to be offered

Cabrini Rudnicki, Co-News Editor

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A new opportunity for education has been announced at Wilkes University.

The Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership has announced a new online master of business administration program.

Prospective students have until Aug. 1 to apply to start in the fall when the program launches.

The program, which can be completed in two years, features two seven-week courses in each semester which take place sequentially rather than concurrently.

New students will be accepted every fall, spring and summer semesters following Fall 2019.

Dr. Jennifer Edmonds, associate dean and director of graduate programs in the Sidhu school, spoke about the benefits of the program’s unique structure.

“Most people in our MBA program have a full-time job, so they don’t have to worry about taking two courses at the same time,” she said. “They can take one course and complete it, and then halfway through the semester, begin another.”

The MBA program is also offered in a weekend format. This format has students attending face-to-face classes on the second Saturday of each month, with coursework and assignments conducted on online. This program offers different tracks such as global business, leadership, and management, which will not be included in the online MBA program version.

The program was created as part of the school’s strategic plan, according to Edmonds.

“It was something that everyone in the school of business decided was a direction they wanted to go,” continued Edmonds.

Karen M. Alessi, assistant director of the MBA program, discussed the outside responsibilities of graduate students.

“I think it is just harder for students with jobs, families,” she said. “They need flexibility. With the advancement of technology, it was the most convenient way they could do it.”

The program’s planning took years to complete.

“I think planning the flow of the curriculum, how long it should take, and what the courses should be, that was the easy part,” said Edmonds. “The plan of how we get from no online MBA to having an online MBA, it took years.”

“There was a lot to consider,” she continued. “Do we need an outside organization to help you have (an online MBA), build one, and run one? Or are you going to have it, build it, and run it on your own? That was probably what took the longest time. Getting the university to be in the position to make that decision, which means we had to present both options.”

The school in the end decided to run the program on it’s own.

“We’ll hire the support staff. We are looking to hire an instructional designer right now.”

The university also announced recently an Early Childhood education online component as well.

Both Edmonds and Alessi agreed that the school in general was pushing online instruction services.

“I think that’s the push of a lot of universities,” said Edmonds.
“I know that’s something that both the president and the provost have really been committed to.”

Increasing the number of online offerings is in the university’s own strategic plan, according to Edmonds.

“We have recieved feedback that the students want it,” she continued. “We know they want more flexibility, we know that there are students who do not come here because we do not have (an online program.)”

The program will emphasize leadership, according to Wilkes. It is designed for aspiring business leaders, as well as experienced business professionals looking to grow their skills in things like communication, professionalism, and decision-making skills.

“It’s time,” said Edmonds, of starting the program.

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