Thursday, August 11, 2011

WKU launches new MBA program

By Dariush Shafa Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Sunday, August 7, 2011 12:00 AM CDT
Western Kentucky University’s Owensboro campus will begin offering a new master’s degree in business administration, using a program that sets it apart from others because of how it will be conducted and the students that will be eligible.

Called the Professional MBA program, the new two-year program will be open to those with five to seven years professional or managerial experience, said WKU-O Graduate Adviser and Recruiter Lewatis McNeal. Eligibility will be determined by the WKU admissions department, and the program will meet every other Saturday for two years with a cost of about $4,500 per semester, McNeal said. A learning trip to France for a week will also take place near the end of the course.

McNeal said the program will not replace the distance learning MBA program offered at WKU.

“We’ve always offered the online program and will still offer that, but this is a different track,” McNeal said. “It’s also not a program that compares with Brescia (University)’s or Murray State (University)’s. It’s unique in the sense that you have to have that five to seven years of working experience.”

McNeal said the purpose of making the program exclusive in this way is because of the people to whom it will be open and their past histories in the job force.

“They (new graduates) have not had the opportunity to really get in there and implement or experience what they’ve been learning about,” McNeal said. “You’ve got proven professionals who’ve experienced what they learned about in the classroom. They’ll be able to rely on and bring that experience from the field into the class for problem-solving.”

The classes will consist of about six to eight students and one of the goals is for these students to work with each other and mutually benefit from each others’ strengths, McNeal said.

“They’ll be a group going through together. The idea is to put them together, let them work together and let them do some problem-solving,” McNeal said.

Lastly, the class is also unique because of how it will integrate technology. Students participating in the class will each receive an iPad 2 (theirs to keep), onto which textbooks and materials can be loaded, and the classes will be conducted using a new technology that will seem to eliminate the distance gap between the Owensboro and Bowling Green campuses.

“The telepresence technology (the classroom will use) gives the illusion that the person you’re meeting with, in this case in Bowling Green, is right across from you,” McNeal said.

David Powers, student services coordinator at WKU-O, said the new technology is a significant move on the university’s behalf.

“It’s a good example of the main campus investing in Owensboro by bringing this technology,” Powers said.

McNeal added that this course will help fill a niche Owensboro.

“A market we’ve had and continue to have is offering quality graduate education,” McNeal said. “Now, we’re introducing new technology into that. (The class and its graduates will) enhance and build upon leadership here.”

Dariush Shafa, 691-7302,

To Learn More

For more information about this program or other courses that are available at Western Kentucky University’s Owensboro campus, call 684-9797.