Economic Development, Education, and Technology

GVSU sees fifth cohort in Professional MBA program

New curriculum allows students to participate in the classroom, as well as online.

October 18, 2019
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This fall semester marked the fifth cohort enrolled in Grand Valley State University’s new Professional Master of Business Administration program.

The university launched the program at the start of the 2018 fall semester to upgrade its traditional MBA program. Koleta Moore, assistant dean of student engagement and graduate program operations, said the traditional MBA program was founded in the 1970s and it needed to meet the needs of students living in the 21st century.

“The program is designed for working professionals,” she said. “It is cohort-based, which one thing about a cohort, by definition, is a group of learners who move through together and support one another and the real value in that is the increased learning but also the increased networking that these MBAs get to have with one another.”

The program started out with two cohorts in 2018, which are set to graduate in 2020. One cohort was added in the winter of 2019 and two additional cohorts began classes this semester.

The Professional MBA program is 22 months and requires 36 credits. Moore said, so far, each cohort averages 20-25 students. The maximum number of students per cohort is 30. The cohort-based program is run in a hybrid format.

“Students are 50/50 in person and online because we want them to maximize their time and efficiency,” she said. “We use things like classroom capture … where we record the course because if (someone) cannot be in class on Tuesday night, they can get that content via the recorded lecture so that they can be able to engage with their group and their team. Because (the cohort) is a group format and given today’s technology, you don’t have to be in the same room to be able to contribute. We have students using our Blackboard Collaborate, Google Hangout, Google Docs or Skype to move their work forward and manage around their busy lives while earning their MBA.”

Another program GVSU created was the Executive MBA program in 2014. The program initially was in partnership with Spectrum Health. It is designed for individuals who are leading or who are about to lead their company/organization and are looking to move into roles like vice president, president and chief financial officer, among others.

According to Training magazine, clinical and nonclinical employees from Spectrum Health participated in the two-year program. As of May 2018, 52% of its employees were promoted to higher positions.

Since 2014, GVSU’s EMBA program has expanded outside the health care industry. Companies such as X-Rite, Wolverine Worldwide, Consumers Energy and others have participated in the program.

Moore said representatives from those companies also contribute to a class session and provide faculty members with strategy objectives to apply to learning in the classroom.

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