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Infusing New Ideas Into the MBA Curriculum AACSB Emerging Curricula Conference Nov. 16, 2002 Panelists/Perspectives Dr. Sarah Gardial/Full Time Program Asst. Dean, MBA Program University of Tennessee Dr. Karen Newman/Part-Time Program Dean University of Richmond

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infusing new ideas into the mba curriculum

Infusing New Ideas Into the MBA Curriculum

AACSB Emerging Curricula Conference

Nov. 16, 2002

panelists perspectives
  • Dr. Sarah Gardial/Full Time Program
    • Asst. Dean, MBA Program
    • University of Tennessee
  • Dr. Karen Newman/Part-Time Program
    • Dean
    • University of Richmond
  • Dr. Rodney Alsup/Distance Program
    • Sr. Associate Dean, Grad. Business Programs
    • Kennesaw State University
2002 mba roundtable survey
2002 MBA Roundtable Survey*
  • 195 schools provided information on 470 MBA programs
  • Approx. 65% of the schools reported major program revisions in the last 10 years, most in the last 5 years
  • 23 of the programs reported specifics of current MBA program innovations

*Thanks to Dr. Tom Howard at Denver University

significant structural changes 17 out of 23 responses
Significant/Structural Changes: 17 out of 23 responses
  • Moved out of 3 hr/15 week structure
  • Shorter, variable length classes/modules
  • Creation of “tracks” and “themes” which stretch across course content
  • Integrated core classes
  • Revision of core content
  • 1-week “intensives”
  • Switch from quarters to semester (or vice versa)
program adjustments often within an existing structure 11 out of 23 responses
Program Adjustments (Often Within An Existing Structure): 11 out of 23 responses
  • Add/subtract classes from core
  • Add/reduce electives
  • Add/alter concentrations
  • Add more emphasis, e.g., e-commerce, global, entrepreneurship
  • Allow more student choice/electives (esp. in first year)
changes in foundation classes 11 out of 23
Changes in Foundation Classes: 11 out of 23
  • 2-3 week “pre-terms”
  • Internet-based instruction
  • Workshops
  • Emphasis on early IT training
environmental factors behind innovation
External Environment – Changes In



Recruiter demands

Prospective student demands


The business environment/conduct

Competitive (MBA) marketplace

Internal Environment – Changes In



College/University goals, strategies, and priorities

Leadership (college or program)


Student/alumni satisfaction

Environmental Factors Behind Innovation
benchmarking in a changing environment where s the focus
Benchmarking in a Changing Environment: Where’s the focus?
  • Focus on the Outcomes
    • What does the new program look like
    • Identify trends
    • Possibilities for emulation and adaptation
  • Focus on the Processes
    • Most of us are not trained managers
    • Identify the managerial challenges of innovation
    • Lessons learned and pitfalls to be avoided
  • Focus on the Context
    • Exploring the unique combination of market factors, resources, and organizational strengths and weaknesses as drivers of both process and outcomes
characteristics of the richmond mba
Characteristics ofThe Richmond MBA
  • 40-50 students per entering class
  • Average age: 27 Average yrs. work: 5
  • Part-time evening program
  • JD/MBA
  • Local market. Students come from the greater Richmond area and stay
characteristics of the richmond mba cont
Characteristics ofThe Richmond MBA (Cont.)
  • Curriculum basically unchanged for 20 years
  • MBA historically seen as secondary to undergrad education
  • RSB has 1/3 of UR undergrads (250 per year) and is developing an international business focus
a little history and context
A Little History and Context
  • MBA is stepchild
  • Serves local market, competing with two state schools
  • Old curriculum remarkably similar to competitors’
  • Program historically unbudgeted, priced below cost
a little more history old program
A Little More History: Old Program
  • 51 credits
  • 2 electives
  • no concentrations
  • no integration across courses
  • up to 21 credits could be waived for undergraduate business majors
  • students admitted 3 times a year
pressures for change
Pressures for Change
  • New dean
    • Need for quality to match undergraduate program
    • Need to introduce international dimension to the program
    • Need to use MBA to attract new faculty
    • Need for resources
more pressures for change
(More) Pressures for Change
  • Budget reform
    • Assigning revenues and costs to MBA
    • Generating new net revenue for RSB growth
    • Pricing the program to reflect both costs and quality
more pressures for change16
(More) Pressures for Change
  • Complacency
    • Falling enrollments
    • No esprit de corps
    • No loyalty to the University
    • Out of date curriculum
    • No value added to the RSB from the MBA
the change process
The Change Process
  • NOT textbook
  • Developed an EMBA for a corporate client from scratch
    • Opening Week-Long Residency
    • International Residency
    • Capstone Project
    • Coordinated and Integrated Curriculum
more of the change process
(More of) The Change Process
  • Corporate EMBA was not seen as central to RSB mission
  • Faculty taught off line, on volunteer basis
  • Curriculum developed quickly by Dean, Associate Dean, and faculty committee, in consultation with corporate client
more of the change process19
(More of) The Change Process
  • Stakeholder input in the early design phase (graduates and local executives)
  • New part-time MBA adapted quickly from Corporate EMBA
  • Used momentum from newly constructed EMBA to transform part-time MBA almost overnight
the richmond mba
THE Richmond MBA
  • 54 credits
  • no waivers
  • 4 concentrations
  • one entry-point per year
  • quasi lock step in first year
  • priced to reflect both costs and quality
the richmond mba21
THE Richmond MBA
  • Pre-course instruction
  • Web-based or CD ROM
    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Economics
    • Quantitative Methods
the richmond mba22
THE Richmond MBA
  • Opening Residency
    • Two long weekends, one week apart
    • Team-based
    • Content and camaraderie
    • “Live case” learning platform and competition
the richmond mba23
THE Richmond MBA
  • International Residency
    • Team-based
    • Summer (7 week course)
    • Company-based consulting projects
    • 2-3 weeks in Richmond, 10-14 days abroad, 2-3 weeks back in Richmond
    • Consulting report presented to company
the richmond mba24
THE Richmond MBA
  • Four concentrations
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Strategic Leadership
    • Human Resources
the richmond mba25
THE Richmond MBA
  • Capstone Project
    • Integrates the program
    • Student developed
    • Company-based
    • Solo or duet
benefits of the new program
Benefits of the New Program
  • Students
    • Three different opportunities to integrate knowledge
    • Alternative learning modalities
    • Common core and common experience
  • Faculty
    • Attractive recruiting tool
    • Opportunity to work collaboratively with other faculty
    • Opportunity to develop international content and knowledge
  • RSB
    • Quality orientation matches undergraduate program
    • MBA is financially independent, contributing to RSB growth
    • Student loyalty is higher
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • The devil’s in the details - - need to modify as we go
  • Need for PR is very strong
  • You CAN create a part-time program with all the bells and whistles!
a full time mba innovation example

A Full-Time MBA Innovation Example

University of Tennessee

characteristics of ut mba
Characteristics of UT MBA
  • 90 students per entering class
  • Average age: 28 Work experience: 3-5 yrs
  • Lock-step program
  • Two dual degrees (with law and engineering)
  • Virtual marketplace monopoly (in Knoxville)
  • Prospective students have a southeastern US bias, but national/international coverage
  • Local job market is extremely limited – recruiters come from all over the country and placement is geographically dispersed
characteristics of ut mba cont
Characteristics of UT MBA (Cont.)
  • Seen as curriculum innovator and flagship program in college (the laboratory)
  • UT CBA has approx. 3000 business undergrads, 4 EMBAs, an extremely strong executive education mission
  • State school – historically and perpetually under funded (lean and mean!)
evolution of ut mba program
Evolution of UT MBA Program

30 year life cycle

10 year

life cycle

  • Chapter Two
  • “Every Manager” in first year
  • integrated first year, year-long case
  • discipline-based concentrations
  • Leadership/Comm. emphasis
  • Chapter One
  • “traditional” MBA
  • non-integrated
  • focus on discipline skills
  • Chapter Three
  • 17-month
  • Integrated core (w/in- and across-firm integration)
  • Pre-internship concentration classes
ut pressures for chapter three

Enthusiasm over Chapter Two was waning - hard to attract and retain best faculty

Solving design flaws in Chapter Two required a new structure

Better utilization of college resources – need to balance program delivery efficiency with our “high touch” values

Continue to lead curriculum innovation in other graduate programs in the college


Need to align program content with changing business environment

Need to align program content with CBA core competencies

Stronger program positioning in a competitive MBA market (niche)

Customers (students and recruiters) were asking for shorter programs

UT Pressures for Chapter Three
managing the innovation and communications process
Managing the Innovation and Communications Process
  • Identification of departmental liaisons from primary/secondary groups
  • White Papers
  • Web site
    • Minutes of all meetings
    • Early ideas/Drafts
    • Progress reports
  • Meetings/presentations
    • Departments
    • College
    • Recruiters
    • Advisory Council
    • Students

Primary Group

Secondary Group



stakeholder involvement
Stakeholder Involvement
  • CBA Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Current Students
  • Corporate Managers and Recruiters
  • Academics
  • MBA Admissions Director
  • MBA Career Services Director
  • Joint Program Partners
    • College of Engineering
    • College of Law
ut mba 17 month structure
UT MBA 17-Month Structure




- August


July 30-March

Career Development

Internship &




Concentrations, Electives, and Capstone

What Every Manager Needs To




Integrated Value Chain


Integrated Core

what every manager needs to know



Decision Making


What Every Manager Needs To Know

Financial Results

Strategic Planning



Strategy Implementation

(see Integrated Supply

Chain Management)

Personal Tool Box

People Skills

  • Global
  • Legal
  • Economic
  • Etc.
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Change Management
  • Etc.
  • Quantitative/Finance Skills
  • Statistics
  • Models for Decision Making
  • Etc.

What Every Manager Needs To Know About Integrated Value Chains

Demand Mgmt

Focal Firm

Supply Mgmt

























Resource Mgmt





planning and controls





Value Chain Integration

Technology, Dynamics, Principles

first year panorama
First Year “Panorama”

Late July


What Every Manager Needs to Know



Decision Making


People Skills


Hub Course



Career Development

Core I - Basics




Operations Strategy


Proc. &




Design &




Hub Course



What Every Manager Needs to Know about Integrated Value Chains

CORE I BASICS :Ropes Course, Computer Basics, Career Development Basics, Negotiation Skills, Statistics Fundamentals, Communications and Team Skills, Accounting Basics

second year panorama
Second Year “Panorama”



“The Marketplace” delivered via distance during summer internship, for 3 credit hours

Concentrations: 6 credit hours, concentrations available in Marketing, Logistics, Operations, Finance

Capstone Experience:

1 credit hour

Electives: 3 credit hours


Classes should be scheduled during Fall, second semester, on MW, allowing T, Th, and F for interviewing/job search activities.

12 credit hours required for Summer/Fall II. Students may take extra electives if they so desire

special touches
Special Touches
  • Core I- Ramping Up (7/30-8/19)
  • IT integration in the core curriculum
  • The Virtual Marketplace Simulation (summer)
  • Spotlight Companies:
    • FedEx, Amazon.Com, P&G, Lowe’s, Daimler-Chrysler, Enron, American Airlines, Dell
  • The Capstone Experience
    • A “real world” case pitting the teams against each other
  • Town Meetings and Coffees
benefits of the new program42
Benefits of the New Program
  • Students
    • better integration of material (both within and across the organization)
    • better preparation prior to internships (hub courses)
    • lower opportunity costs (17 months)
  • Corporate Recruiters
    • employees with a broader contextual understanding (integrated value chain management)
    • better prepared interns
    • less wait between internship and full time employment
    • “off cycle” recruiting (December graduation)
  • CBA/UT
    • better resource utilization
      • modules, shorter program, fewer and more focused concentrations and electives, multi-modal
      • stronger marketplace positioning around CBA competencies
      • more capacity to grow numbers of MBA students (class of 150)
lessons learned for next revision
Lessons Learned for Next Revision
  • Rethink the “Fast Track” (1 ½ year) time line – too much JIT delivery
  • You CANNOT over-communicate
    • With faculty (regardless of involvement)
    • With staff
    • With alumni and students in the “old” program
    • With in-coming/prospective students
    • With recruiters
a distance mba innovation example

A Distance MBA Innovation Example

Kennesaw State University

the georgia webmba tm program governance
The Georgia WebMBATMProgram Governance
  • Designed & administered by five University System of Georgia institutions
  • Program Dean selected from participating institution
  • Program coordinated by fulltime director
  • Each institution is responsible for recruiting & enrollment activities
  • Program faculty are graduate faculty members of each institution
  • Each course in the curriculum is approved by the curriculum committee of each institution
the georgia webmba tm program business model
The Georgia WebMBATM Program Business Model
  • $350 per credit hour for Georgia residents & $1,000 per credit hour for non Georgia residents
  • Base tuition resides with applicant’s home institution
  • Residual tuition less program direct operating expenses is shared equally
the georgia webmba tm program business model47
The Georgia WebMBATM Program Business Model
  • Each institution provides:
    • Two faculty
    • Student services support for their enrolled students
    • Recruitment & enrollment support
    • Technology support for faculty (students provide own ISP)
the georgia webmba tm program characteristics
The Georgia WebMBATM Program Characteristics
  • Annual cohort start limited to 35 students, 7 from each institution
  • Three 2.5 day weekend face-to-face meetings
  • 10 course, 30 semester hour lockstep program
  • Applicants must have undergraduate business core for admission
  • 18 month program
  • WebCT platform
the georgia webmba tm program statistics
The Georgia WebMBATM Program Statistics
  • Cohort #1:
    • Started January 2001 with 29 students
    • Ended August 2002 with 24 graduates
    • Success rate = 83%
  • Cohort #2:
    • Started January 2002 with 31 students
    • Current enrollment = 27 students
    • Success rate to date = 87%
  • Cohort #3:
    • Started August 2002 with 34 students
    • Current enrollment = 32 students
    • Success rate to date = 94%
the georgia webmba tm why
The Georgia WebMBATM- Why?
  • Serve remote areas of Georgia
  • First to market in Georgia
  • Share risk of start-up
  • Share cost of start-up
  • Add to product line
  • Demonstrate technology expertise
  • Address perceived trend
the georgia webmba tm how
The Georgia WebMBATM –How?
  • One year of planning by Deans
  • One year of planning by MBA program directors
  • One year of:
    • Course development
    • Faculty development
    • Marketing & recruiting
  • Some University System of Georgia in-kind support
  • Some University System of Georgia dollars spent on behalf of program
the georgia webmba tm lessons
The Georgia WebMBATM –Lessons
  • Collaboration across institutions can happen
  • Campus policies & procedures can be “bent” without “breaking”
  • The business model appears to be working
  • Program has generated significant interest in scholarship by faculty teaching in program
the georgia webmba tm lessons53
The Georgia WebMBATM –Lessons
  • Face-to-face interventions appear to reduce attrition
  • Investments in faculty development generate significant returns
    • Course quality
    • Instructional quality
    • Student attrition
    • Faculty commitment
    • Reduced faculty burnout