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What makes the online MBA unique?

An Interview with the MBA Program Director

Three MBA Students Collaborating on a Project

An MBA degree provides students with knowledge and skills that can help them advance in the business world. Students benefit from an MBA program that is strategically designed for real-world applications and that offers them an opportunity to focus on an important area of specialization. This type of MBA course design not only prepares students for career success, but it gives them the tools they need to help their organizations succeed.

The Utica College online MBA Program was designed to prepare students for success starting from their very first day of classes by offering real-world curriculum and high-demand specialization options. Program Director Stephanie Nesbitt explains how these factors make the Utica College MBA Program unique. 

Tell us about your career path.
I spent 18 years in industry as a practicing attorney and risk manager prior to joining Utica College in 2012. I also spent several years with a large hospital system, and I felt that my MBA education helped me understand a very complex regulatory business system. When I thought about what I wanted to do that might be new, it occurred to me that the times I was happiest in my professional career were when I was mentoring people on my staff or helping to educate people in my firm about a new law or new regulation or good risk management practices. When the opportunity popped up to be a professor at Utica College, I thought it was meant for me.

How does your professional experience impact the design of the MBA program?
It gave me a great appreciation for real-world application of classroom knowledge and an understanding of how things that you study in the classroom play out in the real world. It also makes my approach to professional education much richer and my empathy for the student who's a working professional, trying to get a degree, much deeper.

What are some of the benefits of an MBA curriculum that is oriented to real-world application?
When we designed the core courses for the MBA, we wanted to make sure that we were providing students with courses that were really meaningful in today's business world. Our courses combine academic skills with the knowledge of how those skills are used in the business world on a daily basis. All our core courses integrate academics in a way that a manager actually uses them on the frontline of business in today's world. After every class, students should be able to go back to their desks and do something new or see something differently than they did the day before.

Why is specialization an important part of the online MBA program?
Our MBA specializations are unique in the marketplace, but they’re also very contemporary and important in today’s business world. Specialization in in-demand business sectors helps students achieve high-level advancement in the business world.

The online MBA program has several specializations: Finance/accounting, cybersecurity, cyber policy, insurance and risk management, and health care management. What are some of the advantages of each?
Let’s start with cybersecurity and cyber policy. It is mind-blowing to think about how every portion of our lives today has some connection to the internet and cyberspace. From our financial records to our identities to fair elections in this country, everything hinges around issues of cybersecurity. Business people must be keenly aware of cyber issues, and a cybersecurity MBA helps provide that knowledge.

Our finance/accounting specialization allows students to hone those skills and prepare for today’s business marketplace with a solid set of financial analysis and accounting tools that will allow them to succeed and exceed.

As for health care, if you think about how important an MBA can be in the health field today, it's almost incomprehensible. Health care in the United States is changing rapidly right now. I think we are going to see periods of rapid change for at least another decade until we as Americans can settle into how we really think health care should look. The health care MBA is a fantastic way to prepare students to be nimble professionals in a very important industry in the United States.

What are the live classroom sessions in the online MBA program?
This is another very intentional and unique feature of our program, which serves to be as flexible as possible for today’s students. We built high-tech classrooms on campus with features like tracking cameras and voice-activated motion sensors that allow students to attend a live class in a number of ways. If they happen to be near Utica, New York, they can join us in the physical classroom. Otherwise, the student can join the same live class via our virtual classroom portal hosted by WebEx. In the live session, they can see and engage with their classmates and the professor. Students can also view archived recordings of each live class session at a later date. We’ve actually had online MBA students who were passing through Utica stop in and attend the live class.

Do students enjoy the live MBA classes?
The response has been great! More than 75 percent of our online MBA students attend live classes in any given week with some choosing to do this exclusively while others flow back and forth between asynchronous learning and an all-live world. We are leveraging technology so that students can choose to attend class and learn in the way that is most successful for them. Take a look at the MBA live classroom session in action!

Expand your professional opportunities and create real-world success in your career with an online MBA from Utica College. Request more information or call 315.732.2640 or toll-free at 866.295.3106 today.