Utica College Television – Dr. Rick Fenner and Dr. Bruce Castor

UTICA COLLEGE – TV: How the MBA prepares students for the real world of Business


Watch professors Dr. Rick Fenner and Dr. Bruce Caster describe how the core courses within Utica's blended MBA program differ from a more traditional MBA in this video interview. The MBA faculty also discuss how the program is strategically designed to prepare students to be career-ready, integrating core topics that equip students with a range of applications to utilize in solving business problems.

Transcript: How the MBA masters the Real World of Business.


Dr. Norrie: Welcome to yet another episode of UCTV. We are coming to you from our studio here on the campus of Utica College in Utica, New York, and we are going to talk today with some of our business faculty, an economist and an accountant. It should be an exciting video episode about what it is that we do in the MBA to help students master the real world of business. So tell me a little bit, Professor Fenner, what you teach in our MBA and what makes our MBA perhaps different than a more traditional MBA.

Dr. Fenner: Well, the course I'm teaching is on Data-Driven Decision Making and today, businesses are really inundated with data. Used to be that in the past, businesses had to make decisions and data was very scarce. Well, it's the opposite and, in fact, many businesses are actually drowning in data. How they use data, how they sift through this and enable them to make good business decisions is the goal of this course.

Dr. Norrie: Sounds like a much more valuable course than perhaps statistics.

Dr. Fenner: Well, it builds upon the basics of statistics, but business analytics goes beyond that. What we really stress is the applications to solving problems. And so everything is geared around specific issues and problems that they may be facing in their careers, and then going about how we address those using certain business analytic tools.

Dr. Norrie: Great. And picking up on that, Professor Caster, so what do you teach in our online MBA?

Dr. Caster: I'm teaching the seminar on Professional Accounting Practice, which is a fancy way of saying Accounting Theory. Again, it builds on a whole background in accounting, specifically financial accounting area. There's a misconception that I think we reinforce with the way we teach accounting, that accounting is just a lot of procedures, things that you do. And what we're looking at here is choices that you make, the framework of standards against which you make those choices, and the idea of making a professional judgment and supporting it logically, in terms of the background concepts.

Dr. Norrie: So it sounds to me like as faculty, you've given a lot of thought to the kind of curriculum you've put into our graduate programs. So what sort of advice would you give students, prospective students out there, looking to our MBA? What would you say makes us distinct or different from other programs?

Dr. Caster: I think what makes us distinct and different from other programs: since we are a smaller program, we have more private contact with the students. We are more geared toward trying to find out what the students do and do not know and supporting them in helping to learn what they need to learn.

Dr. Norrie: Okay. And in our new blended MBA, the online program, how have we embedded accounting into that particular program?

Dr. Caster: Well, the one I'm going to be teaching there is the ...

Dr. Fenner: Financial Fluency, I think.

Dr. Caster: Financial Fluency course.

Dr. Fenner: Right.

Dr. Caster: Thank you very much. It is based as an accounting course, but it is designed to make managers understand how to use accounting information in support of management decision-making.

Dr. Norrie: So it sounds like in both cases, Professor Fenner, the core of this MBA is not the same as you might find at other schools.

Dr. Fenner: No. I think we've really designed this in a way to put more emphasis on application and less on theory. And less on theory doesn't mean that it isn't rigorous, but our goal, again, is to provide students with the experience necessary to go and compete for top-level jobs and being able to utilize these tools. Oftentimes, when I took my MBA, it was, "Learn the tools, and later on, you worry about how to use them." Well, in our MBA, I think we're talking about how you use them. What tools do we need to accomplish certain things?

Dr. Norrie: Great. Well, it sounds like a really terrific program, sounds like we've got a lot of great faculty teaching great students and I thank you for joining on our episode today.

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