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Putting Value Back into the MBA:
Online university launches re-engineered MBA to educate today's business leaders

(ARA) - For the past year, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) credential has been derided by the media and corporate leaders. Because traditional MBA programs are rooted in textbooks and case studies, they have not kept pace with the changes and challenges of business. In a recent report by the St. Louis-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), member organizations were challenged to provide MBA students with a learning experience that is rooted in the real-world -- and the skills to make a measurable impact in the workplace.

One of the first to anticipate the argument for practical application in lieu of straight business theory was Capella University. A Minneapolis-based online university, Capella introduced a re-engineered MBA program in October 2002. Their MBA combines a core of classic b-school courses -- such as marketing, finance, and strategy -- with professional effectiveness courses that build skills such as negotiation and leading teams. In addition, an executive coaching component is designed to reposition mid-career managers as effective leaders.

Capella University performed an exhaustive review of its existing MBA program and surveyed nearly 40 Fortune 500 companies to establish a detailed description of the skills that employers desire in their ideal managers. Executives from companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Honeywell, Maytag and Nestle USA said they wanted leaders adept in the "human" skills -- people who knew how to build relationships, lead teams and manage change. They wanted graduates with a full range of professional and personal skills, not just pure theoretical understanding.

"The Capella MBA focuses on tangible outcomes," said Shelley R. Robbins, Ph.D., executive director of Capella University's School of Business. "Our intensive coaching process pushes learners to identify strengths and weaknesses and to make changes in their behavior. Unless you're born with leadership qualities, most managers must develop the competencies to become leaders. This program helps managers build relationships, develop and coach others, lead teams, facilitate change, leverage workplace diversity and negotiate for results."

Another unique feature of the Capella MBA is the facility with which students can integrate their MBA studies with their current job responsibilities: work-related issues are applicable to the coursework and coursework has an immediate application to the workplace. This MBA model delivers an instant return on investment for employers providing tuition reimbursement.

"While I was taking my e-business course, I was simultaneously writing an e-business plan for a new initiative in my division," said Michael Sharp, an MBA graduate and Honeywell employee. "In fact, in almost every class, I learned something that I could use directly in my professional life. The assignments were perfectly matched, so the work I was doing in class helped with my job, and the projects I was doing at work helped with my coursework."

Capella University was one of the first universities to offer an online MBA program. The school?s nationally recognized MBA program was started in 1998 and in 2001 was named in U.S News & World Report's "best of the online grad programs."

Capella is now accepting applications for its MBA program. To learn more, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content


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