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WCU Restructures MBA Program

By Adam Crisp
On July 16, 2009

In order to keep up with the global economy, Western Carolina University has decided to restructure the MBA program.

"By the time students in other countries create MBA programs, they will have roughly five years of business education compared to as little as two years in US business programs. We must focus on what we do well and develop students who excel in innovation and leadership," says WCU Marketing Director Dr. Steve Henson on his presentation about the new program.

Among many other causes for changing the MBA program are the changing faces and reasons for wanting to get one. Dr. Henson noted that in the past, most of the students going for their MBA were male and around 40 years old, whereas now, 60% of the students are female and the average age is 26. With our current job market, instead of the traditional method of working for a few years and using the degree to get go further in one's job, people are getting MBAs just so they can get a good entry level job.

"In ordinary times, I would very much encourage at least five years of full time work experience before starting an MBA program. These aren't ordinary times, and I doubt we'll see ordinary times again," Dr. Henson went on to say.

The new program has eliminated any prerequisites and adopted a cohort-based program where all of the instructors agree on when to introduce ideas in a particular course. This method makes no assumptions about what the student knows, and teaches from a ground up level leaving no guesswork for someone who is unfamiliar with the subject. The coursework has also been expanded.

There has also been the elimination of certain more traditional stand alone courses. Instead of just taking, for example, a general economics course, the MBA student will learn skills and theories built around two styles. The first is management basics, where the student will learn mid-management strategies. After the student has the foundations of managerial skills, they will go on to C-suite. This level puts the student in the position of an executive that would manage an organization. Here they will learn to think on their feet and show good judgment in the face of uncertain circumstances. Even if the student will go on to a smaller business, these are essential skills to have in dealing with the uncertain business world.

So as the business world changes so does the MBA at WCU. Moving towards an applied knowledge system will help new graduates understand and be prepared for the problems and obstacles facing them in the business world. For an online application email or


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