Flexibility, ‘applied learning’ form core of redesigned MBA program

By Brandon Addeo | News Editor

Duquesne’s Donahue Graduate School of Business plans to roll out a redesigned Master’s in Business Administration program beginning in the spring 2017 semester.

In an effort to align the program to the “needs of the marketplace,” the curriculum of the MBA program will emphasize experience-based learning, according to Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Executive Education Karen Donovan.

A course in which about 15 corporate executives feature as guest lecturers, called Executive Insights, will now be a requirement for MBA students to complete, where it was previously optional.

Many of the executives teaching the courses are also Duquesne alumni, something that Dean McFarlin, dean of the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, believes is beneficial.

“I think [bringing in alumni] makes it even better,” McFarlin said. “You’re learning from somebody who used to sit in your chair.”

Students must also complete a capstone project, which requires them to partner with a real-life business to solve “strategy issues” the company faces, Donovan said. Other courses in applied ethics, statistics and management are also requirements.

McFarlin said the emphasis of “applied learning” in the new program is something which was “sorely lacking” in the current program.

Students completing coursework in the current MBA program will have options when the new program is launched in January, according to Donovan.

“We’re working with current students on a transition,” she said. “Some courses will substitute, some courses will transfer directly. Students can stay in the current program or transfer to new to the new program.”

In the updated curriculum, students must take 42 credit hours to earn their degree, unless they completed a bachelor’s degree in business within the past five years — these students must only complete 36 credit hours, McFarlin said.

Donovan said she looks forward to the new program’s launch.

“I’m really excited. I think [the redesigned program] will help keep Duquesne’s MBA a highly sought-after degree,” she said.

Duquesne’s MBA students, many of whom are “working professionals,” will now have more flexibility in class scheduling, Donovan said. Classes can be taken on a full or part-time basis, either in person or online. Evening classes are also offered.