We’re at that time of year when there is a plethora of “looking back and looking ahead” on all sorts of dimensions. Academia is a bit off cycle since we tend to run on academic years rather than calendar years but I want to look ahead based on a set of developments that have come to fruition in the past year that I anticipate will have a lasting positive impact on the University at Buffalo MBA Program. If you have been following program developments you probably already know that we have a new curriculum launching for the fall of 2012. This is coming together with maturing program elements that we have been refining over the last several years that I believe are going to blend into a package that will make the UB MBA one of the most holistic, integrated and compelling MBA programs in the country.
The new UB MBA core comes out of two years of intensive committee work that looked at content and delivery in top MBA programs across the spectrum graduate management schools. The result is a smaller, modular core focusing on what every manager needs to know, with renewed emphasis on delivery as well as content, with an experiential capstone. This restructuring also allows students greater flexibility to take advantage of a rich selection of concentrations and the LeaderCORE™ program. The addition of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability and IT Management courses round out an already strong core by introducing areas of discussion that are high on the list of management priorities today.
One of the hallmarks of the UB program, “real-world learning” is integrated throughout the program. In the first semester the Corporate Champions program directly connects study teams with companies in the area for multiple touch points including site visits, community service projects and in-depth analyses of challenges the companies may be dealing with. The final Corporate Champions project integrates elements from Statistical Analysis, Organizational Behavior and Management Communication and is a demanding team effort that extends across the entire semester. The Business Strategy class challenges each study team to evaluate a different distressed company, develop a turn-around plan and present their analysis to a live panel of evaluators who will give them tough feedback about both their analytical and presentation skills. The second-year Business Practice class will bring students back to strategy concepts and require them to engage in solving real-time company challenges. Many elective courses provide additional opportunities such as the live projects in Consulting and SAP training in Supply Chains courses.
The LeaderCORE™ program is challenging our MBAs to assess, develop, and certify their leadership competencies and soft skills that are so critical to successful management today. This program is being intimately integrated throughout our core and elective courses with faculty highlighting in their syllabi what course elements tie back to the ten competencies in our LeaderCORE™ model. The foundation of Leadership PACE, built over more than ten years, now expanded to a comprehensive two-year leadership development experience, culminating in student certification, provides an opportunity that is truly unique to Buffalo MBA students.
The first-year Mentoring program provides support for first-year teams and provides further leadership development opportunities for second-year students involved in the program. Conversations with an Executive, country forums, multiple case competitions, the January China trip, MBA Advantage and opportunities for students to engage with and run a variety of clubs round out an MBA experience that stands with the best and comes with an outstanding value proposition consistently recognized by the likes of Businessweek and Forbes.
I am excited about the future of our UB MBA. If you are a prospective student reading this, check us out thoroughly, we’ll measure up to your needs and expectations. If you are an alum, check in with us to learn how you can contribute to further strengthening your program’s heritage. If you are a potential employer of MBA students, contact us to find out how you can access what will be some of the best and brightest future leaders.
Here’s to a bright 2012 and beyond.
Dave Frasier, Assistant Dean