Inside USD

Evening MBA Program Ranked 14th Nationally

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A consulting project with a leading firm, Sempra Energy, is just one of the reasons Federico Duran is excited about USD’s Evening MBA program.

Taking part in a “hands-on” project like that is “amazing,” said Duran, explaining that the professional experiences his fellow students, professors and guest speakers bring to the program are also a big plus.

He’s not the only one who thinks USD’s program is on the right track. Last week, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Evening MBA program 14th in the nation in its latest list of the top 50 part-time programs.

The school jumped 12 spots from its previous No. 26 ranking from two years ago. The program received A+ grades in the ranking for teaching quality, the MBA program’s curriculum and how students rank the caliber of their classmates.

The ranking is a “testament to our students and faculty,” said a jubilant Mazur Rahman, associate dean, as he led a toast at a reception Tuesday night. Rahman also passed along congratulations from USD School of Business Administration Dean David Pyke, who was traveling on business.

Like USD’s full-time MBA program, the evening program equips students with both breadth and depth, emphasizing core business competencies such as accounting, finance and marketing along with concentrations in a variety of areas including international business, new venture management and supply chain management.

Ally Schmitt (pictured left, with Michael D’Anna and Ryan Quigley), a compensation analyst at Cubic Corp who was recently promoted, said she likes the practical experience the program provides.

“You can use it the next day at work,” Andy Bullock, a graduate of the evening program,  recently accepted a position as managing director of the Harper Cancer Research Institute, a partnership between Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

Bullock, who also holds a PhD in pharmacology, said his doctorate was a contributing factor but “the responsibilities of my current position revolve primarily around the skills I learned at USD,” such as managing budgets, forecasting and negotiating. “Having a familiarity with the science allows me to understand the institute and added intangibles that made me a better candidate; having the MBA allows me to do my job.”

Even after the evening program was ranked two years ago, school officials continued to look for ways to improve. After doing a market analysis and interviews with alumni and executives who hire USD graduates, the full-time, part-time and international MBA programs have been revamped this fall.

While retaining a focus on corporate social responsibility and international education, the core courses have been tightened to allow students to spend more time on their areas of concentration. More strategy and problem-solving coursework also have been added to help students better link their functional areas to their broader business.

Rahman said he’s ”really happy” that “we decided not to stay in place (but) to continue to innovate and improve.”

— Liz Harman

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