New 42-credit MBA curriculum launched

(Photo by Ray Groething)

By Kenna Caprio

This fall, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business introduced an updated MBA curriculum, a refreshing and streamlined take on the degree.

“In the spirit of continual improvement, and in accordance with our accreditation (by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and philosophy, we’re expected to constantly look at the relevance of the curriculum,” says Silberman Interim Dean Jim Almeida.

The College recently examined national trends and curricula at peer institutions while seeking input from students. Based on that feedback, Silberman redesigned the MBA curriculum to be a 42-credit degree, with each class worth two credits rather than three. The curriculum was piloted during the first run of the new Saturday MBA program, which launched in the fall of 2012. Previously, students worked towards 51 credits to complete the traditional MBA program.

“It’s a departure from traditional academia’s three credit course model,” says Almeida. “With the two credit model, there’s more flexibility. It’s a streamlined curriculum that can be realistically completed in 30 months. We’re delivering comparable quality but with fewer credits and at a more competitive price.”

Students will be exposed to a range of topics across multiple disciplines as they take 12 credits of foundation, 20 credits of core and ten credits of specialized courses. These new two credit classes will be taught in eight-week modules instead of traditional 16-week modules. To be considered fulltime, students will take five classes now each semester. The new design enables students to complete a higher number of credits than would have been previously possible, without increasing the number of days they are required to be on campus each week allowing students to earn their degree within a shorter timeframe.

Students with a business minor as an undergraduate will be eligible to waive up to 12 out of the 42 credits, allowing for an even more accelerated degree completion.

“It’s likely to be appealing to many students because of affordability, flexibility and value,” says Almeida. “The response has been very, very positive and we plan to implement this across all MBA programs.” This includes both the Accelerated MBA and the Executive MBA degree options.

Currently, there are approximately 260 traditional MBA students enrolled at FDU and they were provided with the opportunity to switch to the new curriculum. About a quarter of them, especially those who had  begun their program in the past academic year, elected to switch to the new curriculum, says Gina Murray, advising counselor for graduate programs in Silberman. Staff evaluated each student file and recommended, based on outstanding credits and classes, whether the student should complete the 51-credit program or opt for the new 42-credit curriculum. “We’ve been working individually with students to determine which course of action is better,” says Murray. All students who begin their program in Fall 2013 are automatically enrolled in the new 42-credit curriculum.

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

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