Spending (some) Saturdays learning the business
By Kenna Caprio
Amos Sanchez, 25, heard an advertisement for the Saturday MBA program on 1010 WINS-AM while driving into work earlier this summer.
The line about completing the degree in “under 21 months” really caught his attention. “Let me Google that,” he thought. Four days later, he signed up for an information session scheduled in mid-August. He applied online the day after attending the event, says Susan Brooman, director of Graduate Recruitment and Marketing.
Fairleigh Dickinson University welcomed its first cohort of Saturday MBA students, 18 including Sanchez, on September 1 at the College at Florham.
“It felt like a full workday — it is rigorous. It was fun,” says Sanchez of day one. “The professors were enthusiastic — they know it’s an accelerated program and fit in comprehensive material in a short amount of time.”
The accelerated nature of the program lends itself well to being a “hybrid” program.
“You get the experience of being in a class and the accessibility of online studies,” says Jonathan Wexler, Vice President of Enrollment Management. “The Saturday MBA is the only AASCB accredited program in the state of New Jersey that offers students a blend of taking some classes in person on Saturdays and the others online in a cohort format.”
That certainly appeals to Barbara Sasso, a 25-year-old Flemington, NJ resident and MBA candidate. “I didn’t want to sit (in class) for three hours after work,” she says. “You can do it on your time, with the online courses. It’s a better way of organizing yourself.”
Both Sasso and Sanchez looked into other programs but decided that what FDU could offer better suited them.
“I come from a liberal arts college,” says Sasso. She’s used to engaging, “one-on-one with a professor, and after this first session at FDU, the professors are already learning your name and having great discussions.”
Neither Sasso nor Sanchez has an undergraduate degree in business — Sanchez majored in biomedical engineering at Rutgers University while Sasso has her degree in government from Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa.
At a boutique consulting firm in Morristown, Sanchez consults with pharmaceutical companies regarding regulatory issues and also with law firms dealing with pharmaceutical litigation.
“Part of our job is to help lawyers understand the science of the case,” says the Livingston, N.J. resident. “Sometimes they need to talk to people who are also technical but can put it into layman’s terms.”
For Sasso, it was difficult to find a job post-graduation with a government degree. Especially once she ruled out law school. After interning with an investment management company, Sasso scored a position in the finance department at US Foods, a food distributor. Now she works in sales for the company as a healthcare food sales coordinator.
Despite having no credits towards their respective MBAs — students who enter with an undergraduate business degree may qualify for some course exemptions — both Sasso and Sanchez will still be able to complete the degree in approximately 21 months, because of the program’s structure. In the current fall cohort, students will earn 10 credits in two eight-week modules during the fall and spring semesters, and four credits each summer, according to the Saturday MBA website. Candidates without a prior business degree must take 42 credits to complete the MBA.
“I think that the MBA will provide a lot of growth and value to me as a professional,” says Sanchez. “The MBA is a degree that you can use to pivot yourself anywhere as long as you are a people person.”
Students can apply online now for the upcoming spring cohort.
“I’ve had a really good experience dealing with the FDU administration as a whole, with enrollment, admissions and financial aid,” says Sanchez. “It’s a quick turn around and me getting the answers I need. That’s what’s really important as well.”