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Pillar #1: MBA mission

We will invest to enhance the personal-scale advantage of both the traditional and Executive MBA programs.

Even as we strengthen and expand our portfolio, the MBA remains central to our school and represents the core of all our programs. A key part of our strategic plan involves continuing to improve both our residential and our Executive MBA programs.

Expanding Immersive, Experiential, and Point of Need Learning

We are deepening the immersion experiences that have become an Owen hallmark. We’re adding more short, intensive courses (both for credit and noncredit) that students can complete over a few sessions or in a weekend.

We are refining the immersion experiences that are a hallmark of our MBA program. For instance, based on both our own review and input from students, we’re adding academic content to our fall Wall Street Week immersion, and students will receive course credit. Professor Craig Lewis, who leads the insider’s tour of the financial sector, will conduct sessions with students before they leave for New York. During the week he’ll also debrief students to help them more fully understand what they have seen and heard—a great example of how we’re applying point-of-need learning.

We’re in the process of developing and launching new immersion experiences in social responsibility (through our new Turner Family Center for Social Ventures) and entrepreneurship (through the dynamic Nashville Entrepreneur Center). The latter is another good illustration of point-of-need learning. The experience will give students interested in entrepreneurship an edge that will benefit them during their summer internships.

We’re also adding more short courses—from social ventures to starting a small business—that students can complete in a weekend. Here, too, student input droves this change (another hallmark that sets Owen apart from many other schools).

As an example of how we’re widening our personal scale advantage, our Career Management Center now offers coaching, career planning and résumé building support services in the months before they arrive for their first classes. That way, students can hit the ground running in the fall, with a clearer idea of where they want to focus. The relatively small size of our program enables us to offer this very personal (and, so far as we know, unique) level of service for incoming students.

Redesigning the Executive MBA

For the Executive MBA, we are reconfiguring the coursework, leveraging online technology and adding an abbreviated week-in-residence. The revamped program will allow these students to complete the degree in 20 months, graduating in May rather than August. These innovations are also aligned with changes we have been implementing to make the program more attractive to women. The approach is working–this fall’s incoming class reached 37 percent women, the highest in the program’s history.

Innovating in Leadership Development

In both programs, we are introducing innovation in our successful Leadership Development Program. For example, in the MBA program, we’re increasing the Leadership Development Program experiences during the second year, with a focus on better preparing graduates to hit the ground running. For example, since many second-year students already know by Mod Four where they are headed after graduation, we piloted a new course in the spring called Learning to Thrive, which involves thinking about leadership in the specific context of the job they’re going to. Shaping a classroom experience to the industry and strategies of the company links back to personal scale.

Increasing Diversity

As highlighted in our mission statement, we are also focused on initiatives to increasing diversity of all types across all of our programs. Diversity brings critical perspective into the classroom, enhancing the learning for all of our students. As just one example, to increase diversity to help our students learn to think and manage globally, we are also investing in recruiting a broader group of international students and ensuring that they succeed at Owen. In addition, we are partnering with Forté, an organization focused on building women business leaders as well as Management Leaders for Tomorrow (MLT), a consortium of schools and companies focused on developing minority leaders.

Always, Maintaining Focus on Personal Scale

As we move forward with all initiatives, we will measure the work in these areas by how well it advances key elements of our mission and identity:

  • Enhancing our personal scale advantage
  • Nurturing transformative leadership
  • Promoting diversity
  • Maintaining a close-knit, collaborative community
  • Facilitating a spirit of inquiry and discovery

These elements give us advantages that cut across all programs. So our plan will involve initiatives that help us leverage these advantages even further. We will continue to make investments of time, energy and funds that support those elements of our mission that make our school outstanding and distinctive.

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