ACU will welcome the first class of its online MBA program this fall. I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Crisp, COBA’s Associate Dean for Graduate Business, to learn more about the new program.
Why is ACU launching a Master of Business Administration program?
We offered a residential MBA for most of the 1980s and 90s, but it was difficult to attract the number of students that we wanted to serve in Abilene. With the launch of ACU Dallas, ACU is better equipped to serve graduate students through online programs. We now have the opportunity to reach a new market of graduate students who are established in their careers, yet wanting to be challenged and have the opportunity to grow professionally. The online MBA is the perfect vehicle for allowing them to continue their careers and attain their educational goals.
What is the focus of the curriculum?
The MBA curriculum is designed to equip students in four key areas:
- leadership skills that will enable them to lead in their career, but also in their homes, churches, and communities
- organizational innovation that prepares them to meet new opportunities
- decision-making that engages data available in today’s tech-driven workplace
- the ability to let faith and ethical principles guide their work
What role is COBA faculty playing in the creation of this program?
COBA faculty in Abilene designed the program and have played an important role in the development of the core courses that will be taken by all students. Additionally, some of the courses will be taught by our Abilene faculty, while other courses will be led by qualified faculty in Dallas and elsewhere.
How is graduate education different from undergraduate education?
Education ideally helps us think about theory and practice, that is, how we combine great ideas with implementation. One of the key differences in graduate education is that the adult learner has a greater amount of work experience to connect with the learning. Having an environment where students can bring their work experience into class discussions and on assignments is a key component of a professional program like the MBA. That is why I encourage students to work for a couple of years before making the transition to graduate education, because the knowledge gained in industry adds a great deal of depth to their graduate experience.
What excites you about the launch of this new program?
Most ACU faculty come to Abilene to teach the traditional undergraduate student, and we are excited to help students in that stage of their formation. Now we have decided that we aren’t stopping there. We have the chance to connect with adults in the next phase of their lives as they’ve grown in their careers, their communities, and their families. We have the opportunity to serve them in another important stage of their life, as they are learning where faith intersects with work and life.
For more information on ACU’s online MBA program, visit www.acu.edu/mba.