Tag Archives: executive mba program

GCU’s Executive Education Programs Focus On Busy Business Leader

By taking academic principles and putting them in real-world scenarios, the Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is helping companies enhance the level at which they are operating. It does this through leadership programs that help busy executives work more collaboratively and with a constant eye on the big picture.

“Companies are looking for ways to enhance their competitive position, identify new opportunities and foster the development of their people,” says Ken Blanchard College of Business Dean Kim Donaldson. “We’ve developed programs that can help enterprises accomplish great things.”

The Corporate MBA Program offers companies an opportunity to identify and train a select group of promising future leaders with content similar to that found in the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA program.

“This program is in direct response to what is happening in the economy,” says Don Fraser, senior manager of the Ken Blanchard EMBA. “Though they might have cut expenses, such as tuition reimbursement, companies still face important issues such as succession planning. We can help companies grow their internal teams.”

The Corporate MBA program includes a four-hour, in-person kick-off presentation by Ken Blanchard.

“Ken Blanchard is such a motivator, and the opportunity for companies to have him come on-site and share his philosophies with their executives is priceless,” Fraser says.

GCU has staffed the program with top-notch faculty who will come to a place of business for two in-person sessions, while monitoring students throughout an eight-week course. There are a total of 10 modules over a 20-month period.

Since the cost can be spread over two years, it can be conducted completely tax-free for employers.

“We have priced this so that with more students enrolled, the tax benefit for businesses just gets better, and if 14 students are enrolled it can be a complete write-off,” Fraser says.

For executives who desire a more intensive experience, the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA Program offers students a 12-month program covered both in-person and online, in a class that includes students from a variety of industries and disciplines.

Known for the best-selling “One Minute Manager” and as an entrepreneur heading the San Diego-based Ken Blanchard Companies, Blanchard partnered with GCU to offer the one-of-a-kind, “leadership-first” program for executives. The residency curriculum, taught face-to-face by Blanchard and some of the nation’s top business leaders, is based largely on his writings, “Leading at a Higher Level” and “One Minute Entrepreneur.”

The 12-month program of study consists of three intensive four-day sessions facilitated by Blanchard, both in Phoenix and in San Diego, while students take the remaining coursework online. It is based on principles Blanchard has honed with Fortune 500 companies over the last 40 years. Underpinning it all, the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA places a strong emphasis on character, ethics, values and identifying a higher purpose and vision for a company.

“We constantly hear from students that they learn something one day and use it the next day, often with measurable results,” says Taylor Carr, director of the Ken Blanchard EMBA. “The impact can be immediate and profound, especially since our participants are in leadership roles and already have a mindset for leading positive change.”

One of the program’s recent graduates experienced this first-hand. As the person responsible for the training, policy and procedures for the 8,000 flight attendants with US Airways when Flight 1549 went into the Hudson River, Scottsdale resident Sherri Shamblin was able to immediately incorporate lessons learned from her executive MBA classes into the crisis situation.

“I had to lead by serving them, and surprisingly enough, that’s what many executives tend to forget. Rather than being a self-serving leader, you need to be a serving leader,” Shamblin says.

The Ken Blanchard EMBA program is highly rated for its participation by respected business leaders. Its advisory board members include former Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett, author of “Nuts! and Guts” Kevin Freiberg, nationally syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay and former Senior Vice President of Corporate Governance for Tyco International Eric Pillmore.

As Ken Blanchard EMBA graduate and Avnet executive Fred Cuen experienced, the program’s curriculum can be customized for internal teams to help businesses work smarter. Cuen brought one of his favorite marketing exercises, led by Grand Canyon Professor Kevin McClean, to his colleagues at Avnet Technology Solutions to help them understand the interrelationship of the marketing mix.

“The exercise is designed to emphasize important concepts such as the value of consumer research, innovation, financial performance, market performance and, most importantly, customer satisfaction,” McClean said.

Cuen, who is a senior vice president and general manager at Avnet TS in the Americas, adds: “With a large company like ours, it is critical for our leadership team to gain real-life experience through education. In this case, we took a group of managers through a computer-simulation program that focused on running a business. Giving them hands-on experience in running a business prepared them for their future leadership positions. This exercise went a long way in helping our executives keep that big-picture perspective.”


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010


Accelerated MBA programs

Accelerated MBA Programs Increasingly Appeal To Out-Of-Work Professionals

Grad school has always been a safe haven for out-of-work professionals in a down economy. Now, as economic indicators suggest the economy has bottomed out and the long recovery has begun, those workers face a tough decision: try to stick it out in a brutal job market or invest in retooling their skills and re-enter the market on the upswing.

For many, the decision comes down to timing.

Accelerated MBA programs are an increasingly appealing option for professionals who want to earn an advanced degree quickly — and affordably — and time their returns to the work force to coincide with the economic recovery. Along with a two-year program for full-time students seeking an immersive experience, the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona has developed three accelerated MBA program options.

The 18-month evening MBA meets once a week and is aimed at working professionals.

The 14-month executive MBA is designed for high-level professionals with extensive work experience.

The newest program, a 12-month Accelerated MBA, is a full-time experience beginning in summer 2010. The program is designed for professionals with an undergraduate business degree and a few years of experience. After completing a summer boot camp experience, the students step into the second year of the full-time program and focus on elective coursework.

The 18-month and 14-month programs also are offered in Phoenix at Eller’s Scottsdale campus.

“Beyond timing, a traditional, two-year MBA program just isn’t the right fit for everyone,” says Trina Callie, assistant dean of Eller MBA programs. “Workers with significant professional experience will be more at home in an accelerated program, like our Executive MBA. Business professionals who are three to five years out of college will get the most out of our 12-month MBA, where they can focus on elective coursework.”

Hoon Choi, a student in the 14-month Eller Executive MBA program, spent months unsuccessfully looking for a job and networking before realizing that “most of the employers were looking for the total package: MBA plus experience. Now I am expanding my network through an opportunity to work on an innovative, exciting project with my peers, who are all experts in their fields.”

Katherine Tunsky entered the traditional, full-time program this fall and sees it as a way to build skills in industries she hasn’t yet explored.

“My passion is real estate finance, but while here at Eller, I plan on focusing on sustainability and I will be applying for the dual-degree program in hopes of earning a master’s in environmental planning,” she says.

The Eller MBA program also recently introduced new focus areas that help students build skills in specific growth industries, such as energy and health care.

“For example, all of our programs include an international component, which we believe is vitally important in today’s global business environment,” Callie says. “But we also offer students access to consulting projects and career services to help them build their resumes and better position themselves for their coming job searches.”

Liz Warren-Pederson is the marketing and communications manager at the University of Arizona, www.eller.arizona.edu.