Tag Archives: masters program

Companies Continue To Turn To ASU - Az Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Despite Hard Times, Companies Continue To Turn To ASU For Executive Education Offerings

You might think companies designate the development of managers and executives as a low priority as they try to weather the storm of a recession. Though it’s true many companies scale back tuition benefits and send fewer people to executive education programs, most business leaders still are keenly aware they need to develop current and future talent, especially as the economy begins to recover.

Because of the recent recession, firms had to reduce staff precisely at the time when the first wave of baby boomers — a vast reserve of knowledge and experience — is set to retire. This leaves a much smaller and less-seasoned population of Generation Xers with the responsibility to manage the incoming “boomlet” of millennials. As a result, professional development opportunities no longer are considered a “perk,” and organizations are much more purposeful in identifying future leaders among current managers, and providing them with learning and development opportunities that are cost effective and build capabilities that translate into business results.

This situation raises a number of challenges and opportunities for business schools, which over the last 20 years have expanded from their traditional role of providing companies with freshly-minted graduates to also partnering with them in the development of their existing talent pools. Like many business schools across the country, Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business assumed this new role, in part, by creating a wide range of degree and non-degree programs for working professionals.

The school’s Center for Executive and Professional Development (CEPD) provides short, non-degree courses and certificates, including customized programs. The school’s MBA program is offered in executive, evening and online formats. The school’s full-time MBA program currently is ranked in the Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The evening MBA program is ranked in the Top 20.

Two part-time master’s degrees also are offered to working professionals: the Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) is a one-year evening program that prepares IT managers; and the Master in Taxation (MTAX) is a one- or two-year evening program focused on the skills needed to provide tax advice and administer tax laws.

New demands from companies continue to raise the bar on all of W. P. Carey’s programs for working professionals. In response to customer surveys, CEPD recently shifted away from offering multi-day, on-campus short courses to instead scheduling courses over multiple evenings, weekends and online. This minimizes disruption to work schedules. This August, CEPD will launch a series of online, one-week “mini-courses” in marketing, finance, accounting, information systems management, leadership and supply chain management. The courses will be taught by W. P. Carey faculty.

The center also has ramped up its ability to design and deliver custom programs, with objectives and learning materials that can be tailored to specific industry and company needs, and that can be delivered on campus, at company locations, provided entirely online or in a “blended” live/online format.

The school’s professional MBA programs also have several initiatives underway. One involves a deepened focus on leadership across all of the working professional MBA programs. That includes community leadership in concert with an increased focus in the business world on corporate social responsibility.

In addition to integrating significant, new leadership components into the coursework, students, alumni and staff from all of the W. P. Carey MBA working professional programs also recently engaged in volunteering and fundraising for various local nonprofit organizations. The school also initiated annual Student Leadership Awards, with community leadership a major criteria for nomination and selection.

The school’s two other masters programs for working professionals, MSIM and MTAX, also are aligning their programs more closely to the needs of businesses. In the MSIM program, student teams work on a year-long project with a company of their choice (which, in most cases, is their employer). They analyze the competitive forces within the company’s industry, then come up with a transformation plan involving a major IT component and leveraging all the courses they’ve had in the MSIM curriculum.

“Companies see real value in the projects,” said the program’s director, Uday Kulkarni. “Some of our past projects have been actually used by companies, since the plans make specific recommendations about technology platforms, capital and revenue budgets, human resources and project rollout.”

He also points out that the program holds an executive seminar series four times a year so “Valley leaders can speak directly to students about how they are transforming their businesses.”

Similarly, the MTAX program incorporates local practitioners as instructors and seeks to maintain a cutting-edge curriculum through a rigorous annual review process that includes input from an advisory board composed of alumni and distinguished practitioners.

In many ways, the school’s challenges in increasing the accessibility and impact of its programs for working professionals are similar to those faced by companies as they strive to better serve and expand their customer base.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

CEO Series: Kathleen H. Goeppinger - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

CEO Series: Kathleen H. Goeppinger

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Midwestern University

How did the recession affect Midwestern University’s enrollment and course offerings?
It’s a very interesting thing, but when a student is ready to make a career choice, we’re finding that more and more want to go into health care, because it’s one of the professions – whether it be medicine or dentistry or occupational therapy – that they know is always going to be needed in the future. So, instead of having a concern about our enrollments, the application pool and the applicants is so high right now that our toughest job is deciding who we can admit. It’s pretty much the reverse of the industries that I know of around the Valley.

What kind of feedback are you getting from business leaders in terms of what they need from Midwestern’s course offerings?
One of the tough things that we are always doing is looking very strategically at the health care needs of all of the communities that we serve. We spend a great deal of time analyzing and looking at what’s needed next. In many times, we’ll start an academic program to meet a shortage within the state. A great example is nurse anesthesia. We began the nurse anesthesia masters program in the College of Health Sciences because the local hospital CEOs came to us and said, We can’t recruit; there’s not enough here in the Valley; we absolutely have to have a program. So we have responded to the community need, the hospital need, and even the general health care need when we’e gone ahead and started new programs.

What are some of the challenges and trends facing private universities such as Midwestern?
I’ve been the president and CEO now for 15 years. And in those 15 years, while sometimes challenges may change because student expectations might be a little different, curriculums change, but I don’t know if I see any of the core values of running a higher education university different today than I did 15 years ago. I think sometimes we have to be a little more aware of the academics around us. We have to be a little more sensitive to the students who come in – not with the same background that I might have had when I was a college student or a graduate student. But I think for the most part, the core values of who we are and how we serve the community have never really changed.

What skills are needed to be an effective C-level executive at a private university?
I think people who want to be in leadership roles have to be very willing to carefully listen to others and not be the one to talk, but be the one to listen and understand people’s needs, to be able to give them coaching and direction. The other thing I would say (to people) looking to get ahead in their career is to never be afraid of the numbers. I have had people who have worked for me say, “I can’t understand the numbers.” Well, I think that you have to understand the numbers and you have to make sure you have a great understanding of the financial part of an organization and how does it grow and what do the numbers say to you. I’ve always told people here that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So, if you can measure it and understand it and set up clear objectives, you then can be very effective.

Vital Stats

  • Appointed president and CEO of Midwestern University in 1995
  • Member of the university’s board of trustees since 1985
  • From 1985 to 1995 served as professor and director of the Center for Organization Development at Loyola University Chicago
  • Worked at Carson Pirie Scott & Co. from 1966 to 1985
  • Received the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award from the Glendale Chamber of Commerce in 1999
  • Received the Excellence in Osteopathic Medical Education award from the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association in 2003
  • www.midwestern.edu

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010