Certified Public Accountant Steven Taylor worked in management for 25 years. Unfortunate circumstances, including the death of his wife, left Taylor jobless and destitute. That was three years ago. Today Taylor is remarried and excited to be one of the first students enrolled in the new Master of Business Administration program at Utah Valley University.
"I figured with the gap in my resume and with the current economy, it's a great time to go to school," Taylor said. "I will be able to freshen up my skills, and it will give me a leg up on my marketability."
There has been an MBA program available for 15 years at UVU through Utah State University. It was USU's program, just administered at the Orem campus. Now, UVU is equipped to take on its own MBA and is preparing a state-of-the-art program and class area within the Woodbury School of Business, complete with teachers and students who are engaged in a new learning process, according to Taggart Frost, program director.
At present the Woodbury School of Business is undergoing some cosmetic changes. The internal construction will feature a new finance lab, four MBA rooms and an accounting room.
Frost said the dream of UVU's own MBA program started about three years ago with some discussion with Utah State. "It was just the right timing," Frost said. "They [USU] were willing to offer up their program. We waited, and in July of 2009, the board of regents approved the move."
Currently a part-time MBA program, the course is designed for those already working or who are in business. There are two classes a semester on Friday night and Saturday morning. If you enroll this fall you will complete the course in June of 2012 with a total of 33 credits.
There were 90 applicants with 45 accepted. The group's GMAT mean score was 560. The national mean score is 535. "We have a high expectation," Frost said. "We won't be soft. These students will have the opportunity to be a little different than the rest of the world."
Frost and assistant professor Jeff Peterson use words like engaged, connected, passionate, integrated, dynamic and synergy to describe the program. "Business today effects all areas. It allows us to teach theory and concepts. We give them lots of tools and applications. We stop to analyze. Then they will apply what they've learned in the real world with Capstone," Peterson said.
Capstone is a part of the two-year team learning process within the MBA program. In November, the 45 student cohort will look at three or four selected presentations from community businesses. They will choose one, and for the rest of the program, they will be applying their instruction to help improve that business. It could also be a business or project the students create on their own.
Scott Hammond is the program director and is excited to see the progression in the students and what they end up choosing to do.
"We use learning beyond getting a grade in class," Hammond said. "We give students a chance to dream something."
Hammond said the program has three criteria for the students -- use your newfound MBA skills, involve everybody in the 45 person group and make a sustainable difference in the community.
"I already have companies in line contacting us to be a part of the Capstone program," Hammond said. He also said the experience will be made into a documentary as they watch the transformation in the students. It captures the faculty as well.
Earlier this year Norman Wright was announced as the new dean of the business college. He comes from Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia, and while he's a local boy and a graduate of Brigham Young University, his business scope is international.
"This school has grown up over the last seven to eight years," Wright said. "With the Association to Advance College Schools of Business accreditation it allows us to attract very good faculty."
Wright said that while he and other members of the faculty have a national and international scope in business, he said UVU's mission is much more local.
"We need to be engaged right here. I think that's the difference," Wright said. "We're No. 2 in the nation in business. People want to live here."
Frost agrees: "UVU is not a secondary alternative school. It is a school of choice, committed to education."
Call (801) 863-5099 for more information about the MBA program.