U to launch online MBA program in fall

N-MBA Online2 Colby Patterson
U students work on various assignments in the Union Computer Lab. Photo by Dane Goodwin.

U students work on various assignments in the Union Computer Lab. Photo by Dane Goodwin.

The U’s professional and full-time Master of Business Administration programs have added another option for potential graduate business students to gain their degree through a computer instead of a classroom, which will begin Fall Semester 2014.

Brad Vierig, associate dean of the David Eccles School of Business, said the addition of the online MBA program gives more flexibility to students. He hopes it will help those who cannot meet in a classroom every day because they live too far away or have a full work schedule.

“We are really, really excited [about the program],” Vierig said. “It will help us compete nationally.”

The new program was announced early last week, and Vierig said they have had over 150 inquires into the program since then. Interest in the program has spanned from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

Vierig said the School of Business expects the degree to be just as successful as their other MBA programs and it will be held to the same standard of work.

“We expect this to be a top 25 program in the next couple of years,” he said. “This will be something that will be high quality.”

Vierig foresees the same success from the degree because they have been researching similar programs over the past few years to see if they wanted to add the online MBA program. He said this will be the first program of its kind in the state of Utah and hopes the addition will attract potential students from outlying states because of the school’s reputation.

The online MBA will be different from undergraduate online courses. The program will allow working students to study on their own time, on weekends or at night. It will consist of online lectures, problem sets and other tools that will be available on multiple devices to give the program even more flexibility to potential students.

Vierig said the new program will be “state-of-the-art” in the way of technology.

Even though the School of Business’s administration is excited about the new degree, some students are slightly skeptical about the new program. Josh Leato, a junior in operations management, said he believes the program will be successful as long as the quality of instruction remains the same as normal classes.

“Online classes are good, but at the same time you kind of lose the interaction, which isn’t necessarily good,” Leato said. “I personally like online classes.”

He said the flexibility aspect could be appealing because of the convenience to those with long work hours.

Leato said at one time getting an MBA was on his agenda, but he is currently looking into different types of graduate schools and programs.

“I considered it a while ago, but thinking about it, its just not something I want to do,” Leato said.

n.turner@chronicle.utah.edu