URI redesigns one-year MBA program and takes it to Providence

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KINGSTON, R.I., Oct. 22, 2012 – The University of Rhode Island has redesigned its one-year Master of Business Administration Program and moved the program to the downtown Feinstein Providence Campus. This move allows students to be closer to the businesses and executives who will play a key role in the program’s strategic innovation-focused curriculum.

“Our new one-year MBA program is a breakthrough design,” said Mark Higgins, dean of the College of Business Administration. “This approach demonstrates to students that strategic decision making is not sequential, but rather interdisciplinary across all areas of the business. Disruptive innovation in business is becoming the rule, not the exception, and this new program will ensure our students can thrive and compete.”

URI originally launched its one-year, accelerated MBA program in 1995, making it one of the first programs of its type in the nation. The College of Business Administration made several incremental updates over the past 18 years, but the program had not undergone an extensive revision. Three years ago Higgins enlisted faculty members to conduct a comprehensive review of the program, and assess how to make the traditional MBA more relevant in this rapidly changing economy. More than 20 faculty studied market trends, benchmarked other institutions, and surveyed national and regional employers, URI alumni, and current students.

The redesigned program focuses on how to manage, design and implement strategic innovation. In addition, the new program’s approach differs dramatically from the traditional MBA learning model of students taking 5 or 6 concurrent, 15-week courses, each in a distinct functional area taught by a different faculty member.

Instead, this highly innovative curriculum is team-taught using a faculty cohort emphasizing critical thinking skills, evidence-based decision making, and interpersonal communication as faculty explore the functional areas. Using a continuous improvement framework, each two-week module is built upon the module that precedes it.

Students will graduate with a greater understanding of how to make their organizations’ processes more efficient and their new products more effective. They will have a greater understanding of the strategic priorities of the organization and how to help them create sustainable competitive advantages. The skills developed in this program are those which employers deem important to an individual’s growth within an organization.

“In business you are integrating a variety of disciplines including accounting and marketing and finance; no one works in a silo any longer, “said MBA Coordinator Lisa Lancellotta. “This cross-disciplined approach requires students to make informed strategic decisions by understanding how these decisions impact the various business areas. We will develop business leaders who are forward-thinking, creative, and solution driven.”

The redesigned MBA program incorporates two other features. First, the students will participate in a “live case” with executives from Hasbro, Inc. Several company executives will participate in classroom sessions to discuss Hasbro’s successful transformation from a toy manufacturer to a global entertainment company, thereby providing students with a real life context in which to apply their coursework.

Second, the MBA program students will engage in experiential learning by forming teams to either work with Rhode Island organizations to help develop a new process or practice, or work with start-up organizations or entrepreneurs to develop an innovative product. The process and product innovation teams will work in a collaborative “business laboratory” setting. The redesigned program culminates in the summer with an internship.

The one-year MBA program has attracted students with undergraduate majors in theater, engineering, history, pharmacy, and the sciences. The early admission application deadline for next year’s class is April 15, 2013.

The URI College of Business Administration, with more than 1,500 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students, has served as the leader in business education, research, and outreach for the State of Rhode Island since it was founded in 1923. It is the first accredited

business school in Rhode Island (1969) and has the first accredited accounting program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the Northeast (1993). The College is a key stakeholder in shaping and fostering economic development in the state.


What Rhode Island Leaders Say…

=>“I applaud the new approach of the URI MBA and its focus on experiential learning opportunities with Rhode Island businesses. As we focus on growing our economy and getting people back to work, teaching students to think critically and exposing them to real-world experience has never been so important. The URI MBA program has tremendous potential to serve as a business incubator for innovative ideas that will benefit the State of Rhode Island as a whole.” — R.I. Governor Lincoln Chafee

=>“We are pleased to welcome the University of Rhode Island one-year MBA program to downtown Providence and look forward to working with the University to connect Providence workers with opportunities to expand their skills. Because of the opportunities created by our colleges and universities, Providence is positioned to compete in the New Economy. URI’s decision to move its unique one-year MBA program into the Downtown business district will help URI expand its reach into Providence’s business community and will help move Providence forward.”

— Providence Mayor Angel Taveras

=>“Employers have high expectations for MBA graduates in these ever-changing and demanding times, and the new MBA program is expansive, offering a competitive advantage for students. It will prepare them to use critical thinking and analytical skills on the job while applying practical, real world knowledge to confront the challenges businesses are facing on a global level.” — Al Verrecchia, chairman of the Hasbro Inc., Board of Directors

=>“This new full time MBA program in the heart of Providence will allow students to immerse themselves in a rigorous learning environment with strong connections to the local business community. This type of innovative programming not only fosters increased collaboration between students and employers, but serves to build a strong foundation for future workforce development statewide.” — Laurie White, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce President

MBA Program Tuition

Listed below are the estimated costs for full-time tuition for the 2012/2013 Fall/Spring semesters. Summer 2013 tuition per credit has not been determined yet, but please note students will take 9 credits over summer and pay on a per credit basis.

• In-state residents for Fall and Spring (living in RI for one year) = $15,378

• Out-state residents for Fall and Spring= $31,472

• Estimated Additional fees = $1,518 plus accident/sick insurance which is waivable $1676

• See Tuition and Fee Information for the detailed cost structure at http://www.uri.edu/es/acadinfo/acadyear/tuition.html.

Unemployment, Senior Citizen, Disabled Veteran and RI National Guard Tuition Waivers are available for eligible Rhode Island residents. See http://www.uri.edu/es/students/bill/waivers.html for details or call 401-874-9500.