The Rise of SSU's MBA Programs
February 18, 2014 8:32 AM
The Rise of SSU's MBA Programs
By John Stayton
Over the remainder of this decade, Sonoma State's MBA programs will continuously increase in prominence and prestige. How? Through constant improvement in enrollment, quality of teaching, program distinctiveness and academic standards, as well as through your passionate engagement as students and alumni of our graduate and executive programs.
As the new Executive Director of Graduate and Executive Programs for the School of Business and Economics, I am committed to these outcomes. This the first time that all of our MBA programs (including the Professional MBA, the Executive MBA, and the Wine MBA/EMBA programs) have one director who, with two superb staff members (Shalyn Eyer and Christine Pinella), is responsible for the success of all of our graduate programs. I came to SSU from Dominican University where I cofounded and directed the MBA Program in Sustainable Enterprise (the first "Green MBA" in the world) and the Venture Greenhouse, a business incubator focused on companies seeking to make significant environmental, social and economic impacts.
Since starting on October 28th, I have had the opportunity to talk with many of you. We have held roundtable meetings with current MBA students, Cohort 4 & 5 EMBA students, and Wine EMBA alumni (Napa Cohort 1). I have spoken with full-time and adjunct faculty members, administrators and staff, individual students and alumni, and various other stakeholders. We have established a baseline understanding of our current status and are developing and implementing plans for the future of our programs.
There is plenty of upside potential. The North Bay has a sufficient population to support robust MBA and EMBA programs. We also have the opportunity to leverage unique regional and internal academic strengths to produce distinctive destination graduate degree programs (like out wine programs) that will attract students globally. However, these outcomes will only happen if we can assure students that they will have consistently high quality educational experiences, and become part of a robust community of students and alumni that will help them to achieve their career goals.
The fastest way to achieve success is to engage all of us - students, alumni, faculty and staff. There are numerous ways for students and alumni to engage. A few of these include:
• Initiating and/or participating in networking and other social events;
• Engaging in online forums, like our Facebook and LinkedIn groups;
• Providing Shalyn and me with feedback and suggestions for program improvement;
• For alumni, volunteering to speak in a class, develop an MBA project with your organization, talk with prospective students, mentor current students, or in some other way enhance the education of current students;
• Promoting our MBA and EMBA programs to friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, both in person and through social media;
• Offering your ideas and initiative to engage us as a community in ways we never would have imagined;
• Writing an article for a future newsletter, which we plan to send out bi-monthly.
The success of our MBA programs will enhance the economic value and prestige of your SSU MBA or EMBA degree. I look forward to working together to make this success and increasing value a reality.