New MBA program thinks outside the COB

September 27, 2007

by Elizabeth DeGrie

As early as next quarter, graduate students in the College of Business will have new opportunities in their master’s of business administration program.

Douglas Amyx, the new associate dean of graduate studies and research, said the new program will still allow for a regular MBA, but two new concentrations in innovation and information assurance will soon be available in the MBA program.

“We’re going to have a unique and differentiated MBA program,” he said.
Amyx said the graduate studies department is also working to make the MBA more accessible to students without a background in business.

Clayton Posey, student representative on the Graduate Policies and Admissions Committee for the COB and a doctoral student, said he thought easier access was a particularly important part of the process.

Currently, students without an undergraduate degree in business must go through at least one year of undergraduate work before getting into their graduate coursework.

“We’re trying to hammer out ways that will make it easier for them to obtain MBAs than it has been before,” Posey said.

Amyx said he is very pleased with the faculty that has made it possible to quickly put these programs together. Much of the transition has been possible with classes and programs already in place. For the new courses, Amyx looked to Tom Roberts, a professor in the department of management and information systems, who has over 20 years of experience in teaching he drew from in creating the classes.

Roberts said the program was created for three main reasons: to support the Barksdale Air Force Base, to supplement a request by the Tech Computer Information Sciences Advisory Council and to help the students that graduate from the business department prepare for using federal policies that protect individuals rights.

One of the new classes offers a broad survey in information protection. The others are more detailed courses. The courses can be taken in any order, after the survey class prerequisite has been completed. One class deals with incident responses and computer forensics, which Roberts said is like computer CSI.

Another class offers instruction in disaster relief and business continuance, dealing with how to prepare for disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, the last class involves information assurance and risk analysis.
Roberts said the most important function of the information protection concentration is that it will assist students in finding jobs.

“The market numbers for information assurance jobs grew 10 percent last year,” Roberts said. “That’s the only [Information Technology] job where that’s true.”
Roberts said the new Cyber Commander at Barksdale is supposed to create 10,000 to 12,000 jobs in the private sector.

“It will give our students an edge,” Roberts said. “This will help prepare our students to take part in that job sector.”

Roberts said cross-disciplinary interaction is also important. The COB is particularly looking at working with the School of Engineering to make the degrees more accessible.

“Maybe we can offer something that no one else can offer,” Posey said. “With these concentrations we are positioned in a very different way than other universities locally. We hope to see an influx of students both from outside and across disciplines.”