Capitalizing on growth and demand, the University of Texas-Pan American’s accelerated online MBA program, beginning next month, is more than just adding a scheduling option.
Each program’s courses will be offered in seven-week terms, with six terms planned to be offered within one calendar year. The MBA program will require the successful completion of 12 courses, including a capstone course that will be offered each term after the completion of the program’s first 11-course cycle. In total, the program is 36-credit hours. Tuition for the MBA degree program is $14,500.
All of the MBA modules for this general degree will be offered in a carousel-style, meaning each course will be available each term, allowing students can “get on and off”, or enroll in classes easily. The only course that will require a pre-requisite is the capstone, which students take in their last semester.
While this is the first fully online course for the school, UT-Pan American was one of five schools that made up the University of Texas online consortium, which offers a fully online MBA degree program. Previously, students interested in an online MBA program could sign up through UTPA, receive a diploma from UTPA but take courses taught by faculty from UTPA, UT-Arlington, UT-Permian Basin, UT-Brownsville and UT-San Antonio.
“We’ve had success with that, but there we some deficiencies,” said Dave Jackson, MBA program director. “With this new program, it will be entirely UTPA and will be focused on serving our audience.
“We wanted to make program more accessible to people here,” he said. “We’ve made efforts to accommodate working adults, for instance off-campus classes, but this is just another step to reach out to the community to make it more convenient. The geography here makes it almost impossible for students to travel to campus on a daily basis. There’s a tremendous demand for an accredited university that will allow for (an online) opportunity.”
UT-Pan American is located in the Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas and the only AACSB-accredited university within 200 miles. While the valley area features several small towns spread out, making commuting to a campus hard for a part-time MBA student, it is not a dying part of the country. McAllen, an adjacent city to Edinburg, where the school’s main campus is located, was listed by as one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in America by CNNMoney.
The majority of UTPA’s students are Hispanic – the Rio Grande Valley is 85% Hispanic population.
“We believe there is a lot of demand, not only in our local region, but we also feel like we have a great product with our AACSB accreditation and with our faculty, very verse in Latin American fields,” said Vice Provost for Graduate Studies Cynthia Brown, who hopes to triple the size of the MBA program over the next three years with the new online scheduling option.
“The Hispanic community and the border community in particular is a very entrepreneurial area,” she said. “As people begin their business (after undergrad), they realize they need some more advanced skills. That fuels the demand for this program.”
The UTPA program also has established a tutor system – for every 25 students, a tutor is assigned to help students keep up with the accelerated pace.
“In a seven-week semester, we can’t afford to have students behind, even if it is for a couple of days,” said Jackson.
The accelerated online MBA degree can be completed in one calendar year.
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets