25, No. 19, April 20, 2006
Part-time MBA program offered
for those working full-time
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
photo to enlarge
by L. Brian Stauffer
Megan Puzey, a research
specialist with the National Soybean Research Center, is preparing herself for
promotion to managerial positions by attaining a master of business administration
degree through the UI’s Part-time
Evening MBA for Working Professionals program. “It’s a great way
to get your MBA and still be able to continue working,” Puzey said.
Megan Puzey, a research
specialist in the National Soybean Research Lab, wanted to get a master of
business administration degree but was concerned that a traditional MBA program
would conflict with her job and the international travel it occasionally
So when the Urbana campus founded its Part-time Evening MBA for Working Professionals
last year, Puzey was delighted.
“I could continue working at my job – which I enjoy – and be
here on campus to do the program without any extra travel. It worked out well.
This program was perfect for me,” Puzey said.
The class schedule for the program is designed for people who already are juggling
the demands of jobs and families, but want to prepare themselves for advancement – and
don’t have the time to commit themselves to a regular, full-time MBA
The program comprises 18 courses, or modules, that are four credit hours each,
for a total of 72 credit hours. Each
module lasts 10 weeks, and classes meet
two nights a week for three hours each session. The curriculum is similar to
the full-time MBA curriculum and helps students develop knowledge and skills
in a range of management fields, such as finance, marketing and information technology.
Students begin the program in January and complete their final class in June – 2
1/2 years later – with every July and August off so they can vacation
and spend time with their families or just rejuvenate before continuing the
find out more …
The College of Business will host an information session on the
Part-time Evening MBA for Working Professionals at 10 a.m.
on April 29 in Room 241 Wohlers Hall.
You’ll be able to meet representatives from the program,
obtain information on admissions and the curriculum, and get answers
to questions about the program.
Puzey and 29 other
students, part of the inaugural class, began course work in January.
The class profile includes bankers, engineers and computer scientists,
among other professions, who work at the UI, AmDocs, State Farm and
other area businesses. To be considered for admission to the program,
candidates must have at least two years’ full-time,
professional work experience. However, many of the people in the class
have substantially more.
“It’s challenging,” Puzey said. “It’s a lot
of information crammed into three hours of each lecture, but the best part about
it is you’ve got a small enough class that you get to know everybody. There
are such diverse backgrounds among the students, people working at different
managerial levels, in different industries. There are people who’ve been
on the job for 27 years, and people that are a bit newer to it. It’s a
great mix of people.”
And that mix really enhances the learning experience, enabling students
to learn from each other during discussions and group projects.
“I think that the real advantage of the part-time program is that you can
pursue your education while you are still fully employed and furthering your
career,” said Avijit Ghosh, dean of the College of Business. “And
you can link what you’re learning in the classroom to the work that you’re
doing with the organization.”
Puzey graduated from the UI’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental
Sciences in 2001 with a degree in agricultural economics and has worked at the
Soybean Research Lab since then. In addition to the six hours of classes, Puzey
estimated that she spends at least 12 hours in group meetings and reading, plus
several more hours studying each week. Prospective students are advised to allot
at least 15-20 hours per week for classroom work, computer and research, and
In addition to full-time work experience, prospective students also
need to have an undergraduate degree in any field and have taken the
Graduate Management Admission test within five years of applying to
The College of Business launched the part-time MBA program after doing
extensive surveys with UI alumni and businesses with 500 or more employees
within a 75-mile radius of Champaign-Urbana. Mary Miller, associate
dean of the MBA program, conducted the survey and said that many human-resource
managers indicated that they have difficulty recruiting people and
retaining them, and they hoped that the program might be an incentive
for prospective employees.
The university’s Executive MBA program was moved from the Urbana campus
to Chicago two years ago, leaving a void in Central Illinois for people wanting
to get an education in business and further their careers.
Companies “overwhelmingly indicated that they were looking for a general
MBA program that would prepare their employees for middle- and upper-level management,” Miller
said. “They have people who have no business background but are working
in a business environment, and in order to get promoted they need that broad,
general knowledge of business.”
The College of Business and the Office of the Provost are sponsoring
two scholarships for university employees for the next class, which
will begin in January 2007.
For more information, visit the program’s Web site, which is accessible
from the College of Business home page, www.business.uiuc.edu (click
on “programs” at
the top of the page, then “master’s” in the drop-down menu).