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Loyola’s Sellinger School announces revamped professional MBA

But to move beyond mere stability, business schools must adapt their curricula to the needs of the communities they serve, says Kathleen Getz, the new dean of Loyola University Maryland's Sellinger School of Business and Management. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Kathleen Getz, the dean of Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management, says Sellinger revamped its professional MBA program to reflect employers’ and students’ changing needs. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

In an effort to better prepare graduates for the local business environment, Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business is revamping the curriculum for its professional MBA program.

The revised program will have a more streamlined curriculum, including opportunities for students to get hands-on experience at Sellinger’s campuses, with area businesses and abroad.

“Our curriculum revisions reflect the changing business environment and meet the needs of students and employers,” said Kathleen Getz, dean of the Sellinger School in a statement. “We go beyond abstract business concepts to teach the functional skills our students need to be leaders of positive change in the workplace and in their community.”

Curriculum changes, which kick in this fall, include an experiential learning requirement that can be met through a consulting practicum, a study abroad experience or an experiential course with a specific department. The school has also reduced course requirements to 48 credits, or 16 courses, instead of 53 credits or 20 courses. There is also more flexibility with courses, including online and hybrid options, where students meet both online and in classrooms. The program also has courses that emphasize communication skills.

There are some 300 students in Sellinger’s professional MBA. Students who are already in the program can transition to the new curriculum or stay with current one. Courses will still be offered at Loyola’s graduate centers in Timonium and Columbia.

“The revisions to the program were really implemented through a desire to keep the program current,” said Associate Dean Marianne Ward-Peradoza.

In the summer of 2014, a curriculum design committee made up of Sellinger faculty looked at business programs across the country and collected data. The committee also surveyed recent graduates, prospective students, alumni and employers to get a sense of what people wanted from an MBA program.

The professional MBA program is a part-time, evening program. Students in the program typically have five to seven years of professional experience.

“As we looked at updates, we really needed to focus on finding ways to promote the development of graduates,” said Ward-Peradoza.

The team identified the ability to communicate in legal and regulatory environments in the business world as an essential skill, specifically, having strong written and oral presentation skills and using quantitative and qualitative data in a business setting.

Among the experiential learning options, the study abroad course includes a week to 10-day trip abroad and coursework both before and after the trip. While abroad, students visit companies while focusing on a particular discipline, such as marketing or law and social responsibility.

In one of the discipline-specific experiential courses, Sellinger’s department of finance has an applied portfolio class in which students get to manage a portion of the university’s endowment. In the consulting practicum, students work on consulting projects with local businesses.

The new curriculum also has a waiver policy where students can get out of certain courses in which they have prior coursework or work experience. While students can’t reduce their credit requirements, they can take a more advanced course instead.

Upon getting the job as Sellinger dean a year ago, Getz said she wants to offer a localized approach to business education. In Baltimore, that means opportunities in finance, health care, operations management, the federal government and in the defense industry, said Ward-Peradoza.

“The MBA remains a degree that students look to as they seek to either advance in their current line of business or potentially move to a new line of business,” she said.