Experienced professionals, organizational growth through innovation, and a commitment to effective public and private sector leadership characterize the first class of Arizona’s only 14-month executive master of business administration program
TUCSON, Ariz. – October 10, 2005 – Entrepreneurs, sales VPs, physicians and public servants, students from California and Maryland, minorities and women — the newly selected inaugural class of the Eller Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program at The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management confirms the program’s powerful appeal to an expansive range of professionals and organizations. The Eller MBA program and its Advisory Council also helped to extend that range with select scholarships aligned with the College’s commitment to ensuring proficient civic leadership.
Experience and Diversity
Thirty-six people comprise the Eller EMBA’s inaugural class. The distinct program — built on a 14-month accelerated curriculum that emphasizes advanced topics in business and leadership — has drawn participants not only from Tucson and Phoenix, but also California, Nevada, and Maryland. While all bring with them the professional accomplishment that is the hallmark of the program (the average participant has 12 years of significant experience), their career backgrounds vary as widely as the economic landscape in which they operate.
Participants include a physician in private practice, a chemical engineer turned entrepreneur, and an international corporate sales executive, to name just a few. For-profit companies represented in the program range from as large as Raytheon, Siemens, and Marriott International, Inc. to as small as The Solar Store, a local, privately owned, single-shop retailer. The program has also pulled strongly from non-profit and municipal agencies, including the Tucson Urban League, City of Douglas, and Tucson Unified School District.
In addition to professional diversity, the class reflects the personal diversity that increasingly characterizes the upper ranks of career accomplishment. Thirty-nine percent are women and 31 percent are from under-represented minority groups — African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
Brent Chrite, Eller MBA director and associate dean of the Eller College, said the heterogeneity of this inaugural class well serves the objectives of the Eller EMBA. “The increasingly volatile market in which today’s businesses compete requires managers and executives to operate — and succeed — beyond their own functional areas. The Eller EMBA program is uniquely structured to provide accomplished professionals the tools and insights necessary to accelerate innovation within and between organizational domains to create a sustainable competitive advantage,” Chrite said. “From the start, we conceived the Eller EMBA as a program that would reflect the extraordinary complexity and dynamism of today’s global environment with the capacity to transform a diverse group of people into more highly skilled leaders.”
Paul Portney, who became dean of the Eller College in July 2005, also lauded the dimension represented by the incoming class. “One of my near-term goals for the Eller College is to expand our executive education offerings to better serve the leadership community,” Portney said. “It’s gratifying to see not only such a strong response to the EMBA initiative but also how far-reaching the appeal is. It makes plain a need in this educational niche, and we’re proud to be the only college in Arizona offering a program like the Eller EMBA.”
Commitment to Civic Leadership
Recognizing that the cost of executive education can be a barrier to professionals in the non-profit and public service sectors, the Eller EMBA program demonstrated its commitment to improving community leadership by offering financial support for four participants from non-commercial sectors. The Eller MBA Advisory Council funded the Community Leadership Scholarship, covering all program costs valued at $40,000. The Eller EMBA program awarded the scholarship to Daniel Knee, who works as housing developer for the Tucson Urban League. Knee plans and executes construction projects to provide homes for families earning less than 80 percent of the local median income. The Eller MBA program has also funded three partial scholarships for participants from the public sector.
“We know that leaders in these fields play a critical role in our society and in our economy, so it was important for us to make the program accessible to them,” said Chrite. “The Eller College invests deeply in cultivating ethics and integrity in our students — funding participation for these applicants who do such important work is a strong affirmation of that philosophy.”
Portney, who spent 33 years working with the independent think tank Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C., said the scholarships demonstrate the incisive vision of the MBA program and the MBA Advisory Council. “Having worked at a non-profit organization for many years, I understand firsthand the challenges that that these organizations and public sector organizations face as well as their capacity to make a real difference in the overall well-being of a community,” he explained.
The Eller EMBA at a Glance
The Eller EMBA selectively admitted applicants demonstrating significant professional responsibility and leadership to create a cohort of participants who will benefit from each other’s expertise and experience. The program is designed to transfer knowledge to a participant’s work in real time, immediately driving her/his organization’s progress, maturity, and success.
Key Eller EMBA program elements include:
- Acceleration, delivering an advanced MBA degree in 14 months vs. a standard 24-month program
- Instruction contextualized in real-world challenges that build individual and enterprise capacities
- Cohort meetings 4 days a month, minimizing travel and time away from work and family
- A 10-module, integrated curriculum designed in concert with contemporary organizational leaders
- Blended learning, extending education beyond the classroom in offsite virtual team collaborations
- Guest speakers, adding contemporary expert insight to advanced management curriculum
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #14 among public business schools and three of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship, MIS, and Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #44 in the U.S. and #21 among public business schools. The College leads the nation’s business schools in generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers an Evening MBA program and the Eller Executive MBA. The Eller College of Management supports approximately 5,700 undergraduate and 700 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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