Six new programs will be added to the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business for the fall semester.
Two online Master of Business Administration programs will be added, one with an accounting emphasis and one with a finance emphasis. The other four are certificate programs in accounting, finance, human resource management and marketing.
This spring, the graduate office saw a 27.8% increase in enrollment, which helped boost overall enrollment to the highest that the University has ever seen with 7,218 students. The 2,602 graduate students make up 36% of Northwest’s population.
Ben Blackford, director of the School of Business, said these programs came directly from student feedback.
“Everybody takes the same seven core classes, then the concentration areas for the MBA kind of come from those other three classes,” Blackford said. “We had a lot of students tell us they were having a hard time picking just one, and so that’s where the certificates came about.”
The certificates are an extra four classes students can take in addition to their MBA program. Blackford said it gives students an opportunity to get an MBA with a specific concentration and have another certification in a different area.
“It could also be very handy for maybe some who’ve got an MBA previously or other graduate degrees and had a specific interest in one of those areas, they can come back and get a certificate in finance or accounting,” Blackford said.
Students also have the opportunity to take the extra classes required for the certificate in addition to the classes they’re taking toward their MBA degree.
“We expect that we will probably have many people that will do that,” Blackford said. “They will take the classes towards their MBA in human resources and pick up the finance or analytics classes while they are enrolled in their MBA.”
Adding these MBA programs and certificates also gives students an opportunity to earn hours toward the Certified Public Accountant Exam. This is a 16-hour exam for students who are looking to become U.S. certified accountants, testing four areas in auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.
The CPA requires students to have 150 credit hours to be able to take the exam, and by taking these extra courses toward the certificates, it will help them earn credit hours while simultaneously earning more credentials.
“This gives those students the chance to also do an accounting MBA while they’re preparing for that assessment,” Blackford said. “So, while our program is set up to provide all the knowledge they need for the CPA exam in the undergraduate degree, this is another option for them to stay in their area while earning those additional hours for the CPA.”
Blackford said he is optimistic as the spots in the programs start to near capacity.
“We’re very happy with the incredible discussions and teamwork that they do, and I have so many telling me how impressed they are with what they’ve learned from other people in the MBA,” Blackford said. “So adding the certificates, adding the finance and accounting also gives us a chance to kind of broaden that foundation and give people a lot of opportunities to learn.”