July 20, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers MBA program moves up to 39th spot in US

Photo by Courtesy of Sharon Lydon |

Students from the Flex MBA graduate program gather for the Rutgers Business School “Football Tailgate” held in November 2013.

Rutgers Business School’s Flex Master of Business Administration graduate program climbed 30 spots in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 part-time MBA program rankings.

According to the national rankings on usnews.com, the program was ranked 69 last year and contained 1,006 students across New Brunswick and Newark campuses. It now ranks 39 in the United States. The Full-Time MBA program also saw an increase from rank 61 to 60 in its category.

Sharon Lydon, associate dean and executive director of the MBA program at Rutgers Business School-Newark, said the success was credited to two factors. First was the Office of Career Management’s facilitating of connections between corporate recruiters, students and MBA program faculty on both a professional and personal level.

The other factor was outward branching exemplified by the Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges and Business Administration Conference, which RBS plans to host. Lydon said the event is scheduled for Oct. 15 and 16 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick and the RBS building.

“We’re really excited, the faculty that’s teaching the Flex MBA program and the staff. We’ve always known the Flex program to be this incredible jewel,” Lydon said. “Especially the students — they’ve worked so hard.”

The Traditional Full-Time MBA program is a two-year program. It includes two semesters of class, a summer internship and two additional semesters of class. Lydon said the program places graduates in a career three months or earlier after completion of the program.

She said the program’s employment rate for this window is 95.2 percent, ranking it No. 8, according to usnews.com.

Lydon said the Flex MBA program is a two- to four-year, part-time path designed for students with a busier schedule that involve factors such as work and family. Flex students are matriculated with full-time students.

Both programs seek students with three or more years of professional experience. The programs also offer help with resume writing, interviews and salary negotiation immediately upon enrollment, Lydon said.

The Future Leaders 2+2 program is available and recommended for undergraduate students interested in an MBA. Prospective students can gain deferred admission to the full-time MBA program, while working a full-time career for two years. Students can begin the two-year, full-time MBA program after obtaining the experience.

Lydon said student involvement that comes by attending networking events for both the Flex and Traditional Full-Time MBA programs is important. The events bridge the gap between full- and part-time graduate students from both the Newark and New Brunswick campuses.

Diane Hanna, president of Rutgers Business School’s New Brunswick Student Council, said she leads the networking events.

Hanna, a second-year Rutgers Business School graduate student, said before she was made President in September 2013, the primarily commuter-based student body simply attended class and left without much involvement.

She wants to set a precedent for those who eventually fill her position to continue creating events.

“I think the greatest aspect we have in our school is networking capability,” Hanna said. “You could be sitting next to a CEO and not even know it.”

She said events include happy hour at George Street’s World of Beer, tailgate meet-ups at Rutgers football games and successful guest speakers with established careers.

Hanna said Randy Lake, CEO of Oldcastle Materials, the largest vertically-integrated construction materials company in the US, was was awarded a CEO Excellence Award by RBS. At a seminar, he provided insight to students on how to focus on the differences they can make within their career titles, rather than the titles themselves.

Barbara Sackie, assistant dean of Rutgers Business School, said she also acknowledges the networking events and encouragement of a collaborative environment as products that result in the Flex and the Traditional Full-Time MBA program’s rise in rankings.

She said when she was first put on staff as Program Administrator in 2001, the MBA program held half the enrollment it has today.

The programs on the New Brunswick campus have recently found a home at 100 Rockafeller Road on the Livingston campus. Opened in September 2013, the six-story building streamlines classes that were once scattered in various buildings across the campus, Sackie said.

Hanna said it has the fastest Internet connection on campus, the aesthetics provide a more business-like setting compared to previous classrooms and the classroom designs foster a more collaborative environment.

Another cause of their recent success is Hanna’s leadership, Sackie said.

Lydon agrees that she does not want to rest on her laurels. Like Hanna, Lydon wishes to further promote the programs to potential students. She plans to attend a conference in Singapore to gain traction for this goal.

As she moves toward a hands-on approach between faculty and students, she said her new mantra is “innovation and change.”

Sackie said she promotes another phrase, “learn today, lead tomorrow.” She plans to receive student feedback to tailor alterations to the program. She said she would like to see an increase in online and weekend classes to accommodate students with cumbersome schedules.

“We’re trying to make our classes convenient and available for our student population,” Sackie said.

In concert with these plans, Sackie said she aims to expand the program’s dual degree graduate programs. Dual degree programs are two- to four-year programs that consolidate two degrees from either the same or different schools to form a singular curriculum, awarding both degrees in a shorter period of time.

In order to perpetuate the thriving momentum, Hanna said she plans to continue event planning and make apparel, such as sweatshirts, to promote the graduate business school. She strives to constantly evaluate the programs and work on strengthening weaknesses.

“I’ve always been one to push myself to push myself to do better,” Hanna said.

By Alex Grillo

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