August 21, 2013
Classes began on Monday evening, August 19 for Drury graduate students, but, for a handful of students, they’ve already had an intense summer. Non-business undergraduate students spent five weeks this summer drinking from the fire hose of knowledge trying to become eligible for Drury’s Master of Business Administration (MBA).
In the slang vocabulary of Master of Business Administration education, there are two types of students. “Quants” are students who have undergraduate degrees in technical majors such as engineering or business. “Poets” are students who come to the MBA program from the social sciences and humanities. Even before they could take a graduate business class, the poets could be staring down nearly 24 hours of prerequisite courses in accounting, finance, economics, management and marketing to be admitted to an MBA program.
To help non-business undergraduates overcome that barrier and to increase the pool of potential applicants to the MBA program, a few years ago Drury introduced the “MBA Boot Camp.” Its official name is the Certificate in Business Essentials and it covers all of the prerequisites for Drury’s MBA program in just a few weeks every summer.
“It’s very intense and not easy. Students attend class four nights a week for five weeks,” said Angie Davis, director of Drury’s MBA. “But if you’re focused and determined enough, you can finish and meet all of the pre-requisites.”
Students who complete the program earn eight hours of undergraduate credit and hit the ground running when they begin the graduate classes. “After going through boot camp, I’m looking forward to the MBA classes,” said Courtney Mellinger, a first-year MBA student. “Taking one class is going to seem much easier than attending class four nights a week.”
Winter Skelton graduated from Drury in 2005 with a double major in writing and English. She put that degree to use immediately as a communications coordinator at Community Foundation of the Ozarks. It didn’t take long before she was promoted to Director of Donor Services. That promotion, combined with Skelton’s goals of earning a master’s degree and to one day become the executive director of a non-profit organization, compelled Skelton to consider several MBA programs, but she settled on Drury.
“I took one business class in college, non-profit management, and one math class,” Skelton said. “I chose Drury because of the boot camp, otherwise, I was looking at a year or two of prerequisite classes before taking any MBA courses.”
Skelton, though, is the first to admit it was an intense five weeks, “I told my friends, ‘I’ll see you in five weeks.’ It was hard, all I did was work, go to school and do homework; but five weeks is better than two years.”
For students who complete the Certificate in Business Essentials, but don’t go on to pursue an MBA, the coursework provides eight undergraduate credit hours and a foundation for those who want to work in business or start a company.
The ability to become MBA-ready in just five weeks has also opened the degree up to a wider population of potential students, and that has elevated the quality of the program. “Non-business people have a different way of looking at the world,” said Davis. “Humanities people may be more focused on language and relationships, and science people see things logically. Those different worldviews make for a robust classroom discussion, which benefits all students pursuing a Drury MBA.”
Story by Mark Miller, associate director of marketing and communications at Drury.