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MBA program merges prerequisites into curriculum

March 23, 2017

The Nicholls State University College of Business Administration is integrating pre-requisites classes with existing courses in its Master of Business Administration curriculum.

“We are now better able to serve those individuals who don’t have an undergraduate degree in business,” Luke Cashen, professor of management and director of Nicholls’ MBA program, said. “As a secondary effect, we are also better able to serve the business undergrad by making sure that their foundation knowledge is fresh.”

Starting next fall, students will no longer be required to fulfill the pre-requisite coursework before starting the MBA program.

Even students with degrees unrelated to business can now go straight into the 500 level MBA curriculum.

This change was made with the goal of removing barriers that, according to Cashen, have traditionally discouraged prospective students from applying to the program.

The goal is to have a MBA program that appeals to students from different backgrounds, including undergraduate degrees other than business, including business students who might have taken those courses during their sophomore year or who graduated years ago.

In the new curriculum, the knowledge that was previously required of the student is now integrated in the MBA coursework.

“We have taken the foundation knowledge that is needed to satisfy the needs of the MBA level coursework and wrapped it into the courses itself,” Cashen said.

At the beginning of each course, an instructor will introduce all of the foundation material necessary, before moving forward to the MBA material.

Before the changes, there were six out of 10 courses in the traditional MBA curriculum that had a series of pre-requisites.

The foundation requirements included two introductory classes at the 200 level in financial and managerial accounting, micro and macroeconomics, statistics, management, marketing and financial management classes.

“Anybody can come into our MBA curriculum, even if they are not business undergraduates,” Cashen said. “But in order for an individual to tackle a MBA accounting class for example, they need to have been exposed to foundation materials in accounting, particularly financial accounting and managerial accounting”

Students typically demonstrated proficiency in those courses by taking the respective classes in the undergraduate level before they were able to actually start taking the MBA classes.

“They not only had to tackle the MBA curriculum, but they also had this very large set of foundation courses to take, which made the MBA much longer in duration,” Cashen said. “In fact, this even made it prohibitive for many individuals.”

Individuals who had business undergraduate degrees had the advantage of satisfying the pre-requisite courses, since it is a part of the undergraduate curriculum of that major.

Those individuals would then be able to complete the MBA program in a period as little as 18 months.

However, the students who come from educational backgrounds other than business, would be required to fulfill the foundation requirement courses, which can add up to 24 extra credit-hours to the 30 credit-hours MBA workload.

“There is not doubt that this brings an economic benefit too, along with the time benefit,” Cashen said. “If you think about it, anybody, regardless of his or her undergraduate degree, can be done [with their MBA program] in 18 months. It used to be a lot longer.”

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