Dominican University's Brennan School of Business has just designed a cutting-edge new curriculum for its MBA program with input from business leaders seeking graduates ready to lead and innovate. It's a timely upgrade for a program already regarded for its rigorous and relationship-centered approach. The school's dean, Roberto Curci, began his career working for Gillette Co. in his native Colombia and holds a doctorate in international business and finance. We caught up with him to talk about Brennan's enhanced program, emerging trends and why an MBA matters now more than ever.
Q: Is the MBA degree still in demand? What are its benefits in today's business environment?
A: Yes, demand remains high. Our partners in the business world tell us that MBAs bring knowledge and perspective that allows them to contribute, innovate and lead from day one. Also, many of our MBA students develop stronger professional and personal skills that allow them to accelerate their career or move into more rewarding areas.
Q: Today's business leaders must adapt rapidly to changing market needs, technologies and resources. How has the Brennan MBA shifted to ensure graduates are market-ready?
A: We recently redesigned our program so students spend even more time "learning-by-doing" with real-world work immersions. For example, incoming students will now participate in an intensive gateway experience in which they'll work together to solve a problem with one of our corporate or community philanthropy partners. In another change starting this fall, our MBA students will be able to graduate in as little as 18 months, with a concentration in one of seven market-trending areas, including data analytics, healthcare administration and a new leadership track.
Q: Many of our readers are seasoned workers. Are there learning opportunities for them at Brennan?
A: Absolutely. Most of our students work full-time and enrich the class by bringing new perspectives from their varied industry, academic and demographic backgrounds. Many pursue graduate-level learning to refresh or deepen their professional expertise as their industry adapts to new technologies. Others hope to explore new pathways, learning in new elective areas. All advance their personal skills as communicators and leaders, whether they complete the degree online or on our nearby River Forest campus.
Q: What differentiates your school's MBA program?
A: We are the only school in the western suburbs with the respected AASCB accreditation status. This means our MBA is more rigorous and taught by PhDs and practitioners, drawing the respect of hiring managers. Unlike many area AASCB schools, the Brennan experience is more personal, with smaller classes for richer student-faculty interaction. We like to think of our small but mighty program as the best value in the area. And it's an enduring value, based on the numbers of alumni successes.
Q: What trends do you see emerging in the MBA space?
A: Ah, a question we ask often to remain relevant for our students. Three come to mind. First, lifelong learners will succeed, and flexible learning platforms with refreshed curricula will meet that need. Second, nourishing professional and personal work skills combined with ethical decision-making will prepare tomorrow's leaders best. Schools such as ours that are intent on teaching and finding business solutions for broader societal problems can help. Third, there are more and more MBA programs out there, but it's important to choose an AASCB-accredited one like ours that will challenge you and offer a great return on the investment.
Q: Final word?
A: Invest in yourself wisely -- we would love to welcome you to our Brennan community.