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The New School

companies to enable our students to go right into their industry as a part of their first-year curriculum. This strategy ensures that [students] receive a hands-on approach to learning.”

Babson also implemented a unique curriculum option for M.B.A. students. “We customized an in-house M.B.A. program for employees of Intel Corporation. Based on this experience, we then developed a distance-based program called Fast Track for potential M.B.A. students who can’t attend a traditional evening M.B.A. program. It allows participants to keep their full-time jobs but also contract 25 hours a week with us for their studies,” says Lawler. The intense Fast Track program provides an accelerated 27-month curriculum compared to the average part-time M.B.A. program, which is typically accomplished in three to three and a half years.

Arthur Kraft, Ph.D., dean of the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University in Chicago, agrees that a hands-on learning experience is key to a good M.B.A. program: “In general, it’s a degree [through which]…people acquire skills in areas where they had no previous training.” He feels that M.B.A. programs must be innovative and teach proficiencies such as written and oral communication skills, an advanced ability to analyze data, and literacy in a variety of computer software: “An M.B.A. shows employers that [you] have cleared certain hurdles and are more mature.”

Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has taken M.B.A. preparation one step further. “All About Business is a collaboration between Wake Forest’s graduate business school (Babcock) and undergraduate business school (the Calloway School of Business). It was launched in 2003 and is targeted toward minority liberal arts, engineering, and non-business undergraduate majors,” explains Nat Irvin II, assistant dean, M.B.A. student development. “The intense, month-long program [exposes students to] the fundamentals of business, including accounting, marketing, operations, strategy, finance, and the management of information systems. The curriculum utilizes the case-study method and incorporates special guest speakers and field trips.”

Irvin is credited as the founder of the new program which is sponsored by Dell computer company. Dell provided each student with his or her own laptop. “Twenty-two students participated this year at no cost to them,” he says. “It is voluntary, but student selection was highly competitive.”

Irvin stresses that wealth and work, both now and in the future, are created differently than in the past. “Our social systems are changing, making M.B.A. preparatory programs like this one vital” he observes. “[It’s key] that black America has the interest and the capability to be involved in the long-term thinking and planning for the world tomorrow. If we do not [turn] ourselves and our communities [toward] active, futurist thinking, many people will fall behind, perhaps to an extent never seen before.”

For more information about selecting an M.B.A. program, visit www.MBAinfo.com. For more information about the Intel Fast Track program at Babson College, visit www.babson.edu. Go to www.duke.edu for more information on the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

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By Sonia Alleyne
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