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Reviewing an integrated MBA core course: Working paper series--03-16

Lockwood, Chris A. and Anderson, Joe S. and Jacobs, Neil W. (2003) Reviewing an integrated MBA core course: Working paper series--03-16. Working Paper. NAU W.A. Franke College of Business.


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Entering the new century, business education must respond to changes in the work environment. The traditional job as we have known it is rapidly becoming rarer, and students find themselves in an environment of higher complexity, more competition, and faster change. Employers state that students are often unprepared to meet challenges of the new work environment. In response to these influences, a team of educators at Northern Arizona University's College of Business Administration redesigned their MBA program. Based on surveys of employers, alumni and others, core courses of the MBA program became functionally integrated, cross-disciplinary, more outcome-oriented, and more rigorous. The program core was integrated in its entirety; then, components of the core were "chunked" to fit traditional time slots for administrative reasons. This paper describes design and implementation efforts for one MBA core component: Individuals, Teams, and Careers. This component presents students with an integrated view of their own strengths and weaknesses as they relate to personal, team, and career issues for students' pursuit of careers after graduation. Course content is strongly based on self-evaluations by students, then moves into group interaction strategies and skills, and finally focuses on reciprocal interactions of the person and the work environment. The multiple foci of this component include students' careers as future managers, management of their own careers and career mentorship of subordinates. Content development for the MBA program core, and thus for this component was a team effort, negotiated among the MBA redesign team. Six team members represented traditional functional areas of economics, finance, accounting, marketing, management, and computer information systems. Development and implementation of Individuals, Teams, and Careers fell to the authors as members of the MBA core faculty representing the management area. Course topics were team-taught by two management faculty members, as well as by economics, marketing, business law, and human resources faculty. In addition, guest presenters included specialists in leadership, arbitration, and a retired career manager who had been President of IBM's General Products Division. In its first iteration, the Individuals, Teams, and Careers component was presented during semester break between the first and second semesters of the MBA program. With this medial position in the core, much of the team content was based on students' retrospective views of team interaction and performance during the first half of the program. The course has since been moved to the beginning of the course sequence. In this current position, this "chunk" appears as one of two initial program components and fulfills the socialization and expectations-setting function for individual and team performance in the program, as well as addressing career management at the start of the program. This paper describes the integrated content of this MBA program component, including its multiple focus and its outcome orientation. In addition, dimensions of the team-teaching experience in this course component are examined. Finally, students' responses to this component are reported, relative to content and pedagogy. We expect other educators will benefit from seeing Northern Arizona University's response to the dramatically changing environment of the 21st century.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Publisher’s Statement: Copyright, where appropriate, is held by the author.
ID number or DOI: 03-16
Keywords: Working paper, business cirriculum, MBA program, core competencies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: The W.A. Franke College of Business
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2015 23:01
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1587

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