On a Wednesday evening, sitting outside a lab in the heart of Oregon’s Silicon Forest, Steve briefly glances at his notes to prepare for a weekend exam while he waits 5 minutes for tests to complete. He is sure to carry a copy of his notes, digital or physical, no matter where he goes for micro-study sessions like this one. For Steve, it was Wednesday nights like these which defined his MBA experience.
Working in engineering, Steve was adept at managing tight deadlines while meticulously recording his findings. His undergraduate degrees in Biology and Japanese from Pacific University trained him well for this career. But an encounter with a group of visiting Japanese stakeholders to the plant got him thinking how he could use his experiences and knowledge to move into a new line of work within the technology industry he enjoyed immensely.
Through internet research and advice from family and peers, Steve found that he needed to improve his business acumen and that an MBA, in particular, would improve his economic stability and provide the career flexibility he desired. As with most working professionals, he was not wanting to lose the strong foothold and connections he painstakingly built over the years in order to enter a full-time MBA program.
Steve decided that he needed the convenience of a part-time MBA format at a location he could easily access - all the while understanding the importance of a face-to-face program to expand his professional network. “When I realized everything I needed out of my MBA program, I found that the weekend MBA at Pacific University was the best fit for me,” said Steve. “With the location in Downtown Hillsboro I could easily make it to class, but since class was held on Friday afternoons and Saturdays I didn’t have to stress about being late to class while trying to meet work deadlines or having a long day at work followed by 4 hours of class. Plus, the cohort format meant that I was able to finish in 15 months.”
“We use a cohort format with the Pacific MBA to facilitate better networking with peers and encourage students to work together towards degree completion since students will strive to continue with their cohort,” explains Jim Goodrich, the Dean of the College of Business at Pacific University. “We have found success in starting the MBA program with an Organizational Behavior course taught by an executive coach so that the candidates bond and develop a capacity for collaborative learning. An MBA program like this is about more than studying stats and accounting, but rather how to work in and manage organizations and employees today.” The close-knit cohort, weekend class schedule, and 15-month time to completion have been popular with working professionals seeking to build their career.
When researching the program Steve found that not only did the schedule work well for him, but the intimate cohort size, experienced faculty, and guest lecturers were a big draw. “I was surprised at all that Pacific offered for the price,” said Steve. “Not only was the program affordable, but I qualified for a Pacific scholarship which made it more reasonable in cost.”
Steve took advantage of the international travel course which was a part of his MBA program. His year, the entire class went to Germany to see the manufacturing facilities at BMW, experience lectures from industry experts at the local university, and gain a hands-on understanding of the differences in business practices in Europe compared to the United States. “The international trip is a crucial part of our expanded global business course,” explains Goodrich, “In my experience I have found that the overseas experience provides a crucial component that students need to compete in and understand the current global business environment; some firms we work with will not promote you above a certain point until you have an experience like this.”
Steve completed his MBA at Pacific last year. After completing his degree, he took advantage of a well-established alumni benefit of having his resume reviewed and edited by the career development center at the university. Steve recently began a new position working in supply chain for the same company he worked for during his MBA. He foresees the new position as a chance to use the enterprise wide knowledge he gained from the MBA in concert with his engineering experience, Japanese language skills and cultural understanding.
Pacific University College of Business