On Campus or Online

Ask the administrator of an executive education program why an individual would spend the money and take the time to earn an advanced degree in business, and the answer comes back threefold. “People are coming into the program because they are looking to move up the corporate ladder,” said Nikkole McCartin, director, EMBA program, Lee Business School, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). “Sometimes it’s a choice, sometimes it’s a requirement to get those people up to the next rung. There are people coming into the program because they do want to make a change in their career. They might want to move out of the industry they’re in or they might want to move into a totally new function [in that industry], so they’re coming to gain the skills, the knowledge and the competence to make a move like that.” The executive master’s of business administration (EMBA) available from UNLV is just one of the executive education choices available to Nevada’s working professionals. Online, on campus or a hybrid of the two, what these programs share is the students are finished with school and working as leaders in their industries and in their particular business functions, said McCartin. That means, as well as sharing common goals, they can share knowledge from all the different industries they represent. The UNLV program is all on campus, with students attending every other Friday and Saturday for 18 months. “We believe strongly in the on-campus learning experience because so much of the learning that occurs is between the students,” said McCartin. “There’s 25 students to a cohort and they’re from all different industries and functions of business, so when you start talking about a particular subject, everybody is bringing their own real world experience into the classroom. They learn as much from each other as they do from the faculty.” The EMBA is a generalist degree with a focus on leadership, strategy, organizational management and entrepreneurship. Students focus on technical aspects of business and application of what they’re learning. “What our students are learning on Friday and Saturday, they’re taking back to use on Monday morning,” said McCartin. “The key skills we’re looking to get out of the business program, the MBA, are critical thinking, problem solving, communications, information utilization and collaboration, and so those are the key areas that we develop our course curriculum around,” said Paul Green, campus vice president, Las Vegas campus, University of Phoenix. So for those executives who are looking to upgrade their competencies, just what kind of executive education is available in Nevada? The Programs In Las Vegas, the Lee Business School at UNLV EMBA program students move through the 18 month program together. The classes emphasize application over abstraction, projects, papers and presentations, that allow for deeper learning and understanding of topics rather than tests, according to McCartin. “Tests will only tell you so much, but if you can really dig in and do a presentation or project, you’re learning a lot more about a particular subject,” said McCartin. UNLV also offers an MBA program with more specific tracks, such as finance, marketing and human resources, and there are other master’s degree programs in accounting and finance and a number of programs at graduate level. Time commitment varies, generally two to three years per program. The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) College of Business offers professional development courses and certificate programs on business topics from human resources management to project management to social media and digital marketing. Faculty members create seminars and workshops in the fields of their expertise, with time commitments that might run from one to 10 days. Some of the programs are developed for industries. There’s a management development certificate program the college developed for Barrick Gold in Elko created to teach early stage managers. “That’s actually a program that’s pretty portable,” said Gregory Mosier, dean, College of Business, UNR. “It would work for almost any company, but Barrick Gold is the one we’ve most recently done it for.” There’s also an executive development program for the gaming industry, presented in the last three years in partnership with the UNLV International Gaming Institute. In November 2016, 62 delegates from 14 countries attended that program at Lake Tahoe. The EMBA program at UNR offers a graduate degree in business/management education, with the idea that business knowledge equates to market power, according to Kambiz Raffiee, associate dean, director, MBA Programs, College of Business, UNR. “The focus of the online executive education MBA program at UNR is really just about educating students about the fundamental knowledge of business and decision making,” said Raffiee. “They offer courses in accounting, economics, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior, personal branding, international business and business strategy.” Students start and finish together in the two-year program, and the average work experience of students in each class or cohort is 14 years. Because the program is completely online, students have participated not only from Northern Nevada but from Alaska,...

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