Syracuse To Revamp Online MBA Program

by John A. Byrne on

Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management expects a new partnership with an online education provider to significantly broaden the appeal of its existing online MBA program and attract larger numbers of international students.

Whitman today (May 28) became the second business school to partner with 2U, Inc., to use the company’s more sophisticated learning platform. 2U had earlier helped the Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina launch its online MBA program dubbed MBA@UNC.

Unlike Kenan-Flagler, Whitman has had an online MBA program since 1977, using off-the-shelf technology to reach students mostly in the U.S. The school had been using Blackboard to host classes, allow students to submit assignments and communicate with each other and faculty. Whitman used Adobe Connect and Echo 360 to deliver lectures. Now, everything will be moved to 2U’s learning system.

The $70,000 iMBA program, to be renamed MBA@Syracuse, will include live, weekly, face-to-face sessions taught by Whitman professors in small seminar-style classes. Whitman faculty and 2U’s instructional designers will develop new immersive course content, featuring high-quality videos, quizzes, learning modules and other interactive multimedia. Additionally, faculty and students will be able to access the MBA@Syracuse online learning platform and coursework on mobile apps while online or offline.

“We have been online for over a decade and we thought we could take it to the next level with 2U,” said Amy McHale, assistant dean for masters’ programs at Whitman. “The curriculum remains the same. It is really the technology platform that is changing. We wanted to take advantage of the latest technology, and we are also looking forward to 2U’s marketing strength to expand the reach of our program.”

Besides the online MBA program, Whitman has between 1,800 and 2,000 undergraduate business students and a small full-time MBA program that takes in a cohort of 40 to 50 students a year. McHale said the school has not experimented with MOOCs and has no plans to do so at this point.

Currently, there are 200 students in the online MBA program, mostly from the U.S. McHale did not disclose the school’s expectations for increased enrollment as a result of the partnership. But she did say that Whitman expects to draw a larger and more global audience as a result of the partnership. “The technology is a great selling point for potential students. The overall enhancement of the entire delivery system is going to make it more attractive than what we currently have today. We can go to a broader audience with more international participants.”

Besides the online MBA program, Whitman has between 1,800 and 2,000 undergraduate business students and a small full-time MBA program that takes in a cohort of 40 to 50 students a year. McHale said the school has not experimented with MOOCs and has no plans to do so at this point.

“Everything will now be hosted in the 2U learning system with much higher quality delivery,” said McHale. “Faculty will be working with 2U folks to use the latest techniques in their course delivery.”

With the new partnership, the school will have four program starts, in January, April, July, and October, up from the current three in January, May, and August. The program requires the completion of 54 credits, or roughly 18 courses in 12-week-long semesters, along with four in-person residencies in cities that are major centers of international business as well as on the Syracuse University campus. The curriculum offers students six electives with concentrations in accounting, finance, marketing, management, supply chain management, or entrepreneurship. 

McHale said that MBA@Syracuse will begin accepting applications in June for the first cohort under the partnership, which will start classes in January 2015. Additional cohorts will be added throughout 2015.

  • Rip

    online since 1977? I’m assuming that’s a typo, and that Syracuse has been online since 1997/2007?

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