Gies College of Business’ growing iMBA program is proving once again it doesn’t fit the mold of typical online learning at the postgraduate level.
In September 2019, about one-fifth of the college’s iMBA students headed to campus for an optional event called iConverge. Students got to meet faculty, network with fellow learners, and attend sessions on everything from presentation skills to emerging technologies. This event has quadrupled in size since it began at Homecoming 2016; students from as far away as China, South Korea, Nigeria, and Indonesia registered to attend. Those unable to join their classmates were able to participate remotely. They were joined by 20 students from Gies’ online master’s in accounting (iMSA) program as well.
“iConverge is one of the many ways we give our online learners an opportunity to further enhance their experience,” said Jeffrey R. Brown, the Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor of Business and Dean of Gies College of Business. “We combine the value of day-to-day online classwork taught by many of our top professors with this compact, curated on-campus event that offers our students every advantage.”
The iMBA, launched in January 2016, has attracted nearly 3,000 learners representing 47 states in the US and 92 different citizenships. They range in age from 22 to 61 years old and average 12 years of work experience. Most say they are drawn to the program because they can continue to work full time while earning an MBA on-the-go from a top university for a fraction of the cost ($22K).
“I look forward to meeting some of the college’s most enterprising students. I’m proud to invest in educating a global, diverse workforce and can’t wait to see the impact they will have on business around the world,” said Larry Gies, who served as iConverge’s 2019 keynote speaker. He and his wife Beth donated $150 million to the College of Business in 2017. The founder and CEO of Madison Industries earned his degree in accounting from the university.
Students who have attended iConverge say it is akin to a retreat or off-site business meeting and leaves them recharged, optimistic, and “ready to drive quality change in their organizations.” The event also gives students the opportunity to experience the iconic campus, meet their professors in person and reconnect with many of their peers with whom they collaborate online.
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