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 UMD Rochester MBA Graduates First Class



The first eleven students from the UMD Master's of Business Administration in Rochester will receive their degrees at the Graduate Commencement ceremonies on May 13 in the Romano Gym. The MBA program, which began in Spring Semester 2002, is one of only three AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accredited MBA programs in the state.

“Before the program started, it already showed signs it would succeed,” said Rajiv Vaidyanathan, MBA director for the UMD Labovitz School of Business and Economics. “It was an incredible cooperative effort between Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin, the Board of Regents, the faculty and staff at UMD, UM-Rochester, and Chris Maziar, Dean of the UM Graduate School. Between all those players and the waiting, interested students, the program was up and running in a matter of days. The Board of Regents approved the program in December 2001 and the first students were sitting in class just about a month later.”

The average age of the 42 currently enrolled Rochester MBA students is 34 years old and they have an average work experience of nine years. Many of them come from businesses in Rochester such as the Mayo Clinic and IBM Rochester, and others work at businesses in surrounding communities such as the Hormel Plant in Austin. “Basically, the classes are made up of aggressive, intelligent, young people in middle management positions,” said Marketing Professor and Management Studies Department Head Stephen B. Castleberry “They are taking on increasing responsibilities for their companies and our MBA is tailor-made to fit into their schedules.”

The executive style delivery of the program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Most of classes are three credit courses that meet every other week on Friday and Saturday. Vaidyanathan said, “Faculty expectations are high. The program is academically rigorous and the weekend class structure makes it an intensive experience for both the faculty and the students.” The classes in Rochester are the exact same classes offered in the Duluth MBA program but they are configured in the weekend format. Classes are held at the University Center Rochester which is home to the University of Minnesota Rochester as well as Rochester Community and Technical College and Winona State University. 

About the same number of students are enrolled in both programs, 42 in Rochester and 36 in Duluth. The class sizes for the program are capped at 30 and the program plans to admit about 20 new students each year. “A quality learning environment is a key component,” said Vaidyanathan. “We have strict admission standards so that we achieve a diverse and talented student body. The faculty present theory and the students effectively relate the theories their work experiences. By design, they learn as much from each other as they do from the professors.”

Overall, the program provides an opportunity for participants to develop the planning, problem-solving, and behavioral skills and analytical tools necessary to succeed in the rapidly evolving global marketplace. Typically the degree can be completed in three years if students complete four to six credits each term.

Above: Stephen B. Castleberry, Marketing Professor and Management Studies Department Head and Rajiv Vaidyanathan, MBA director for the UMD Labovitz School of Business and Economics.


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