Butler’s College of Business MBA program recently placed 105 out of 166 schools in U.S. News and World Report. This is the program’s first recognition in the listing.
“I’m glad we finally made the report,” Dean Chuck Williams said. “We’re glad to get that recognition.”
The place is earned by MBA program directors at each of the 295 part-time programs around the country ranking other part-time programs on a scale of one to five.
“Since [the ranking] is reputational, it’s difficult to crack,” Williams said.
Williams said this ranking means the program is every bit as competitive as most of the top programs in the Midwest.
“It means the value of the degrees will continue to rise,” he said.
Associate Dean Kathy Paulson Gjerde said the recognition increases the program’s visibility in the local, regional and national markets, which will help attract high-caliber students.
Paulson Gjerde said the experience factor is what makes Butler’s program different.
“What makes Butler’s MBA program stand out from other programs is the experiential nature of the learning environment,” she said. “Beginning with the Gateway Experience, students are immersed in a setting in which they are active participants in the classroom.”
The Gateway Experience is the first of six components that make up the program’s curriculum. From working with outside companies to being paired with an executive coach, students work through the program, ending with the Capstone Experience.
Williams agrees with Paulson Gjerde about the important parts of the program.
“The one thing that pulls it all together is experience,” he said.
Anyone with an undergraduate degree can apply for admission to the Butler MBA program. According to Paulson Gjerde, most of the students in the program are not Butler undergrads, they are professionals working in Indianapolis in a variety of fields who have gotten their degrees from many different institutions.
Charlie Bell, a student in the MBA program, took all of his prerequisites last fall.
“I’m very proud of our program being ranked on U.S. News’ list,” Bell said. “I was accepted into both the Kelley and Butler MBA programs about a year ago and my decision was easy.”
He said the faculty and administration are dedicated to the program and continue to find ways to enhance the experience.
Another MBA student currently in the program, James Ward, said he can see how his education from Butler can be applied in the real world.
“As a working professional, the Butler MBA program has allowed me the flexibility required to meet my work demands and at the same time provide an education that is academically challenging,” Ward said. “On many occasions I have taken the concepts from the classroom and applied them in my career, which is a testament to the rigor and validity of the program.”
Butler’s MBA program is a part-time program, meaning students can complete their degree at their own pace. Most students complete the program in about two and a half years, according to Williams.
He also said an MBA becomes important as people move up in the business world.
“If you aspire to move up in management [an MBA] is critical,” Williams said. “An MBA is different from an undergraduate degree. It’s integrated and strategic.
“Graduates will want [an MBA] as they gain additional responsibilities in their jobs. An MBA will allow you to better serve your cause.”
Goals for the MBA program include plans for slight growth according to both Williams and Paulson Gjerde.
“At this point we want to maintain the program quality and grow the program slightly as the Indianapolis market grows,” William said.