Milligan now offers a five-year Masters of Business Administration program for undergraduate students. The program allows undergraduates interested in pursuing an MBA degree to declare a pre-MBA concentration in the business major and go straight on into MBA classes upon graduation.

This new five-year plan came after increased student interest in pursuing graduate study directly after graduation. Milligan’s MBA program is an executive MBA program, meaning that graduate students are expected to have several years of workforce experience before returning for the degree. Program acceptance currently requires at least three years of full-time work experience.

As traditional undergraduate interest in the MBA program increased, this became a problem.

Dr. Garland Young, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, says that in the beginning this requirement was waived in a few special cases. But he says the advantage of the executive MBA is that each person in class has a full-time career and can apply the things they learn in class on Saturday to their work on Monday morning.

“It’s a challenge to have a new college graduate, because that student is in a different place in life. But that doesn’t mean that the new college graduate doesn’t have anything to offer this environment,” Young says.

Dr. David Campbell, director of Milligan’s MBA program, explains that most of the curriculum is based around incorporating student experience into what is learned in the classroom.

“The issue,” Campbell says, “is that when you take a traditional undergraduate student who has no work experience and no full-time job but that wants to go into this style of MBA, it doesn’t really fit well. We wanted to create a bridge to take students who are in that position … and give them a pathway to do this.”

Students will be required to take nine additional credit hours including an accounting course, an internship and the Personal and Professional Development course. Among other requirements are a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 and demonstration of character and maturity consistent with expectations of all students in the MBA program.

Photo: Senior business major Matthew Albritton is the first student accepted into the 5-year MBA program.

Young says that the rigorous requirements are set in place to “help (the student) transition more effectively to the fast-paced environment of work.”

“Although an academic environment is fast-paced, the demands of work are different and sometimes even more intense,” Young says.

The first student to be accepted into the new pre-MBA program, senior business major Matthew Albritton says he was initially interested in the program at its announcement but did not think he would be able to do it. After learning the requirements, it became a more feasible option.

“I’m excited to be in a cohort of business professionals who are coming back to further their education,” Albritton says. “This program is going to benefit me because I will be pairing these classes and upper level business courses with a full-time job. I’ll be able to apply knowledge from each respective area into the other. I believe there are always new things to learn, especially in business.”

Albritton looks forward to this next stage of his education and will begin his first cohort classes in March 2018.

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