Enrollment in the Master of Business Administration program at Chadron State College has quadrupled over the past five years. Dr. August Bruehlman, business professor and department chair, said that 171 MBA students were enrolled in the fall of 2012 compared to 41 in the fall of 2007. He said the quality of the accredited program, which he and his fellow faculty members deliver, combined with the most reasonable cost in the country make the program extremely attractive to prospective students.
The eight-week format of all MBA courses is another positive feature. “It’s intense, but the students like it. At other institutions there are shorter and longer formats, but eight weeks seems to be the sweet spot. Many are working and have families so the online delivery makes this possible for them,” according to Bruehlman.
Executive Director of the Chadron State Foundation, Connie Rasmussen, said online students attend CSC alumni gatherings around the nation and often say that the first time they came to campus was for graduation.
Students include an employee at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan as well as an executive at GE, Oracle executives and active military members. “We are flexible and work with them when they are deployed,” Bruehlman said.
CSC has been named in the top 15% of military-friendly colleges by G.I. Jobs., ranked 11th nationally among public colleges and universities by the Military Times, Edge magazine and received an “A” rating from GetEducated.com for best buys in online MBA
Kristal Kuhnel, Director of Graduate Studies, said the college allows seven years for students to finish a graduate program, recognizing the multiple demands on their time; however, most students complete the MBA in two to four years.
The business department has earned the distinction of accreditation by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. This specialized accreditation is in addition to college’s regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Scores on the required exit exam taken by MBA students graduating from CSC are above the national average, according to Bruehlman.
The Bachelor of Business enrollment has doubled during the same timeframe in which the MBA enrollment has quadrupled. Bruehlman said that his department uses the continuous improvement model to assess both programs and maintain the highest level of quality. This process includes surveys of graduates, review of exit exam scores and feedback from employers regarding the preparation of MBA graduates. All of this input is reviewed by the faculty and then any needed changes are incorporated into the curriculum.
Kuhnel said the number one source of information students cite is word of mouth. “CSC is often recommended by a friend or relative of the student,” she said. Given the tremendous growth of the overall graduate program, Kuhnel said she appreciates the attention to detail that Deb Smith, an Admissions Coordinator, exercises when reviewing and accepting graduate admission applications, which Smith has been doing since July of 2011.
The MBA program began in 1984 but has seen tremendous growth since it became available completely online. CSC celebrated its Centennial in 2011.
—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator