UNF Offers an MBA Program with Global Implications; THE FEW, THE PROUD Students Join a Group for Intensive Study Both Here and Overseas

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Byline: ASHLEY BELAND

Traveling across the world while earning two master's degrees used to be a rare undertaking less than a decade or two ago. But in today's globalized world, universities are increasingly competing for the attention of the business graduate student.

They offer international programs, study-abroad sessions and intense curriculums to make their students one step above the rest.

The University of North Florida is one such school, offering a unique GlobalMBA program that thrusts its students through 15 months of rigorous course work at three international universities and a final semester at their home institution. To make the program a truly global experience, UNF partnered with three schools - Cologne University of Applied Sciences in Germany, University of Warsaw in Poland and Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in China. DUFE became a part of the program in early 2007 after the University of Provence in France withdrew in 2006.

The program "is different from any other program that we've seen anywhere in that it requires students to spend multiple semesters abroad," said Jeff Steagall, UNF professor of economics. "We're the only ones that have an integrated program where the curriculum is completely designed ahead of time, and the students have to spend an extended amount of time in four different countries."

A GLOBAL EXCHANGE

The program is designed for a group of about 40 students - 10 from each university - who stay, work and study together throughout the entire program. The strategy is an advantage because it offers students a broader learning experience outside of the classroom by allowing them to interact with students from another culture on a regular basis, Steagall said.

"My favorite aspect of this program so far is our class," Katie Modzelewska, a GlobalMBA student, said via e-mail. "The German classmates shared with us their traditions and experiences and it's a lot of fun."

In the classroom, students take international business courses taught in English such as management, marketing and business environment based on the resident country. But, a unique offering of the Global-MBA is its courses on intercultural communication, Steagall said. These courses are offered in every country. They focus on cultural issues and how they influence interactions in society and business, he said.

The students take multiple courses each semester and are required to work on a thesis throughout the program. Steagall said the typical course load for a graduate student is three, so GlobalMBA students must be able to manage a heavy workload. Upon completion, the students receive two master's degrees: the UNF MBA and a Master of Arts in International Management and Intercultural Communication from Cologne, Steagall said.

A COMPETITIVE PROCESS

Obtaining two degrees in 15 months is not the ordinary offering for most international business schools in the United States, so getting into the program can be competitive. The process starts with an application, which must be submitted by Jan. 1 of the year you intend to participate. Prospective students are interviewed in January or February and notified whether they are chosen to participate.

"I was sold just by the way I was treated when I was applying for this program," Modzelewska said.

Prospective GlobalMBA students have a few requirements they must meet to be eligible for the program. These include a bachelor's degree, a GMAT score of 480 or higher, the ability to speak English fluently and seven business courses usually acquired in a business-based undergraduate degree, Steagall said. The program is not limited to previous business majors, and will accept individuals with other undergraduate degrees if they take the classes to meet the requirements, he said. Students must also meet any visa requirements for travel.

If students like the sound of the program, they must find a way to meet the $30,510 cost if they are an in-state or $67,340 if they are an out-of-state student. …