Magazine article Black Enterprise

Executive Education

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Executive Education

Article excerpt

Wilma Ann Anderson could have had her pick of Ivy League graduate schools after graduating from Cornell University in 1992. But after receiving a degree in English, she pursued her passion for performing, launched a company and became a mother. Eight years later, she decided to pursue an MBA at Metropolitan College of New York, a small, Manhattan-based college that caters to working adults.

"I could have gone any place else, [but] it really is about not wasting time for me and making sure you're in the right place for the right reason--and this was the right place," says Anderson, a co-founder of the Hahogany Baby Website ( While riding the New York City subway, Anderson spotted an ad for Metropolitan College of New York's media-management MBA, which could be earned in just 12 months. "I'm the type of 'do it and get it done' person, so one year was perfect for me," she says. Anderson had two children at the time, and MCNY's flexible schedule met the needs of the working mother.

While typical MBA programs usually take between 18 months and two years to complete and often require full-time study, MCNY's MBA classes were held in the evenings and Saturdays. Anderson, now a mother of four, enrolled at the college in 2000 and one year later held a freshly printed MBA. Though ICNY isn't among the educational elite, Anderson says she got a good, affordable education there. Anderson's experience at MCNY was capped off by a study-abroad program that took her and other media-management majors to the Cannes Film Festival, "quite an invaluable experience," Anderson says.

"Metropolitan College's motto is education that works for people who work," says marketing director Steven Lenhart, who adds that MCNY's typical student is an urban female in her 30s. Besides the one-year media-management MBA, the college, which has 1,700 students, also offers a four-semester associate's degree and a two-and-a-half-year bachelor's program.

HCNY is part of a growing trend. Nontraditional students, defined as students over age 25, make up 39% of postsecondary students and are a growing number. And colleges are taking notice. Many are offering programs targeting the older--and wiser--student, by offering services like childcare, evening office hours and cafeteria service and even credit for life experience.

If you're thinking about continuing your education, these tips could help you get to the head of the class.

Decide what you want. "Know what your long-term goal is and why you wish to continue your education," says Jane Schoenfeld Shropshire, president of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, a Fairfax, Virginia based professional association for educational consultants. If you're unclear about your goals, taking classes at a local community college could be an affordable way to clarify them. …

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