When students decide to pursue a business degree, they want to find a school with the right programs and opportunities that best fit their career goals. When researching schools, they can easily find information about online degrees, accreditation, affordability, tuition, and community outreach, but what is the story behind the facts? What is the driving force that makes it a great business school? College Consensus had the liberty of connecting with Dr. Cathy Carey, Dean of the Romain College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana to get the story.
The public university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and sits on 1,400 acres of beautiful land right outside of Evansville, Indiana. Offering academic courses since 1965, the university has grown to enroll almost 10,800 students earning associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. Over 20,000 people participate in the special and continuing education programs offered by this official Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University.
The Romain College of Business resides in the same building as the Engineering department allowing for unique interdisciplinary collaboration and experiential learning opportunities. AACSB-accredited for both the Accounting and Business programs, the CoB offers Bachelors degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, Accounting, Economics, Computer Information Systems, Management, Finance, and Marketing. Graduate students can earn a Masters in Business Administration with optional concentrations in Data Analytics, Healthcare Administration, Accounting, Engineering Management, Project Management, and Human Resource Management. The MBA is offered completely online or as a mix of online and on-campus sessions. In the annual National Institute of Management Accountants, USI students have achieved first place five times, which makes the team one of two universities to have attained this accomplishment. The Online MBA has been ranked #1 Best Online MBA Programs in Indiana by College Consensus.
College Consensus: Please tell us about your business school and what makes it unique?
Dr. Carey: The Romain College of Business at USI prepares students with in-demand skills and facilitates and spurs the creation of professional networks that are integral to student success. The MBA program equips students to make an impact in their organizations from the very first class they take by teaching practical tools with direct implementation potential. The MBA program offers concentrations in Human Resources, Business Analytics, Engineering Management, Accounting, Healthcare Administration, and Project Management. These options help working professionals specialize or diversify their career trajectory.
College Consensus: What do you look for in successful applicants to your business school?
Dr. Carey: Because our MBA program is applied in design, students who get the most from our program have at least two years of work experience. In fact, we waive the GMAT/GRE requirement for students with substantial work experience because we value it so highly. Students without work experience benefit from collaborating with peers in the workforce by forming professional networks and gleaning from their experience.
College Consensus: How do you support your business students to leverage them into a career after graduation?
Dr. Carey: Our career services department at USI actively seeks engagement opportunities for students, such as interacting with executives and professionals in the region and facilitating internships with area businesses. Most MBA students are employed while completing the degree, so our focus is to develop their skills and abilities to make significant contributions in their workplace.
College Consensus: Is there anything going on within your business education community that you are particularly excited about?
Dr. Carey: The Romain College of Business works with local and regional partners to provide enriching educational and network development activities such as start-up weekend, the entrepreneur’s perspective series, the alumni in-residence program, the innovative speaker series, and the executive in residence program. The Romain College of Business houses several labs working with cutting-edge technologies such as our Strategic Social Media Lab, the Cyber-Security Lab, and the User Perception and Cognition Lab. These innovative labs equip students with skills and experience, which are in-demand and hard to find in the workforce.
College Consensus: What can you tell us about your online offerings?
Dr. Carey: Our entire MBA program can be completed online in as little as one year, although students employed full-time typically finish in 18 months. We offer six starts per year, so there is always an opportunity to get started right away. Our online courses last eight weeks so students can concentrate on one or two subjects at a time, without being overwhelmed, and still finish 3-4 courses per semester. We offer a large variety of courses each term, so students have the flexibility to customize their degree path to fit their work and home life.
College Consensus: Anything else you’d like to say about your programs and school?
Dr. Carey: USI is proud to offer an AACSB accredited program that is affordable, convenient for working professionals, and at the forefront of current practice.
Experience to Impact: USI has developed a community that values and pursues experiences that lead to impact. Starting at the application process, the CoB values students that have already accumulated valuable business experience. Dr. Carey said that because they value the work experience so much, the CoB waives any required admittance testing like the GMAT or the GRE for experienced MBA applicants. They realize that students with on-the-job knowledge can enhance the classroom learning experience for their classmates and provide cross-sector insights. The Romain College also constructs and coordinates innovation labs, internships, and events that offer students time to gain significant business experience. And while experiences are important in and of themselves, their goal is to develop business leaders who can make an impact by creating value and offering excellence within their organizations.
Connections: Through their partnerships with the local and extended business community, Romain provides several events and opportunities for students to increase their network of professional associations and to professionally prepare to enter into a career. With these connections, Romain has a variety of ways to connect students with highly valuable internship experiences. Interning gives students hands-on, real-world business experience that can enhance a resume, increase career preparedness, and sometimes lead directly to a job after graduation. Events like the Start-Up Weekend encourages the entrepreneurial discovery, development, and implementation of an idea, much like the show’ Shark Tank.’ There are several opportunities to hear from seasoned professionals in The Entrepreneur’s Perspective Series and The Innovator Speaker Series. These events host an experienced speaker to share about education, entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. The CoB also provides an Alumni-In-Residence and an Executive-In-Residence. This allows current students to hear from experienced professionals, extract priceless insight, to make professional connections, and build their network.
Flexibility: Many people are unable to attend an on-campus degree program due to working full-time, taking care of family or kids full-time, travel obligations, or an array of different situations and challenges. These hindrances should not have to keep someone from obtaining a degree of higher education. Romain has created an online Master of Business Administration degree program that is accessible, accredited, affordable, and attainable. Since a student can work at their own pace, the coursework can be completed in as few as 12 months. The flexibility of the schedule, the conglomeration of courses, the convenience of accessing the coursework from anywhere that has internet capabilities, and the benefit of completing degree requirements entirely online, are all the reasons that make this customizable online MBA favorable to many prospective students.