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An Interview with the Dean
Interim Dean Dr. Wayne Fletcher, California Baptist University's Jabs School of Business

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Dean Dr. Wayne Fletcher

When a prospective student begins their journey of finding a business school that will meet their educational needs and career aspirations, the number of schools and types of programs available can be mind-boggling. It is crucial to choose a school that carries the right program and offers the best overall educational experience. Information regarding degree programs, professors, online courses, accreditation, experiential learning opportunities, and tuition is simply found online. But, what about the meaning behind the facts, the details that are not displayed? College Consensus had the benefit of meeting with Dr. Wayne Fletcher, Interim Dean of the Jabs School of Business at California Baptist University, to get the story. 

Riverside, California is home to California Baptist University accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges, Senior College & University Commission. This private, not-for-profit, Christian institution affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1950. The University values excellence, integrity, spiritual growth, knowledge, and personal growth in its students, staff, faculty, and administration. Students pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. 

Of the ten colleges and schools within the University, the ACBSP-accredited Dr. Robert K. Jabs School of Business has around 700 students in attendance. Housed within this school are some of the most extensive programs. Undergraduate students study Accounting, Finance, Marketing, International Business, Entrepreneurship, and Business Administration with optional concentrations in Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Management, or Entrepreneurship. Graduate degrees include a Master’s in Information Technology Management or an MBA with concentrations in Aviation Management, Accounting, Management, Healthcare Administration, or Construction Management.

To accommodate working professionals or anyone who needs a flexible and convenient format, the Jabs School of Business offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate business degrees. It provides students with relevant thought, biblical perspective, curiosity, business theory, and a global mindset with a field trip to Oxford, England.

College Consensus has ranked California Baptist University among the Best Christian Online MBA Programs, Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Health, and Best Regional Universities – West

College Consensus: Please tell us about the Jabs School of Business, and what makes it unique?

Dr. Fletcher: We are unapologetically Christian, so the way we teach, the professors we hire, and the ethos from which content is presented all flows from a biblically-informed place. We prepare future business professionals with business and technical acumen, soft skills, and ethical grounding so they can live out their purpose in the modern marketplace. Each student’s purpose is going to be as unique as their DNA, so at the Jabs School of Business, faculty take time to get to know students individually. In fact, our latest Graduating Student Exit Survey (AY2018-2019) told us that 87% of graduates agreed that “the faculty in my degree program cared about me as an individual.” At Jabs, students do not sit in massive lecture halls in classes taught by T.A.s but in classrooms with faculty who are academically prepared and willing to place students at the center of higher education.

College Consensus: What do you look for in successful applicants to the Jabs School of Business?

Dr. Fletcher: Students who take ownership of their learning. An eager, curious, and resilient student makes the most of their years with us but, more importantly, leaves as a life-long learner. 

College Consensus: How do you support your students to leverage them into a career after graduation?

Dr. Fletcher: The three major ways we “leverage” students into their careers are via internships, our Career Center, and alumni relationships. Internships provide our business students real-world experience so they can apply classroom learning to business situations. Specifically, in our accounting program, internships often lead to permanent positions where careers are launched.

Our Career Center team serves students from entry and into their careers. From in-school jobs, professional development seminars, resume review and mock interviews, careers fairs and bringing employment opportunities to students and graduates, the Career Center is a full-service resource to our students. 

Finally, we support our business students after graduation via opportunities to connect with other alumni through mixers, educational seminars like “Faith & Enterprise,” and staying in touch through LinkedIn. Often alumni reach out to faculty as they transition through their careers and find new opportunities because the relationships persist.

College Consensus: Is there anything going on within your business education community that you are excited about?

Dr. Fletcher: Yes, we see an emphasis on market-relevant certifications and program offerings. Business education contains time-tested pillars like understanding business management, accounting principles, economics, and marketing, but we are excited that programs with newer disciplines and skillsets necessary to compete in the job market are on the rise. One example is the rise in understanding business analytics and how to make sense of data, whether it is tracking consumer behavior, logistics issues, or financial performance.

We are also developing program extensions in digital marketing, real estate, and human resource management. And, that is just at the undergraduate level. Our MBA and M.S. Information Technology Management and M.A. Leadership and Management Studies programs are under constant development with additional concentrations and new international study opportunities. We also, through our Kienel Leadership Institute, offer the University’s first Ph.D. In Fall 2019, CBU launched a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies.

College Consensus: Tell us about your online offerings.

Dr. Fletcher: We offer fully online undergraduate business programs in Accounting, Business Administration, and Marketing. At the graduate level, we offer a fully online MBA program with a variety of concentrations; and M.S. Accountancy. In addition, we also offer a Master in Public Administration. Beyond these, through our online platform, we offer the Doctorate in Business Administration and the Doctorate in Public Administration.

College Consensus: Is there anything else you’d like to say about your school and programs?

Dr. Fletcher: Our vision is to be recognized as the Inland Empire premier leader in business education through academically and spiritually preparing graduates who go beyond – beyond theory, beyond the degree, and beyond employer expectations. This vision can only be accomplished at the intersection of a dedicated and qualified faculty; a focused and relevant curriculum; students willing to engage, adapt, and own their education; and a community that supports and encourages students while challenging and exposing them to a variety of experiences.

College Consensus logoCrucial Characteristics 

Individual Attention: When you go from high school to college, everything seems more significant, like the campus, classrooms, subject matter, academic challenges, social opportunities, and just life, in general. There are more things, events, people, coursework, and activity that fills your time. Sometimes students get lost in the crowd, especially in large classrooms filled with hundreds of students. College is a critical time for students. They develop the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and personal use and embark on a self-discovery journey. They can better do this with focused, dedicated, expert faculty who spend the time to learn about and get to know each student. Individualized attention from professors provides an engaging environment where students are encouraged and challenged in how they need to flourish and succeed. The Jabs School of Business allows their students to experience individual attention from caring professors through smaller classrooms, not huge lecture halls.    

Career Preparation: Hopefully, students attend college to prepare for a career. There are countless careers out there and numerous colleges and universities with even more programs available to help students reach their eventual goals and aspirations. It is essential to find an institution that believes in career preparation events, activities, programs, resources, and opportunities outside the classroom. The Jabs School of Business offers students various ways to receive hands-on, real-world experience and career guidance. One way is through internships, which allow students to apply what they are learning immediately, see how the professional world functions, and “test” out different career options. The other ways students prepare for their future is through the Career Center, providing an incredible amount of resources right at their fingertips, and events and resources that connect alumni, which increases their professional network and enhances career opportunities. 

Program Development: We live in a world that is fast-changing, evolving, and technology-driven. Business schools must continuously tweak and enhance their programs to stay relevant and fully equip graduates to compete in today’s market. Dr. Fletcher shares that one of the exciting things happening within the business school is program development in some newer disciplines. This includes business analytics and digital marketing, and the Master’s in Information Technology Management, Master’s in Business Administration, Master’s in Leadership and Management Studies programs, and the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies programs.