December 18, 2014

Sector Portrait: Continuing Education

MBA Programs in Florida

A Florida Trend in-depth report on the state's top MBA programs.

Patti Roth | 3/1/2011

DEAN'S PERSPECTIVE

Larry Ross

Larry Ross,
coordinator, graduate business program, Florida Southern College, Lakeland

The greed and unethical behavior of some in the business world has prompted educators at Florida Southern to boost their emphasis on ethics and social responsibility, Ross says. "It's a return to values-based philosophy,'' he says. "It's not just the pursuit of the almighty bucks.''

As part of its approach, his school is emphasizing more than quantitative performance and encouraging students from non-business disciplines to join the MBA program.

"We want people in our MBA program who aren't just business majors," he says. "We want art majors, sociology majors and music majors. We are committed to enriching the qualitative dimension of the MBA. Hot topics in business today include innovation, creativity, design, team dynamics, etc. We believe that undergraduates in the arts and sciences can bring their beliefs, knowledge and passion to the program and help to develop a different and diverse culture."

The goal is to produce students with a balanced perspective. "It's not necessarily the score alone that counts; it's how the game was played."

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Cortez Hankton
[Photo: Scott A. Miller/AP]
Cortez Hankton,
University of Central Florida, Orlando

Plenty of students work on their graduate degrees while holding down a job. But in Cortez Hankton's case, that job meant dodging defensive backs and catching passes — until this year, Hankton was a wide receiver with the Florida Tuskers, the former Orlando-based franchise of the United Football League. The team recently moved to Virginia and became the Virginia Destroyers. "Sometimes it's uncomfortable sitting in a chair after being banged up at practice,'' says 30-year-old Hankton.

The former NFL player is hoping to establish a sports management and consulting firm. He sees his sports background as an advantage in his studies. "I think my competitive nature translates well to classroom. I'm not satisfied with anything but an A."

19,407 Number of score reports sent to schools by Florida residents who took the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) between July 2009 and June 2010. Of those, 12,463 reports (65%) were directed to schools in Florida. Schools in other states received just a fraction of that amount — 744 reports to New York schools and 576 to California schools. Forty-three schools in Florida use the GMAT exam as part of the admissions process.

DEAN'S PERSPECTIVE

Jerry Schoenfeld
Jerry Schoenfeld,
director, MBA program,
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers

While his school's graduate program has been structured primarily for part-time students who are working professionals, the number of students taking a full load has risen, Schoenfeld says. Behind that trend, he says, is the economy and an overall increase in enrollment of about 25%.

Many of the full-time students, he says, are pursuing higher education because they're not able to jump right into the workforce.

Trends in the demands from employers, Schoenfeld says, include an emphasis on such facets as communication, teamwork, innovation and creativity and problem-solving. "We look to make sure within the curriculum they are being covered with the course activities — team projects, case studies, class presentations."

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Jessica Jenkins
Jessica Jenkins,
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee

As a trumpet player in her school's renowned Marching 100 band, Jessica Jenkins has performed with singer Prince at the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show and at President Barack Obama's inaugural parade.

The band's demanding schedule is "pretty much like a job," she says — adding a challenge to the academic load of a five-year bachelor/MBA program. One teacher, she says, jokingly told Jenkins that she might flunk out. "She was proud that I stuck it out and was amazed that I maintained my GPA while marching and doing the program,'' says Jenkins, a 3.7-GPA student.

In addition to earning the position of rank sergeant in the band, Jenkins also performs with the school's jazz band and is active with public service projects as a member of the Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority. "Perserverence is really, really key — making sure you stay on it,'' she says. "Make sure you continue to work hard and stay focused on your goal."

As with her academic career, the 23-year-old says she would like her professional life also to be a blend of music and business, perhaps owning a recording studio or a record label.

Tags: Education

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