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MBA Programs in Florida

56% Among the more than 2,600 students who received master's degrees in business from State University System schools in 2002-03, more than half were employed by a company in Florida five years later (not including self-employed graduates) and were earning almost $100,000 a year, according to the Florida Department of Education's Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program.


Craig McAllaster
[Photo: Rollins College]

Craig McAllaster,
dean, Crummer Graduate School of Business,
Rollins College, Winter Park

Today, business school programs aimed at students who are already working have to accommodate students' busy schedules and personal lives. Rollins developed an online program last year, the Key Executive MBA, to provide flexibility for working senior-level executives who want graduate degrees. But McAllaster says the school doesn't want the program to be all-electronic — students meet one weekend each month for classroom work that includes lectures, presentations and debates.

McAllaster describes those sessions as "spirited. In fact there is very little, if any, lecture during the in-class time. It is case discussions, real-company discussions and how to use MBA knowledge as an analytical tool."

The value of interaction and group dynamics is too important to forgo, he says. "Part of leadership is going nose to nose over a case.''

7,733 Number of MBAs and other master's degrees in business education awarded by 39 schools affiliated with the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and Florida's State University System in the 2009-10 school year. Of those, 4.4% (343) went to Asians; 13.2% (1,024) to African-Americans; 18.1% (1,402) to Hispanics; and 45.4% (3,514) to whites. By gender, 51.5% (3,984) were to men and 48.5% (3,749) to women.



Michael Hann,
Florida International University, Miami

Michael Hann is studying to be a physician and a businessman — at the same time. Hann enrolled in FIU's healthcare MBA program during his second year of medical school, attending medical school during the week and MBA sessions on Saturdays. "Everybody looks at you and asks if you're crazy,'' he says. "It's a lot of work. You go in with the mindset that you'll work twice as hard as people working twice as hard."
Hann, 25, says he thinks a background in management will provide him with a perspective on his field that will serve him well as a physician.
Meanwhile, he doesn't scrimp on extracurriculars, recently winning re-election as the medical student council president. "It's working out surprisingly well," he says. "I'm getting through it very nicely."

Michael Hann

Executive MBA Programs

University Enrollment (2010) Cost
Florida Atlantic University 212 $42,090
Florida Gulf Coast University N/A $39,000
Florida International University 59 $54,000
Jacksonville University 23 $49,000
Nova Southeastern University 1,885 $26,000-$31,000
Rollins College 38 $88,000 (2-year cost)
Saint Leo University 1,429 $13,752 - $23,304
Stetson University 40 $50,000
University of Central Florida 44 $44,000
University of Florida 90 $46,000
University of Miami 309 $76,000
University of South Florida 54 $42,500
University of Tampa 42 $39,600
An Executive MBA Program is an MBA program designed to meet the needs of managers, executives and other business leaders. Executive MBA programs allow mid-stage professionals to earn a graduate degree in two years or less while continuing to work full or part time. Listed alphabetically.



Tomislav Mandakovic
Tomislav Mandakovic,
dean, Andreas School of Business,
Barry University, Miami Shores

Barry University's graduate business programs are trying to capitalize on the diversity of its students' backgrounds. With the economy still lagging, professionals from a wide assortment of fields are seeking training to run their own businesses successfully. Some are out of work and interested in entrepreneurial opportunities. Others are veering off from an existing job to branch out on their own.

The diverse backgrounds, Mandakovic says, are "great for classroom environment. You analyze different situations from different perspectives. You learn a lot from other people by being with them in the classroom."

Another trend, Mandakovic says, is an increased emphasis on service-oriented learning. That, he says, addresses general comments from the business world. MBA students gain practical, useful experience working with non-profits and other organizations in the community. "They're learning and at the same time seeing the usefulness," he says.

Mandakovic says he encourages prospective students to get two years of experience in the workforce before seeking their MBAs. "It's an issue of maturity,'' he says. "The students are coming here to learn — and not be taught."



Steven Foley,
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

Steven Foley won't be scouting for employment after school. He's already accepted a job in global customer management at Rolls-Royce. He says the opportunity arose through school.

Before enrolling in the MBA program, Foley worked for several years as a commercial banking officer and served on the Wausau, Wisc., City Council. During school, he interned at Orlando International Airport, worked as a graduate assistant for his college's marketing director and participated in extra team projects. Part of his goal, he says, was to take advantage of the networking benefits.

Returning for an MBA after being in the workforce was an approach that Foley, 31, recommends. "You just know how to relate that education to the real world,'' he says.

University Enrollment (2010) Cost
Barry University — Andreas School of Business 107 $31,500 - $34,125
DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management* 197 $33,600
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 154 $40,000
Florida A&M University 81 N/A
Florida Atlantic University — College of Business 630 $42,090
Florida Gulf Coast University —Lutgert College of Business 300 $39,000
Florida Institute of Technology — Nathan M. Bisk College of Business 1,000 $19,000 - $36,000
Florida International University — Chapman Graduate School of Business 862 $54,000
Florida Southern College — School of Business 47 $24,000
Florida State University — College of Business 349 online: $20,700 (in-state); $23,800 (out-of-state); on campus: $15,600 (in-state), $42,100 (out-of-state)
Jacksonville University — Davis College of Business 160 $49,000
John Sykes College of Business — University of Tampa 336 $39,600
Keiser University 430 $25,914
Nova Southeastern University — H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship N/A $26,600 - $31,000
Palm Beach Atlantic University 113 $16,560
Rollins College — Crummer Graduate School of Business 475 $88,000 (2-year cost)
Saint Leo University — School of Business 1,429 $13,752 - $23,304
Stetson University — School of Business Administration N/A $45,600
University of Central Florida — Executive Development Center 470 $44,000
University of Florida — Hough Graduate School of Business 930 $46,000
University of Miami — School of Business 178 $76,000
University of North Florida — Coggin College of Business 376 $13,283 (in-state)
University of South Florida — College of Business 270 N/A
University of South Florida Polytechnic N/A $14,998 - $19,457
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee 54 $17,057
University of South Florida St. Petersburg — College of Business 141 $12,874
University of West Florida — College of Business 164 $7,950



Peggy Golden
Peggy A. Golden,
chair, management programs, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton

FAU's new 16-month Professional MBA program caters to a growing number of students with some work experience who are interested in either startups or in bringing an entrepreneurial approach to existing firms. Golden says the program's focus "is on helping students move a product or service idea to the marketplace.''

"One of the strongest trends we've seen nationally is that our talent is seeking ways to introduce new products, new services (and seeking) new ways of looking at existing products and services,'' says Golden.

Another indicator of students' interests is the popularity of an elective titled "Start-Up CEO." Students assess real business pitches from entrepreneurs or faculty members.



Joseph Tysk
Joseph Tysk,
University of Florida, Gainesville

Joseph Tysk, 30, picked up some leadership experience before graduate school. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, with one full tour in the Persian Gulf. He also worked with an army unit in Baghdad, Iraq.

While in school, Tysk participates in the Navy Reserve. He also was elected president of his school's MBA Association. Among his goals in that role is increasing networking opportunities and social activities. "I want people to enjoy their time here and make the most of their time here,'' he says. "It's more than academics; it's a life experience."



Tim O'Keefe
Tim O'Keefe,
associate dean, College of Business, and director of graduate programs, University of West Florida, Pensacola

Officials in the graduate business program at UWF are experimenting with technology that allows students to access lectures and discussions from remote locations. "We've got to find ways to leverage technology, while at the same time preserving the quality established in the existing face-to-face programs," O'Keefe says.

Remote access, he says, is handy for students in the military who are sent off on temporary assignments and for other students who travel occasionally for work or job interviews. They're able to tune into a live broadcast of the classes or watch a recording.

The video connection, O'Keefe says, also is occasionally used to allow MBA students at the Fort Walton Beach campus to join in — via video conference — a class offered at the main campus. "It allows us to cover two campuses at the same time,'' he says. "It's a more effective use of resources, and it allows variability in class sizes."



Nicholas Okoro
Nicholas Okoro,
University of Miami, Miami

While a full-time graduate student, Nicholas Okoro founded and served as the director of U-Cane Initiative, a service organization designed to offer local youngsters social, educational and athletic activities. In that role, Okoro, 26, and his team of volunteers — primarily other graduate students — set up and ran a program at a local park last year. About 30 youngsters participated.

"We structured the program so that lesson plans were engaging and it was fun for the kids,'' Okoro says. In addition to the mentoring and educational benefits, the program also included basketball.

Okoro, who earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Pennsylvania in biological basis of behavior, previously worked as a litigation paralegal.

The MBA education is useful, he says, for both his professional pursuits in the corporate world and his passion for public service ventures. "I want to influence the greater good of the community, and my way of doing that is creating these social programs."


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."



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.



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."



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.


» The University of South Florida in Tampa is offering new MBA tracks in taxation and real estate and urban analysis.

» Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is establishing a joint bachelor of science in aerospace engineering and accelerated MBA program.

» Nova Southeastern University in Davie is working on launching an MBA in logistics and supply chain management. The school also is offering new MBA programs in sales, sales management, global management, human resource management, leadership and real estate development.

» The University of Miami began offering international study trips for MBA students as part of its partnerships with schools in Latin America, Asia and Europe. A two-week study trip is required in the school's Global Executive MBA program. For other MBA programs, the international study trips are optional.

» Florida State University reinstituted its on-campus, part-time MBA program. Also, the popular global business seminar, an optional class that involves travel, added Argentina and Europe to its itinerary.

» The University of South Florida St. Petersburg is adding online MBA courses.

» Florida A&M University added a joint doctor of pharmacy/MBA program. The school is also working on offering an online MBA program.

» University of Florida added new elective courses to its traditional MBA program — web-based marketing and special topics in investment finance. Also, internet MBA students receive iPads to access course materials, including class lectures.

» University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee is offering a flexible MBA schedule that allows students to enter in either the fall or spring semesters or complete the program on a part-time basis. Two years of work experience is no longer required to enter the program.