January 30, 2023

Dean's List

Florida's business school deans talk about their MBA programs

Nancy Dahlberg | 2/26/2020

Shawnta Friday-Stroud


Shawnta Friday-Stroud is an alumna of Florida A&M University, receiving both her bachelor’s in business and her MBA there before earning her DBA at FIU. She is the dean of FAMU’s School of Business and Industry.

“An MBA education really helps those individuals who also want a well-rounded understanding of business disciplines that help them to be able to critically think and analyze problems and offer innovative solutions,” says Friday-Stroud. Through interdisciplinary case studies and projects, “we try to give our students a lot of real-world problems so it is not just theory.”

Currently, 113 students are enrolled in FAMU MBA programs. In recent years, the school has added more supply chain and business analytics elements to the curriculum, Friday-Stroud says. The joint MBA/MS Supply Chain Management program is so new that the school has not started marketing it externally yet. A specialty area in business analytics is being developed.

To stay ahead of the curve, Friday- Stroud says she relies heavily on corporate partners to help predict trends and drive curriculum for the Tallahassee university. They sit on her advisory board, speak to classes and mentor. Most students take jobs out of state, with International Paper, Fifth-Third Bank, Mondelez International and Eli Lilly among hiring companies.

“I advise prospective MBA students to prepare for the challenges, rigor and demands of our program, but also for the rewards that they will experience as they progress in their careers.”

F. Frank Ghannadian


F. Frank Ghannadian has been dean of the University of Tampa Sykes College of Business since 2007, a period in which enrollment more than doubled. The finance professor also directs the TECO Energy Center for Leadership. He was interim business dean at Mercer University before joining UT. About 255 students were enrolled in UT’s MBA programs last fall, where student teams work with companies such as Target, banks and small businesses to develop strategic plans.

MBA Value: “Is it worth it to get an MBA? It depends. If you are going to an Ivy League school and you are paying $200,000 for the MBA, it’s questionable. But if you are getting an MBA from an AACSB-accredited school and instead you are paying $30,000 or $40,000, the payoff is very quick, and you make up the cost of the education and you better yourself. I don’t think MBAs are going away.”

Moving Online: “UT is going to be offering our first online program in business (master’s in business analytics) in the fall. We always thought traditional programs were the best, but now we want to capture that population we haven’t been serving yet. Some MBA classes will be online for fall of 2020. Most likely a complete MBA online option will be examined in the coming years.”

International Enrollment: “The USA used to be a magnet for anybody wanting a very good MBA. Now other countries in Europe, Canada and Asia are competing with American universities. We’ve had some declines for the last three years. They haven’t been as deep as other schools because our tuition is very affordable.”

Andrew Rosman


“Working at a university where the MBA program in particular is so pivotal to the mission of the university is my dream job,” says Andrew Rosman, named dean of Nova Southeastern University’s Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship in October. He was business dean at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey before joining the private Davie university.

Taking a cue from its benefactor, the Huizenga College has put entrepreneurial thinking into its program development, with 12 specialized MBAs, including business intelligence, human resource management and entrepreneurship. It also offers a dual degree MBA with NSU’s pharmacy school, and it plans to expand to other health care fields.

Even though 85% of the college’s students live in the metro area, it doesn’t mean they don’t want online convenience. So now, about 70% of MBA credit hours are offered online. What’s more, in the past year, curriculums have been shaved by three credits, saving students about $3,000 and time. In August, the college plans to launch a weekend-based MBA that could be completed in 11 months, one of the shortest programs available.

NSU noticed “4-plus-1” programs (marketing the bachelor’s and master’s together) were gaining popularity nationally, so it wanted to do one better: A 3-plus-1. Students in NSU’s intensive Huizenga Business Innovation Academy can earn a business undergraduate degree and an MBA in four years (including summers). Students learn how to launch and run businesses they set up on campus and can compete for an NSU $20,000 grant for a business they plan to start after college. “I think it is going to be a model for the future,” Rosman says.

Robyn Parker


Saint Leo University has a new dean and MBA director at the helm of its Tapia College of Business, the largest Catholic business school in the nation. Dean Robyn Parker and the director, Pamela Lee, have made retooling the MBA program the top priority. That involves revamping curriculum, with a bigger emphasis on hard skills, and launching a capstone course in which students prepare comprehensive business analyses for local companies. They are also piloting a program targeting international students that will provide an educational and experiential bridge to the MBA, Parker says.

Todd Katz

HODGES UNIVERSITY I Fort Myers and Naples

Todd Katz is the new dean at the Johnson Business School at private, non-profit Hodges University in Naples and Fort Myers. His 25-year financial services career includes starting community banks. He most recently headed Tarpon Coast Bank. Like Katz, nearly all of the school’s faculty came from industry. “How else does a student learn except from someone who has gone out in the world and done that,” says John Meyer, Hodges’ president. Other ways Hodges is nontraditional: Most MBA classes are one month long, allowing a student to take one course at a time and move on, rather than several at once. Most are online, blended with in-person classes if desired. The typical student is a Hispanic woman in her 30s who wants to get to the next level in her career; 60% of its MBA grads are female, Meyer says.

Michael Williams


If you want to see where Embry-Riddle’s MBA programs are going, look up. Graduates of the David B. O’Maley College of Business MBA programs — including one in aviation management — are coveted by airlines and the Boeings and Gulfstreams of the world, says Dean Michael Williams.

But with the commercial market for space growing, “there is a lot more we have to learn about space and the way business is conducted,” says Williams, an Embry-Riddle aviation management alum and a former aircraft technician for the U.S. Air Force and Florida Air National Guard. “We will see more of that when we start populating the moon and space stations and in hyper-transport — we may have to go into space to get to Australia in three or four hours. Operating that way is going to be changing the paradigm.”

A key component of the MBA programs — which serve 103 students on the private university’s Daytona Beach campus and 624 others online — is the real-world projects that students participate in, including one with NASA recently. “We help industry solve problems, and it gives our students an experience level they wouldn’t normally get.”

Faculty members are focusing more research on “the business of space” as well as nurturing space industry partnerships and developing additional course content on the subject.

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