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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 15, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 34
SPSBE to Offer Nontraditional MBA Fellows Program in Fall

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education this fall will welcome the first participants in its new MBA Fellows program, a two-year experience that will allow proven leaders from around the globe to earn the advanced degree without traditional classroom time.

The program, which will begin with its first cohort of 30 in November, will combine intensive Baltimore-based residencies and interaction through a Johns Hopkins-designed online learning community.

The project-based learning format is geared for motivated professionals who want to move up the corporate ladder or otherwise broaden their horizons, according to Rick Milter, director of the program and an associate professor of management at SPSBE.

Milter said that the participants will be able to earn a highly valued Johns Hopkins MBA while structuring his or her studies around a busy full-time work schedule and specific career goals. Very few other schools, he said, offer such a program structure combined with a project-based action learning approach.

"Those who enter this program will be people who have demonstrated leadership abilities and are very self-disciplined and driven," Milter said. "This is not for those who want an MBA to hang on the wall. This program is for people who know they have certain learning needs and want to increase their competitiveness in their fields and expand their capabilities."

The program includes three weeklong residential experiences and six extended weekend residencies at the university's Mt. Washington campus.

Participants will engage in seven team-based and two individual projects designed around "current and real issues" and guided by a mix of full-time and practitioner SPSBE faculty.

Milter said that nearly half of the projects will be based on actual business challenges provided by companies with which the school will pair up. Each challenging and in-depth project will take three months to complete, Milter said, forcing participants to closely examine an industry and learn how to work with pricing models, financial ratios and other business principles. Participants will self-guide their investigative work, aided by the Electronic Learning Community, a Web-based tool designed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education.

The ELC is a password-protected virtual environment that allows users to have online chats, send instant messages, post announcements, transmit administrative forms and share files from any remote location.

"Any time and any place, team members will be able to collaborate through the ELC, whether it's to post a question or findings," Milter said. "Like in a chat room, the user will be able to see who is online and interact directly."

Faculty and outside experts will also join the online forum, to which participants are expected to contribute between 10 and 15 hours per week. Cohort members will also create a digital portfolio to track their growth through the program.

Members of each cohort learning community will begin and end the program together, Milter said, allowing for a collegial, team-oriented experience.

To qualify, fellows need to have a minimum of two years of increasingly responsible professional experience and have earned a baccalaureate or graduate degree in any field.

The program's Web site went live last month, and marketing efforts will begin in earnest later this month. The recruitment process for the first cohort will end in August.

Milter said the initial response has been extremely encouraging, and he expects the program will be able to be very selective with enrollment.

Tuition for the MBA Fellows program is $64,800, which covers books, materials and lodging (including breakfasts and lunches) at the Hopkins-owned Mt. Washington Conference Center. Milter said that he anticipates that most participants will be fully or partially sponsored by their employers.

An online information session about the Johns Hopkins MBA Fellows program is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31; to participate, register on the program Web site, For more information about the program, call April Stanson at 410-516-2838, e-mail or go to the Web site.


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