Oklahoma Baptist University

OBU To Start Global Commerce Grad Program

Building on a reputation for global involvement, OBU plans to launch an innovative master's degree program in 2002.

According to Dr. Dan Reeder, dean of the Paul Dickinson School of Business, and Dr. John Cragin, professor of business, the intensive master's degree in global commerce is "perfect for today's career-minded young business leaders who are focused on quality, time, and money."

"This is a high-energy master's program specifically designed for today's market," said Cragin. "It is what a 21st century master's in business ought to be."

The intensive graduate degree program is the second master's level program in OBU's history.

Faculty from OBU's Paul Dickinson School of Business developed the master of global commerce degree program, which was endorsed by the business faculty last spring, and approved by OBU's faculty in October.

While the program will maintain OBU's standards for academic rigor, it will offer a unique format. Students in the program will be away from their jobs for a total of three months. The graduate degree program has a proposed cost of $16,500.

"The costs in time, money and career objectives of most full-time and part-time MBA programs are very high," said Reeder. "Typical full-time programs demand $18,000 in out-of-pocket costs, at least $50,000 in lost income, plus a two-year career setback. Today's business students are very adept in calculating the net-present-value of that kind of investment."

"Typical part-time programs demand the same out-of-pocket costs, allow for minimal interaction with faculty and students, and greatly restrict business travel and career advancement for up to three years," he explained. "Many part-time programs reduce in-class contact with professors and students to as few as 24 hours per course, relying on correspondence and the internet to fill the gaps. There is a big need for a better alternative."

"To reduce costs and time out of the action and yet avoid any compromise in quality, we have borrowed some ideas from the Harvard and other executive and graduate programs," said Cragin. "By employing the principles of thorough preparation, high intensity, and great follow-through, we are able to compress most student and faculty classroom effort to the months of June, July and August."

"There is absolutely no quality compromise," Reeder emphasized. "This program requires a full 39 semester hours, and every course requires more than 40 face-to-face, in-class hours with qualified professors and fellow students. The MGC candidates will successfully complete comprehensive exams, an international project, and a master's thesis."

Another innovative feature of the program is the venue. Some of the preparation and follow-through takes place during intensive weekends on the Shawnee campus - one in the spring and one in the fall. A 30-day international project will typically be completed in Asia, South America or Europe in September. But much of the classroom training occurs in June and July and August in an isolated setting in the mountains of Colorado.

"The kind of intensive concentration this program requires cannot be easily achieved in a typical urban or suburban university campus environment," said Cragin. "In this regard, we borrow from ancient scholars of many cultures, seeking to compress and concentrate learning in a place where the only distractions are the grandeur of God's natural creation."

Reeder and Cragin acknowledge that the name "master's in global commerce" is uncommon.

"Eyebrows were similarly raised when the American Graduate School of International Management courageously pioneered the first MIM (master's in international management)," Cragin said. "We believe the MGC name correctly describes a program that emphasizes general business skills with a techno-global emphasis. Since it goes beyond today's traditional MBA program, we really could not call it an MBA without causing confusion in the marketplace."

The MGC is designed to benefit recent graduates who want to immediately upgrade their credentials, people who are in career transition, international students with time constraints, and people interested in developing a techno-global thrust for their organizations.

There will be only one class per calendar year. The first, scheduled for summer 2002, will be open to no more than 25 students. Applications will be processed in the fall, with notification of acceptance the following January. In February, candidates will be teamed with four or five others with whom they will work closely throughout the program, and with whom they will network throughout their careers. Most candidates will complete a 30-day international project in September and will submit a final thesis in December.

More information about the program can be obtained by contacting Cragin at 405-878-3279 or via email to john_cragin@ mail.okbu.edu.

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