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Biz Buzz

Columbia Business School Launches Enhanced Core Curriculum

Columbia Business School unveiled a redesigned MBA curriculum this fall. The program mixes a required core that provides essential knowledge with options that allow students to tailor requirements according to career interests. Required foundational courses include accounting, corporate finance, leadership, marketing, operations, statistics, and strategy. In addition, students have the flexibility to pick one course from each of three broad categories—organizations, performance, and markets—and may take additional courses as electives.

Another feature of the new curriculum is a non-credit corporate governance module, designed to enhance students’ understanding of their duties and responsibilities as managers. The module starts during first-year orientation with readings and class sessions, and will conclude with a capstone session in the final term of the MBA program.

In another curricular development, Purdue University Calumet has developed a new curriculum for its Saturday MBA for Executives program. In addition to technical and analytical skills, the revised program also emphasizes training in such areas as communication, negotiation, and team building, and such topics as international business and ethics and corporate governance.

Sloan, Simmons Adopt Values-Based Ethics Training

As reported August 6 in the Financial Times, both the Sloan School of Management at MIT and Simmons College have adopted "Giving Voice to Values," an approach to teaching ethics that eschews a case study approach in favor of "real-world" applications. "Giving Voice to Values" helps students develop the cognitive arguments, communication skills, personal comfort and commitment necessary to voice their values in the workplace. Incoming MBA students at MIT explore the program as part of their orientation, while Simmons offers the training in courses for both MBA students and undergraduates. To date, elements of the program have been adopted at three dozen business schools.

Today’s Soldier is Tomorrow’s Financial Planner

California Lutheran University has found a successful way to attract students now in the military. The university’s online MBA program in financial planning, offered through its Institute of Finance, enrolls 15 students who are currently deployed in military postings in England, Germany, Iraq, Italy, and elsewhere. Primarily serving personnel who hold an officer’s rank, the program helps enrollees prepare for a transition into the financial services industry once they complete their military career.

Podcast:  Dave Wilson on GMAT Preparation and Cheating

In the wake of GMAC’s international investigation of GMAT cheating and the website Scoretop, GMAC President and CEO David A. Wilson spoke with the Financial Times’ Management Blog about a range of GMAT dos and don’ts. The interview discusses the art of getting ready to take the GMAT and new measures that GMAC is taking to prevent cheating. At press time the interview was available as a podcast.

Morphing a website to Fit Your Preferences

When it comes to websites, some of us prefer to see lots of information, while others like nice, clean pages. On the theory that Web vendors could increase sales if their sites matched customers’ cognitive styles, researchers at MIT's Sloan School of Management have developed programs that allow sites to adapt automatically to each visitor’s preferences, based on the user's pattern of Web clicks.

John R. Hauser, the Kirin Professor of Marketing and head of the management science area at the Sloan School, is lead author of a paper, to be published in Marketing Science, that details how sites can use "dynamic programming" to determine a user's cognitive style and change rapidly to complement that style. Users might not even notice the subtle changes, Hauser told Technology Review, but would gradually find the site easier to navigate and would find it easier to find the information they seek.

While some sites, such as Amazon.com, already adapt to suit the user, the Sloan design is seen as something of a next-generation approach to making websites more adaptive and perhaps more useful in e-commerce. The Sloan researchers’ initial studies show that morphing a website to suit different types of visitors could increase the site’s sales by 20 percent.

Short Takes

  • The Jerusalem Post reports that the MBA program at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, will now be taught exclusively in English.
  • Imperial College London is changing the name of its business school from the Tanaka Business School to Imperial College Business School. Research suggested that the former name was not strongly associated with Imperial College.
  • Henley Management College has merged with the University of Reading to create the new Henley Business School at the University of Reading in the UK. The new school is described as one of the largest full-service business schools in Europe.
  • The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation has endowed a chair, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Professor of Innovation, at the London Business School.
  • The Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.,  and the School of Management at Zhejiang University have signed a five-year agreement to enhance and strengthen the global reach of each university’s entrepreneurial business and technology programs.
  • The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business has created a guaranteed loan program for international students that covers the full cost of tuition, housing, and related expenses. All international students in the school’s MBA and PhD programs qualify for the loan program, and no U.S. cosigner is required. The new program replaces one that ended abruptly in July when the Illinois Designated Account Purchase Program failed to renew its line of credit due to disruptions in the capital markets.

From the Fundraising Desk

Northern Kentucky University has received $15 million for its College of Business from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./US Bank Foundation. The gift is the largest in the university’s history.

The Bohemian Foundation, a longtime supporter of Colorado State University, has committed up to $3 million for a planned expansion of Rockwell Hall, which houses CSU’s College of Business.

The Caterpillar Foundation and James E. Owens, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, Inc., have pledged $2.2 million to North Carolina State University. The gift will establish the Owens Distinguished Professorship of Supply Chain Management in the university’s College of Management and will support student scholarships.

The Anderson School of Management at the University of California-Los Angeles has received $2 million from Jim Easton, chairman and CEO of Jas. D. Easton Inc., to create the Jim Easton Global Connection Classroom, an advanced, technology-enabled learning environment.

The University of Louisville College of Business has received $1 million from BB&T to create a professorship in free enterprise and to develop an economics course and lecture series focused on the philosophy of novelist Ayn Rand.

Jan Moran, JM Family Enterprises, Inc. and The Jim Moran Foundation have pledged $1.8 million to support the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the Florida State University College of Business. In part the gift will help FSU provide knowledge and support in starting a business for underserved populations.

New Programs

The Max M. Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University has developed a master’s degree program in lean enterprise and continuous improvement. The Master of Business Operational Excellence is designed as an intense one-year program that provides managers with skills and tools to reduce waste and improve value stream management, strengthen employee engagement, and develop organizational capabilities. Separately, Nationwide Insurance is collaborating with Fisher to create the Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights, which will focus on researching and evaluating consumer behavior in the United States. … The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge has launched the Centre for International Human Resource Management. … The New Jersey Institute of Technology has created a 10-course, online Master of Science in Management program in management and five online business-related certificate programs. … Thunderbird School of Global Management has launched "Doing Business in India," an online certificate program on the dynamics of Indian business. The four-week program shows working professionals how to work effectively within India's business, political and cultural environment. In 2007, Thunderbird launched a similar program focused on China, and programs for Russia and Latin America are in development. … BI Norwegian School of Management is collaborating with Nanyang Technological University to offer an Executive MBA in shipping, offshore, and finance. It is targeted at managers in the shipping, petroleum, energy, bank, finance, and maritime sectors.

The Cranfield School of Management in the UK plans to offer its Cranfield Business Leaders’ Programme in Singapore, the first in a series of executive programs that Cranfield plans to deliver in Singapore. … The Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia, will offer a business management diploma program this fall largely in Inuit Nunavut, Canada’s newest and largest territory, which was created in 1999. … In Loretto, Pa., Saint Francis University has reorganized into four schools, including a school of business that offers undergraduate business majors as well as an MBA program and master’s in human resource management. … Clarion University and Sanda University in Shanghai have signed an agreement that in part will enable Chinese students interested in business education to study at the Pennsylvania university. …  Chicago’s historic Santa Fe Building, on Michigan Avenue, is home to a new executive education classroom operated by the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. … The first cohort of students in the MBA program at the Mike Cottrell School of Business at North Georgia College & State University started studies in August.

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