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Students Thriving in NAU’s Acclaimed MBA Program

The master’s in business administration (MBA) program at Northern Arizona University was recently listed among the best business programs in the nation in the Princeton Review’s 2010 edition of its book, The Best 301 Business Schools. NAU students and instructors say those involved in developing and operating the program should be proud.

     “The master’s program has really challenged me and I feel prepared to enter the workforce. I constantly hear from recruiters that NAU students have the technical and personal skills that are so desired. I credit my acceptance of a job offer with the skills I have learned at NAU,” said Michael Starace.

Starace is a student in the MBA program and is near the end of the 10-month program. He said he chose NAU after spending some time at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Among other things, he wanted smaller classes and more individualized attention than he previously received. So, he moved to NAU.

     At first, he questioned whether the Flagstaff university would be a good match for him. “My first worry about coming to NAU was the ‘little school’ persona. Looking back, that was very shortsighted of me. When applying for jobs, I was beating out students from ASU, U of A, BYU, and New Mexico. That shows you how well NAU trains its students and how employers recognize those abilities,” he said.

     This is the fifth year that NAU has been featured in the publication. Editors chose the 301 schools based upon opinions from more than 19,000 students who shared their experiences at school. Also, the editors looked at the schools’ academic programs and offerings.

The MBA program has been in existence since the early 1970s. Enrollment is capped at 40 students.

     Jane Thompson, program director, said, “The program is intentionally small, which facilitates a high level of interaction, teamwork, collaborative learning and development of communication skills. In addition, the curriculum is delivered as an integrated whole, rather than as separate, discipline-based pieces, allowing the students and faculty to approach business problems on a cross-functional and integrated basis.”

     Additionally, NAU students who offered information for the survey noted that their program offered solid preparation in marketing, accounting, presentation skills, computer skills and doing business in a global economy.

     “Oral presentations and proper writing skills are a huge focal point at NAU. Presentations are taken very seriously and the teachers let you know if you seem unprepared. Also, the teachers stress proper communication in every form of the education process. Whether it’s writing an email or writing an assignment, the teachers expect professional communication at all times,” Starace said.

     Starace has already been offered a job in Tucson at an accounting firm. He’s scheduled to start work next fall after he passes the Certified Public Accountant exam.

     He gives credit to his family and the faculty at NAU for encouraging him during the difficult times and offering him the skills necessary to finish his degree and be ready for the work- force. FBN

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