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We’ve Changed the Way We Teach Business

We at URI are known for reinventing the way we teach to meet the world’s changing needs. Our latest reinvention is our one-year Master of Business Administration program. Mark Higgins, dean of the College of Business Administration, calls it “a breakthrough design,” one that’s fully located at our downtown Feinstein Providence Campus, closer to the businesses and executives who will play a key role in the program’s strategic innovation-focused curriculum.

More than 20 College of Business faculty members have spent the past two years reviewing the curriculum, surveying national and regional employers, studying market trends, and talking to students and alumni in order to make the traditional M.B.A. more relevant in today’s marketplace. They developed a curriculum focused on managing, designing, and implementing strategic innovation, making the program one-of-a-kind, both academically and structurally.

Al Verrechia

While a traditional M.B.A. learning model has students taking five or six concurrent courses in distinct functional areas taught by faculty specialists, URI’s new curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, evidence-based decision making, and interpersonal communication across all functional areas of a modern corporation. Using a continuous improvement framework and team teaching, each intensive two-week module is built upon the module that precedes it.

“Our new approach demonstrates to students that strategic decision making is not sequential, but rather interdisciplinary across all areas of a business. Disruptive innovation in business is becoming the rule, not the exception, and this new program will ensure our students can thrive and compete,” Higgins said.

M.B.A. students will also engage in a “live case” with Hasbro executives, giving them a real-life context in which to apply their coursework; and they’ll work as teams in a “business laboratory setting” with established Rhode Island organizations or start-ups, helping develop a new process, practice, or product.

Al Verrechia ’67, M.B.A. ’72, chairman of the Hasbro Inc. board of directors, said, “Employers have high expectations for M.B.A. graduates, and URI’s new M.B.A. offers a competitive advantage. It will prepare them to use critical thinking and analytical skills on the job while applying practical, real world knowledge to confront the challenges businesses are facing on a global level.”

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