Dr. Thomas Powers Discusses the Online MBA Program

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UAB Collat School of Business. Knowledge that will change your world. Online Master of Business Administration.

Thomas Powers:

Well, what’s really unique about this MBA program is that to begin with, UAB is a Carnegie Research I university. We’re very fortunate to have that ranking and it really does mean a lot in terms of national reputation and it means a tremendous amount in terms of the value of your MBA degree.

UAB has been a very, very dynamic university. Relatively young university but it’s very entrepreneurial. If you look at the campus, the building growth is absolutely phenomenal. It’s a beautiful campus and we’re building a new business school in the next year and a half. We broke ground on that a few weeks ago and that’s up and running.

Just about any time is a good time to get an MBA. If you’re in a down economy, getting an MBA gives you a distinct competitive advantage, but it’s particularly good in an up moving economy, which is what we’re facing right now. The economy is going to be expanding in the next few years, there’s going to be countless opportunities for people with new MBAs, and that just creates a world of opportunity for a person.

An MBA degree gives you a differential advantage. It has a very, very high return on investment in terms of what you gain, in terms of career. Particularly compared to a bachelor’s degree. Smart money is always to get in there with the advanced degree and it’s a wonderful time to do it.

I’ve been at UAB 31 years, so I have been here a while. I have seen all this technology change and what we’ve done most recently. By far, being online is the most revolutionary, particularly for students that are engaged, students that are, by their very nature, engaged in self-discipline, this is a superior way to do it. They can learn much more in this format.

To me, it is all a classroom because the online students I see face-to-face, I communicate more with online students, I know more about the students, they know more about me, and so I think of it as a classroom. Totally.

MBA programs originally were not developed for people with undergraduate degrees in business. If you have a undergrad degree in liberal arts, if you have an undergrad degree in education, life sciences, these are all fabulous backgrounds. In fact, the ideal person sometimes is a person that has an undergrad degree in a different area plus an MBA because they have an understanding of another field. But on top of that, they have the business skills that they need to implement that kind of process. So, they’re very valuable for an employer for that reason.

As a person going through an MBA program learns how to lead, they learn how to interact with other people, and they have all the prerequisite skills at the same time. This is why for an employer, this is a very, very valuable combination.

Most people in the business school that teach in the MBA program have prior business experience. We are not just academics. We’re practitioners. We’ve done this and we do it currently. Most of us do outside work. We do consulting. I’ve worked with a number of start-up companies. I’ve done a lot of work with AT&T, firms like that.

If you’re thinking about an online MBA, if you’re seriously considering it, you should take a good luck at UAB. This is a fabulous program. And, again, it’s a Carnegie Research I university. That is something that’s relatively rare in the online world. Good luck to you.