Widener's "MBA Your Way" Provides Students Flexible Study Options

Emma Irving '18
Blue back-lit keyboard with an MBA button
Widener offers flexible paths to a traditional or specialized MBA.

The decision to pursue an MBA is often a complicated one for students who may also be working full time, who want to combine their degree with another powerful skill set, or who want to fast track their education to quickly advance their career.

Now at Widener, students can earn an “MBA Your Way” with a host of flexible options to meet them where they are in their careers and personal lives.

For people who are ready to accelerate their careers with a traditional MBA, there is the professional MBA track. Students can complete the degree in as little as one year, or take as long as they need. While the program is currently operating remotely, it will ultimately allow students to choose in-person, online, or a mixture of both formats of instruction.

Students looking to add a unique skill set to their MBA may choose the specialized MBA track. Concentrations in data analytics, business process innovation, investment management, or organizational leadership will put them on the inside track to advancing their careers.

Few MBA students exemplify the advantages of having flexible learning options like Karina Brasil. Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she was looking forward to completing her MBA on campus, but due to the pandemic has started completing her studies remotely. Brasil is pursuing a specialization in organizational leadership and will complete her degree in December 2021, spending a year and a half total in the program.

“I got into two MBA programs in the states, but I felt so embraced as an international student at Widener that I decided this was the program for me,” Brasil said.

Head shot of student Karina Brasil
Graduate student Karina Brasil.

Brasil was working full time as a human resources leader at a cement plant in Brazil while starting her MBA part time this fall. In anticipation of coming to the United States to finish her degree, she left her job to focus on the MBA full time.

But even when she was juggling full-time work along with her classes, Brasil felt energized by how much she could immediately apply from the classroom into her human resources work.

“As I was going through the theories in my Leadership Organizations and People and Change Management courses, I realized how great it would have been to have had this knowledge sooner,” Brasil said. “People ask where I come up with these ideas and I tell them it’s all from my MBA program!”

Passion and Support

While Brasil wishes she was taking in-person classes in the United States, she notes that her professors have exceeded her expectations for online learning. Dr. Jose Proenca, the professor for her Change Management course, and associate dean for the School of Business Administration, has made a special impact.

“He’s very practical and gives a lot of examples but he always asks for everyone’s contributions and is able to connect it all to the theories we’re learning about,” she said. “He is passionate about teaching and you can actually feel that even though we’re in an online environment.”

That passion is something Dean Anthony Wheeler of the School of Business Administration believes makes Widener’s MBA program stand out from the rest.

“We take your success personally at Widener,” Wheeler said. “We’re educating our learners in a way that will empower them to own their career and their future with programs that stand at the forefront of what the industry is doing.

“Another aspect of taking your success personally is our amazing network of alumni who are so engaged helping students find internships and jobs. We’re not just supporting students in the classroom but we’re there for them beyond that with job preparedness and getting plugged into a career network.”

The flexibility of the new MBA options will give students a wide range of experiences in the program, but enthusiastic faculty, cutting-edge programs, and supportive alumni will ensure the success of all.

Brasil hopes to use her new degree to land an executive position as a human resources manager, and says that she would recommend the flexibility of the MBA to everyone, especially international students.

“I already feel like I’ve come a great way. I know this was the right program for me,” she said. “If someone was wondering if Widener was the right place for their MBA, I would just say go for it. Whether you’re adding a specialization, learning online, or focusing full-time on the program or continuing with a job too, you will find a home here.”

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