Mays is launching a recently approved Master of Science in Business degree (MS Business) in 2016. It will provide students who did not major in business with core business knowledge, solid critical thinking skills and a basic understanding of leadership best practices—with emphases on experiential learning, teamwork and career preparation.

The plan is to accept the first class of 50 students in the summer of 2016. This program will provide one avenue to showcase innovation in education, which aligns with Dean Eli Jones’ goal of enhancing innovation in the business school.

The MS Business classes will not be offered in the traditional format of meeting twice per week for 15 weeks across a semester. Instead, the 17 courses for the program will be divided into five educational blocks. Courses in the first block are planned for three or four weeks in July and August. The remaining four blocks are planned to be seven weeks long with two blocks in the regular fall semester and two blocks in the regular spring semester. In addition, faculty who teach MS Business courses will be expected to look for innovative ways such as role playing, business simulations, games, and flipped classrooms to deliver their course material.

`Jon (Sean) Jastudnetssperson, academic director for the new program, says the program will showcase some of the latest innovations in higher education. “We plan to build a challenging, innovative learning environment for the MS Business students that incorporates educational best practices into the classroom,” he said. “The concentrated, block delivery schedule for the courses combined with role play, simulations, and flipped classroom active learning techniques will provide better engagement for students in the learning process.”

The MS Business program is 10 months long and is designed for non-business majors with less than 18 months of work experience after completing their undergraduate degree. Students coming directly from their undergraduate degree programs will be able to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

The program provides students with a strong business foundation and the ability to excel as a leader in team environments. As a result, graduates of this program will have an accelerated career path. For instance, Jasperson said, if an aerospace engineering undergraduate student graduates from this program and begins his first job on a project team at an aeronautics company, he will be likely become the project team lead more quickly than his peers because of the knowledge and skills he developed in the MS Business program.

The 17 MS Business courses, equaling 36 credits hours, have been uniquely created for this program. The first block of courses will be considered the program bootcamp and include three courses covering the topics of value creation, career management and business collaboration. “Right from the start, students will learn how to create value in business, how to market themselves as they begin their search for a full-time job in the fall, and will learn Excel and other personal productivity tools,” Jasperson said. The remaining courses will be taught across the next three blocks and include coursework in the functional areas of business as well as courses in ethical decision making and international business. A business communications course will span the length of the program, and the capstone business experience course will continue throughout the spring semester.