SMB: The Fast Track to Specialized Business Expertise
Karen Hopper Wruck

Karen Hopper Wruck

Fisher’s new Specialized Master in Business (SMB) degree promises to deliver greater career-development options to individuals and companies.

Fisher already offers an Executive MBA program ranked 15th in the world by Bloomberg Businessweek, a full-time MBA program ranked in the top 25 nationally and a working professional MBA ranked 10th nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

Fisher offers many dual-degree options, the most recent of which are a dual master’s degree with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and a dual MBA and Master of Science in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, designed for students interested in careers in agri-business, food processing and economic development.

With the SMB program, the college is tapping into graduate students who want to build specialized expertise but don’t wish to pursue the longer and more broadly-based MBA degree. The program also can serve recent college graduates or younger professionals.

“The intent (of the SMB) is to provide a very intensive, discipline focus for students who want to drill very deeply into one subject matter as a way to further themselves professionally,” says Karen Hopper Wruck, associate dean for graduate programs.

Initially, the program will include tracks in corporate finance and marketing and will take between a year to a year and a half to complete, compared with two years of full-time studies to earn an MBA.

While both tracks won’t officially launch on campus until 2011/2012, Fisher already is delivering the marketing track on site at Columbus-based Nationwide Insurance. The Nationwide class is diverse — composed mostly of young to mid-level career marketing staff, with the first graduates of the program expected in the summer of 2012.

“The courses offered at Nationwide are the same ones offered on campus. A huge benefit for the students is networking—they get to build internal relationships with colleagues across silos, while the program really has made them more committed to Nationwide as a company,” notes Patricia West, associate professor of marketing, who interviewed each of the prospective students and is coordinating Fisher faculty’s on-site instruction.

Program participant Ashley Goldammer, a process management manager who has worked at Nationwide Insurance for eight years, describes the specialized master’s program as a perfect opportunity for her development. “It is a great way to be cutting edge within the marketing profession, while having the chance to network with up-and-comers in the company,” she says. “During courses, we have brainstormed about current challenges at Nationwide — an opportunity that would not exist if not for Fisher’s master’s program. Having class at Nationwide allows me to still maintain my busy schedule at the office, while having the convenience of earning my degree in the same building. This program is a great fit to take my career to the next level.”

Fisher is in talks with a number of companies to roll out similar on-site degree programs, says Carol Newcomb, executive director of Executive Education. “Companies are looking for two things—first, to upgrade the knowledge base of their current managers to maintain the organizations’ competitive edge, and second, to manage their talent pool for the future through investing in education,” she says.

Fisher’s diverse programs are designed to meet the needs of busy professionals, notes Wruck. “Our goal is to provide a portfolio of degree options in graduate education to allow students to pick the option that best suits their personal career goals.”

Patricia West Interview

Patricia West, associate professor of marketing, discusses the SMB program Fisher offers to employees at Nationwide Insurance.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

No comments

Show View and Add Comments