Professional MBA program gets off the ground.

Thirty-four students from more than a dozen countries have begun the new Professional MBA (PMBA) program at the FIU Broward Pines Center. That’s just one shy of the ambitious initial enrollment goal set by the Chapman Graduate School of Business. The numbers validate the organizers’ research that indicated that a flexible, Saturday program offered in a convenient location would find a ready clientele.

The PMBA follows the structure of the Executive MBA (EMBA) program but requires only four years of professional experience versus the eight required for entrance to the EMBA. It takes merely twenty months to complete, and unlike the EMBA, it does not require a mandatory international trip, which makes it more attractive for some people’s schedules.

The initial group brings with it some impressive credentials.

“The average age of the participants in our first class is 31, the average professional experience is nine years, and the average salary is $65,000,” said Sarah Perez, program director of both the PMBA and the EMBA programs. “According to a survey the students completed, they chose the program because of its flexibility, because it gives them the chance to do MBA work on Saturdays, and because they could enter the program with fewer years of professional experience, even though many have more than double the requirement.”

Three international students left jobs and relocated specifically to take the program and four employees of the college signed up.

As with the well-established EMBA, the PMBA began with an orientation and intensive team-building exercises. The students took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI); heard from Dana Farrow, professor of management, and Barry Shiflett, director of Career Management Services for the Chapman School; completed a wall-climbing exercise; and got their team assignments.

Marta Torres is assistant director of the program, and Clark Wheatley, associate professor, School of Accounting, is its faculty director.

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