Luis A. Franceschi has three words for the Chapman Graduate School’s Professional MBA, which he recently began as a member of the second class: “Super, super, super.”As vice president of sales for the family-owned Simco Recycling Corporation, he has a secure career, yet wanted a graduate degree should he ever return to his native Venezuela. He says he’s delighted.
“I have friends in both the Executive MBA (EMBA) and PMBA and was considering both, but I was not interested in the international residency that is a requirement in the EMBA program,” he said. “The PMBA looked like it would meet my needs, and it’s already exceeded my expectations.”
Professional Development Seminars help new classmates form strong teams.
After their orientation in early January and prior to beginning their twenty months of course work, the students—numbering 51 and thereby putting the class at full capacity—participated in two days of Professional Development Seminars. The seminars provide the students with “soft skills” to accompany the abundant business background they’ll acquire in their accelerated program.
“Students took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and heard a presentation from Barry Shiflett, director of Career Management Services for the College of Business Administration,” said Sarah Perez, executive director of both the PMBA and EMBA. “We mainly focus on team issues. Dana Farrow, professor in the Management and International Business Department, led a session on team leadership using case problems that were very entertaining, and we had the rope course, a team-building exercise that’s a staple of the PMBA program.”
“The ropes course was one of the best ideas for a group like this,” said Franceschi, who played professional soccer in Venezuela. “It was super secure, and it gave all the students, Perez, and even the trainers the chance to get to know everyone and see the kinds of personalities we have.”
Later in the semester, students will have other professional development seminars , including an additional one focused on careers and one on presentation skills.
As one of the oldest students in the class, Franceschi welcomes the chance to interact with students who are closer to their college years than he is.
“I’m 39, and the average age of the group is 32,” he said. “I’ve been away from books for a long time, and what my younger classmates remember from their university days will be very helpful to me.”
At the same time, his seventeen years in his family’s business, which handles all the paper recycling for Florida International University’s campuses, will be a help to his classmates—exactly the kind of interaction the program fosters. Halfway through, the staff will reconfigure the teams, further expanding students’ opportunities to work with people from other backgrounds and with other experiences.
High enrollment underscores value of the program.
The fact that the PMBA, which takes place at the FIU Broward Pines Center on Saturdays, has reached full capacity in just its second year proves that the format has wide appeal. The program requires only four years of professional experience versus the eight required for entrance to the EMBA, and the absence of the mandatory trip makes it more attractive for some people whose preferences and schedules make extended overseas travel difficult.
Giselle Garces is assistant director of the program, and Clark Wheatley, associate professor, School of Accounting, is its faculty director.