The plain old MBA no longer cuts it with employers, suggests the new Dean of Sacred Heart's John F. Welch Business College, Dr John Chalykoff.
Appointed in August to look after integrated MBA programmes at the campuses in Luxembourg and Fairfield in the US, Dr Chalykoff is convinced that no other institution offers the same standard of hands-on learning.
"Everyone else does a collection of courses in their part-time programme, which you can get on the web. But, if you want real learning you've got to be able to do some integration,” he explained, adding: “I think that's what people will compete on in future. It's the value added which these courses and programmes offer. Students and companies see the difference.”
The expert in e-commerce privacy issues could not have joined the college at a more exciting time. The institution has just launched a Masters in Human Resource Management (HRM) and a Masters in Digital Marketing at its Fairfield campus and next year it will test the waters with short courses and/or Certificates in Luxembourg.
The latter discipline, he explained, is exploding in the US where Sacred Heart graduates from the new course are virtually guaranteed work in this field. “It's a whole skill set being able to respond to customers in real time. That's all part of marketing today. Every company needs it,” explained the Dean.
Dr Chalykoff believes it will find similar success in Luxembourg, where a shortened version of the programme will be offered as an evening class along with the HRM programme next summer to gauge interest. Participants who complete the programme will receive a Certificate, which can count towards the MBA. Pending the response, it may then be integrated into the MBA programme.
The Dean, who has already made two visits to the Grand Duchy, holds the Luxembourg campus in high esteem. Based in the heart of the country's financial district at the Chambre de Commerce for the last 20 years, the college's business programmes have grown considerably under the direction of Faculty director Dr Alfred Steinherr and Associate Director Antoine Rech. Annual take up for the part-time MBA has more than doubled during the last three years from 20 students to 45.
The reasons for the growth in demand, the Dean believes, comes down to the flexibility of the programme, which can be spread part-time over two years.
He also suggests it has something to do with the standard of teaching as the faculty is composed of world class lecturers travelling to Luxembourg from Fairfield or other places in Europe to teach individual units.
The growth is so substantial, that the Professor revealed the university is currently recruiting for a full-time professor post to the Management section at the Luxembourg campus.
For international students, the campus' location at the “crossroads of Europe” provides varied internship opportunities for MBA students thanks to partnerships with big players such as PwC, Lombard International Insurance and ArcelorMittal, among others.
The scheme offers international students both a nine-month internship in Luxembourg and the potential for a two-year contract post graduation, a niche which few other business colleges can compete with.
"There's a lot of synergy. That's one of the reasons why I want to strengthen Luxembourg. It's a very important base,” explained the Dean.
As the only institution to offer the English-language MBA programme in Luxembourg, further growth is expected at Sacred Heart. Professor Chalykoff suggests that if a new programme could be offered with the HRM and Digital Marketing elements, it could attract more than 100 students per year to the Luxembourg campus.
But, as competitor the University of Luxembourg examines the potential of also offering an English-language MBA, could this pose a threat to Sacred Heart's course?
The Professor thinks not. “My feeling is all competition is good competition. The more you can bring to the market of quality education, the better it is. If your programmes are not high quality the market will speak with its feet,” he said.
To find out more about Sacred Heart's MBA, visit www.shu.lu