When Gabriel Buddenbrock was shopping for an MBA program, he was faced with quite a challenge, since he wanted to complete his master’s in one year. But just any program wouldn’t do. Buddenbrock wasn’t willing to sacrifice quality—he also wanted a highly ranked program that would equip him with technical skills to bolster his business background.
He found what he was looking for at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business in Gainesville.
Options to suit your needs
Buddenbrock entered Florida’s accelerated MBA program, an 11-month program available to students who have an undergraduate degree in business.
It is just one of the school’s six different MBA programs. Other unique options include an international program and executive or manager programs.
“There are lots of choices. We offer over 100 electives, 20 specialties, and six certifications,” said John Kraft, dean of the Warrington College of Business.
To complete their MBAs, students choose from a variety of academic concentrations, including:
- Competitive strategy
- Global management
- Decision and information sciences
- Business strategy and public policy
Students may receive certification in four areas, including:
- Entrepreneurship and technology management
- Supply chain management
- Decision and information sciences
IT meets management skills
Buddenbrock said the MBA program gave him a greater understanding of technical issues—from the basics of networking to database structure and management.
“The technical side had a more quantitative focus than the traditionally qualitative general management concentration [found in many programs]. Since I felt my qualitative skills were quite strong from my undergraduate education at the University of Virginia, the quantitative focus was a marketable quality in this program,” said Buddenbrock.
Kraft said the MBA program has a wide number of classes that integrate the use of technology in order to explore concepts relevant to business.
“We have offered an MBA for over 50 years. We added the technical emphasis in the last 10 years and since then have made a push to develop a less discipline-oriented and a more thematic approach to the subject matter,” said Kraft.
For example, he cited the certificate program in supply chain management, which integrates the subjects of operations management, information systems, marketing, and strategic management.
Buddenbrock said this approach, “demonstrated that decisions are not made in a vacuum and that [business and technology] are intertwined and not mutually exclusive.”
A teamwork approach
Students are divided into teams to complete class projects. The assignments illustrated the ability of technology to provide information and quality service to customers. It’s an approach that helps students and impresses their future employers.
Walter Felletter, a recruiter for IBM Global Services, said because of their exposure to teamwork, Florida graduates do well at IBM.
“IBM has flattened its management and gone to a team environment. People are expected to work with each other, and the ability of Florida grads to do this is unsurpassed,” said Felletter.
Kraft said that in addition to business classes that integrate teamwork and technology, the MBA program stresses communication skills.
“We assess our students’ oral and written communication skills on the front end as they enter the program. We offer formalized courses that teach written communication, oral communication, working in groups and teams, and leadership,” said Kraft.
“The Florida students come out of the program well-rounded and well-polished. They are significantly better prepared for the job interview process than students from some of the other schools,” said Felletter.
From graduation to employment
Buddenbrock was a marketing manager for a software company and now works as an analyst for Andersen Consulting. He credits his training in communication for providing insight into problem solving.
“The greatest values that this provided were the knowledge that there were different ways to approach problems, the viewpoint that different types of people have different opinions and priorities, and the realization that there are ways to integrate all of these strong points into a solution that satisfies everyone,” said Buddenbrock.
Would Buddenbrock recommend the MBA program to others?
“In a minute. My reasons for attending were all fulfilled quickly. I strengthened an area of my background that I perceived to be weak, learned a way of thinking and approaching problems that benefits me daily, [and] was put into contact with employers that were looking to hire immediately at salaries that I could not have achieved without the degree.“
Ellen Birkett Morris is a freelance writer in Louisville, KY.What’s the alternative to an MBA? Do you have a career shortcut to learning high-tech and business skills? Share your thoughts by posting a note below or send us an e-mail with a story idea.