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EMBA program shifts to Austin

Nov. 30, 2005

by SHELBY THOMPSON, reporter

Waco executives will be riding the bus to class from now on.

Baylor's Executive MBA program will move to Austin after years of splitting time between Waco.

"Our program is expanding into Austin to fulfill commitment to its constituencies. The opportunity remains in Waco. We will offer transportation to Austin. It's not that we're not going to be here, we're just going to be full-time in Austin," said Phil Sanchez, director of the Executive MBA program for Austin-Waco. "Austin has a larger population base, gives us a larger audience, a larger corporate audience. Waco's growth is not quite as prevalent."

Moving the program to Austin could take a toll on Waco enrollment.

"I understand the economic reasoning for moving the program to Austin, but I think it will reduce Waco participation, which was already beginning to dwindle," said William Beard, L3 senior director of federal programs.

The program is geared toward full-time executives in leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial companies, Sanchez said. Most people in the program are about 35 with 10 to 11 years of experience.

An advantage of the program is the experience community leaders bring into the class.

"With 30 different executives in a class, that's equal to 300 years of experience that you're talking to," Sanchez said.

The program is especially attractive because it lets people get an MBA without giving up their career, William Townsend, an entrepreneur who has started more than 22 companies, said.

Students enrolled in the program experience a different atmosphere than a traditional graduate program.

"They walk away with an MBA. But it's different in the fact that you're exposed to business leaders, and the discussions are more about application and long-term and sustainability of companies," Sanchez said.

EMBA participants struggle to find a balance between a full-time job and classes.

Professionals with families find it increasingly difficult to find a balance.

"The hardest part about any MBA program is dedicating the time outside class and work to keep up with the readings and assignment. You really have to evaluate if you can give it a try. The time you spend in class is roughly the time you spend outside of class working on assignment," Townsend said. "Another difficult part is how it affects your family. You do spend less time with your kids, but that's a trade-off."

Classes are held Monday and Thursday nights for 21 months, Students earn 48 credit hours.

The program also gives the opportunity to build networks.

"It was a great experience and I made many life-long friends. It's beneficial to interact with peers all with the same goal," Beard said.