Executive MBA Celebrates 25th Year Suffolk U. Led Hub in Making Program Accessible to Business people


BOSTON -- Suffolk University pioneered the concept of the Executive MBA in the Boston area 25 years ago when it launched its Saturday-only course of study for mid-career businesspeople. Now, as it celebrates its Silver Anniversary, the program has more than 1,500 graduates, and the Executive MBA concept has taken hold locally and internationally. While there were only about 50 such programs nationwide in 1975 when Suffolk's Sawyer School of Management admitted its first Executive MBA students, there now are about 110 nationally and more than 180 worldwide.

Suffolk's is the only Executive MBA in New England offered entirely on Saturdays, making it practical for students who may not be able to take off from work to attend classes, according to program director Peter Nowak. "This is in keeping with the university's founding mission of accessibility and opportunity for working people," said Nowak.

"When you think about these students giving up 40 Saturdays a year for 21 months, it says a lot about their commitment and motivation," said Nowak. The average age of the students is 35, although this year's class ranges in age from 26 to 62. Most are juggling family commitments along with work and their studies.

To ease their burden, the program always has taken responsibility for creating the students' schedules, providing books and materials and serving breakfast and lunch. "They're too busy to sit down and figure out schedules or rush out to find a place to eat," said Nowak.

While such practical provisions haven't changed in 25 years, the curriculum has evolved to reflect changes in technology and globalization of business. International seminars and a Washington campus have been added to broaden students' exposure, and the courses have been accelerated so that the program may be completed in 21 months as opposed to the original 28 months.

As students work together under similar pressures, they tend to form strong bonds. "They become very close," said Nowak, who knows of one group of five men that has gotten together at least once a month since they graduated in 1982. The valuable contacts made through class collaboration and study groups also create a business network that will last a lifetime.

Suffolk University will officially celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Executive MBA program from 6 - 8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 5, at the Boston Harbor Hotel, with Patricia B. Seybold, author of the best-seller "Customers.com," as the featured speaker.

Suffolk University, located on Boston's historic Beacon Hill, is a comprehensive, global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty.

Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study. Its mission is to provide quality education at an affordable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of 6,400 full-time and part-time students at its College of Arts and Sciences, Sawyer School of Management, Law School and New England School of Art and Design.

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