Augusta University’s MBA program prepares students for professional and personal growth – Jagwire

The Augusta University Master of Business Administration program is the flagship graduate program of Hull College of Business. A flexible program focused on supporting working professionals, MBA enrollment has increased 31% since fall 2016 – and the program has even more room to grow.

The program offers various tracks, including options for full-time students, part-time students, and asynchronous online students. The program’s online offering, the Hull Online MBA, was recently ranked as the nation’s most affordable online MBA and is one of seven state MBA programs included in the Georgia WebMBA initiative.

This flexibility and accessibility coupled with prestige – the Hull MBA is accredited by AACSB International, a distinction achieved by less than 5% of business schools globally – creates strong demand for the program in the local community and beyond. .

“Because the Augusta market has a large number of working professionals who want an MBA to advance their careers, choosing an affordable campus and online options allows them to choose the program that fits the better to their circumstances and allows them to continue working while earning their degrees,” said Rick Franza, PhD, Dean of Hull College.

“As a university and business school in Augusta, AU and Hull are proud to offer high-quality, affordable, and accredited MBA programs to our working professionals.”


man standing in hallway holding laptop
Alumnus John Rudenko now works for a cybersecurity firm and said his MBA impressed his new employer.

Alumnus John Rudenko, a recent Army veteran who earned his MBA from UA in August 2022, decided to pursue the program due to his passion for learning. He entered the MBA program with three degrees already, but wanted to try something new.

“At the time, I had reached a point in the military where I felt like I was stalling in my personal development. So the MBA was exactly what I needed when I needed it,” he said.

“It gave me the extra personal and professional development and growth spurt I needed to get through my final two years in the military. It gave me something to focus on outside that I knew it was going to be important and that it was going to benefit me even for years to come.

One of his favorite aspects of the program was something he considered the “cohort effect”: a closeness to peers that results from students sharing classes with other students who started the program. around the same time as them.

“Some classes are the two cohorts combined, full-time and part-time – some classes are just the part-timers – but the fact that you can learn, grow and develop with the same group of people over time, you form a lot of very good relationships.

Rudenko now works for a cybersecurity firm and said his MBA impressed his new employer.

“During my interview, I got to talk about things like ‘strategic positioning’ and ‘competitive advantage’ – things that after the second question were like ‘Okay, we want to offer you this job’. “

The company plans to promote him to a position in finance or human resources early next year as part of a veteran bridging program.

“Having that MBA on my CV was golden – just the way people react when I tell them I have an MBA. For me at the time it wasn’t that bad, but I look back and it’s a great accomplishment.

woman holding books in a hallway
Soon-to-be Hull MBA graduate Amber De Los Santos says the tools (and confidence) she gained during her MBA courses helped her land a recent promotion as a budget analyst.

Amber De Los Santos, an MBA student who is due to graduate in December 2022, also liked the program’s “cohort effect”.

“It was great to build those relationships with your classmates. And I feel like it’s so different to be in a master’s or undergraduate program, because when we’re in undergraduate, we’re 18-21, getting a foothold, we don’t really have our careers set in stone yet, we’re still bouncing jobs, doing retail or serving, serving bartenders , things like that,” she said.

“But I feel like in the cohort that we’re in, everyone is so established and the networking has been so helpful. I’ve met so many different people within my cohort that have help outside of school.

De Los Santos chose to pursue the program to advance his career as a government civilian. As a full-time employee at Fort Gordon, she opted for the part-time program and credited her classes and teachers for helping her land a recent promotion.

After completing an army civilian internship program in 2020 at the GS-9 level, she wanted to push her career further. She set her sights on a GS-11 position in the spring of 2022, and when a budget analyst position became available, she was interested, but didn’t feel confident enough to apply. That was until Melissa Furman, DBA, organizational behavior instructor, convinced her to take the plunge.

“I had applied for jobs and wasn’t hearing much, but specifically in Dr. Furman’s class, she really dove into personal growth, and that was very beneficial to me. The tools she taught on how to interview, how to present yourself, time management – ​​those are just a few things that I think really helped me get the new job.

Today, as a budget analyst working on loaded accounts for army public works and catering management, the courses she took in her MBA come back to support her day-to-day work on site: notably his managerial finance course given by Wendy Habegger. , doctorate. The class focused heavily on workbooks like Excel, which De Los Santos now uses daily.

“The course was very difficult, but she always pushed us to learn more, to do better and to do more formulas on spreadsheets and to feel comfortable with that. And I always thought ‘ When will the next time I use a spreadsheet or these formulas?’ Then six months later I got this new job and that was one of the things they interviewed me about, it’s so interesting to me that I can use what I practiced before I even know that I would need it.

Alum Jason Guilbeault, who completed his MBA from Hull in June 2022, started the program hoping to broaden his perspective after 15 years working in research administration. He began the program part-time while working as the Director of Post-Award Services for the Division of Sponsored Programs Administration at Augusta University.

man in beige suit, smiling
MBA alumnus Jason Guilbeault

But as he finished his MBA course, a potential opportunity for advancement arose: he became eligible for the position of associate vice president in his office, which had been vacant for more than a year, despite several interviews with candidates. Although he served as acting AVP for months, having a master’s degree was a requirement of the position, so at the time of the vacancy he was not eligible to apply.

But when he finished his MBA courses in June, he decided to put himself in the running and, after a long interview process, he was named AVP for the Division of Sponsored Programs Administration and Executive Director of Augusta University Research Institute. He now oversees an office of 27 grants, contracts, and accounting staff that support more than $135 million annually in university funding.

An accountant by trade, the MBA program gave Guilbeault a broader understanding of managing organizations – a skill he would need more than ever as a new assistant vice president.

“The skills you acquire in your coursework during the MBA program give you a much broader perspective in making business decisions that impact the entire business. The knowledge and skills taught in Augusta University’s MBA program are truly necessary to work at a senior level within a large organization,” he said.

And luckily, the program was flexible enough to accommodate her busy life at work and at home.

“My job gets very hectic here and I often get dragged into meetings at the last second. But I thought the program was really great, and I thought from a time management perspective, it was very doable. I consider myself to have quite a heavy workload, and me and my wife have four children, and I was still able to do it.

Guilbeault also credited the program for helping him become a more empathetic leader.

“One of the things I’ve been guilty of as a leader is that I tend to focus more on the job and the tasks and maybe not on employee morale all the time. But I saw the value of being more involved in the culture within the office and made an effort to do a bit more in that regard – to have more conversations with people,” he said. declared.

“I’m really focused on connecting better with the team, not just through tasks and projects, but in other ways as well.”

Rudenko and De Los Santos praised the program for its diversity — and for how much they were able to learn not just from faculty, but also from their peers.

“You have such a wealth of diversity within the peer group. I think the people I have worked with directly include a doctor, an engineer, another military man, an international student, and one of the AU athletes. There is no end to the wealth of knowledge,” Rudenko said.

“A good classmate of mine is a mom who just opened her own business,” De Los Santos added.

This great diversity of peers made teamwork something interesting, Rudenko said.

“Once you got through the teacher covering the material and you had to work together, that was the best part – that teamwork that developed – and that’s how it’s going to be. in business, right? That’s how it’s going to be when you’re working on a project or managing an initiative or trying to close a sale, you work as a team, so I loved that experience.

The future of the Hull MBA is bright, according to Dean Franza. The college plans to introduce new MBA tracks and concentrations soon.

“Due to the density of healthcare professionals in the region, we are adding a healthcare management concentration for our MBA campus starting in fall 2023,” Franza said.

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