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Fast-Track MBA finds a niche in NYC

By : Rachel Coker

Binghamton’s new Fast-Track Professional MBA Program in New York City has hit its stride, said George Bobinski, associate dean of the School of Management.

The first class of 16 will graduate in December; a second group of 19 began their studies this semester.

“The faculty love these students,” Bobinski said. “They’re bright, they’re capable and hard working. In short, they’re typical Binghamton students.”

The selective program, which accepts only students who have earned an undergraduate business or accounting degree within the past seven years, meets all day Saturdays for a full year. The schedule, which includes a distance-learning component, allows students to continue their employment.

That was an important factor for Siejen Yin, a 2001 SOM graduate who will finish the MBA program in December. Her job as product manager at August Silk Inc., a New York City apparel company, often keeps her at the office until 9 or 10 at night, so attending evening courses would have been impossible.

“I didn’t want to give up my career,” Yin said. “I didn’t want a full-time MBA program.”

She said every course, even those not directly related to her job, has affected the strategic decisions she makes on a daily basis. And she especially liked the program’s early focus on ethics.

“It’s been challenging, but it’s also taught me to manage my time better,” Yin said. “I don’t necessarily expect things to get easier as I get older. This has been an experience that has taught me how to prioritize.”

Matthew Katz ’99, director of ad operations for UK-based Dennis Publishing, will also receive his MBA in December. He said he knew he could expect a top-notch experience from Binghamton and hasn’t been disappointed.

“You take what you learn on Saturday into work with you on Monday,” he said. “You’re increasing your skill sets in all different classes.”

Katz said his father has a poster at his business that talks about customers wanting products and services that are good, fast and cheap. He believes the Binghamton program takes that one better, offering a degree that’s great, fast and affordable.

Tuition for the program costs a total of $21,000 for those who started this semester. By contrast, New York University’s part-time MBA program takes two to six years – at a cost of about $17,000 annually.

Bobinski expects enrollment in Binghamton’s program will continue to grow at a moderate rate to about 30 students per year as word about the program spreads in the city. Future classes for the yearlong program will begin each August in a classroom at the SUNY State College of Optometry in midtown Manhattan.

“We’re looking for strong GMAT scores, strong GPAs, people who did well in undergraduate business programs,” Bobinski said.

About 80 percent of students in the first class received their undergraduate degrees from Binghamton, while roughly 70 percent of those in the second class are alumni.

Students’ needs and interests drive the curriculum, which so far has focused on advanced tools and management topics such as negotiation, leadership and spreadsheet modeling. About 80 percent of the courses are led by full-time Binghamton faculty members who travel to New York to teach.

Subimal Chatterjee, professor of marketing, developed a course titled Customer Value Management with this program in mind. It has gone so well that he expects it will be offered to students in Binghamton, too.

The professional MBA students all have work experience, which can make them more demanding but also makes class discussions more relevant, Chatterjee said.

“Many of these students are ex-Binghamton undergrads and they have a positive attitude toward us,” he added. “They seem genuinely happy to be reliving their Binghamton experience.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08