HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR M.B.A.
It sold out in the Adirondacks. Attendance in New York has doubled. Seats for this year's Limerick, Ireland, engagement are filling up fast. While this may sound strikingly similar to the tour itinerary for a top-10 rock group, in actuality this hot ticket is for the School of Management's groundbreaking MBA Upgrade program. And no one could be happier with its rapidly increasing popularity than its founder, Dennis J. Gillen.
"We continue to be extremely excited by the positive feedback," says Gillen, a professor in the School of Management and associate dean of executive education. "It's incredible how dedicated and intense the participants are."
Gillen designed the program as management's answer to post-graduate refresher studies in other fields. "It seemed rudimentary," Gillen says. "In other professions you go back and get training to keep up. But the School of Management didn't have that equivalent. Giving professionals a package of the latest materials seemed to make sense."
Over the course of four days, participants receive a variety of four-hour, user-friendly blocks taught by Syracuse University faculty. There are no exams and no term papersjust a vigorous exchange of the latest techniques, theories, and information designed to wipe the dust off 5- to 15-year-old M.B.A. degrees. "It puts us back in touch with our alumni. They really enjoy it," Gillen says. "It's always a real plus to be able to bring people back into the fold of the University."
About 50 percent of participants hold degrees from other colleges and universities, which Gillen sees as an opportunity to expand SU's circle of friends. "As they start going to our upgrades they develop an interest in Syracuse University," he says. "We attract senior people from top companies who hold M.B.A.s, have been out of school roughly 10 years, and provide funding for the upgrades through their corporate budgets. They're people who accomplished a tremendous amount or are certainly well on their way."
Since its 1995 premiere in Washington, D.C., the M.B.A. Upgrade has garnered rave reviews from its high-profile students. "The program has presented a well-balanced insight into what the next century's managers will be involved with," says Ben Panyard, product manager of New Venture Gear, a Chrysler/General Motors joint venture. "I cannot imagine being a manager in the next 10 years without having the knowledge I acquired in this program to fall back on."
Upcoming sessions for 1998 include programs in the Adirondacks, New York City, and at the University of Limerickwhich has signed on for three years with the program. Another overseas venture is likely for spring 1999 in Hong Kong. For more information on SU's M.B.A. Upgrade program, turn to the ad on the inside back cover of this issue of Syracuse University Magazine.
IMPROVING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The International Relations (IR) Program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is going places-literally. The
multidisciplinary program has expanded in recent years to better prepare students for the global job market. Part of that expansion allows IR undergraduate and graduate students to work and study in Washington, D.C., and abroad.
The program now includes greater emphasis on economics, reflecting changes in the international relations field, says program chair Matt Bonham. "At the end of the Cold War, the field shifted to put much greater emphasis on political economy," he explains. "At the center of this new emphasis is a concern for global markets of government-business relations."
One of the biggest additions to IR was the Maxwell-Washington International Relations Semester Program, which sends 15 undergraduates each semester to internships in the nation's capital. Graduate students participate in a similar program-the Maxwell-Washington Summer Practicum-or in the Geneva Summer Internship Program, where they work at one of the many international organizations based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Students in the semester program take two evening courses, Global Trade Policy and Global Issues, at SU's Greenberg House. They also participate in a weekly, daylong "traveling seminar" that begins with a morning lecture on a current issue. The seminar continues with a trip to a policy center, such as the Pentagon, related to the issue. "We saw different perspectives on international politics, different views of how policy works in Washington," says Karen Alboukrek, a junior who studied in Washington.
Students also spend at least four days a week at placements that include Congress, the State Department, news services, the Pentagon, and Amnesty International. Alboukrek interned at the U.S. Department of Commerce under the International Trade Administration (ITA). As an assistant desk officer for Brazil, she helped plan a series of free-trade conferences taking place this summer. "My focus is on international trade law, so ITA is exactly where I want to be," she says. "This is firsthand experience. If you want to work in the political field or international relations area, this is definitely something you want to do."