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NIU set to launch a new pathway to earn an MBA – Four-Country MBA program

September 6, 2017

A new exciting pathway to earn an MBA degree with an international twist will launch at NIU – and span the globe – beginning with the Spring 2018 semester.

The pathway touted as the International MBA involves a partnership between the university and top-ranked educational institutions in China, Italy and Germany. Beyond DeKalb, students will spend a semester each at Sapienza University in Rome, SRH Hochschule in Berlin and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China, to earn degrees and certifications, as well as develop business contacts, here and abroad. At the DeKalb campus, students will join the cohort of students in the current Fast-Trak MBA program.

Assistant Dean Ann Carrel noted “This takes the global experiences for our students to a different level, creating phenomenal value that will persist for a long time during their professional careers.”

“This program is very unique,” Anthony Preston, Director of Global Programs for the College of Business, said in noting only four similar models of earning an MBA exist at U.S. institutions. “We’re actually ahead of the game.”

Preston joined NIU in 2011 and said he’s long thought of leveraging our global academic partnerships to create a model that blended the idea of integrating cultural experiences while studying overseas with the benefits of a business learning experience that generates impactful internships that lead to job opportunities and a “large network” on an international scale, Preston explained.

Getting to this point took two years filled with Skype sessions, phone calls and coordination among the four schools with NIU College of Business as the lead throughout the process. Among the highlights, all students will receive in-state tuition and the ability to graduate in a little more than 18 months with certificates in business management from Sapienza (Italy) and finance or economics from Southwestern (China), in addition to MBAs from NIU’s nationally ranked program and SRH Hochschule (Germany).

In addition, all students pursuing the International MBA pathway are guaranteed an internship in Germany. Preston said the program is exploring business partners in various countries to create avenues for employment for graduates of the program. A three-country alternate pathway to earn an NIU MBA is also available to accommodate certain requirements for Chinese students, while also accounting for the preference of many American students to study in Europe.

“Such innovative experiences designed to create lifelong value for our graduates exemplifies how our faculty and staff remain laser-focused on student success,” said Dean Balaji Rajagopalan.

The new model will be available to students in January 2018 with the first class at Barsema Hall. Preston expects “most of our students will be international students or young professionals,” with significant interest from prospective students in China. He hopes to see about 15 students join the program’s first run.

“I wish I was a student again. I’d love to be a part of this program,” Preston said. “We’re very excited at the College of Business. We’ve had great support from faculty, staff and the leadership at NIU at all levels. We’re ready to go launch.”