UMD Smith School to Offer Blended Part-Time MBA

Part-time MBA students in the nation’s capital no longer have to choose between online and classroom delivery. Starting in fall 2014, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will offer the region’s first blended program for working professionals at its Washington campus.

The more flexible format will require participants in the school’s D.C. weekend program to meet on two Saturdays per month instead of three for traditional classroom instruction. Web-based learning modules designed by Smith faculty will provide the remainder of the content, allowing Smith students more latitude to structure their schedules. Participants in the pioneering program can complete their degree in two years.

“This eliminates 30 percent of the classroom time, giving students a huge amount of flexibility with their own lives,” Edward Lavino, Smith’s director of admissions for part-time MBA programs, said in a news release. “That three-Saturday-per month commitment takes away from an already small amount of free time from the program’s typical student — a 27- to 28-year-old professional.”

He said the blended format also allows assigned reading and skills practice to be designated for off-site engagement.

“About one-third of classroom time is currently consumed by students practicing skills via laptops or through other teacher-led exercises, and case studies sometimes are read in class prior to group discussion,” Lavino explained. “Now students will be able to engage in the same work at a quicker pace — off-site and on their own.”

Ken White, Smith’s associate dean of MBA and Master of Science programs, said flexibility is a major element of the program, but so is rigor.

“Students in the blended program will have the same classes and same professors available as in our full-time MBA program,” he said. “This is a high-quality program created for busy working professionals.”

The response among working professionals in the region has been positive. “Every applicant and current D.C. weekend student is on board,” Lavino said.

Upcoming application deadlines for the program are April 14 and June 2.

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