University Programme that trains students for an ever-evolving world — that’s what Charles Moses is trying to achieve. As Dean of the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific — the no. 1 business school among smaller universities in Western America — he’s part of a forward-thinking faculty that’s dedicated to elevating the careers of working professionals to the next level.
“When you think about higher education now, globally, we are training students for jobs that may not even exist today,” he explains. “So we’re always trying to figure out a way to become more agile and respond to the changing needs of the workforce.”
Eberhardt has launched a new Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme. As an AACSB-accredited, hybrid-taught, fully-customisable programme, it grounds future business leaders in the newest and best theories and practices. Students can choose among courses in Business Analytics, Finance and Healthcare, giving them the chance to tailor a programme according to their own goals and interests.
“Our aim is to let you focus on things that will help you learn something new,” says Moses. “We look at your professional background and try to give you credit for what you’ve already learnt. So for example, if a programme has lots of math modules that you are already familiar with, there is the option not to take them. Instead, we’ll grant you credit — which helps you focus on areas you actually want to improve in.”
What truly sets Eberhardt’s MBA apart is its flexibility — making it ideal for anyone with work or personal commitments. Students can choose to complete the 36-unit programme full-time or part-time in two years. They learn in their own time through asynchronous online classes, allowing them to determine when and where they complete their learning as their schedule permits.
The introduction of artificial intelligence and other advancements in technology are changing the way we work and how businesses are run rapidly. The challenge, says Moses, is developing a programme that responds to that.
“We embrace AI,” he shares. “We embrace social media. We embrace the metaverse — but there will be even more innovations introduced in the coming years. We respond by being innovative and embracing all of those things as they come.”
Of course, there will be many advances to come — making it crucial for students to have the mindset and skills to adapt, pivot or flex. For Moses, this means equipping students with high-level leadership strategy skills, combined with quantitative decision-making know-how to function as leaders in diverse and complex environments.
“Many MBA students don’t necessarily have a strong quantitative background,” he says. “Oftentimes, this is needed to operate in a changing business landscape. We’re coming up with a model where students do a lot of their problem-solving, working with their classmates and professors to help them gain understanding and knowledge in that facility.”
Experiential learning is just as crucial to achieving this. Moses says that the online platform is no barrier in this — in fact, it’s an advantage. It helps students adjust to working in virtual environments, a facet that has become commonplace.
“As we build our online model, there will be very rich opportunities for students to participate in interactive exercises to help them understand both theory and practice,” says Moses. “We can use simulations and bring on expert guest speakers who talk about best practices in business, but also other models such as games. This will provide students with not just set theory, but a really good understanding of the practice of business in the 21st century.”
An invaluable hybrid learning experience
While most of the MBA is conducted online, students will be invited to two weekend residencies at Pacific’s San Francisco campus. Here, they’ll get to know the faculty members leading their classes and meet them in person. Most importantly, they get to network.
“One of the key reasons why people go to graduate school is to network,” says Moses. “We will do a lot of cohort building and networking, as well as run classes on campus. One of the tasks assigned to students is to report out a case study, so they’ll be working with the classmates who they’ve become familiar with online.”
Being in San Francisco is another benefit. “We’re ideally situated between the state capital of California, Sacramento, and Silicon Valley,” explains Moses. “These are some of the most dynamic areas. Students will be learning and networking in a top destination for technology and innovation in the US — which can give them a huge boost in their careers.”
By the end of their programme, students will have the leadership skills, willingness and confidence to step up.
“We want our students to think of themselves as leaders right from the beginning,” Moses shares. “We want to test out leadership, we want to temper them so that students can step into complex and global environments, and lead. Related to that is the ability to be effective in culturally diverse business environments and being able to work with people from different causes and different backgrounds. It’s with this training, we hope, that will enable graduates to create a global footprint from wherever they are.”