When Dallas consultant Brian Francis decided to earn his Executive Master of Business Administration degree, 12 years had passed since he was last in school. But to him, it seemed like only yesterday that he was studying Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University.
So when Francis enrolled in an EMBA program, he didn’t think the courses would be all that tough. After all, he had studied a very rigid academic curriculum as an engineering student. And he was right. It wasn’t long before mastering the course-work was the easy part. Successfully balancing his family life, school, and career as a partner with KPMG in Dallas is what proved to be difficult.
Francis’ experience isn’t unlike many working adults in the Dallas area. With today’s work force becoming more competitive, degreed professionals who once thought late-night study sessions and term papers were behind diem are now finding that returning to school is essential not only for career advancement, but also for keeping their current positions.
Earning a master’s degree or taking professional development courses were once options for those who sought higher salaries and more prestigious job titles. Not anymore. Today, an advanced education is fast becoming a job requirement. Professionals now realize that having that extra edge really does matter in today’s business world.
Not so long ago, working adults who wanted to continue their education had to rely on the mercy of select schools that offered evening courses. Finding the right classes offered at the right times was tough, not to mention fighting rush-hour traffic to get to class on time and finding someone to watch the kids three nights a week. It could take years before adult students could even see a dent in their progress.
Fortunately, area colleges and universities are meeting the demands of today’s working adult students and offering an array of continuing education programs suited just for their busy and varied lifestyles. In addition to staff meetings and conference calls, many professionals are making evening, lunch, or early-bird classes a part of their daily schedules, or they’re traveling for their jobs all week to come home to a weekend of college courses.
While some schools offer evening classes in traditional coursework for those earning bachelor’s or master’s degrees, others are providing short, continuing education or professional development courses, such as public speaking and management training, designed specifically for the working adult student. Courses are offered on weekends, early mornings, and late evenings, and many schools allow students to tailor a degree plan that best coincides with their careers and schedules.
“Serving the adult student is a new thing for colleges,” says Donna DeLaCruz, marketing/recruiting coordinator for the Dallas Weekend College, a program offered by Our Lady of the Lake University. “Programs are being tailored just for them. Adults go back to school for so many reasons. Maybe they started school and stopped to have kids or to work, or maybe they want to enter a different field or earn another degree for their own personal development. Whatever their reasons, adult students can find the right program to fit their needs and schedules.”
Although Francis’ company, KPMG, didn’t require that he earn an EMBA, he says having the extra credential probably helped him secure his job. But he also wanted the degree for personal reasons. Having an MBA had always been a goal for his professional and personal growth. However, for many professionals like Francis who want to further their educations, finding the right time to return to school can become more challenging than the coursework itself.
“In the consulting industry, I need to keep my skills up-to-date, and I didn’t think they were as sharp as they should have been,” Francis says. “But it was more of a personal decision. 1 really wanted that degree, even as an undergraduate. Time had gotten away from me with my career, getting married, and having kids. There never was a right time until now.”
Francis entered Baylor’s 21-month EMBA program almost two years ago, unsure about how he would balance a career, school, and family. His work-week was already more than the 40-hour average, and in addition to squeezing in quality time with his family, he was going to pile another 20-plus hours of school work onto his already full schedule.
But Francis knew the sacrifices were worth the struggles. Realizing there is always more to learn in his ever-changing consulting industry, he knew earning an EMBA was crucial to stay competitive in today’s workforce. Besides, how hard could it be?
“It was a humbling experience,” Francis says. “I had Statistics and Micro-Economics in my first semester, and those are pretty tough. I was concerned if I could even process all of this.”
Francis says he appreciated the small class sizes and being among peers who shared his same fears and concerns about being a student again. In addition to classtime learning, Francis says he gleaned much information from class discussion and absorbed ideas from professionals in other industries to apply to his own career.
“It was an inspiration to see longtime business professionals go back to school to get their MBAs,” Francis, who graduates in August, says. “Everybody was in the same boat of juggling a career, family and school. I think everyone realized that it’s crucial in today’s competitive market to do anything you can to further advance your education so you are more attractive to employers. An increased knowledge base is critical in today’s workforce.”
From MBAs and second bachelor’s degrees to continuing education credits and distance learning, area colleges and universities are offering what it takes for working adults to succeed in their careers. In many fields, having only a bachelor’s degree just isn’t good enough anymore. Even though the area’s unemployment rale is low, the number of college graduates is high. The competition for jobs is fierce, and those armed with extra knowledge and skills will undoubtedly be the ones who get the jobs, are rewarded with raises, and earn promotions.
With so many continuing education opportunities available, getting the raise or promotion you deserve could be just a few more classes away. The following is a list of some area programs for working adults interested in continuing their education. All tuition costs are approximate.
THE BAYLOR UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAM
Held in the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, Baylor’s executive students can participate in Cooper’s Wellness Program throughout their 21-month EMBA curriculum. The program is designed to meet me needs of professionals who choose to pursue an advanced degree while maintaining full-time career responsibilities. Classes are held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays on alternating weekends.
The EMBA program consists of three in-residence weeks which correspond to an initial orientation and two international trips. The initial orientation helps students become familiar with electronic networking tools and key software packages used in various classes. The second in-residence week is held in a developing country, allowing students to gain firsthand knowledge of doing business in a developing economy. As part of the Global Strategic Management course, students and faculty travel together to foreign countries for corporate visits with international firms.
OUR HOY OF THE LAKE UNIVERSITY’S DALLAS WEEKEND COLLEGE
Located at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch, the Dallas Weekend College is designed especially for adult students who want to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree on the weekends without interrupting their careers. Courses are four hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Dallas Weekend College offers majors in Computer Information Systems, Management. Liberal Studies, Behavioral Sciences, and certifications in Violence Prevention and Intervention and Criminal Justice. Credit may be earned through tests, correspondence courses, and work experience. Masters programs include a Master of Arts in Human Sciences, a Master of Business Administration, and a MBA in Health Care Management.
Cost: MBA: $14,000 Undergraduate: $362 per credit hour
SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY
Master of Liberal Arts Program
SMU’s MLA program’s curriculum is designed specifically for adult students. Choosing from a wide variety of courses, students design their own program of study to focus on specific areas. Courses are divided into the general fields of Behavioral Sciences, Fine Arts, Humanities, Science and Culture, and Social Science.
Evening Bachelor’s Degree Program
Those who have earned at least 45 transferable college credit hours can take advantage of SMU’s Evening Bachelor’s Degree program, which is ideally suited for motivat ed adults who wish to complete their undergraduate education as part-time students during the evening. Two programs of study are offered: The Bachelor of Humanities and the Bachelor of Social Sciences. Semester-long courses are offered Mondays through Thursdays and on Saturdays.
Cost: Master of Liberal Arts $8,820 Evening Bachelor’s degree $242 per credit hour
SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY’S MBA PROGRAMS
SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business offers three MBA programs to meet the diversified needs of its students. The Executive MBA Program includes a rigorous, broad-based curriculum designed for mid- and senior-level managers with at least 10 years of professional experience and a record of career achievement.
The Professional MBA Program offers a flexible class schedule and two campus locations for fully employed professionals with at least three years of work experience. The Full-Time MBA Program is tailored for students who choose to pursue their degree on a full-lime basis.
All MBA students participate in SMU’s acclaimed Executive Mentor Program, which matches students with area executives who share their professional interests and provide an important connection to the business world. Students also can take advantage of The Cox School’s professional institutes and programs which offer courses, seminars, workshops, and speakers series, as well as SMU’s Business Leadership Center, which provides seminars and hands-on workshops.
SMU recently introduced the MBA Global Leadership Program for MBA students; participation in the program provides them with the experience and knowledge critical for success in today’s global business environment. During the final year of the MBA program, students will visit a foreign country with Cox faculty to meet with local business and government leaders, visit manufacturing facilities, and come to understand me dynamics of global business.
Cost: First year: $34,029 Second year: $35,310 Summer Expenses: $4,000
PARKER COLLEGE OF CHIROPRACTIC
Dallas’ Parker College of Chiropractic offers the following educational services: Doctor of Chiropractic, B.S. degree in Anatomy, accelerated prerequisites program, low student/teacher ratio, clinical internship. fully equipped rehabilitation center, state-of-the-art anatomy labs, athletic programs, postgraduate seminars, financial aid, career placement, and alumni participation.
Only one of 17 accredited chiropractic training facilities in the U.S., Parker College offers students a flexible schedule throughout the nine-trimester course of study. A B.S., B.A., or higher degree is required to enroll. Students can take advantage of financial aid, scholarships, lodging, and child care while at Parker.
Cost: $5,087 per trimester
THE UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
The University of Dallas’ Graduate School of Management serves the adult student by offering more than a standard MBA. More than 75 percent of GSM’s students work full-time in management and team leadership positions.
The Irving-based school offers MBA concentrations in 12 professions, including Corporate Finance. Engineering and Technology, Entrepreneurship, Financial Services, Health Services, Human Resources, Industrial Management, Information Technology, Telecommunications, Marketing. International Management, and the new Sports Management MBA.
Classes are held in the evenings and on weekends at the Irving, Richardson. Piano, and Fort Worth campuses.
MBAs are also available through a full Internet-based MBA curriculum. This fall, students can take classes via the Internet at home, work, or on their laptop computers. The GSM also offers an Executive Global MBA program for corporate presidents and CEOs who seek assistance in improving their business processes. The program includes a curriculum defined by the student and a GSM program director in which they work together to solve the student’s own corporate challenges.
Cost: $391 per semester hour
SOUTHEASTERN PARALEGAL INSTITUTE
Working adults interested in making a career change to the field of law may find what they are looking for at Dallas’ Southeastern Paralegal Institute. All law courses are taught by practicing attorneys, and many students use the training as a stepping stone to law school. To accommodate varied schedules, programs are offered in the day and evening and can be completed in at least five months.
Courses include Legal Research and Writing, Litigation, Divorce: Practice and Procedure, Business Organizations, and Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, among others. A 100-hour internship in the last eight weeks of the program is required, and the school offers students career development and employment counseling upon graduation. Financial assistance is available.
Cost: Day Program: $7,350 Evening Program: $6,350
TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY’S EXTENDED EDUCATION PROGRAM
TCU’s Extended Education Program offers professional programs, community service programs, and summer institutes geared for the working adult through conferences and non-credit and on-line courses. The Extended Education program also offers a Bachelor of General Studies, a Master of Liberal Arts, and a Master of Business Administration. All programs are geared for those age 22 and older who are interested in teacher certification, summer visiting, limited enrollment, post graduate studies, ranch management, and audit.
Non-credit community service courses are grouped as follows: Art; Children and Youth; Fitness; Fitness Plus; History, Culture, and Travel; Language and Communication: Literature; Music; Personal and Professional; Recreation and Leisure; and Writing and Publishing. On-line non-credit courses include the History of Fort Worth, Writer’s Electronic Workshop, Empowering World, , and Regarding Portaiture.
Cost: $365 per credit hour
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS
Emergency Administration and Planning
A Bachelor of Science degree in Emer- I gency Administration and Planning is suitable for those seeking additional professional qualifications to enhance second-career potential and offers technical and theoretical training in Business Administration, Political Science, and Emergency Administration.
Graduates offer their skills in emergency situations such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, hazardous materials spills, nuclear power incidents, and other catastrophes tre-quiring the skills of professionals trained in disaster administration and planning.
Cost: $900 per semester
College of Business Administration Graduate Degree Programs
UNT’s Professional MBA Program is offered primarily on the weekends. The program’s theme, Business Innovation Process, approximates the stages of developing, delivering, and sustaining an idea for a business or venture and offers an integrative class with an international business focus that can involve study abroad.
Department of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Law
■ The Master of Science in Real Estate Program meets the needs of working professionals who are seeking a graduate degree.
■ The Master of Science in Finance Program enables students to combine a concentrated study of finance with one other functional area, such as accounting.
■ The Master of Science in Decision Technologies Program provides an appropriate base of knowledge for entry into die decision sciences profession. The program is intended for those who desire a strong specialist degree in operational and strategic decision making.
■ The Master of Science in Information Technologies Program provides an appropriate base of knowledge for entry into the Management Information Systems profession for those who seek a strong specialist degree.
Cost: $541.50 for six credit hours
For Information: 940-565-2110
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON
To accommodate the needs of working adults, UTA offers classes from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The cost for all UTA programs is $468 for one three-hour course.
UTA Distance Education
UTA’s Center for Distance Education offers UTA courses via the Internet. The Center is part of the new UT Telecampus that will begin offering classes worldwide for an MBA online degree in the fall. Call 817-272-5727 for information.
UTA College of Engineering
The UTA College of Engineering offers some 20 graduate classes via the Internet; it also offers classes on videotape and broadcasts its courses to 23 sites located in area companies so that working adults can take courses at the office. Call 817-272-2352 for information..
UTA Division of Continuing Education
This program offers thousands of courses on days, evenings, and weekends in professional development, computer training, career exploration, and languages. Continuing Education also lakes its courses to the working adult by customizing and teaching them in the workplace, on the UTA campus, or at other locations. Call 817-272-2581 for information.
UTA College of Business Administration
The UTA College of Business Administration offers a flexible MBA program that allows students the opportunity to complete their degree by taking classes on Saturday only, in the evenings, or a combination of both. Call 817-272-3547 for information.