Lehigh University
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Lehigh takes its MBA to the Web

In January, Lehigh welcomed its first online MBA students to Bethlehem to participate in a four-day orientation session. That’s not the usual approach for online programs—but then again, Lehigh isn’t offering an ordinary program.

The new offering is Lehigh’s first foray into the world of online MBAs. By strategically integrating campus visits with the virtual environment, the College of Business and Economics is providing an educational experience that separates it from the pack.

“We’ve taken the time to design a highly competitive program tailored to the professional businessperson. It’s almost an exact replica of the classroom program, with the same faculty teaching the same coursework, but in a virtual environment,” says Tom Hyclak, interim dean of the College of Business and Economics.

Tom Hyclak

Students in the two-year online MBA program use Centra Symposium, a technology that simulates a classroom experience by allowing students to interact and exchange ideas via the Internet.

The online program also mirrors the traditional classroom program by having students work in small groups.

“Other than the setting, there’s absolutely no difference in the course—our classroom students and online students both graduate with the same MBA degree,” Hyclak says.

A few weeks ago, the students met for the first time at one of three residency programs required by the CBE. There, they had the opportunity to meet in person to collaborate on coursework and network with MBA traditional classroom students.

Also, the online students joined their peers in Lehigh’s orientation program and a business ethics workshop, co-facilitated by Cynthia Cooper. The former internal auditor at Worldcom uncovered the largest corporate fraud case in history in 2002.

“One of the most impressive qualities of the Lehigh MBA is that it includes ethics in the core of the curriculum,” Cooper says.

“Many of us have strong and highly-diverse backgrounds, and are looking for a complementary business education,” says MBA student Melissa C. Rohland, the director of operations, planning and commercial systems at Advantica, Inc. “That's something Lehigh does exceptionally well, the ability to work across disciplines in an innovative way. It's a challenging program that uniquely positions its students to be strategic workplace leaders by building on our core strengths, not replacing them.”

Like their classroom peers, the online program students can pursue concentrations in either supply chain management or project management.

The supply chain management curriculum incorporates real industry issues regarding the operation and movement of products and services through the value chain.

The Project Management Certificate program, on the other hand, was developed in accordance with Project Management Institute (PMI) guidelines and is taught by PMI certified instructors so students can achieve proper certification. It provides a strong basis for project team leaders who have recognized the need to add practical strategies and tools to their repertoire in order to be more successful and influential.

For more information on Lehigh's online MBA program, click here.

--Liz Danzig

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006

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