New concentrations are opening the door to new possibilities for Regent’s School of Business & Leadership (SBL) Master of Business Administration (MBA) and M.A. in Organizational Leadership (MOL) students. Franchising and Innovation Management will be added to the MBA program and f and Not-for-Profit Management will be added to MBA and MOL programs in 2015. The school is expanding to equip Christian leaders to change the world in these areas.
“If you see our MBA program as the place to pick up an entrepreneurial skill set, then the concentrations are the apps,” said Dr. Greg Stone, director of Regent’s MBA program. “They provide the specialized tooling required to use the entrepreneurial skills in specific industries like health care or for specific processes like franchising. Students should ultimately be able to tap into their God-given creativity and translate that into creative outcomes, creative ideas, products and services.”
Stone says the new concentrations come in response to student demand, and that Regent already has faculty from SBL and other schools with expertise in franchising, health care and managing not-for-profits. The concentrations will feature courses from the SBL and other Regent graduate schools. They will be offered in eight-week sessions throughout the year.
According to the International Franchise Association, studies show that franchising is expected to grow “significantly” within the next few years. This business boom comes as demand for franchise units expands by more than 12 percent, and a favorable loan market will propel entrepreneurs’ borrowing and expansion. The IHS Global Insight, an economic organization that provides financial information on countries and industries, claims that franchising will add 220,000 jobs from June 2014 to 2015.
Regent’s SBL will provide an education to match this franchising excitement. The new concentration features four courses concentrating on the sales, operation and strategy of franchising. It started with a vision from Dr. John Mulford, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Regent, and it aims to produce students who will own their own franchises of existing businesses, start their own new franchised companies or work as area developers or executives in a franchised business.
“There are not a lot of franchising majors available in MBA programs, so we decided to test the waters,” said Stone. “Thus far, we are seeing a consistent number of queries about the concentration with at least one student per semester coming into the MBA program for that concentration. As we continue to market, more and more prospects will realize that they can explore the franchise option through our program for their idea, product or service.”
The Franchising concentration is already part of the Spring and Summer 2015 Regent Graduate Catalog. Students will learn about franchise business models, key success drivers, franchise law, brand building, franchise growth, financial reporting, rapid growth strategy and more. The topic is taught from a biblical perspective, considers competition and even touches on real estate issues that impact the success of franchises.
Stone says there has been a steady trickle of health care professionals studying at Regent to earn MBA’s. He says they’re interested in learning more about the business side of the health care industry.
“We saw the trickle slowly increasing with the growth of the health care industry,” said Stone. “Consequently, we began looking into the feasibility of establishing a concentration to better meet the needs of health care professionals who wanted more core business knowledge. We also found that we had access to some very qualified industry professionals who could teach the courses in the concentration.”
The new concentration pulls courses from the SBL, the School of Law and the Robertson School of Government. Students will learn about managing change in health care organizations, health care finance, policy, ethics and law. Courses will appear in upcoming university catalogs and will start to be offered by the end of 2015.
The SBL estimates that about 10 percent of its MBA students work in not-for-profits or seek to start new organizations. Student interest in not-for-profit management is rising. The school plans to offer an entire concentration for this type of organization based off an entrepreneurial focus.
“It is impossible to gather all of the information one would need to engage in all aspects of business today,” said Stone. “By taking an entrepreneurial focus, the business professional is learning the general information about all aspects of the business, but can then drill down into specific details within a concentration.”
The new concentration offers four electives centered on operating not-for-profit and faith-based organizations, fundraising development and special topics based on management.
“That really lets the business professional personally craft a program and electives that will serve a specific professional or career need,” said Stone.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “innovation” as “a new idea, device or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods.” Regent’s SBL is doing just that, innovating a new MBA concentration in innovation management. Four new courses will expose students to corporate learning and change, prototyping methods, new product development and consumer behavior. Coming in the fall of 2015, the concentration will stress product and service design, development, prototyping and marketing.
Regent’s graduate course catalogs provide course descriptions and information about all that the university has to offer. Admissions counselors are ready to answer questions and help enroll students. They can be reached here on Regent’s website. Students enrolled in a General Management MBA can opt to take courses from any of the new concentrations.