Program promotes synergy between classroom, workplace

Angela Charris, a project manager, is able to go to school and keep her job with the University of Miami’s Professional MBA program.

“My major motivation to pursue this degree is to complement my career and to grow professionally as well as personally by increasing my management skills,” she said. “I’m constantly exposed to diverse business practices, and I need to be able to understand all the components, norms and regulations in order to offer effective and reliable IT solutions that generate great results for the clients.”

The Professional MBA program used to be known as the School of Business Working Professionals program when the fellow Executive MBA program started in 1973.

The Professional MBA program differs from the Executive MBA by the number of years needed to complete the degree, said Anuj Mehrotra, vice dean for graduate business programs and executive education.

In the professional program, students have three to seven years of work experience, while the executive program is catered to seasoned executives who have an average of 11 years of work and management experience.

Megan Schmitt, a student trained in historic preservation, enrolled in the Professional MBA program to get a business perspective of her field.

“After a lot of thought, I decided that the Professional MBA would be a great way to expand my skills so that I could work in my field more effectively and efficiently,” she said. “I also realized that I don’t think like a business person and that can put me at a disadvantage when I’m trying to engage certain stakeholders and get their support. I think of this MBA as helping me to acquire fluency in another language.”

The Professional MBA program is just as rigorous as the full-time MBA program and is taught by the same faculty. Classes are held Monday evenings and Saturday mornings to accommodate people’s work schedules. The program takes 22 months to complete.

The School of Business admits one Professional MBA class in Jan. and a second one in July. There is no difference in the admission criteria or program. The School recruits all year for the MBA programs but an increase of recruiting events for the evening and weekend programs typically begin five months leading to the start dates.

Recruitment for the full-time MBA is done internationally, while recruitment for the Professional MBA program is catered more to locals since applicants typically hold a job here in Miami.

The curriculum was modified in 2010 when more electives were added. The programs are lock-step, meaning that students progress through the program as a single cohort taking the same classes. With electives offered, students can customize their education to best meet their own career goals.

The program also offers a study abroad opportunity, said Jeff Heebner, director of communication for the Business School.

“It enables students to immerse themselves in global business,” he said.


For more information on the Professional MBA program, visit