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Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

and education. Our faculty conduct live chat sessions, sharing their professional experience by way of examples and storytelling. This allows our students to better understand how theory is applied into practice and engage in the discussion in real-time.

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CTU places significant emphasis on leadership and ethical decisionmaking. Why do you consider these dynamics to be so important to middle managers?

Leading Innovation In Online Learning Alexandra Skinner speaks to Dr Emad Rahim at Colorado Technical University

CTU’s MBA programme maintains an applied research approach and problem-solving focus within the CTU Professional Learning Model™ (CTU PLM™). We promote an educational background, at all levels, that helps students to adapt to dynamic environments and become life-long learners and life-long contributors to themselves, their families, their profession, and our society. The CTU MBA is offered in both on-campus and online formats and is designed for working adults who are looking to advance their career or make a career change. The main objective of CTU’s MBA programme is to train, equip and prepare business leaders for the global economy. The core of the MBA programme provides our student with advanced fundamental business skills, while the concentration courses allow our students to specialise within their chosen field and showcase their body of knowledge in a capstone course. We emphasise the need to help our students learn the practical skills required to thoroughly analyse and deal with organisational challenges with confidence.

Your Online MBA is highly successful and was recognised as being a Top Ten Online MBA programme in our 2012 rankings.

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(a) What do you feel makes your online MBA programme so successful?

CTU professional courses use the construction of professional deliverables as a teaching method. CTU PLM™ engages students in complex, real-world situations that require them to organise, research, and solve problems. Essentially, it allows students to practice skills in near realworld situations. The CTU PLM™ naturally answers the student question, “How will I use this in the real world?” It allows 56

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students to easily establish the connection between what they learn in the classroom and real world issues and practices. This learning method encourages students to use higher levels of thinking skills by having them look critically and creatively at problems that don’t have one right answer. Students will learn about information in situations that are similar to the professional situations in which they will use the information in the future. In practice, CTU PLM™ places students in the active role of collaborative problemsolvers and project initiators confronted with the task of producing a deliverable that mirrors a real-world context and assessment.

MBA Talking Points The North American MBA market is extremely competitive. What do you think makes your MBA offering stand out from the crowd and ultimately leads to students choosing CTU for their studies? Our new MBA offerings support industry trends and market research. CTU MBA concentrations were steered by our business advisory board which is made up of corporate executives, entrepreneurs, educators, and government and military leaders from across the country.

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The CTU MBA Value Proposition

We believe that our students are the ambassadors of the university. What they learn from CTU will influence how they interact with society and with the larger business community. Their business and leadership values, actions, behaviours and attitude are shaped by their experience at our university. This is why we place so much emphasis on leadership and ethical decision-making in our curriculum. We want to prepare our students to become corporate citizens and to act in a socially responsible manner in their business practices. Research reveals that companies and leaders that engage in corporate social responsibility activities have a higher ROI and better public image.

(b) Please can you tell CEO readers more about your virtual campus – ‘My Unique Student Experience’?

At CTU we understand that students learn in unique ways. Some absorb material by reading, watching or hearing it. Others learn best through problem-solving using real-world examples or by practicing an activity until they’ve mastered it. To best serve students with varied learning styles, we have integrated our flexible My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E) learning platform into our online courses so that students can take control of their online learning experience in a way that can suit them best.

We have gone beyond the traditional methods of teaching MBA students. We focused heavily on our professional learning model in looking at how we deliver these new programmes. We wanted our students to experience their education by engaging in more interactive learning. This is why we invested in adaptive learning software, improved our M.U.S.E technology, integrated problem-based learning models into the curriculum, and put together an advisory board of industry experts to help us develop our new MBA curriculum. Our students will learn much needed skills such as critical thinking, leadership and problem solving, whilst also developing their emotional intelligence.

The Evolution of the MBA How important do you feel it is for business schools to continually evolve in order to keep up with the expectations of Generation Y? The MBA arena is going through an evolution. It started off being very elitist, catering only to a small audience of business leaders and managers with only a handful of universities offering the programme. Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College was the first to offer the MBA degree, and was quickly followed by Harvard, Wharton, Cornell and Yale. The University of Chicago is credited for developing the first Executive MBA for professional students, and Thunderbird School of Global Management developed

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 Our graduates are earning a degree that is in alignment with labour market trends and addresses the workforce development gap – something that our economy desperately needs.”

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What methods do you use to ensure that you are producing individuals that are fully-equipped to meet the demands of today´s economy?

Our graduates are earning a degree that is in alignment with labour market trends and addresses the workforce development gap – something that our economy desperately needs. We are teaching our students to become more intuitive, to think more critically in how they do business, to approach a project more strategically and to execute on a plan with precision. Our students are obtaining practical knowledge that they can apply to organisations right away. Students will expand their business intelligence and will start to examine business from a global perspective.

the first MBA focused on international business. We then saw the MBA grow to include more concentrations and specialisations for students, and more universities started offering MBA programmes. New options appeared – an EMBA for aspiring business leaders, online MBAs for working adults, and an accelerated MBA option to provide students with the opportunity to earn their degree in one year full-time and transition into the workplace more quickly. Enrolment was flourishing, and for many business schools the MBA became their anchor degree programme and the best source of revenue for the university. Fast forward to the present and we notice a significant change in the MBA arena. The enrolment population for MBA Dr. Emad Rahim, University Dean of Business at CTU attending the Empact Summit at the White House in Washington DC.

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Students at CTU benefit from the knowledge of highly qualified faculty, affectionately known as “realworld gladiators”. How do your faculty bring their experience into the classroom? CTU only selects faculty with demonstrated industry experience, and advanced degrees and teaching qualifications to deliver state-of-thepractice education; providing on-going professional development, review and certification, especially in fostering student success through teaching and support. We ensure that our students are being taught by faculty who are current within their field and specialisation, and can speak from experience, knowledge

Dr. Emad Rahim (center) with Chris Mumford, founder of Joe Statup (left), El-Java Williams Abdul-Qadir, Director of SSIC at Syracuse University (right) ceo magazine

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Colorado Technical University

degrees across the world has continuously decreased. Recent reports issued by the AACSB showed a drastic drop in MBA applications and enrolment percentages across the board for many universities in the States and abroad over the last few years. Both traditional universities (research/state/public/private) and proprietary universities are impacted by this decline. Some universities have decided to teach-out their EMBA programme or reduce their MBA concentration options in order to reduce overheads. Other universities, that were once more traditional and only offered an on-campus option for their MBA degree programme, are now forced to invest in more online programming and curriculums to adapt to the changing market. I believe the idea, purpose and need for the MBA programme has shifted with this new student generation. Business schools have undergone some serious scrutiny in the last few years. The MBA image and brand has taken some pounding due to the unethical and illegal scandals of companies like Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, AIG and BP, and the collapse of the banking industry and their role in the global recession. The majority of these executives earned their MBA degree from prestigious universities. There is a lot of anger pointed towards capitalism and our business policies. We saw this loud and clear with the occupy movement and student protests happening on campuses across the country.

The MBA of the future must reinvent itself and its purpose. I have noticed some exciting trends taking shape at business schools and new developments in business education appearing in research publications and at academic conferences. In 2012 I attended a symposium titled “Redesigning the MBA” that was hosted by AACSB in Tampa, Florida. At the symposium there was a lot of support for a comprehensive MBA makeover to help transform the way faculty teach business and develop curriculum. Everyone at the symposium was in agreement on the benefits of teaching core business skills like finance, economics and accounting in an MBA programme. However, there were many different perspectives on how to teach business students soft skills and help them to develop more intuitive skills. Corporate recruiters and advisory boards are urging business schools to focus more attention on helping students to further their skills in communications, creative thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, team building and leadership. The next generation of start-up executives and entrepreneurs, who will be doing business in a global economy that is becoming flatter, will need to be more innovative and think creatively. There are a lot of great MBA programmes that I believe have stepped up to the challenge by creating amazing curriculums. Some of these MBA programmes have dedicated their entire curriculum to teaching design-thinking

The CTU MBA Application Process The university has an inclusive philosophy in its admissions process. We believe that education should be accessible, convenient and rewarding to students. This is why we provide our students with a convenient process to apply for admission to our MBA programme. We have three simple steps and requirements for graduate admissions: 1. Submit an application for admission online and provide your contact information to have an admissions advisor contact you. If you apply online, your application will be sent electronically to CTU. There is a $50 application fee. After you submit your application, CTU will contact you to complete the remaining steps. 2. All applicants conduct a personal telephone interview with one of our admissions advisors. This interview will give you an opportunity to ask questions about the curricula and courses that interest you. Interviews are also used to determine whether applicants are qualified to become students at CTU. Students are free to have a parent or spouse present for the interview if it makes them more comfortable. 3. Submit an official undergraduate transcript verifying completion of a baccalaureate degree with sufficient GPA score for graduate admission. 4. If your first language is not English (or if you graduated from a non-English speaking school), TOEFL scores of 500 for undergraduate and 550 for graduate, or other acceptable proof of English proficiency must be submitted.

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and providing a lot of experiential learning opportunities for their students. The majority of these business programmes are traditional on-campus MBA programmes. The challenge is trying to fit all of these expectations and demands into an online MBA or an Executive MBA that is accelerated and primarily online.

CTU will hold its first ground and online graduation at the Bellco Theatre June 15, 2013, with speaker Margaret Spelling, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

 The next generation of start-up executives and entrepreneurs, who will be doing business in a global economy that is becoming flatter, will need to be more innovative and think creatively.” The Next Step What can we expect from the Colorado Technical University over the next twelve to eighteen months? I am extremely excited about the future direction of the university. We will be leading innovation in online education; we are revising our business curriculum to include more problem-based learning opportunities and to integrate simulation technology for our students to help equip them with the practical skills and knowledge they need to deal with the ever changing challenges of doing business in the new economy. We are investing heavily in adaptive learning technology and teaching to address the learning needs of our students, and adapt to their growth in knowledge and understanding of the curriculum. The university is also upgrading its award winning Virtual Campus and M.U.S.E. learning platform to create a more intuitive and powerful interface for our students that is compatible with their mobile devices and smart phones. 

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Biography ★★ Dr Emad Rahim is University Dean for the School of Business at Colorado Technical University. Follow him on Twitter @CTUBusiness

Innovation in Online Education with Emad Rahim by Alexandra Skinner  

Dr. Emad Rahim, University Dean of Business at Colorado Technical University discusses trends in online education and describes the uniquene...

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