Flagship MBA Program Continues Upward Trajectory Thanks in Part to Partnerships
When it comes to online Master of Business Administration degree programs, Bellevue University goes way back. All the way back to 1995.
That’s when Bellevue University launched what is believed to be the nation’s first online MBA program and pioneered what today has become a true flagship program, with more than 1,000 current students and more than 5,000 alumni across the country and around the globe.
According to Dr. David Levy, Professor in the College of Business and MBA Program Director, the MBA program continues to grow and evolve, while staying true to its formative mission to develop high performing, lifelong learners ready to innovate and lead in a competitive business environment.
“We prepare them well,” said Dr. Levy. “While other MBA programs may have tended to start cutting out the more analytical-type of courses, we have not. Our students get a foundation that you don’t find in a lot of programs.”
He added that while the pandemic has clearly accelerated the growth of online learning, Bellevue University’s MBA program still stands out. Evidence of the program’s robustness and maturity can be seen in the number of MBA degree concentrations – more than 20 – that the University has developed and offers.
“We’re not creating a new degree,” Dr. Levy explained, “What we are doing is making it possible for the student who wants this type of concentration to achieve their goal.” No matter what concentration a student chooses to pursue, they graduate with a new and sharpened skill set in such areas of finance, accounting, marketing, media, supply chain management, performance, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
As a faculty member in the College of Business for the last 20 years, Dr. Levy has not only seen the academic curriculum change and adapt, he’s witnessed his institution serve a growing number of students through partnerships.
Well known corporations such as PayPal, Mutual of Omaha, Union Pacific and dozens of other companies across various industries partner with Bellevue University to provide education as a benefit to their employees. Valmont Industries, Inc., for example, collaborates with Bellevue University in a number of areas and the relationship has resulted in tangible benefits for employees of the global infrastructure and manufacturing company.
“We prepare them well. While other MBA programs may have tended to start cutting out the more analytical-type of courses, we have not. Our students get a foundation that you don’t find in a lot of programs.
“Bellevue University awards MBA credit for completion of Valmont’s Leadership Essentials global program,” explained Patrick Groves, Vice President and HR Business Partner of Valmont Industries Global Utility Division, “and they created a pathway for our employees to pursue their Project Management Professional (PMP) designation.”
The multi-faceted nature of the Bellevue University and Valmont Industries relationship isn’t just happenstance or built around talk of what’s to come. “You develop a relationship,” observed Dr. Levy, “and people come initially to you as part of this relationship – and then come back to you on account of the positive experiences they have had.”
Dr. Levy added that the relationships Bellevue University establishes with corporate partners are based, first, on listening to what the partners are seeking. However, he noted, that Bellevue University goes a significant step further and brings innovative ideas about education for their workforces – whether they are local to Omaha or in multiple countries around the world – to corporate and non-profit organization offices across the country and around the world.
Notably, Bellevue University’s collaborations with corporate partners, which now number over 100, appear to reflect Dr. Levy’s classroom discussions with MBA students about quality practices and the cost of quality.
“In operations, we have this concept about designing for the customer or designing for manufacturing,” he explained. “If you have a bad experience, you’re probably never going to go back and use that service or product again. But, what if you design and deliver it right the first time? Because we are meeting the customer’s requirements and are able to deliver on them we are fulfilling the customer’s quality expectations. There should actually be no extra cost because we did it right the first time.”
Part of doing it right the first time involves ensuring that Bellevue University MBA students receive the “right” support from University teams responsible for graduate advising and for design and development of engaging residential and online courses.
That focus on quality, and on truly understanding the objective of the customer, serves as the foundation of the Bellevue University MBA program.
“It’s the difference between marketing and selling,” said the veteran professor who spent two decades working at Union Pacific prior to entering academia. “It’s a collaborative process (with the company).”