Kate McKenzie
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The College of Business and Management has heard for years from students who said they would consider pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree – if it was offered online.

“We would say, ‘One day, one day,” CBM Associate Dean Jorge Villegas said. “That day has arrived.”

In October the CBM is set to launch its online MBA program, as well as a master’s degree in Finance. In the pipeline for 2022 are online master’s degrees in Cybersecurity Management, Health Care Informatics and Human Resource Management.

The programs have a new term starting every eight weeks. There are five of those eight-week terms – two in the fall, two in the spring and one in the summer – which means if a student took two courses during each module, they could complete the required 30 credit hours in one calendar year. That coveted degree could be theirs in 12 months.

That’s a big change from the traditional format of taking three to four classes during 16-week semesters in a classroom, where it would often take 18 months to two years to finish the necessary coursework.

“I think it’s a very valuable degree,” said Serkan Karadas, Assistant Professor of Finance, who will be teaching courses and advising for the finance program.

“Students can come in and finish it in one year,” he said. “It’s a good value for the students, it could help them change careers or advance in their current career.”

Nathan L. Steele, MBA Director and Associate Professor of Management, Marketing, and Operations, said the online, accelerated format reflects a change in how people want to pursue their higher education ambitions.

“Students want more flexibility and available options,” he said. “They have these strong desires to consume an education, but they have their jobs, their families, and other obligations. This is a way to pivot to that.”

Offering it online also reflects a shift in the mindset about the quality of a such a degree. A decade ago, employers indicated they likely would not hire someone with an online MBA. Now, Villegas said, an online degree is viewed as equal to a degree earned in a physical classroom.

UIS is already renowned for its stellar online programs. The online master’s degrees in business are an extension of that great history, Steele said. CBM has the added prestige of being accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the accreditation body for business schools. It’s so selective, Villegas said, that only about 5 to 7 percent of universities achieve it.

“In comparing us with the national stage, there was a space for us to enter and be highly competitive and highly marketable,” Steele said. “We can market it to the entire country, since it’s online.”

The program is flexible: A student can enter during any of the eight-week terms. New course material will be posted weekly and since they are asynchronous, classes can be completed when most convenient for each student. They are expected to engage with faculty members and their classmates via assignments, discussion boards and social media platforms.

The traditional MBA will still be available on campus, and it converted to the 8-week term format last year. Student reaction has been positive: They finish faster, get personal attention and are more focused on the two courses they are taking during each module.

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For more information about the online programs, visit or