Students chart new territory in Bentley MBA
The Bentley MBA: It’s not for everyone.
That’s the bold claim of the 11-month program, which welcomed its first class last July, to offer students a set of personal, connected and global perspectives designed to challenge conventional thinking and develop leadership potential.
If you ask the 19 members of the inaugural class — representing 12 countries, with an average age of 31 and average of 8.5 years of professional experience, their reasons for pursuing the program can be distilled to one key point: Few programs offer opportunities to push the boundaries of an MBA education as the Bentley MBA.
“I don’t want to be a spreadsheet MBA who can only run numbers and merely suggest improvements,” says Rishabh Jhol, a native of India who recently completed a five-year stint working in finance and strategy for a business advisory firm. “I want to fully understand the value and impact of all types of business decisions.”
A Thematic Approach
In a departure from traditional MBAs, the Bentley program focuses on four 10-week themes:
Each theme includes three-credit modules that bring students together in a cohort with faculty and corporate guests, balancing individual development with teamwork and promoting creativity.
“This program is perfectly aligned with the demands of the ever-changing global economy,” says DJ Cass, who is pursuing his MBA through a corporate sabbatical program at Hologic, where he works in sales. “There isn’t a single moment of ‘Why are we learning this?’ And that’s true whether you have one year of experience or ten.”
Much of the students’ learning takes place in the newly created MBA Studio, a high-tech, collaborative space that replaces the traditional lecture hall. Its features include:
- Three SMART boards and flat-screen display
- Six collaborative workstations supporting both Macs and PCs
- 24/7 swipe card accessibility
- Kitchen and dining area
As the centerpiece of the program’s on-campus curriculum, the MBA Studio was designed to foster close relationships among students and promote discussion and debate on issues ranging from the costs of delivering strong customer services to the community to the environmental effects of opening a new business.
“In the studio, each person’s viewpoint is sought and appreciated,” says Cass. “The times where we all agree on an issue are rare, but that only adds value to our discussions and the program as a whole.”
Rounding out the program’s innovative curriculum are three field-based collaborations, through which students visit organizations around the world to address emerging or persistent business issues.
The class recently returned from their first trip to Atlanta, where they met with members of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Research Alliance and the Coca-Cola Company to explore how corporations, nonprofits, government and NGOs work together to further economic development in Georgia. Upcoming trips will take students to Istanbul, to examine consumerism, and Marseille and Paris, to discuss sustainable management practices.
“The richness of discussion as we learn and share examples of global economic and social trends is very meaningful and unique,” says Rama Sagna, a Senegal native who most recently was the group human resources manager for Africapractice Ltd. “The time we spend together, both in the classroom and during our trips, allows us to develop a deeper understanding and respect for each other’s cultures and perspectives.”