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Kenan-Flagler to Offer MBA in New Online Format

Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School will offer its master of business administration program in a new, online format designed for working professionals around the world.

“The new MBA@UNC program will continue our tradition of excellence based on the quality of the students, faculty and curriculum,” said James W. Dean Jr., dean of Kenan-Flagler. “What will be radically different is how we deliver the program. This exciting new approach will transform Kenan-Flagler as we define the direction of global business education.”

MBA@UNC will blend the flexibility of an online program with the rigor and quality of the on-campus program founded in 1952.

  • Students will meet the same selective admissions criteria required by the existing MBA programs.
  • Courses will be based on the rigorous curriculum of the residential MBA program.
  • Kenan-Flagler professors will design and teach the courses.
  • Professors will teach classes in both asynchronous and live sessions using a technology platform designed for graduate education and focused on interactive communication.
  • Face-to-face global immersions will serve as capstone experiences.

“High-quality teaching and learning experiences are critical to our approach, and we are ready to shatter perceptions about online education,” said Douglas Shackelford ’80 (BSBA), associate dean of MBA@UNC and the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of taxation. “Technology has transformed all parts of our lives and, ultimately, it will redefine education, too. We have the opportunity to rethink how we teach what our students need to know, and Kenan-Flagler has a rare opportunity to lead a transformation. We are excited to be in the vanguard of that change.”

MBA@UNC is a new model of online learning and very different from existing self-paced programs, said Susan Cates ’98 (MBA), executive director of MBA@UNC. “We are developing a student-focused program that is superior to anything that exists today.”

Kenan-Flagler professors will design every course and collaborate with online curriculum specialists to maximize the impact of the new format. Students will master course materials on their own timetables and interact with faculty and classmates in live, online sessions and face-to-face immersions.

Self-paced or asynchronous course content will cover material taught in a typical lecture. These sessions will include original, broadcast-quality video segments, self-paced lectures, interactive case studies and collaborative activities designed to foster teamwork. Students will have access to this content 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In live or synchronous class sessions, a professor and a cohort of 10 to 15 students will collaborate in an online classroom at prearranged dates and times. These sessions, scheduled to accommodate students in multiple time zones, will use live, streaming video to allow students and professors to see and hear each other as they analyze and discuss course topics in real time. The technology also will enable live office hours and student-led study groups, all of which will be recorded so students can revisit them, even after they complete the courses.

At the end of every session, students and professors will interact face to face during three-day immersions held at locations around the world. Students will take exams and a two-week break before the next session begins.

Kenan-Flagler is developing MBA@UNC with 2tor Inc., which collaborates with leading higher education institutions to deliver rigorous, selective degree programs online. 2tor provides the technology platform, instructional design, marketing and infrastructure support.

MBA@UNC meets the demand by high-potential professionals who want to earn an MBA from a top school without leaving their jobs or moving, Cates said.

Kenan-Flagler is accepting applications for its first class, which will be limited to 50 students and will start in July 2011. Tuition will be $89,000 for the two-year program and will include books, texts, student fees, lodging and food costs for four weekend immersions. Kenan-Flagler will offer fellowships to highly qualified students in economically depressed areas, whether in the U.S. or other countries.


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