Focus Forward: ASU to offer full scholarships to M.B.A. business students

Beginning in fall 2016, ASU will begin offering full scholarships to up to 120 W. P. Carey School of Business students pursuing a Master's degree in business administration.

W. P. Carey Dean Amy Hillman said the new scholarship program, Forward Focus, will aim to bring a greater diversity to the University and the business community as a whole.

"I think that this is important because I think investing in higher education, whether it be a college degree or a Master's degree, enables our workforce to do more," she said. "I'm very hopeful that this will result in very strong leaders in organizations that can help advance the business community here and in the U.S. overall."

Tuition and fees for the full-time M.B.A. program cost $54,000 for Arizona residents, $87,000 for out-of-state students and $90,000 for international students. The program will be funded by a $50 million endowment given to the school by William Polk Carey, the school's namesake, in 2003.

Hillman said she hopes the program will break down the barrier to education for students who felt that pursuing such a degree would be too costly.

"What we thought about what was needed for the leaders of tomorrow, we also had come increasingly concerned that the investment needed to pursue a full-time M.B.A. is one that may be off-putting to some types of students because they don't see themselves necessarily in a business career, even though they might end up benefiting from the business curriculum," she said. 

This past fall, 86 students were admitted into the full-time M.B.A. program.

The program requires students to complete 60 hours of schoolwork over two years.

The M.B.A. program at ASU has ranked among the top 30 in the nation for the past eight years, according to ASU News, and Hillman said Forward Focus will help improve the school's reputation even further.

"We're already very known for quality of education, and I think that new curriculum will help to improve that reputation, she said. "I think that more recruiters ... will come to hire our students because of these new skills that they're going to be getting, and ... if more students are attracted to our program because of the scholarship opportunity, we might have a more diverse learning environment within the classroom."

In addition to offering free tuition, four new courses and learning labs that will combine the business school with non-traditional business markets, such as healthcare, will also be implemented as a part of the Forward Focus program. 

The new courses will cover topics ranging from dealing with data analytics to programs that connect students with senior executives from companies such as Mayo Clinic and JP Morgan Chase for mentoring and counseling.

Ryan Butler, a part-time M.B.A. graduate student, was asked to act as a student voice for the healthcare portion of the new curriculum after a healthcare club he co-founded jumped from 20 to 60 members within a year. 

Butler said the program will attract students who might have not considered an M.B.A. and allow them to participate in specialized business markets, such as healthcare.  

"I'm excited to see the healthcare specialization gain traction," he said. "To see this involvement and emphasis come to fruition, it's an exciting time."

Holly Olsen, a 2010 W. P. Carey alumna, said she enrolled in the business school after hearing about its reputation.

Olsen, who currently works as a Media Consultant for Cox Media, said programs such as Forward Focus will provide the business community with highly-skilled candidates to recruit from and allow current employees to stay competitive within the job market.

Hillman said she hopes the spirit of the program will not stop with next year's incoming M.B.A. class, but that the students will continue to pay it forward in any way possible.

"I would really like it if the students ... to the degree that they can upon graduation, I'd like them to pay it forward," she said. "I'd like them, not literally with money, but with their time, help mentor students back here at ASU ... and eventually, someday, maybe some of them will give back in the way W. P. Carey did to make sure other people have this opportunity."

Related Links:

W.P Carey MBA program ranked among top 25

ASU dean directs W. P. Carey school with female-led administration


Reach the reporter at Jlsuerth@asu.edu or follow @SuerthJessica on Twitter.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.