The School of Business and Economics is undergoing a review of the MBA program using an employer engagement survey. The purpose of the survey is to further boost the MBA experience by identifying certain areas that need improvement.
TRU is using a different approach to the review by not only consulting faculty, staff, students and alumni but also engaging with external stakeholders like local employers and the business community. Mike Henry, Dean of the School of Business & Economics, is expecting the survey to be completed this week.
“It is a part of an overall program review; we are contacting employers, alumni and various other stakeholders,” he said. “It’s not quite complete, but it will be complete this week.”
The information collected from employers will be summarized in a final report and action plan which will be sent to Henry and the MBA committee for approval. The plan will also receive input from the provost and vice-president academic, Christine Bovis-Cnossen, before being sent to the academic planning and priorities committee for implementation in early 2019.
Despite not fully knowing what needs improvement in the program, Henry notices a trend in students looking for more customizability in their educational options.
“I think the kinds of things that we are starting to see is students wanting greater emphasis on specializations, majors, residence and general MBAs; looking at more options that people can focus on, he said. “Whether it be e-commerce, healthcare management, entrepreneurship or other options.”
Henry also adds how the program may have an interest in incorporating more real-world activities in the curriculum and not only the fundamental principles.
“The other thing that’s coming out is the increased emphasis on ensuring that when students graduate, they not only have the technical skills, but they also have the worksite skills in terms of being able to move into a managerial role, understand how organizations work and be able to hit the ground running,” he said. “To have those skills about working in and between organizations and not just the fundamentals of business.”
The survey is being accomplished through partnerships with community organizations that represent employers throughout the region, including the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, the Kamloops Innovation Centre, Venture Kamloops, Community Futures Thompson Country (CFTC) and Open Door Group.
Bovis-Cnossen also shared her enthusiasm for the review along with working with the community.
“Thompson Rivers University is proud to engage these community partners in this MBA program review,” she said. “The findings will be an important contribution to education planning in our region and we look forward to enabling our students to take advantage of the many career opportunities that the future will bring.”
For those who have not completed the engagement survey, it can be found at www.tru.ca/mba-review.