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Recent MBA Open House Displays Four Year Old Program’s Progress and Popularity

The Mills MBA program, originally designed to attend to the lack of women in business higher education, has evolved into a strong, comprehensive program attracting students from all backgrounds and regions of the globe, according to professors and current students who gathered last week to help prospective students learn more about the program.

The rapidly growing program offers students a chance to pursue an MBA while staying in a small, liberal arts centered environment.

The program was developed by professor of Economics Nancy Thornborrow as a BA/MBA 4 + 1, allowing students to complete their first year of graduate study while working on their undergraduate degree and thus completing both their BA and MBA in five years.

“The desire to start the program came from the need to address the deficit of women in management training,” said Thornborrow at the MBA Open House on Jan. 25 in Reinhart, citing the fact that approximately one-third of business students are women.

Since the start of the program, alternate tracks for students with traditional liberal arts backgrounds have been developed, including a two-year track allowing those who have not completed the standard prerequisites to complete them at Mills.

Tammy Clemens, a current MBA student and Mills graduate who took time off before returning to school, felt that the competitive, corporate world that she got to know after graduation would not be a good environment in which to obtain her degree. “I thought about why I was at Mills in the first place, there was a reason that I chose it the first time around,” she said, “Mills will let me continue to be who I am and get an MBA.”

Thirty-three students have already graduated from the program which is now in its fourth year. Currently 43 students are enrolled, only one of which is a man, although the program encourages men to apply.

The $10 million donation made to Mills last year by Lorry I. Lokey, founder and CEO of San Francisco’s Business Wire and father of a Mills alumna, will help to further the goals and development of the MBA program. When combined with other private donations made to the program over the last three and a half years, the funds total approximately $14 million.

Program directors are currently using these financial resources to develop a strategic plan to increase enrollment to 100 students within the next five years, according to Phillip Gordon, who teaches Management Information Systems at Mills.

Gordon believes that the program also attracts undergraduates to Mills. “It can’t help but reflect positively on the school,” he said.

Chris Adams, a Mills senior and prospective MBA student agrees. “For me it’s totally irresistible because I can take all my prerequisites as electives that I need to graduate and still be working towards an MBA. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up,” she said.