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By Liz Warren-Pederson

The inaugural Eller Accelerated MBA class began this summer with a 10-week intensive review.

The inaugural Eller Accelerated MBA class began
this summer with a 10-week intensive review.

This summer, the Eller MBA programintroduced a new, 12-month program designed to serve focused professionals who already hold undergraduate business degrees.

“Earning my MBA in one year and entering the workforce a year ahead of my peers made the accelerated program the obvious choice for me,” said Aimee Schattner, who came to the program after completing aPeace Corps Fellowship.

At least three years of work experience — combined with an undergrad business degree and a 10-week intensive review — preparesAccelerated MBA students to step into the second year of the traditional Full-Time MBAcurriculum, where they focus on the elective coursework they need to reenter the job market with targeted skill sets.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my work in sales, but I needed more challenges and opportunities for professional growth,” said Daniel Henry, who earned his BSBA in marketing at the UA in 2002. As an undergraduate, Henry interned with two bio-pharmaceutical companies in his hometown of San Diego, and set his sights on working in the health care industry.

“I wanted to work towards an analyst position out of college,” he said. “I sought feedback from industry professionals and mentors, and the majority recommended that I pursue a position in sales, because it would provide me with face-to-face interaction with customers and give me a viewpoint that many company executives did not possess.”

He joined Pfizer upon graduation, and rapidly moved up, placing in the top 10 percent of sales for five consecutive years. In 2009, he joined French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis as a senior account sales professional, where he managed the company’s principal hospital accounts in San Diego.

But he hadn’t forgotten his goal of shifting into an analyst role, and decided an MBA was the next logical step. “There were numerous limitations that made it difficult for me to pursue a traditional full-time program,” he explained. “I researched all the graduate business programs in the Southern California area, but none of them were conducive to my work schedule or career aspirations.”

The required time off for part-time, evening, or executive programs weren’t compatible with his company’s policies, so he widened his search. “The Accelerated MBA through the Eller College was the best option for me, as I could gain the knowledge and skills to advance my career while not being too far removed from real-world experience,” he said.

“The idea of working alongside classmates with a similar level of professional experience and collegiate backgrounds appealed to me,” Schattner said. She originally applied to the traditional two-year program, but her business degree from St. Norbert College and eight years of experience in the Peace Corps made her a natural fit for the accelerated track.

Like Henry, Schattner came to the program with well-defined professional goals. “I’d like to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abroad,” she said. To that end, she is focusing her MBA on health care.

After graduation, Henry aims to start as an analyst for an investment firm, or in biotech or commercial real estate. Long term, he aims to start his own biotech firm in partnership with his father, a research scientist in the field.

The Accelerated MBA program kicked off in July with a quantitative refresher. “The accelerated coursework was very intensive,” Henry said. “The entire cohort felt that the level of instruction and involvement of the faculty could not have been replicated by more than a handful of other programs in the nation.”

“The workload over the ten weeks was challenging and intense, since I’ve been out of college for nine years,” Schattner added. “But it was certainly necessary to lay the foundation for my electives this year. I enjoyed working within a small cohort’s team setting and becoming comfortable asking questions in the classroom. Thanks to our work experience, we were able to weave real-world examples into class discussions, which I also appreciated.” 

Henry and Schattner plan to complete their MBAs in May.