Spider MBAs:

In January, I assumed the role of MBA program director and associate dean.  Over these first few months I met with current students, faculty and alumni to gauge the current condition of the program, and I am happy to report that The Richmond MBA has never been stronger!  Richard Coughlan devoted 12 years of tireless leadership to the program, helping it to achieve the high quality and positive reputation it enjoys today.  Thank you Richard!

I also want to thank Richard and Dean Nancy Bagranoff for their confidence in me.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about the “big shoes” into which I’m stepping. Fortunately, I suffer no illusions that I am replacing Richard.  Just as the second runner in a relay doesn’t “replace” the first, my job is to do everything in my power to advance the baton (program) as far as I can with the time I have.  With the amazing students, faculty, staff and alumni of The Richmond MBA, I expect it to be VERY far.  With the remainder of this first newsletter story, I would like to give you a brief overview of the year-to-date and plans for the future.  

What a start! In January, The Richmond MBA enrolled one of its most diverse and experienced cohorts of new students.  Since then, we have hosted three very well-attended information sessions and continue to receive applications from highly qualified prospects.  Check the website for news about the next information sessions that will be hosted around Richmond in April.  Prospective students will be able to learn about The Richmond MBA downtown, in Innsbrook, or West Creek. You can help by encouraging at least one high-potential prospective student to attend. 

Through meetings with current students and alumni, exit interviews with soon-to-be alumni, coffees, emails and phone calls with all of the above, and an online survey of current students, I can report an incredible degree of consensus regarding the status of the program.  Fortunately, the challenges we face in the years ahead are ones of opportunity.

I will share an executive summary of the survey results with all students and any alumni who are interested, but want to share the most important finding with everyone. Overall, 92 percent of student respondents indicated that if they had it to do all over again they would enter The Richmond MBA program.  That’s up there with customer satisfaction scores from some of the most well-respected service companies in the world!  And our response rate was fantastic: 68 percent.   

We have identified opportunities for improvement in professional development programs, course scheduling, career services, International Residency and Capstone.  Current students also want more opportunities to interact with alumni.  Initiatives are underway to address each of these areas. 

My dream is to see high potential individuals in Richmond who do not already have an MBA aspire to complete The Richmond MBA.  In order to realize that vision, I believe the program must become more connected to the greater Richmond region, building on our successful connections with the business community.  As we help develop and connect the next wave of business and civic leaders, these individuals must understand business’s role in the community and the local, regional and global forces impacting RVA.

As always, our promise will remain: Learn it today, apply it tomorrow.  But the next generation of leaders has much different expectations than the last.  They want to understand why business matters and how their job impacts society.  That’s why we will continue to enhance our connections to the business community as we broaden and deepen our connections with nonprofit, civic and government leaders throughout the region.   

This is not yet a strategy, but more of a direction.  However when we succeed, then not only will the responsibilities and salaries of Spider MBAs grow, we also will help Richmond to flourish and prosper.  That’s how The Richmond MBA impacts society.

Thank you for your support and encouragement during the transition and first quarter of the year.  I welcome your feedback on how we can continually improve The Richmond MBA.