This September, the Oregon Executive MBA welcomed its thirtieth class—at fifty-two students, its largest yet—and kicked off a celebration of the program's first three decades.
A pioneer in the region and the nation when it first launched in 1985—there were only about seventy-five executive MBA programs in the United States, now there are more than 300—the Oregon Executive MBA has more than lived up to its founders" ambitions.
“Our premier goal was to bring a quality graduate management education program to Portland," said Jim Reinmuth, former Lundquist College dean who teamed with the deans of the schools of business at Portland State University and Oregon State University to create the program.
In the years that followed, the program's 943 graduates have brought their enhanced skills and the prestige of a University of Oregon executive MBA degree back to such organizations as Nike, Intel, Tektronix, Boeing, adidas, ESCO, American Red Cross, Portland Timbers, Giustina Resources, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Kaiser Permanente, and St. Charles Health System, among many others.
The impact these alumni have had on the economy of Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and even the nation, is immeasurable.
What has drawn so many top-tier professionals to the program over the years? It's the program's distinctive blend of leadership, teamwork, innovation, and global focus.
This year's incoming cohort, Class 30, continues the path of excellence blazed by its predecessors. Class 30 students bring with them an average of 15.4 years of professional experience and an average of nine years in managerial roles. By comparison, the averages for executive MBA programs around the nation are 13.7 and 7.5 years, respectively.
Like their predecessors, current students benefit from the program's top-quality faculty, drawn from the Lundquist College, other area universities, and Portland's community of practitioners. And thanks to their varied backgrounds and extensive professional experience, the executive MBAs also have plenty to teach each another.
“When you put this many seasoned professionals together in the room—that's a pretty staggering amount of knowledge in just one place," said Oregon Executive MBA director of executive admissions and recruiting Julianna Sowash.
Indeed, serving the here-and-now needs of working professionals is a long-standing tradition for the program.
“The program's curriculum is designed to work with our students" leadership positions. So the kinds of projects that they do in the program relate to their work," said Sowash.
Convenience is another distinguishing feature. The program supplies all required study materials, provides meals on class days, and is scheduled as conveniently as possible.
Alumni from previous years who recall toting heavy stacks of books will be interested to learn that, for the past few years, executive MBAs have received the majority of their study materials on iPads.
Sleek electronics aren't the only way the program has evolved. This year heralds a number of exciting changes.
A video-conferencing setup in the UO's Bend campus offers a convenient new way for Central Oregon professionals to pursue their MBA degrees. The program requires only eight days of travel to Portland and one stay in Eugene each year, as well as the international study tour in the first year.
The program's global study tour—a longstanding offering—is no longer a December event. Class 30's study tour to the Netherlands and the Czech Republic will take place in May 2015.
And last but certainly not least—a leadership transition took place this September when Lundquist College professor emeritus of marketing Dave Boush became the program's new executive director. Boush replaces professor emeritus of accounting Dale Morse, who led the program since 2012 and will continue to teach there.
Join us as we salute the program on its pearl anniversary. We can't wait to see what the next decade will bring.