Enrollment Rising in MBA Dual Degree Program

Dominic DePasquale's search for the right graduate school was greatly simplified by how few institutions offered what he wanted - the ability to earn an MBA and master's degree in aerospace engineering at the same time.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, only two percent of the approximately 1,400 MBA programs in America offer a dual-degree program of any kind. While some schools have only recently begun offering this option as student demand for competitive edge grows, the College of Management has had a dual-degree program for more than twenty years.

Through the business school's Technology Leadership Program, which is rapidly growing in popularity, students like DePasquale can earn two graduate degrees almost as fast as it takes to earn one. The MBA can be paired with a degree from any other graduate program at Tech.

DePasquale saw the doors that having two graduate degrees could open while working in the aerospace industry for two years prior to starting at Tech.

"It's not hard for an aerospace engineer to rise as a technical manager, but to move into business operations and development, a background in business is very useful," he says. "It's rare that you find people strong in both areas."

DePasquale, who's due to finish both of his degrees in May 2006, says his combined studies haven't been as difficult as they might seem, thanks to the Technology Leadership Program's flexibility.

"The administration and faculty in both schools at Georgia Tech have been extremely accommodating and helpful," he says. "There are mature processes in place that make enrolling and studying in the Technology Leadership Program hassle-free."

Though DePasquale knew from the get-go that he wanted to earn two degrees simultaneously, many master's and doctoral students don't learn of the dual-degree option until after they've begun their graduate studies, says Paula Wilson, director of MBA admissions at the College of Management. Some decide to add the MBA to their agenda when they learn that they can earn both degrees in seventy to seventy-six course hours versus the ninety-plus hours required if the degrees weren't consolidated.

"Several years ago, we would enroll only four or five dual-degree students a year," Wilson says. "Today a third of our MBA students are pursuing dual degrees. Enrollment in the Technology Leadership Program surged once the name of the master's in management was changed to MBA in 2002. The MBA program's rise in the rankings has also generated a lot of interest. The word is getting out."

Ricardo Campbell was halfway through earning his master's degree in physics at Tech when he realized that he was more interested in technology-related entrepreneurship than conducting physics research professionally. So he knew enrolling in the MBA program was the way to go.

"A lot of people think physics and business are a strange mix," says Campbell, who earned his master's in physics in May 2004 and is due to finish his MBA in December. "But IBM saw the value and said it's a great combination."

After interning at IBM last summer, he accepted a full-time position with the computer giant that he'll start after graduation. Campbell, who focused on nanomaterials while in the physics program, will continue to draw upon his scientific background as he helps IBM explore new business opportunities, like nanotechnology, as a member of the company's market intelligence division.

"A large part of my job surveying the marketplace will involve looking at companies who are very technical in nature and being able to understand their end productsÂ….," he says. "Having wonderful business skills to complement my technical education is a tremendous asset going out into the workforce."
People interested in enrolling in the Technology Leadership Program can attend an information session at 6:30 p.m. November 10 in the Georgia Tech Student Center (Room 301). To register, visit the Technology Leadership Program Website http://mgt.gatech.edu/programs/mba/dual.html or call 404-894-8722.

Writer: Brad Dixon, College of Management

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