For release: May 21, 2008
For press information, contact Curt Guenther or Bobby King
In collaboration with local businesses and with the support of several individual
donors, the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis
today announced the creation of a new, full-time program leading to a master of business
administration degree. The only one of its kind in the nation because of its corporate
sponsorship, the program will focus on education for managers at mid-level and above
in the collaborating companies, with a particular emphasis on the biomedical, logistics
and distribution, retailing, and services marketing areas for now, with others to
The program benefits from generous gifts from several businesses and organizations
in the local community.
Dr. Rajiv Grover unveiled the new program at the Fogelman College of Business and
Economics kickoff luncheon held on Wednesday.
Dr. Rajiv Grover, dean of the Fogelman College, calls it “customer driven,” in that
it will help answer a need for managers in local companies who are educated in the
classic curriculum of an MBA program as well as in certain disciplines that are particularly
needed by those companies. Students will be recruited locally, nationally, and internationally,
and the companies will be involved in selecting the students for acceptance into the
The program will encompass globalized business core courses with an emphasis on developing
essential skills in (1) governance and ethics, (2) emotional intelligence, teamwork
and leadership, and (3) critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.
A key component of the two-year program will be part-time internships with the sponsoring
companies during the main academic year, September to May, and full-time during the
summer. Additionally, students who complete the program will be employed by their
sponsoring companies at competitive salaries for at least two years following graduation.
“Workforce development is a key concern of local business leaders,” Grover said, “and
this program will address that concern. It will bring well qualified employees into
the local business community and be a factor in their remaining in Memphis.”
Donations to the program were presented at the luncheon from venture capitalist Bob
Compton (left), AutoZone founder J.R. "Pitt" Hyde III (center) and Wei Chen (right),
Plans call for the collaborating companies to support the program financially, and
students will each receive tuition payment, plus a stipend, for the duration of their
enrollment. Upon graduation and full-time employment at one of the companies, the
MBA degree-holders will not only have broad and specific knowledge of business concepts,
but will be familiar with the operations of their hiring companies. Thus, they can
be even more valuable to the companies, and the companies will see a quicker return
on their investments in the students.
“Knowledge of a company is what we call ‘embedded’ knowledge,” Grover explained.
“It is the sort of thing that takes time for a new employee to learn. Graduates of
this MBA program will go to work having that knowledge from their first day on the
job, and that will enable them to begin making significant contributions to their
companies more quickly.”
The biomedical track (of particular importance to Memphis and the Mid-South area),
for example, will offer four customized courses that have been developed with the
help of top professionals. These courses include health care economics, buyer (e.g.,
hospitals, surgeons) behavior, global supply chain management in the biomedical field,
and new product development. These courses will also be available to all MBA students
at the University, and to students in other disciplines. Additionally, the new program
will call on the expertise of faculty members from throughout the University, and
classes will also be co-taught by leading professionals in the community.
Grover characterizes the program as a “win-win-win” situation. “The University will
get very good students,” he said. “The students will get a very good education and
on-the-job work experience virtually free of cost, and the businesses involved will
get very good workers who can make significant contributions to the company very quickly.”
The program will start in the fall of 2009. An initial enrollment of about 30 students
is expected, with that number to increase as the program gains prominence and knowledge
of its existence spreads.
More information is available from Dr. Greg Boller, MBA program director, at 901-678-3698
or from Barbara DeVivo, Fogelman College director of relationship management, at 901-678-3633,
or via email at email@example.com