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Vol. 13, No. 48 Week of November 30, 2008
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

AK-WA Connection 2008: University of Washington MBA program mines Alaska for brain power

Discerning Alaskans who seek a high-quality experience obtaining a master’s degree in business administration should consider the Executive MBA Program at the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.

The 21-month graduate course gives students the astonishing flexibility of requiring classroom attendance only once a month, September to June, and summers off. Students meet with their instructors on UW’s Seattle campus in 3- to 4-day sessions and otherwise communicate via the Internet.

The faculty posts assignments, projects and exams on the Internet and students, in turn, post their homework and take exams online. They also participate in virtual study group meetings and talk to instructors and each other online, too.

Program Executive Director Louise Kapustka said the program attracts students from all over the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska.

“We have students from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and even California. This year we have a student from New York,” Kapustka said. “If I’m lucky, we get two to three people coming from Alaska, most often from Anchorage. There’s something special and different about people from Alaska, and having a diverse group of students makes for richer conversations. Plus, it gives our graduates a greater network of good people across the country.

Kapustka travels to Anchorage twice a year in January and October to conduct information sessions where she and other program alumni who live in Alaska extol the benefits of the UW MBA experience.

Some 40 to 45 students participate in each of four formats, two for both years of study, giving the program a total enrollment of about 180.

The two-year program currently costs $71,500, which includes tuition, books, other fees, lodging and breakfasts and lunches during class days. Transportation and dinners on class days are extra.

Kapustka said most students pay the majority of the cost of the program themselves.

“It’s a big commitment on their part, but we think it is worth it,” she said. “And it’s warmer in Seattle.”

—Rose Ragsdale



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