Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business revises MBA program to focus on concentrations and enhances 5-year accounting or taxation program


The Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University will begin offering a revised curriculum for its Master in Business Administration degree starting this fall. The total number of required credit hours will decrease and more focus will shift to the field of concentration chosen by the student.

The Dolan School of Business will also offer a revised fifth year MBA Program in Accounting or Taxation. The program is designed to allow graduates with a bachelor's degree in accounting from Fairfield University or other schools to get their MBA in accounting through one year of classes beyond their undergraduate program.

The Dolan School reworked its overall MBA program to put more focus on concentration courses, put credit requirements in line with those of other schools accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and make a business law and ethics course obligatory, said Norman Solomon, Ph.D., Dean of the Dolan School of Business.

The revised curriculum requires students to have completed basic economics and statistics courses, as well as a college-level math course, before entering the program - thus raising the level of students that participate and enabling the school to enhance core and breadth requirements within the program. "We're strengthening the program by expecting students to have certain basic classes completed," Dr. Solomon said. "Class interaction will be enhanced because everyone will have the same fundamental background before beginning the MBA."

At the same time, it adds more credit hour requirements to the concentration area. The program offers concentrations in accounting, taxation, finance, information systems & operations management, international business, management & human resources, general management and marketing.

The total number of required credit hours for students without a business undergraduate degree will decrease from 62 to 54, which is more in line with the norm for schools accredited by the AACSB International. The Dolan School received AACSB accreditation in 1997.

Students with an undergraduate business degree from a school accredited by AACSB International may apply for course waivers, which may enable them to complete the program with 36 required credit hours. The average part-time student with an undergraduate business degree should be able to complete the program in two to three years.

As a result of the new requirements, students who enter the program together, will also be more likely to progress through it together as a group, Dr. Solomon said.

The new program also includes a mandatory business law and ethics course in the breadth section. Whereas the old program allowed students to waive this requirement if they had taken a similar course in their undergraduate studies, the new MBA does not.

"In the current business climate, when we discussed it with faculty, they thought this is an area where students would be advantaged by advanced-level work," Dr. Solomon said.

Revised 5th Year MBA in Accounting or Taxation

The 5th-Year MBA in Accounting or Taxation will allow students who graduate with a degree in accounting to complete their MBA in one of the two concentrations with, usually, just one more year of courses. The number of classes in the program ranges from 12 to 19 depending upon the business courses a student completed in undergraduate studies and whether the classes were taken at an AACSB-accredited school.

Students in the program can choose between a concentration in accounting, which has an emphasis on auditing and financial accounting, or taxation. The concentration in accounting prepares students for entry-level positions in large public accounting firms, said Paul Caster, Ph.D., an accounting faculty member and Director of the Graduate Accounting Program. Many of Fairfield University's students begin their careers on the audit staff. The concentration in taxation is designed for those students who begin their professional careers on the tax staff.

Fairfield University had previously offered a 5-Year MBA Program in Accounting that consisted of three and one half years of undergraduate work and one and one half years of graduate work. However, that formula prevented many students from other schools from applying to Fairfield University's fifth year MBA. The new MBA program alleviates this problem, features an updated curriculum, and provides more convenient course scheduling, Dr. Caster said.

"We are pleased to be able to offer this valuable program to students from other universities who have graduated with a degree in accounting and would like to quickly and efficiently obtain their master's degree," Dr. Caster said.

For more information or to register for any of the Dolan MBA programs, call the Office of Graduate Admissions at Fairfield University at (203) 254-4184 or e-mail: gradadmis@mail.fairfield.edu.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 8, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 137