TCNJ is launching MBA program — and doing so with new model of specialization

The College of New Jersey announced it will begin offering Master of Business Administration degrees with specialties in data analytics and finance in the fall of 2019.

The format for completing the MBAs will be unlike traditional programs.

Pasquale Quintero, the director of the program, said students enrolling at TCNJ will start with specialized learning in their field. Doing so, Quintero said, will help them see an immediate return on their investment.

In the second year, students will get instruction in business administration.

“It’s parallel in terms of how somebody approaches their career, where you start off more as a specialist within a particular area,” he said. “Then, as you gain more experience and move up within your organization, you obtain more leadership positions, increased managerial roles and your scope becomes a little bit wider than the traditional specialist.”

The school is planning to introduce a third area of study — strategy, innovation and leadership — which could start next fall, but may wait until 2020.

ROI-NJ talked with Quintero about the program.

ROI-NJ: Give us more examples of how this MBA program will be different from others.

Pasquale Quintero: It’s really going to be a hybrid between a specialized master’s and a traditional MBA. If you look at most MBA programs, they focus more and more on general management concepts, and don’t necessarily have much of a focus within a particular area. This is really more of a specialization.

ROI: Are you hoping this distinctive approach will attract more students, since they should be able to see a benefit almost from the start?

PQ: Absolutely. Especially since so many students may get assistance from their employer. We would like individuals to be able to have this specialization, so they can immediately add value to their current work functions and show a greater return on investment.

ROI: The way the program is structured, students will have an opportunity to get a certificate after the first year. Is there a concern they may not return for Year 2?

PQ: We expect that everyone who is looking at this program commits to the full two years, but we understand that there are there things that happen in life that, sometimes, are out of individual’s control. Somebody may get a great promotion where they have more responsibilities or have a job that takes them out of the state.

All students will earn a graduate certificate after the first year, but the expectation is that people will still continue on into the two-year MBA program.

ROI: Let’s get to the specifics of the program. How will it work in terms of classes and interaction?

PQ: It’s a hybrid program. Students will be able to meet face to face on Saturdays approximately six Saturdays in the fall and spring and four times in the summer. It will be 100 percent online in the winter. And, then, when they’re not meeting face to face, students will take classes online.

ROI: Let’s talk students. You’re recruiting for the first class. Who is your ideal candidate?

PQ: We’re looking for individuals who have a minimum of two years of work experience. We know that’s going to vary depending on the individual, but these are going to be working professionals who have an interest in data analytics, finance. And, once we roll out the strategy innovation and leadership track, I think we’ll attract students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

The ideal candidate will be somebody who is going to be focused on enhancing their careers within their current fields or career-changers, who want to get into the field of analytics or, if they come from an accounting background, would like to go into finance. And, then, there will be those who may come from nontraditional business backgrounds and are looking to gain some additional business knowledge.

ROI: Why did TCNJ decide to offer MBA degrees?

PQ: The school is well-known for its undergraduate business education. We wanted to expand our offerings because we are a growing business school. We wanted to leverage the expertise of our faculty to be able to offer this a unique program.

ROI: Now, a little bit about you. Give us your work background?

PQ: I’ve been at TCNJ since June. I came from JPMorgan, where I was a campus recruiting manager and, prior to JPMorgan, I served in leadership positions at the University of Maryland Smith School of business as well as Northeastern University’s specialized master’s programs and the Wake Forest University School of Business.

I thought the MBA director role was a great opportunity to be able to help develop and launch this program and to be involved with something that’s very unique and innovative.