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Eric Douthirt, Director for Graduate and Executive Education at USF St. Petersburg’s Kate Tiedemann College of Business, joins us today to discuss their Online MBA program.

Can you tell us about the online MBA program offered at University of South Florida St. Petersburg?

We have a nationally recognized online MBA program. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the program is that it can be completed 100% online, 100% on campus or some mix in between. The flexibility of this model is a big attraction for our candidates.

We offer a total of nine different areas of focus in our MBA:

Business Analytics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Finance, Forensic Accounting, Healthcare Analytics, Information Systems Management, International Business, Management, and Marketing Strategy.

Is the GMAT & GRE required for acceptance into the program? Do international students have the same requirement?

We require either the GMAT or GRE to be considered for admission. In some cases, this requirement can be waived on the basis of previously earned academic credentials, professional credentials or management level work experience. The same policy applies for international students.

How long does a typical online MBA program take at USFSP? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?

Our online MBA is a 36-credit hour program. The vast majority of our students are employed full-time and complete the program at a part-time pace in 24 months. Full-time students can complete the program in as little as 12 months.

What do you think makes the USFSP online MBA program stand out from other online business programs offered by similar schools?

Our flexible model is probably our biggest differentiator. For example, students find comfort knowing that they can start the program full-time on campus and transition to a part-time hybrid program if they find full-time employment. This transition is completely doable with our flexible scheduling format. We also use an in-state vs out-of-state tuition model which makes the program incredibly affordable for residents of Florida.

How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online MBA program?

It is critical. There is no other common and consistent metric that students can use to assess the quality of the institution. Choosing a program from an AACSB Accredited Business College or School provides students assurance that the quality of the program is exceptional. The Kate Tiedemann College of Business is dually accredited in business and accounting, a dual distinction held by less than 2% of institutions internationally.

What are the advantages to earning an online MBA degree in general and where are you seeing employer demand for this degree?

An online program gives students the flexibility to concurrently focus on their professional obligations. Many of our students travel for 90% of their job. The flexibility of online curriculum allows them to seamlessly pursue their MBA, no matter where they are at any given time.

Our experience is not that employers are necessarily seeking graduates of online programs specifically. However, the market has certainly shifted and employers now recognize that the skillset built in an online program can be just as valuable as traditional/residential programs. The added benefit of knowing that employees can continue to devote time in the workplace while pursuing their MBA is also attractive.

Does USFSP offer job placement for students who graduate with an online MBA degree?

We work very closely with our graduate students in career advising and coaching. More than 90% of our MBA students work full time already, so job placement is usually not the priority. Instead, we work on other career-related skills like progression planning, social media profiles and negotiation. For the minority of students that are not working while pursuing their MBA, we work closely with them to secure internships with the goal of transitioning to full-time offers.

What type of financial aid packages are available for students in business?

Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available? Scholarships and fellowships are available. In addition, roughly 50% of our students receive at least some tuition assistance from their employers.

Do you have any advice for students enrolling in an online MBA program for the first time?

Time management is key. If you are enrolling in an online program, chances are you also work full-time. Finding a balance between work, school and other commitments can be challenging. It is important to make sure you have enough time set aside for all of your various priorities.

What do you enjoy most about your position at USFSP?

The Commencement Ceremony! Witnessing our graduate students succeed and accomplish their professional goals is an amazing honor.

For more information on the online business programs offered at USF St. Petersburg’s Kate Tiedemann College of Business, visit them online.

Thank you Eric Douthirt, for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!

Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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