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Five-way flexibility puts BW graduate business students in the driver's seat

Hands on steering wheelGraduate business education at Baldwin Wallace University has been transformed with a new watchword at its core: flexibility.

Long among the most respected MBA programs in NE Ohio, the BW School of Business has rolled out a new approach to credentialing and course delivery that puts students squarely in the driver's seat.

As detailed in Crain's Cleveland Business, students now choose what time of year to start, the number of classes to take per term, how to attend classes each week, what skills to specialize in and what credential to earn with stackable graduate certificates available that can add up to an MBA.

Five-Way Flexibility

Kamm Hall is home to the Baldwin Wallace University School of Business"The lives of working professionals fluctuate much more frequently today, so our graduate business education has been reshaped from a strict, prescribed format to one that emphasizes individual customization," says Dr. Frank Braun, dean of the School of Business.

Five-way flexibility looks like this:

  • Starting line: Jump in year-round - Students can start in any of the five, eight-week course terms throughout the year. There's no waiting for a rigid program start.
  • Finish line: Variable speed limit - When it comes to pace, students can put their foot on and off the accelerator, easing in with one course, loading up on three courses per session to graduate faster or taking a term off when it's the busy work season or a child's soccer season.
  • Content delivery: Shift gears weekly - Students don't have to commit to online or in-person classes upfront. They can come to campus for a scheduled class, log in and actively participate in a live class from any location or watch the recorded class, changing it up week to week.
  • Skills specialization: Customize your ride - In addition to the MBA core courses, students choose the skills specialization that meets their needs. BW continues to add in-demand specializations from business analytics to sport management.
  • Credentialing: Milestones along the road - Students who aren't sure about committing to a full MBA can start small and quickly earn specialized, "stackable" graduate certificates that can count toward an MBA.

First Gear: Graduate Certificates

The new graduate certificates span a range of options, including Business Administration, Business Analytics, Health Care Management, HR Management, Leadership & Innovation, Sport Management and the newly approved Strategic Marketing.

"The skills needed in digital marketing, such as online targeting and personalization, are vastly different from what students were learning in the discipline just 10 years ago, so we anticipate that will be a popular certificate and specialization, along with data analytics," said Carmen Castro-Rivera, director of graduate business admissions.

Entering BW to pursue a certificate includes a streamlined admission process as well, with no upfront traffic jam of to-dos.

"It's quick and easy to jump into the certificate programs with no GMAT or formal letters of recommendation required," Castro-Rivera notes.

Tech-supported live experience

Overall, students are welcoming the new look to BW graduate business programs.

"The classroom technology we have in place has really strengthened the flexible methods of teaching and learning; students are often blown away by the options," Castro-Rivera says. "They are relieved that they can decide on the day of class and how they want to participate based on what they have happening in their lives and careers."

Castro-Rivera adds that, if students choose to log in live from wherever they are, they can still raise their "virtual hands" to ask a question and participate in small group breakout discussions. "So, the experience is much more like being in a campus classroom."

Breaking down roadblocks

"We believe BW has removed many of the barriers that may prevent people from gaining the graduate education they need," Castro-Rivera says. "The MBA is still a valued credential in the marketplace, but it has evolved beyond leadership training and is now applicable to anyone who needs education to drive their career forward."

The redesigned programming has even enabled BW to lower tuition costs. "With efficiencies in delivery, BW graduate education is an even better educational experience at a lower price," Castro-Rivera says.

Ready to "get behind the wheel?"

To find out more about the flexible MBA, visit

To learn about graduate certificates, visit

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