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Aug 6, 2019

Which MBA Program Best Meets Your Needs?

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington

In August 2018 the Cameron School of Business launched a fully online MBA program. The goal of the new program was to extend the reach and impact of the Cameron School within the State of North Carolina.  

The existing Professional MBA program has been successful for over 25 years in serving the needs of students in the Wilmington area who want to have a face-to-face learning experience. However, online programs have become increasingly popular among working professionals as a way to develop the skills, knowledge and credentials necessary to advance in their careers. By offering a fully online program, we not only are able to reach students outside the Southeast North Carolina region, but also serve those people within the region that prefer the online option.

The Online MBA program has proven to be quite popular. We now have approximately 160 Online MBA students through the Summer 2 session that starts this July. The increased attention to the Online MBA has also fueled interest in our existing Online Executive MBA program, which now has approximately 40 students. The interesting thing is that despite the growth of these programs, the existing Professional MBA with face-to-face coursework continues to draw well. In the fall there will be approximately 70 students in the Professional MBA program.

There is also a fourth MBA option that differs significantly from our other programs. The International MBA is a full-time on campus program that involves studying in two different countries and getting degrees from both of the universities that they attend. This program has also proven to be very successful with approximately 50 students participating each year over the fall and spring semesters.

With four different flavors of our MBA program it is not surprising that we get a lot of questions from prospective students about which programs are right for them. Although each program meets different needs, there are a few of the important similarities:  

  1. Designed for Working Professionals – The Online MBA, the Professional MBA and the Executive MBA are all designed for working professionals. In fact, a minimum of two years of professional experience is required for each of these programs. The average age of the people in our MBA programs is approximately 33-34 years old. Seasoned professionals really like our programs, in part because they are not taking classes with individuals just finishing their undergrad experience.
  2. Rigorous Coursework –At UNCW we don’t ease up on the rigor because the classes are taught online. Our classes are taught in compressed seven week sessions. In this format, students spend between 15-20 hours a week on class activities. The coursework can be demanding, but the benefit is that students learn an enormous amount that they can take back to their jobs.  
  3. Great Value – Regardless of which MBA program students choose, our programs represent a tremendous value when measured by the quality of the education and the prices of comparable programs. Our MBA programs have in state tuition rates that range between $15,700 for our online MBA to approximately $24,000 for our executive MBA program.
Online MBA
The online MBA program is a 36 credit hour program that most students complete in two years. There is also an accelerated option that allows highly motivated students to complete the program in as short as one year by taking two classes at a time. The students experience the feel of a more intimate program because they work their way through the MBA in cohorts of approximately 25. One really nice feature of both the Online MBA and the Executive MBA is that students can start the program at any of six different entry points (January, March, May, July, August, October).  
Executive MBA
The Online Executive MBA program is a 42 credit hour program that includes all the coursework from the Online MBA program, but adds in 6 credit hours of face-to-face residency experiences. The Wilmington residencies are true executive education experiences delivered by the Swain Center. These residencies are designed to cover the soft skills that are essential for business executives. Issues covered at these weekend residencies include topics such as communication techniques, negotiation, leadership and managing change. There is also a week long international experience built in to the cost of the program. In the last two years the EMBAs have visited Shanghai, China and Prague in the Czech Republic. These international residencies have provided students the opportunity to learn about international business practices first hand.
Professional MBA
The professional MBA program is a 42 credit hour Hybrid program. The classes meet face-to-face for three hours each week with the balance of the learning activities taking place online. The students participating in the PMBA benefit from meeting in person and forming close connections with other business professionals from the Wilmington area. The PMBA also includes the Executive Education residencies that are included in the EMBA program for enhancing oft skill development. One of the highlights of the PMBA program is a learning alliance that pairs student teams with local businesses for a consulting style project.
These are just some of the key features of our MBA programs. There are obviously many other issues and details that have not been included. If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to Cameron’s Director of Graduate Programs, Candace Wilhelm or visit We would love to talk with you about our programs and how they can help with your career development goals.

Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., is the dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, named in June 2015. Burrus joined the UNCW faculty in 1998. Prior to his current position, Burrus was interim dean, associate dean of undergraduate studies and the chair of the department of economics and finance. Burrus earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University. The Cameron School of Business has approximately 60 full-time faculty members and 20 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 200 graduate students in four degree programs. The school also houses the prestigious Cameron Executive Network, a group of more than 200 retired and practicing executives that provide one-on-one mentoring for Cameron students. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected]. 

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