In this new series of interviews I will be featuring six direct questions with thought leaders on the MBA. The following in an Interview With Darrell Burrell, Campus Site Director for Florida Institute of Technology.
Dr. Darrell Burrell is an alumni of the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows Program www.pmf.gov. He was competitively selected as a Presidential Management Fellow through a rigorous application process from a pool of over 7,000 applicants. Dr Burrell received a doctoral degree in Health Education with majors in Environmental Public Health and Executive Leadership Coaching from A.T. Still University. He has an EdS (Education Specialist Post Master’s Terminal Degree) in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He has graduate degrees (2) in Human Resources Management/Development and Organizational Management from National Louis University and a graduate degree in Sales and Marketing Management from Prescott College. He has over 18 years of management experience in academia, government, and Private Industry. He has over 12 years of college teaching experience. He currently serve as the Campus Site Director for Florida Institute of Technology and Associate Professor in Nathan M. Bisk College of Business.
What is your business education background?
I am currently completing a Master of Arts in Interfaith Action at Claremont Lincoln University as a Global Peacemaker Fellow where I am doing research on diversity and inclusion in the workplace as it relates to religion. I hold a Doctorate in Health Education from A.T. Still University and a Master of Arts in Marketing from Prescott College. I have an Education Specialist Degree in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University, a Master of Science in Management from National Louis University, a Master of Science in Human Resources Management and Organizational Development from National Louis University and a Bachelor of Management from National Louis University.
2. What is your role and responsibilities at the university?
I am currently an associate professor of business and a campus director. In this role, I teach business classes and also manage academic operations at two satellite locations in School of Business for the College of Extended Studies.
3. What type of business related course have you taught?
On doctorate level, I have taught Human Resources Management. On the graduate level, Marketing Management, Special Topics in Business, Leadership Theory, and Organizational Behavior.
4. What do you think about MBA programs and graduates?
I think MBA programs have great value if they teach from a theory to application approach in ways that teach students critical thinking skills and problem based learning abilities. The best MBA graduates are those that can use book knowledge and course content to solve real problems with direct applications from what they are learning in the classroom.
5. What type of things in an MBA program do you think students should look for?
Students should look for:
- A Faculty with real world work experience in subjects where they teach. It is hard to teach student how to be a successful business executive when you have never been one. Faculties that can give you honest and real perspectives on what to expect in the workplace are very important.
- Ask yourself the question: Can you complete the program and still work full time? This is very important. There are many reputable universities offering some very innovative programs that offer a chance to complete an MBA during weekends, evenings, and on-line. There is power to a graduate level learning experience when you can develop a synergy between what students learn in the classroom and what they see happening in work each day. It allows for the application of course content at work each day and vice versa. A program geared for working adults also allows you to build a network of peers and colleagues that could be of great help with career transitions and job opportunities in the future.
- The university offering the degree: Try to attend the best university program at the lowest price. I recommend that you pick a program from a brick and mortar university with a physical campus. If you are going to spend the time and the money you don’t want your degree and the university that it is from, to be a hindrance to your career options. You don’t want your degree to be questioned If you are doing to do an on-line or non-traditional program. Do your research properly. There are plenty of traditional universities that offer non-traditional MBA programs at a reasonable price. Some examples include universities like Eastern New Mexico University, West Texas A &M University, Florida Tech, Marylhurst University, FT Hays State, and the University of Wyoming.
How to choose a MBA program?
- The MBA program should be case study driven or allow many opportunities for applied and experiential learning.
- It should be cost effective based on what you want to do when you finish the program. It makes no sense to spend the money and time to get the degree if you can’t get a job opportunity or a quality learning experience that will allow you to recoup your investment of time and money. Some executive MBA programs can cost 50k to 100k for one year to two-year program. Some for-profits universities charge 30k to 40k for MBA programs without a solid reputation. There are other universities that offer MBAs that can be completed for less than 25k from traditional well respected universities.
- It is important to pick an MBA with a concentration if possible over a general MBA program. The most in demand and innovative areas are MBA programs in Project Management, Cyber-security, Data Analytics, Executive Leadership, Social Media Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Sustainability.
6. What do employers look for in a MBA graduate?
Graduates that can solve complex organizational problems and can demonstrate their competencies, expertise, and ability beyond grades and a diploma. Organizations need graduates that can solve important problems.