Fast-Trak MBA

My senior year has just begun but it is already time to start buckling down and finding out where ‘future me’ will be once graduation is over.  The opportunities are endless; I just have to look for them.  From jobs to internships and everything in between, there must be a place for a Marketing Major like me.  But what if I’m not ready for a career just yet and want to continue my education instead?  Well, if you are thinking the same thing then today is your lucky day. I’ve already done the research for you and found some amazing opportunities hosted here at NIU!  One in particular caught my eye.  It is called the NIU Fast-Trak MBA and after doing my own basic digging, I took it upon myself to interview the coordinator of the program, Anthony Preston.

 Why are you excited about the Fast-Trak MBA?

  • The most exciting part is we’ve made a lot of enhancements from our original program.  The first part is our insight program.  It consists of four components.
    • The first is participating in workshops.  Students practice speaking in front of large crowds, business writing, etiquette, etc… things companies really look at but we can’t learn in class.  It is very experiential.
    • The second component is that each student will receive a personal career coach.  It’s his job to make sure that you have a job by the time you graduate.”
    • Each student will be given an ementor.  Each mentor is an MBA alum.  Students can ask their ementor, hey what are you doing in your company with all these different topics?
    • Finally, we’re going to bring in very experienced guest speakers.  We also take students to different companies so they can see all the stuff they’re learning being applied.
      bordeaux Fast Trak MBA

      Bordeaux, France

       

 What else does the Fast-Trak MBA have to offer?

  • Students are traveling to a different country spending 6 weeks in Murcia, Spain or Bordeaux, France depending on the semester.  They’re going to learn the curriculum they’re being taught as well as the different culture.  They’ll be with students representing over 40 countries.  They can learn not only what’s going on in Europe but also what’s going on in countries where fellow students are coming from.  This is all going to happen in 12 months; 2 degrees in 12 months.
    Spain Fast Trak MBA
    Murcia, Spain

What does this program give students that other programs can’t?

  • We really pride ourselves on personal attention in the MBA programs.  All the professors will know your name, and it will be a dialogue.  When we can say that there’s 100% placement of our students working in jobs that they want to work in, that’s something that we’re really proud of.  There’s not one MBA program that is doing what we’re doing …you can’t find it anywhere and it’s accredited. In Chicago there are only 7 accredited schools and NIU is one of them.

 Build your network and make life long relationships

Because the class is so small you’re taking every single class with the same group of students for 12 months.  Those students are there to be your support network and ‘extended family’ for the 12 months.  You build an extreme bond and friendship with your teammates.

 Exceptional balance of work and play

Students will have class Monday through Thursday.  On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they can actually travel.  Last year students went to Rome, Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, and Switzerland.  With the cheap airfare, students are able to see a different country in a weekend and be back and ready for class by Monday.

Rome Fast Trak MBA

Rome, Italy

As a fan of international travel and challenging workloads I feel this program would be a great fit for me if I should decide to continue my education.  If you could see it fitting well with your interests and goals, go ahead and check out the Fast-Trak MBA’s website at http://www.cob.niu.edu/mbaFastTrak/.  Who knows, maybe I’ll see some of you in France or Spain sooner than you think! 2.0out

Studying Abroad

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel abroad.  I heard about all of the benefits from friends, professors, family, and colleagues but never really understood the importance of such an experience until I actually went through it myself.  Upon returning, I made it my goal to inspire and educate people to go.  I learned and saw so much in such a short amount of time.  I earned an international perspective, new business knowledge, and a boatload of memories and friends that I will never forget!  I wanted to take a moment to let you all know why I feel it is so important to involve yourself in an international program!

Globalization and cultural diversity in the workplace is here to stay.  The world is all connected, economically, politically, and socially.  Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to view the world in a different context.  It allows them to use all five senses to explore unfamiliar surroundings in the international community.  Not only will participants learn about cultures, but they will typically glean an understanding of the business and academic practices that are in place for the region they explore.  Furthermore, if they ask the right questions and look in the right places, they could earn an understanding of the political climate in their host country as well. Ray and I Euronext1 e1348674599385 291x300 Studying AbroadWhen overseas, you can look beyond the veil of arrogance that often prevents us from seeing the big picture.  As much as some people would like to believe that we are the only country that calls this earth home, we are not.  When abroad, I read international newspapers and watched the foreign media speak about the United States and the world in general.  I had the ability to analyze my culture from a distance. Doing so gave me a lot of insight because it is often difficult to analyze oneself and ones culture unless viewing it from afar.  Studying abroad allows for this process to take place, and in doing so, I believe that students will come back with an awareness and sensitivity to other cultures that simply wouldn’t be possible without the experience of international travel. Mona Lisa e1348673817743 Studying AbroadOne key takeaway I’ve learned over the past few years is that there is no substitute for experience.  You can read about cultures, hear about them from others, and watch programs about them on discovery channel as many times as you’d like, but until you’ve spent time in the environment and interacted with the culture on a personal level, you will never truly understand the nature of it.  Like many Americans, I lived with stereotypes of the world beyond my borders.  The people of the world around us are just as we think they are…until we speak with them and ask questions.  Only then is our mind opened to the possibility that they are not the way we thought they were at all.  The French are NOT rude as many people have told me.  Instead, they are like mirrors, projecting back the attitudes that they receive.  This is just one of many examples that I may save for a future blog but I hope that the point I’m making remains clear.

The College of Business is very supportive of students looking to earn this international perspective.  They partner with companies to help students journey overseas and explore aspects of business, academia, and culture overseas.   http://www.cob.niu.edu/studyabroad/index.asp  The programs run over summer and winter, so you don’t need to worry about missing classes.  Also, scholarship options are highly available; you just have to look in the right places! Happy abroad Studying Abroad

A final point, completely unrelated to academics or business, is the personal touch of it all.  Not only do you meet people from different countries but in many programs, you get to travel with students from different schools from across the United States.  So not only are you experiencing different cultures from other countries, but you are able to exchange ideas and understand lifestyles from different areas of our own country.  Because you experience so much with these folks you really do become like a family.  I feel like I earned brothers and sisters from my trip.  I’ve even visited friends from the program who live as far away as Los Angeles, California.  This is after spending only three weeks with them in Europe.

I urge all of you to look into the opportunities that the College of Business provides.  My only regret is not doing it sooner.  If you are a freshman, sophomore, or even high school student reading this blog, I hope that you will take the plunge early and understand what an amazing and rewarding adventure it is to study abroad! 2.0out