UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School to offer MBA program in new online format

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School will offer its MBA program in a new, online format designed for working professionals around the world.

"The new MBA@UNC program will continue our tradition of excellence based on the quality of the students, faculty and curriculum," said James W. Dean Jr., dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler. "What will be radically different is how we deliver the program. This exciting new approach will transform UNC Kenan-Flagler as we define the direction of global business education."

MBA@UNC will blend the flexibility of an online program with the rigor and quality of an on-campus program.

  • Students will meet the same selective admissions criteria required by the existing MBA programs.
  • Courses will be based on the rigorous curriculum of the residential MBA program. UNC Kenan-Flagler professors will design and teach the courses.
  • Professors will teach classes in both asynchronous and live sessions using a technology platform designed for graduate education and focused on interactive communication.
  • Face-to-face global immersions will serve as capstone experiences.

"High-quality teaching and learning experiences are critical to our approach, and we are ready to shatter perceptions about online education," said Douglas Shackelford, associate dean of MBA@UNC and the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation. "Technology has transformed all parts of our lives and, ultimately, it will redefine education, too. We have the opportunity to rethink how we teach what our students need to know, and UNC Kenan-Flagler has a rare opportunity to lead a transformation. We are excited to be in the vanguard of that change."

MBA@UNC is a new model of online learning and very different from existing self-paced programs, said Susan Cates, executive director of MBA@UNC. "We are developing a student-focused program that is superior to anything that exists today."

UNC Kenan-Flagler professors will design every course and collaborate with online curriculum specialists to maximize the impact of the new format. Students will master course materials on their own timetables and interact with faculty and classmates in live, online sessions and face-to-face immersions.

  • Self-paced or asynchronous course content will cover material taught in a typical lecture. These sessions will include original, broadcast-quality video segments, self-paced lectures, interactive case studies and collaborative activities designed to foster teamwork. Students will have access to this content 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • In live or synchronous class sessions, a professor and a cohort of 10-15 students will collaborate in an online classroom at prearranged dates and times. These sessions, scheduled to accommodate students in multiple time zones, will use live, streaming video to allow students and professors to see and hear each other as they analyze and discuss course topics in real time. The technology also will enable live office hours and student-led study groups, all of which will be recorded so students can revisit them, even after they complete the courses.
  • At the end of every quarter, students and professors will interact face-to-face during three-day immersions held at different locations around the world.
  • Students will take exams and a two-week break before the next quarter begins.

UNC Kenan-Flagler is developing MBA@UNC with 2tor Inc., which collaborates with leading higher education institutions to deliver rigorous, selective degree programs online. 2tor provides the technology platform, instructional design, marketing and infrastructure support to deliver the classes online.

"Building a great online program requires a great faculty, a global reputation for quality and entrepreneurial leadership, all of which UNC brings in great quantity," said John Katzman, chief executive officer of 2tor. "Our strategy is to build a first of its kind MBA program with UNC Kenan-Flagler, which is known for excellence in both teaching and research. MBA@UNC will be the highest quality program out there."

MBA@UNC meets the unmet demand by high-potential professionals who want to earn an MBA from a top school without leaving their jobs or moving, said Cates. "They could live in Shanghai or Chicago, Anchorage or Nairobi, Manteo or Mumbai. They might be expatriates, professionals whose jobs require extensive travel or frequent transfers, members of the military and people with commitments, whether young children or aging parents, who need the flexibility of an online program."

Cates is a graduate of UNC’s residential MBA Program, which was founded in 1952. "MBA@UNC continues our role as an innovator and educational leader," Cates said. "I’m proud that it fulfills UNC’s mission to enhance access to learning so that we can develop the next generation of leaders."

"As we redefine what quality online education means, our goal is to be the preeminent MBA program," said Dean. "As part of the first public university in the United States, we are proud to provide outreach that is consistent with UNC’s mission and allows students to earn their MBA from wherever they are in the world. We treasure our special culture and are excited to extend it and build community in ways that are not bound by location."

UNC Kenan-Flagler is accepting applications for its first class, which will be limited to 50 students and will start in July 2011. Tuition will be $89,000 for the two-year program and will include books, texts, student fees and lodging and food costs for four weekend immersions.

UNC Kenan-Flagler will offer fellowships to highly qualified students in economically depressed areas, whether in the United States or other countries.

For more information call 888-986-2622, email OnlineMBA@unc.edu and visit the UNC-MBA website.

UNC Kenan-Flagler media contact: Allison Adams, aadams@unc.edu, 1-919-962-7235

About The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School

Consistently ranked one of the world's best business schools, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is known for experiential learning in leadership and teamwork, superior teaching, innovative research and a collaborative culture. Its commitment to developing socially responsible, results-driven leaders distinguishes its programs, which educate people at every stage of their careers. Its innovative programs prepare business leaders to manage successfully in the global business environment. It offers five MBA programs: full-time residential MBA ProgramEvening MBA Program for Executives,Weekend MBA Program for Executives, OneMBA® and the new MBA@UNC. It also offers theMaster of Accountingundergraduate BSBAPhD and non-degree Executive Development programs. Its Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise helps business and government tackle problems with impact on society through its operations at UNC and in Bangkok.

About 2U

2U partners with preeminent institutions of higher education to deliver rigorous, selective degree programs online, with an initial focus on graduate programs. The company supplies universities with the tools, expertise, capital and global recruiting needed to compete in a market different from their traditional ones. 2U develops state-of-the-art technology platforms that enhance traditional offline curricula to create transformative instruction using the best educational and Web 2.0 technologies. In 2009, the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education launched the MAT@USC, a master of arts in teaching program, in partnership with 2U In October 2010, 2U partnered with USC’s School of Social Work to launch the Virtual Academic Center, which is responsible for delivering a master of social work program online.