New business programs cross disciplines, address employment trends

Marquette Business has expanded its undergraduate, graduate and professional offerings with three new programs across a variety of disciplines. An undergraduate banking program, set to begin this coming spring semester, aims to fill a needed pipeline of talent for the nation’s aging banking industry; a new master’s degree in corporate communication pairs the Graduate School of Management with the Diederich College of Communication to help prepare future senior-level communication counselors; and the Bridge to Business program gives fresh engineering graduates the business acumen they need to succeed in industry.

Here’s a quick look at each new program:

Banking program

The modern banking industry represents an exciting — and growing — career opportunity. Roles within the banking industry vary greatly and include operations, technology, lending and credit risk analysis.

Housed in the nationally ranked (No. 15 by U.S. News and World Report) Finance Department, the banking program will offer a diverse range of courses, including an entry-level course in banking, an overview of the primary leadership functions in the banking environment, and a course focusing on risk management and the risk evaluation process that banks engage in as they execute their duties and responsibilities.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to feed the banking industry with exceptional finance students,” says Dr. Kent Belasco, professor of finance and director of the program. “We need strong financial minds, new perspectives and advocates of our industry.”

According to Belasco, the program is building an advisory group to provide ongoing guidance and to help keep the program relevant with current issues, trends and needs. Belasco added that he continues to seek individuals from the industry to serve as founders to support the program.

Master of Arts in Corporate Communication

Marquette University’s Master of Arts in Corporate Communication brings together the communication and business expertise of the Diederich College of Communication and the Graduate School of Management into a unique interdisciplinary opportunity. Designed for working professionals who wish to attend graduate school part time, as well as full-time students, the program offers evening classes, and each class meets on the Marquette campus only one night a week.

“Communication is increasingly considered an executive-level function in organizations around the world,” says Dr. Jeanne Simmons, associate dean, Graduate School of Management. “Business leaders rely heavily on the strategic counsel of their communication officers — individuals who can navigate the complex media landscape, develop messages that propel and protect an organization’s brand, and ensure transparency and accountability to a broad range of audiences.”

Led by premier faculty and grounded in Marquette’s Catholic, Jesuit tradition, the program prepares professionals for executive-level communication roles at a time when such positions are in high demand and valued by senior management across all industries, Simmons adds.

According to Simmons, with classes that meet one evening per week, working professionals can expect to complete the MACCOM program in about three years.

“Full-time students can graduate in as little as 24 months, and courses are offered in the fall, spring and summer,” Simmons says. “Start when you want, and balance your professional, personal and academic lives.”

Bridge to Business for Engineers

As Keyes Dean of Business Administration at Marquette, Dr. Brian Till says what his college often hears from businesses that employ engineering majors “is that these graduates are very competent engineers, but they don’t have enough appreciation for the business side.”

To address that shortcoming, the College of Business Administration, the Opus College of Engineering and Milwaukee-based manufacturer Rexnord are joining forces on a concept that Till says has been “bubbling up for years.” The result is Bridge to Business, an immersive, four-week experience to give early career engineers business fundamentals.

“As engineers advance in their careers, their leadership of major projects and new ventures is greatly influenced by their business acumen and their ability to see how innovation and technology development fit into the bigger picture,” says Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of Engineering, in further explaining the rationale for the program, which is supported by a $1 million gift from Rexnord.

The first cohort of 30 or so is set to begin next summer, soon after most members of this inaugural class pick up their engineering degrees from Marquette. Through a blend of classroom and real-world interactive learning opportunities, students will study the integration of business disciplines, including finance, marketing, supply chain management and IT, all with an engineering overlay.

“Bridge to Business was designed specifically with engineers in mind with input from faculty and leadership from both colleges, as well as our business community partners,” adds Kevin Walsh, adjunct instructor of business who helped lead the program’s development. “What’s more, it represents an excellent example of the productive partnership between engineering and business to advance Marquette's vision of innovation and collaboration.”