New MBA director has ‘three-pronged mission’ for success

Morgan Galloway

Students planning to enter Kent State’s Masters in Business Administration program in the future may find it more difficult than previous years. Dr. Jaume Franquesa accepted the position of academic MBA director this semester and has high expectations for the program.

Yank Heisler, dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management, described Franquesa as “a person who has great passion, energy, and commitment to the MBA program.”

The academic MBA director position is new to Kent State. Franquesa, a professor at Kent State for five years, was elected by his colleagues to the subcommittee in charge of conducting a comprehensive analysis of all the master’s programs offered in the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management.

Franquesa said he and his colleagues felt the program need to be given more priority.

“The reason why some key indicators for the MBA were not going the way that we wanted them to go is because there was a lack of attention to this program,” Franquesa said.

Franquesa compiled his own three-pronged mission to revamping the MBA program.

First: Improve quality of students coming into the program.

Students entering the MBA program must take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). For seven years, the average GMAT score for students entering the MBA at Kent State was between 512 and 514. According to The Princeton Review, last year the average GMAT score was 551. Franquesa said the score of the entering class this year is going to be “north of 575.”

On average, students entering the program have 9.5 months of experience relating to the program. In two or three years, Franquesa would like to see students in the program with at least two years of experience.

“We’re going say no more often,” Franquesa said, “We want to be choosey, and we want to have the luxury to be choosey. In order for that to happen we need to have a good quality pool of applicants.”

Second: Improve quality of the program.

“We have terrific instructors in the College of Business, and then we have some instructors that are in training,” Franquesa said. “In the past, we have made assignments that were not appropriate for the MBA. We had, on occasion, Ph.D. students that are absolutely in training that we were assigned to MBA classes and they were creating problems.”

With better students comes a higher expectation of the program.

“We will ask faculty to put more emphasis and put more energy in teaching in the MBA. We’ve got to up our game. We have to step up to the plate,” Franquesa said.

Third: Improve industry relations.

New to the MBA program is an internship partnership. An internship is not mandatory for the MBA program, but a plan is in the works for MBA students to obtain one, Franquesa said. In the past, students would secure the internship themselves. Now, Franquesa wants the MBA program to be more involved in helping secure the internships.

“We want a true partnership with employers,” Franquesa said. “In that, it’s an internship this year, it’s going to be an internship next year and continue like that.”

Internships provide employers an idea of what caliber of students comes out of the program.

“We need to learn from businesses what their needs are, how we can partner better and what are ways in which we can help each other,” Franquesa said.

Franquesa said the school offers “several flavors of the MBA.” In addition to a full-time MBA, a professional MBA and an executive MBA, the program offers a Master of Science in accounting, a Master of Arts in economics and a Master of Science in financial engineering.

You can contact Morgan Galloway at [email protected].