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McIntire School of Commerce Launches New Graduate Program Aimed at Young, High-Tech Executives Already on the Job

January 12, 1999 -- Leadership talent in information technology is in short supply and universities can't turn graduates out fast enough. But the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce is planning to help.

The McIntire School of Commerce has created a new program that will allow people to earn an advanced degree without taking off time from work.

The McIntire School of Commerce has offered a master's degree in management of information systems for a decade and its graduates are in great demand -- all 1998 graduates reported jobs by Aug. 17 with average annual starting salaries of $50,282. However, those students had to be enrolled full time at the University.

Discussions with business executives around Virginia uncovered a huge need for a program that would strengthen the business and technology skills of existing employees. This led to the creation of the new program.

"The demand for individuals with a strong understanding of both business and information technology is incredible," according Carl Zeithaml, dean of the McIntire School. "Extensive conversations with senior executives and recruiters from all industries clearly indicate that organizations in the 21st century need people who can use and apply information technology for competitive advantage. The McIntire School has designed a program that provides future business leaders with an exceptional education, while allowing them to remain on the job."

Beginning late this spring, fast-track, mid-level managers and information technology professionals will be able to earn a master's degree in Management Information Systems (M.I.S.) through a one-year program designed to strengthen skills in two main areas -- business management (especially for managers with a technical background) and information technology (especially for managers with a business background). Graduates will be able to solve critical business problems through the use of computer technology, either as outside consultants or as internal trouble shooters.

Furthermore, they will be able to apply information technology to identify and compete in new markets.

"The new program from the McIntire School of Commerce is ideal for students who want to develop the business and technology skills needed for success in the new economy," said Fred Bollerer, president of Potomac KnowledgeWay, a nonprofit leadership organization, based in Herndon, which is working to prepare the Greater Washington region for a role as a global leader in advanced telecommunications and Internet-related industries. "It will help students enhance their skills in critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving, communication, flexibility and teamwork."

The executive-format program combines intensive, on-Grounds instruction with homework assignments completed through the school's interactive computer network according to Ryan Nelson, director of McIntire's Center for the Management of Information Technology. Students will attend a two-week session in Charlottesville at the start of the program, a one-week session in January and weekend sessions throughout the year. Between class meetings, students will work with other class members and faculty through distance-learning and groupware technologies.

Students will learn cutting-edge skills, such as object-oriented analysis and design, and become familiar with the use of Oracle database products and tools, JAVA development tools, group support systems, and a wide range of Internet-based technologies. In addition, they will develop skills vital to success in all businesses that depend heavily on information technology. Such skills will include capital budgeting, risk management, team building, services marketing and strategic management.

"It's a very balanced, contemporary degree," said Nelson.

"Although we emphasize the use and management of emerging technologies, the content of the program contains an appropriate balance of business and technical skills."

McIntire's previous M.I.S. program was strictly technical and had two years of business prerequisites, but the new program has no prerequisites, other than an undergraduate degree and GMAT exam scores.

The 12-month curriculum is based on 30 credit hours, including 13.5 hours of M.I.S. courses, 12 hours of business courses and 4.5 hours of business/M.I.S. electives.

While the master's degree program is initially aiming to attract students from Virginia and the surrounding region, eventually students are likely to commute from even farther away, said Robert S. Kemp Jr., McIntire's associate dean for graduate students.

For more information about the M.S./M.I.S. program, call Ryan Nelson at (804) 924-7587; or Robert Kemp at (804) 924-3482. For admissions materials, call (804) 924-3571. Or, you may look up information about the program and file an application online by visiting the McIntire website at: http://www.commerce.virginia.edu/ms_mis/

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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