In the News: Psihountas in KC Star on MBA Trends; Polgar as Chess Role Model

| July 11, 2014

Recent news media coverage involving Webster University community members includes:

Public Radio: Polgar Leads Role Models for St. Louis Girls

Webster University chess coach Susan Polgar‘s latest accomplishments were featured as the lead in a St. Louis Public Radio article, “On Chess, Role Models Abound for St. Louis Girls.” The article discusses the growing opportunities for girls in the St. Louis chess scene, including the 11th Annual Susan Polgar Girls Invitational which kicks off this weekend:

Polgar is widely credited for shattering several gender barriers in chess, including qualification for the “men’s” world championship in 1986, and Polgar continues her rise through glass ceilings as the first-ever woman recognized globally for coaching. She is also the first-ever American to win the award, which she credited to Webster’s tremendous support of chess and chess in education.

Read the full article here.

Psihountas in K.C. Star on MBA Trends, Career Services

Debbie Psihountas, director of the MBA program in the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, is quoted in several Kansas City Star stories this week about trends in MBA programs and enrollments.

In an article about how to guide MBA graduates to professional opportunities (p. C14, July 8, 2014), she cited offerings through Webster’s Career Planning and Development Center, and said plans are underway “to partner with a global career services and outplacement firm,” all of which improves Webster “students’ abilities to be market ready and career relevant.”

A special section in the Star also covered several aspects of trends in MBA programs. In an article about fluctuating MBA enrollment overall (p. M16, July 9, 2014), Psihountas noted that GMAT numbers do not necessarily mean fewer MBAs are earned overall:

“Once the economy improves, we may see a change in this situation, but for now, it means on the whole there will be a smaller percent of MBA-holders overall in the workplace,” she said. “This should make those holding the credential more valuable, as they will be a rarer commodity. The MBA landscape is competitive, and schools are having to work harder to increase or even maintain enrollment.”

An article about the incorporation of analytics, social media and “big data” into MBA programs (M14, July 9, 2014) also quoted Psihountas, who said big data is a focus for her faculty:

“We have new certificate options to allow students to build skills in these areas,” she said. “The proliferation of data isn’t going away — it is increasing, and more and more, the challenge isn’t getting information, it is how to use it in a meaningful way.”

A sidebar on what schools are doing to alter and in some cases shorten their MBA programs:

Webster’s program hasn’t been shortened, but the school is using creative technologies and scheduling to find a way to build the necessary courses and skillsets for students in a way that allows them to complete the MBA within a year, while keeping their jobs. “This fall, we are launching our new 1-Year MBA program,” Psihountas said. “This program is geared specifically toward working adults.

A story on how integral globalization has become to these programs cites Webster’s history in this area:

Psihountas said Webster has been a leader in international study opportunities since the late 1970s, long before most schools even considered providing this type of opportunity to their students.

“Our Leiden (Netherlands), Geneva and Vienna campuses have been in place for more than 30 years, providing both graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity for short-term and longer-term international study and networking,” she said. “We have campuses in Thailand, China and the United Kingdom as well, and most recently, we opened our first campus in Africa in 2013.”

Psihountas said faculty members encourage students to take advantage of their global footprint.

“Without exception, students returning from this type of opportunity feel that it has changed their world view, and challenged their thinking about complex issues in a broader fashion,” she said.

Finally, a feature on the professional and personal impact of an MBA quoted Psihountas as well as recent Webster University MBA graduate Andrea Murdock:

“The advantage of the MBA, in particular, is the focus on business and the valuable network of colleagues you form,” [Psihountas] said. “Between homework, cases and live projects, students gain exposure to many reallife challenges businesses face, and it prepares them to hit the ground running to help their own organizations, present or future, solve organizational challenges.”

Andrea Murdock said the education she earned from Webster University during her MBA work has been instrumental in her career path. She said she chose to pursue her MBA to realize her own personal goals and to advance her business career.

“I have an entrepreneurial mind, and therefore an MBA seemed like the right fit for me both personally and professionally,” [Murdock] said. “My MBA gave me that edge. The experience that 1 gained during my MBA program is one that I will cherish forever. The career assessment workshop that I participated in at Webster is one of the many facets that gave me an advantage to succeed. After receiving my MBA, I was able to fill the position of operations manager. I don’t think I would have even been considered for that role if I did not have that accomplishment. I know I have the edge today to be a leader in business and to eventually run my own business.”

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Category: Faculty, Webster in the News

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