Few MBA programmes can challenge students to think beyond the conventional and develop a global mindset that can take them places they never thought possible. This is precisely why the International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) by the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) was brought to life.
This dynamic programme is delivered by the Cameron School of Business (CBS), which has graduated global business leaders since 1979; and is offered as a part of the International Business School Alliance (IBSA) Dual Degree Master’s Programme. It was developed to build on this reputation of excellence, specifically by leveraging the importance of flexible structures and zoning in on the benefits of diverse opportunities.
How flexible and how diverse? The profound academic experience sees students achieving two degrees from two universities in two different countries. The best part of all is that everything can be completed in no more than 18 months.
“Many IMBA programmes are country-based and try to get students an international experience by doing an internship or a study abroad opportunity sometime during the programme,” explains Associate Professor of Finance Dr. Ethan Watson. “Because we work with our partner schools in Europe, our students study a whole semester abroad.”
Of course, students are expected to gain the basics of marketing, finance and strategy during their first semester before embarking on their excursion. Their second semester is reserved for travel, adventure, and culture, enabling students to choose from four universities in the US and Europe to earn their two master’s degrees.
The International Finance and Investments specialisation can only be completed in the US; The International Logistics and Supply Chain Management option is offered at Hochschule Bremen, City University of Applied Sciences in Germany; Sustainability Management is explored at the ESSCA School of Management in Paris, France; and the International Marketing course is delivered by the University of Valencia in Spain — this route was too good for graduate Joel Turner to pass up, and thankfully, his decision proved fruitful. He is now a Product Marketing Senior Specialist at Lenovo.
“Throughout the process, I relayed my education and experience UNCW’s IMBA gave me,” he says. “In my final interview before being offered, the director of marketing said it was my international experience and culture immersion of Spain that made me stand out over all other candidates.”
The fact that IMBA students explore the ins and outs of finance at UNCW impresses employers as well. Dr. Watson teaches Financial Statement Analysis in the finance specialisation, imparting “must-have, foundational knowledge” to learners keen on grasping the basics of numbers.
“This class tells the story of what is happening in a business, and the ability to read, synthesise information, and analyse them is a skill that will help students in many facets of business, such as making better decisions as managers, creating better forecasts and valuations as an equity or fixed-income research analyst, valuing firms as an investment banker, or making lending decisions as a loan officer,” he says.
“My goal for students is to transfer the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need to be able to step into any of the roles mentioned above and be able to navigate financial statements and explain exhaustively what is happening in the firm.”
This knowledge comes in handy when students are expected to carry out executive-level tasks at esteemed organisations — often before graduating. Since the IMBA was founded in 2008, it has built a large and growing alumni network. Current students benefit from this, as they get unlimited access to thriving graduates with years of experience in a range of sectors. “Networking through alumni has led to internship and career opportunities for several of our students,” says Dr. Watson.
It’s little wonder why 65% of students complete an internship by the time they graduate or why the average placement rate for CSB graduates, including graduate school enrolment, within six months of graduation is 94%.
Employability aside, the IMBA boosts personal growth as well. “I chose a master’s programme not only to further my education but also to push myself out of my comfort zone,” says graduate Colby Jenkins, who is now a Digital Workplace Analyst at Point B. “The IMBA was an amazing experience. I found out a lot about myself internally, and I also learned a lot from an international standpoint. The curriculum was amazing, the faculty was amazing, and the structure was awesome. I would one million percent do it all over again.”
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