With top rankings, flexible options, USD’s MBA program thrives

Jan. 15, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the USD Beacom School of Business.

Ever since he left college with an undergraduate degree in 2008, Chris Filsinger had wanted to pursue an MBA.

“It was just a personal goal of mine, and something I knew I’d never regret doing that would help me in my career,” he said.

About three years into his first job working for the FDIC in Iowa, Filsinger realized he wouldn’t be making that his career.

“And that’s when I really started to think hard about wanting to get my MBA,” he said.

But it wasn’t as easy as just going back to school. He was getting married. He wanted to start a family. He knew he needed to keep working.

Then, the family moved to Sioux Falls. He began working in business banking at CorTrust Bank. And he found a fit for the education he’d been hoping for at the USD Beacom School of Business, which is nationally recognized for its online MBA program.

“USD was the gold standard as far as an accredited MBA program in the area,” Filsinger said. “I knew they had been ranked high by various sources for the online program, and it provided flexibility, which I needed. And it was very affordable. When you look at the bang for your buck, it was pretty easy to tell that was the decision.”

Accolades for USD’s program keep building. This week, the school was ranked No. 73 out of 300 schools for its online MBA program by U.S. News & World Report, jumping 20 spots in a year.

The Princeton Review ranked USD Beacom No. 19 in its 2019 list of best online MBA programs – in the company of schools such as the University of North Carolina, University of Florida and Pepperdine University.

The program also is accredited by AACSB – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – a distinction achieved by just 5 percent of graduate programs worldwide.

“We have made a strategic investment in our MBA program, and we appreciate the recognition for this investment,” Dean Venky Venkatachalam said.

“The value of an MBA from the Beacom School of Business is almost unmatched. Rarely can you find the high-quality faculty, engaging face-to-face or online learning experience, innovative curriculum, and focus on student learning and success all at an incredibly affordable price. That experience, partnered with our accreditation and affordable cost, is what routinely gets our program ranked among the best in the nation.”

Student experience

The USD Beacom online MBA program attracts a broad profile of students. Many USD undergraduates enjoy the experience on campus and look to complete an MBA before entering the workforce.

Others enroll nationwide, drawn by the school’s reputation and cost, and come with all levels of experience. New specializations such as business analytics, finance, health services administration, marketing, and operations and supply chain management are further attracting interest.

“In comparison to some other programs in the region, the USD program focuses on managing business, specializing in areas of interest to add value to your graduate degree and offering a flexible environment to meet your educational and career goals,” Venkatachalam said.

While students participate in USD’s program from all over the country, Filsinger was able to enjoy a unique hybrid approach while based in Sioux Falls.

“You can take as many classes online as you want, but you can also take classes at University Center in Sioux Falls or at USD in Vermillion, and that was a great thing for me,” he said. “I took as many as I could at University Center to get the face-to-face interaction with teachers and students, but when it didn’t work for my schedule, I could take courses online.”

He was impressed by the online platform, he added.

“The way it’s set up, there’s a lot of video, so you’re going back and forth, and you get that interaction without physically being there.”

The program is designed for busy professionals who may not live near a public university, Venkatachalam added.

“We also recognize that different people learn differently and have innate expertise in different areas. One person might prefer to learn more challenging content in a face-to-face environment while others excel online,” he said.

“For us, it is less about where people are learning and more about what and how they are learning. When you are admitted in to the Beacom MBA program, you will receive the same quality faculty and education, no matter where you are located. We’ve developed the program in a way that our online students truly feel like part of a bigger community, even if they don’t spend time on campus.”

Filsinger, an assistant vice president of business banking at CorTrust, graduated in 2014 and said much of his coursework had a direct impact on his work. He regularly draws on what he learned in accounting and business law, and he has used an investment class to help with retirement planning.

“I’m definitely using what I’ve learned,” he said. “And it’s positioning me well for my career going forward. I would venture to guess in a majority of business jobs it definitely gives you a leg up on the competition.”

The program has placed a considerable emphasis on the quantitative aspects of business required to achieve business success, which shows once students are in the workplace, Venkatachalam said.

“It is designed to give students increased confidence at work and explore career opportunities they wouldn’t have considered otherwise,” he said.

“Many students are able to excel within their existing jobs, while others use their MBA to make a career change. Chris’ success is definitely a key indicator of how this degree can help people move up in their company quickly.”

Ultimately, “I was getting a great education at a good price from a prestigious program recognized around the country, and it gave me the flexibility I needed to work and support my family,” Filsinger concluded.

“That’s how their MBA program really separated itself from everyone else. And all the hard work makes it feel that much better in the end.”

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With top rankings, flexible options, USD’s MBA program thrives

Honors keep building for the MBA program at the USD Beacom School of Business, which is drawing students locally and nationally with its flexibility and outstanding value.

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