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New dual degree to be offered by IBS for students

By Ilana Kruger
On September 3, 2013

The Brandeis International Business School is making its mark in the undergraudate community this semester. IBS launched a program this year that will allow students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in the College of Arts and Sciences to also complete an MBA in just three semesters after graduation.

The BA/MBA and BS/MBA dual-degree programs were announced in May, after being approved by the Board of Trustees.

The program caters to students graduating with degrees in both the sciences and in the liberal arts. BS students are required to take at least two undergraduate classes in Business or Economics, and the BA students generally major or minor in Business along with their additional liberal arts major.
"To some extent, each of these two groups will follow a slightly different path, but the plan enables all these graduates to get an MBA without having to leave campus for work experience, as is usually the case for MBA programs," Prof. Ben Gomes-Casseres (IBS), director of the MBA program, said in an interview with the Justice.

The MBA track normally involves at least two years of work experience before the two years of graduate studies.

The dual-degree program allows students to complete the MBA in only three semesters after completing their undergraduate degree, according to the IBS website. Four courses, or 16 credits, taken as an undergraduate will also count toward the MBA, and students will complete the remaining 48 credits required for the MBA over those three semesters.

According to Gomes-Casseres, the idea originated from both the strategic planning process of the University as a whole and IBS' own strategic planning.

The strategic plan mentions dual-degree, interdisciplinary programs such as this one. "Parallel to the University effort, we at IBS also explored in our strategic planning how to enhance the academic links between IBS and the rest of Brandeis," Gomes-Casseres said.

"We are excited about this new program as it builds upon the strengths of the undergraduate programs and Brandeis IBS, positioning students to find rewarding and intellectually challenging positions in the new economy," said Dean of IBS Bruce Magid.

"We expect there to be a lot of interest among students looking to complete their schooling in a shorter amount of time, while still getting the benefit of a rigorous academic program complemented by internships and other hands-on educational experiences."

Although the application process is for students in their senior year at Brandeis, Gomes-Casseres suggests that students begin to consider the program earlier on in their studies, since it is a competitive program.

"The admissions requirements are high because we want to ensure that the applicant has sufficient training and experience to succeed in the MBA classroom, but Brandeis undergraduates are a smart and hard-working bunch, so we expect that when the program is fully up and running, one or two dozen might be admitted yearly to the BA/MBA program," he said.

Work experience and internships in the business field are required for admission to the BA/MBA program, and students pursuing the BS/MBA are encouraged to have similar work and lab experience.

IBS will be holding information sessions about the dual-degree program on Oct. 17 and Nov. 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Alumni Common Room at IBS.

Gomes-Casseres also encourages students to speak with him and Holly Chase, the admissions dean at IBS, with any questions they may have about the program. 

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