Higher learning offered in Surrey city centre by Beedie School of BusinessSep 06, 2013
The following article was published by BC Business on September 3, 2013.
The Surrey campus opens its doors to the city’s first graduate business program.
After years of asking for more local business programs, Surrey will see its first MBA program launch in January.
The part-time degree was created for SFU’s Surrey campus after years of consulting with local business organizations and businesses themselves, according to Colleen Collins, associate dean of the Segal Graduate School and Beedie School of Business at SFU. She says the program is responding to “long-standing requests” university officials received from the Fraser Valley community.
The new program is inevitably connected to the explosive growth in Surrey, both in population and the number of new businesses opening their doors. And the city’s business organizations are hoping both the swelling talent pool and reputable business education will entice more businesses to set up shop in Surrey.
“Education and transportation are the key foundations of any economy,” says Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “Coupled with experience, getting an MBA will have a significant impact not only to the future of the city but to the future of the region.” A third of Surrey’s population is under the age of 19, Huberman says, and with 1,200 people moving into the city monthly, it’s obvious that residents need access to “education where they live,” she says.
One of the most interesting statistics for SFU was the spike in the population of Surrey residents who already have one degree in their hands—an increase of 65 per cent, according to Collins. Targeting “mature” students who want to work full-time while earning an MBA, the program offers evening classes two days a week, and students only need two years to complete the course load.
“A part-time MBA gives SFU and the Beedie School of Business a different kind of window into the community,” Collins says. “We’re not just educating undergrads who may be working… and have parents who are strongly engaged in their children’s education. Now you’ve got more middle-career people actively engaged with SFU.”
And because such a part-time program draws in workers with a few years of experience under their belt, Collins says students are able to learn concepts in class on a Tuesday evening and apply them the next day on the job. And in turn, students can use their current positions as case studies in the classroom.
So, why Surrey? According to Collins, SFU officials chose the City Centre campus to address the needs of Fraser Valley residents seeking quality continuing education and to help meet the ever-increasing demand for talent from the area’s growing business community. “You might still have a half-hour commute or a 20-minute commute after class going home from the Surrey campus, but it’s not an hour-and-20-minute commute,” she says. “If we remove that one extra barrier for people, then it’s a little easier to make it work in their lives.”
It also made sense as a complement to SFU’s full-time MBA and Executive MBA programs at its campus in Vancouver and its Management of Technology MBA, also taught downtown. The new MBA program will usher in its inaugural class in January, a cohort of approximately 35 students.
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