Throwback Thursday: Allentown College Institutes MBA Program (1991)

DeSales University’s Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program is considered one of the best in the state of Pennsylvania and is known for it’s curriculum and class flexibility. However, DeSales, formerly Allentown College utilized Wilkes University’s MBA program and it wasn’t until 1991 that the school decided to forge it’s own graduate division and implement it’s own MBA program.

This article was originally published in Issue 3, Twenty-sixth Year of The Minstrel (October 23, 1991). The full text has been re-published and edited only for grammar and punctuation.

Allentown College Institutes MBA Program

By Lynne Werst
Minstrel Staff Writer

This fall, Allentown College launched its Master of Business Administration program. Intended to provide students with a well-rounded education, the curriculum emphasizes traditional business skills fortified by a Christian Humanist philosophy. The MBA program is taken through four sessions totaling 42 weeks per year in the evening.

For the past four and a half years, Allentown College has been a part of Wilkes College’s MBA program. Although the Wilkes program was satisfactory, the College decided to fortify its own graduate division. Prior to the MBA program this fall, Allentown already had three other programs that were offered. They are the Master of Education, Master of Science in Management Information Systems and a Master of Science in Nursing programs.

DeSales University MBA CroppedThe first to be offered at the College was the Master of Science Program, instituted in 1984. According to the College Bulletin, all of the graduate programs are “designed to develop specialized competence in a field of study,” to develop the skills needed for “advanced research in their specialized field” and to “enhance the formation of a Christian conscience as it applies to the ethical problems of their fields of interest.”

As the College catalogue implies, the MBA program in particular is a combination of both on-the-job work as well as ethical and moral choices. According to the MBA Director Dr. Harold Dolenga, it is the specific attention to the moral side of business administration that sets Allentown’s program apart from others.

“The MBA that we offer fits neatly with the Salesian philosophy of education,” Dolenga explained. “The ethics and values that are being taught are consistent.”

Consistency is a key factor when discussing the MBA program. Although most MBA programs are criticized for being to quantitative, the College effectively manages to balance the quantity of classes with the quality of the teaching staff. Karen Schoenborn, MBA Program Coordinator, emphatically stressed that the instructors are of the highest quality. The staff roster in itself is one of the main things to consider when choosing the right MBA program.

Schoenborn added that, “Dr. Dolenga was the person in charge of designing the program.” There were suggestions from both students and local companies about what an MBA program should be. “That need (for a local program) was always there,” Schoenborn explained.

In the event that a person would be interested in the MBA program, Schoeborn profiled the typical student.

“A majority of the students we get are already members of the workforce. There are some who came rigt out of college. A number of our own ACCESS students are enrolled,” she described. “The ages of the MBA students range from the twenty-year-old right out of college to the fifty-year-old who has already a vast amount of field experience,” she continued.

Schoenborn herself prides on being able to work with the students who come into her office. She believes in one on one rapport.

“Individual attention is particularly important with an MBA program,” she says. “There are over 100 students currently enrolled.”

This number is combined with transitional students who are still a part of Wilkes College. Local companies have employees enrolled in the program including AT&T, Air Products, PP&L, Binney and Smith, and Dun & Bradstreet.

There are a lot of requirements to fulfill in order to complete the program. There are nine undergraduate courses needed, in addition to seven graduate level courses which serve as a core foundation. After the foundation is laid, students must then complete at least three courses in their specific area of concentration. The five specific areas are: Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing and a self-designed option. The latter is useful for “students who prefer to pursue breadth and diversity in their program of study,” according to the catalogue.

Allentown College is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The MBA program has been approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


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