Arizona’s specialty MBA programs boast top rankings

Arizona has much to offer when it comes to high ranking and innovative master’s of business programs. Business-minded students and professionals have dozens of specialty programs to choose from at universities statewide.  

Cybersecurity and intelligence, global logistics, real estate development, business analytics, aviation management, health management, entrepreneurship, management information systems, and the world’s first stacked supply chain management program are a few of dozens of specialty MBA programs in the state. 

Specialty programs take off 

While traditional MBA programs are suffering from declining enrollment, specialty and online business programs are growing, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The evolution started after the 2008 recession when high-salary MBA grads were kicked to the proverbial curb. Specialty programs began to surface to meet industry demand. 

Today, business students can complete “MastersMicro” and fast track programs in specialty areas in half the time of a traditional MBA. For example, the Master of Entrepreneurship program at the Eller College of Management at UA can be completed in 12 months.

“Now more than ever, business schools have to partner with the business community to help navigate the rapid changes taking place around us,” said Paulo B. Goes, dean and Halle Chair in Leadership at the Eller College of Management, UA, that has several specialty programs ranked among the top five in the U.S. this year.

Cybersecurity master’s at GCU

Arizona is home to a number of unique MBA offerings including Grand Canyon University’s Cyber Security program. In the Colangelo College of Business, the degree program prepares students and professionals in cybersecurity and management techniques to protect American technology and infrastructure from cyber threats and attacks. 

The cyber program has become one of the fastest-growing programs in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, school officials said. 

As cyber threats grow, so does the need for professionals with skills to thwart them. 

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and McAfee, the world economy loses more than $600 billion in cyber crimes annually. At the start of last year, there were an estimated half-million cybersecurity jobs unfilled. U.S. Labor estimates put job growth in the sector at 37 percent through 2022.

In addition to teaching business analytics and management coursework, Grand Canyon University operates the Cyber Center of Excellence where students develop and enhance cybersecurity skills: fighting data breaches, identity theft and other cybercrime. 

The Christian nonprofit university not only makes a point of including the community in the center, but infusing ethics into its mission. Instructors encourage the ‘Hackers with Halos’ concept to incorporate ethics into the culture, said Katherine Urrutia, technology project coordinator.

Arizona is becoming well-positioned to meet the rising demand for cybersecurity professionals. In addition to Grand Canyon, non-profit university Embry Riddle in Prescott also offers a master’s in cybersecurity. 

Rankings to brag about

Currently, there are about two dozen specialty master’s and executive management programs at ASU and UA. Many rank among the highest in the nation and the world including:

Master’s of Science, Management Information, Eller College of Management, UA No. 1 in the country among public schools in the U.S. and third among all schools, according to U.S. News & World’s Report’s Best Colleges 

Master’s of Science, Global Management, Thunderbird School of Global Management, ASU No. 1 among 114 business schools in 24 countries, Times Higher Education/Wall Street Journal Business Schools Report 

Master’s of Supply Chain and Logistics, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU No. 2 among public schools in the U.S., U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges

Online Master’s of Entrepreneurship, Eller College of Management No. 5 among public schools in America, U.S. News & World’s Report’s Best Colleges

Executive Education, Eller College of Management No. 5 in U.S. among public schools, Financial Times

Victoria Harker

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