Fordham University, West Harrison

The weekend MBA.

With its Executive MBA Program, the Fordham Graduate School of Business tries to create a real-world, dynamic experience for its professional students. 

Every January, a new group is recruited to complete the 22-month program, during which students attend classes for one weekend a month (From 9 am to 5 pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.) The idea, says Francis Petit, Ed.D, associate dean for Executive MBA Programs for the Graduate School of Business, is that students “get to keep their fantastic, high-paying jobs,” while setting themselves up for future success. 

Believing that students can learn more from their classmates than from the faculty, Fordham spends much time recruiting in order to assemble a diverse, complementary cohort composed of professionals across various fields: medicine, nonprofits, insurance, accounting, consulting, etc. The students take all their classes together for a year and a half, gain from one another’s experiences, and then head abroad, where they take on a group consulting project for their senior capstone. This year, for example, the class of 2015 is going to Brazil to help the Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau draw Westerners, especially New Yorkers, to the country for tourism and business.  

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In addition to offering this immersive academic experience, Fordham also teaches practical skills. Executive MBA students learn how to handle stress and nutrition; stay centered as more responsibility is placed on them; and are even schooled on how to choose wine and play golf. “Research shows that if you are good at golf, you are good at business, because it’s all about strategy and risk-taking,” Petit says. 

Aside from its Executive MBA, the business school also offers a standard MBA, and MS degrees in 16 concentrated areas, including Marketing Intelligence and Investor Relations (these at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus).

The Numbers

Fordham’s 2014 Executive MBA Class at a glance:

  • Total # of executives in cohort: 22
  • Mean age: 36 
  • Mean years of work experience: 14 
  • Male: 55% 
  • Female: 45% 
  • Mean salary: $125,228

The Grad

Michelle Fritsche

Degree: Executive MBA, Fordham Graduate School of Business, 2013 

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Age: 44

Profession: Director, Facilities at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Why did you decide to go back to school? I have been with Regeneron for 22 years, so I’ve grown up with the company, and, as it became larger, I realized that while I knew a lot about my own field, I didn’t know much about how the business operates. [Getting this degree] was a way to understand my company and broaden my horizons. 

How was your experience in the Fordham Executive MBA Program? It was wonderful. It’s the same 20 people in a cohort, so we spend time in class together, and the professors rotate in for different classes. The people have a lot of experience and come from so many industries, and they have taught me as much as the professors. 

Do you see your education paying off at work? People at work can tell the difference. At one point, I was in a conference room with our CFO, our VP of Finance, VP of Facilities [my boss], and my brokers, and they were discussing how to structure a real estate deal. I used to understand 30 percent; now I can follow all of what they are saying. 

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