Creating New Opportunities: Executive Education in Nevada

Nevada offers various executive educations opportunities, from courses to degrees designed specifically for middle to upper management.In today’s competitive job market and with evolving technologies, it’s not unusual for corporate executives to pursue additional education, whether to increase their knowledge in specific areas, update or acquire skills, discover new trends or even learn new management styles. Nevada offers various academic opportunities, from courses to degrees, some of them new, designed specifically for middle to upper management and covering topics at an advanced level. Increasing enrollments in most programs indicate these professionals are taking advantage of what’s available.

“Today’s business professionals are seeking an education that prepares them to compete worldwide for positions as executives, business leaders and functional managers,” said Michelle Palaroan, director of academic affairs for University of Phoenix’s Las Vegas campus.

Trends In the Field

Executive education is “constantly changing,” said Shera Alberti-Annunzio, interim director of management and executive programs for the University of Nevada, Reno’s Extended Studies. For one, education and training often are required with new or evolving laws or licensing requirements and when new trends, such as social media marketing, emerge.

Dr. Okeleke Nzeogwu, director of the MBA program at Roseman University of Health Sciences, has noticed a shift taking place in the approach to executive education from one that’s focused on the employer, achieving organization efficiency and the bottom line, to one that centers on the employees, developing their long-term needs “to allow them to become more creative and an engine for the next wave of growth,” he said.

Executive education providers are making a push to expand access to their offerings. For instance, UNR’s Extended Studies, in conjunction with the school’s College of Business, launched an entirely online MBA program for executives in 2011. UNLV’s Continuing Education, a department within the Division of Educational Outreach, is working on taking its professional development courses and programs to the communities beyond Las Vegas. In fact, it already has customized and delivered 10 days of educational programs to a group of executives in South Korea.

“We would go anywhere,” said Emmanuel Sarris, director of UNLV’s Continued Education. “Our goal is to reach rural areas even if it means creating a fully online program.”

Available Master’s Degree Programs

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 22 percent of Nevadans have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This means a large population exists without master’s degrees. For those looking to pursue a graduate degree related to business, several options are available in the Silver State at these institutions.

University of Nevada, Reno

UNR’s online Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program was launched to accommodate the schedules of mid-career and experienced professionals and allow them to continue working while earning this advanced degree. EMBA courses provide students with the knowledge and skills required for executive leadership positions. Students learn to head organizations, manage new situations, adapt to change and handle shifting business environments. A major focus is on developing and using managerial skills to identify and analyze problems and realize alternate solutions.

This 12-course, two-year program is offered once a year, in September. Program courses include financial reporting, management, statistics, marketing, economics and personal branding. The first group of EMBA students, 14 of them, graduate this month.

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix (UOP) offers MBA and Master of Management programs, both of which can be taken either online or on site.

The MBA program provides students advanced business, management and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to succeed in today’s economy. Instructors employ tools, such as case studies, simulation and virtual organizations along with real-world scenarios to make the curriculum engaging. Courses include management, business law, organizational leadership, economics, accounting, quantitative reasoning, corporate finance and strategic planning.

Students may opt to pursue a focused education in one of eight concentrations: accounting, human resources management, marketing, energy management, global management, health care management, project management and technology management. Developing this additional expertise requires 15 credits of elective courses.

This three-year, MBA program is offered four times per year (once each quarter) in both Southern and Northern Nevada. UOP has one main campus in Las Vegas along with two learning centers, one in Henderson, the other in Northwest Las Vegas. Northern Nevada’s one campus is in Reno.

UOP’s two-year, Master of Management degree program helps students develop and attain management competencies by applying theory, diagnosing problems and creating solutions. Students also learn and develop techniques, tools and ideas to design, conduct and carry out consulting practices. Courses include leading change, organizational communications, managing in a cross-cultural environment, negotiation, power and politics, research methods, design and analysis; ethics and social responsibility; and project quality management. This program is offered once per year and only in Southern Nevada.

Roseman University of Health Sciences

Roseman University, a private school in Henderson that focuses on health care industries, offers a program for a stand-alone MBA degree as well as two, dual-degree programs: Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)/MBA and Advanced Education in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (AEODO)/MBA.

The mission of the standalone MBA program is to help students become competent business professionals, develop skills to become better leaders and consider their entrepreneurial ambitions. Courses cover the basics: economics, accounting, finance, operations management, human resource management, business law, business practices, marketing, business strategy and entrepreneurship. Arbitration and mediation is one that’s popular.

“The education we are offering is very beneficial,” Director Nzeogwu said. “It is designed to give a person a skill set that makes them highly marketable, highly mobile and more adaptable to change.”

Roseman has partnered with St. Rose Hospital and Sunrise Hospital to offer their employees the stand-alone, 28-month MBA program at a reduced, corporate rate. Currently, 43 students are enrolled in the program. Courses are all face to face and, currently, are held at St. Rose’s Hartwell Medical Center building in Las Vegas evenings and one Saturday per month.

Working professionals not associated with either hospital are welcome to enroll in this MBA program at the non-corporate rate if Roseman has available seats.

The university plans to launch its next evening, stand-alone MBA program for working professionals sometime this year provided enough students enroll. Once the program begins, new students typically start every two months. The next course for the current program is slated to start in September and be held on Thursday nights. Roseman also is interested in contracting with additional employers to provide their workers its MBA program.

The university’s MBA program has evolved over the years since its introduction in 2005, particularly since 2010, when the program received a secondary, specialized business accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. Today, Roseman is moving toward specialization of its MBA program in that it’s working on tailoring its courses to the industry and location in which the students work, for instance, healthcare in a hospital.

“We are trying to provide more targeted education and provide it in the hospitals or in the healthcare facilities where those professionals are working, making it convenient for them,” Nzeogwu said.

Professional Development Offerings

These opportunities take the form of individual classes, series of classes and even customized sessions. They’re ideal for executives who want to keep up with current trends, update their skills, change fields or move into a different position within their industry. The University of Nevada, both in the South and the North, provides various options in this regard.

University of Nevada, Reno

UNR’s Extended Studies offers programs from high-level executive gaming management to human resources and from leadership to social media marketing, which are location based and online, local and international. Courses that enhance someone’s ability to manage projects and hire, supervise and lead employees are popular. Courses in slot operations, surveillance and security are in high demand from gaming entities globally.

“These are courses with real-world application, taught by award-winning faculty and business professionals with years of experience,” Interim Director Alberti-Annunzio said. “We have seen an increase in many of our programs in the past 12 months.”

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

UNLVs Continuing Education offers non-credit classes and customized education programs. Classes for executives are offered in the areas of communication, entrepreneurship, finance and technology. New classes frequently are added and change throughout the year.

In its newer offerings, the department arranges and provides customized training to groups as small as two in just about any topic desired. Oftentimes, an organization’s CEO will participate in training sessions with a team, whether it be a set of their managers or even a group of specific employees. Common topics include management styles, leadership communication, conflict resolution, anger management, delivering constructive criticism, stress management and, even soft skills, such as writing technique updates, e-mail etiquette and software training.

If a course is requested for which UNLV’s Continuing Education doesn’t have a curriculum already prepared (it has more than 40 in its hopper), its designers will develop one if notified far enough in advance.

The school works closely with the requesting organization to meet all their educational needs, including incorporating into its tailored programs any requested, company-specific training. The department collaborates with UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration and the International Gaming Institute to offer the public customized programs pertaining to those industries.

“There’s really not one request we see as impossible,” Director Sarris said. “We’re a small secret not a lot of people know about.”

These professional development programs can be held at the requestor’s location or elsewhere—UNLV campus classrooms, an organization’s office, the Chamber of Commerce, a meeting room and more.

In the first eight months since the department started its customized training program, it has served about eight groups for a total enrollment of about 250 people.

“It’s not bad for just getting started and slowly getting people to know we’re able to do this,” Sarris said.