EMBA program adopts iPad

EMBA students
19 students comprise the latest EMBA class, called the National Cohort.

Pamplin’s newest class of executive MBA students have adopted iPads in their learning program. “Executive MBAs need to be up-to-date on technology. What better way than by using such innovative products as the iPad?” says the program’s executive director Charles Jacobina.

He expects that the students will use the iPad primarily as an eReader, as a tool for team collaboration and communication, and as a notepad for taking notes in class when used with a stylus. “The iPads are included in the tuition and are the students’ to keep.”

In addition to the student users, five Pamplin faculty members have agreed to use the device in their teaching, as a replacement for or complement to traditional textbooks, business cases, and other reading materials. They are accounting and information systems associate professor Debra Salbador, business information technology professor Parviz Ghandforoush, finance associate professor Sattar Mansi, management professor Steve Markham, and marketing associate professor Eloise Coupey.

Positive response from students, faculty

The response from students and faculty so far has been very positive, Jacobina says. Mansi says the iPad’s “size, functionality, and clarity” has allowed it to serve as a substitute for his laptop. “I am using it for e-mail, presentations, and reading various documents.” Ghandforoush uses his iPad to provide students course documents and iPad applications for software tutorials on statistics and decision making.

Salbador, who will begin teaching a course in mid-October on accounting systems for executive decision making, says she plans to put all text materials online to take advantage of the “excellent reader app on the iPad.” She is exploring the device’s other capabilities and looks forward to using it in the classroom and to interact with the students. “I really like the iPad, it is very easy to use.”

Portability a plus

Student Dennis Tan, a project management consultant with NII Holdings, loves the iPad’s portability and uses it to take notes (with Penultimate), do research, and save information. “Web browsing is easy, and apps add a good deal of practicality and expand the uses of the device.” He has loaded his iPad with class presentations for reviewing at his convenience. “Podcasts and iTunes University are a great complement to classes at campus.”

His classmate, Victoria McLean, a task manager and supervisor for SAIC, says the iPad lets her take podcasts, books, quizzes, and other educational tools with her wherever she goes. “Lugging heavy books around from the office, to the house, around the corner to the coffee shop, and to class when we’re only focusing on a few chapters at a time can become a nuisance.”

Fun way to stay ahead of the curve

Apple iPad in an EMBA case

The iPad is “a fun way of staying ahead of the technology curve,” McLean says. “I really appreciate the high value that Virginia Tech places on staying technologically advanced. The tools available to the executive MBA students set them apart from similar programs in the Washington, D.C., area. iPads, MacBook Pros, fully outfitted conference spaces, etc. not only enhance the learning experience but allow students to expand their core technological capabilities.”

The latest class of executive MBA students, known as the National Cohort, comprises 19 new students who work fulltime in the metro Washington, D.C. area.

Pamplin’s executive MBA is designed for experienced professionals, with or without business degrees. Its broad curriculum seeks to provide students with an understanding of the major elements of business. Classes examine the ethical and global implications of management and prepare managers for making decisions in a rapidly changing world, Jacobina says.

“Our program is designed to integrate theory and practice. It aims to enhance the executive skills and personal confidence required for career advancement and to prepare participants to take their learning onto a global playing field. Lastly, it promotes networking opportunities among our students.”
The program is fully accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Classes, all taught by doctoral faculty, are held at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center, National Capital Region, every other weekend over an 18-month period. Students are recruited for cohorts beginning each September and February.

In addition to the executive MBA program, the Pamplin College offers three other MBA programs, aimed at meeting the different needs of full-time and part-time students.

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