A new nine-month master's program at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is aimed at recent graduates to make them more marketable in the current tough job market.

"It gives recent grads a practical skill set to match with their mastered skill set, and we think this is going to appeal to employers," said Amy Hillman, an executive dean at the business school.

The Master of Science in Management is designed for those who did not major in business, but have liberal arts, fine arts, engineering or other backgrounds and are looking for differentiation in the job market, Hillman said.

"It's designed to help students pursue their passion," Hillman said.

For example, a dance major might wish to open her own dance studio after graduation, Hillman said. With this program, she would be able to learn the basics of business and learn how to keep her business from failing.

The first class is expected to have 30 to 45 students, but could potentially have as many as 50, Hillman said. Classes will begin in the fall semester and conclude in May.

"The traditional MBA student with work experience, they are usually looking for a change of career," Hillman said. This program is different in that it will instead give students an overview of fundamental business instruction, including statistics, accounting, management, marketing and economics and allow them to apply it to other areas.

And while there is no shortage of engineering jobs right now, the new master's degree should help graduates advance in their field quicker, Hillman said.

Ultimately, the program will also teach students leadership skills, better communication and team building. The program will conclude with a 15-week project, which will give students the chance to gain real world experience by consulting a business, Hillman said.

For example, when a company buys a competitor, the company needs help integrating the best practices from both companies into one cohesive practice and teaching employees from both companies the changes in policy, Hillman said. Students would be responsible for finding those solutions.

At last count, 30 applications had been received from ASU graduates and from out-of-state, as well as Arizona, residents.

More information about the program and application information is available at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/mim.

Contact writer: (480) 898-5645 or sspring@evtrib.com

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