UK, U of L to launch joint MBA degree program for executives

The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville are working to develop a joint masters degree in business administration for executives.

The 17-month program would be aimed at preparing mid-level executives for senior leadership, said David Blackwell, dean of UK's Gatton School of Business and Charles Moyer, dean of U of L's College of Business. The plan was announced Monday at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Business Summit in Louisville.

The program probably would start in fall 2014, with half the classes taking place in Lexington and half in Louisville. The classes would be held every other weekend to allow for students' job schedules. The two schools would split teaching duties, expenses and revenue.

The joint program could add 40 to 45 MBA students a year, mostly from the Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati metropolitan areas, Moyer and Blackwell said.

Executive MBA programs have long been a cash cow for business schools because they usually are accelerated into one year and often have been subsidized by employers.

UK offers three MBA options but does not consider them to be executive MBA programs. The university has a one-year accelerated track, a two-year evening track, and a program in partnership with a Greek university. The tuition ranges from $6,225 a year for residents to $13,000 a year for out-of-state students.

This new program would be geared toward those out of college and in the business field for eight to 10 years, said Harvie Wilkinson, director of the MBA programs at Gatton. A planning committee with representatives from both schools is developing curriculum, and will set tuition within the year.

"This program would give students a unique opportunity to learn from the best faculty members at the state's two leading business schools and draw on a large pool of business leadership resources in Kentucky's two largest metropolitan areas," Moyer said.

Blackwell said many executives have had to leave the state to find a quality MBA program. "This would allow them to pursue a world-class program right here at home."