Friday, May 11, 2012

For professionals seeking an advanced degree and for undergraduate students interested in furthering their education, Fairmont State University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is the perfect next step.

Beth Riley has loved numbers her whole life. “At 5 years old, I was already doing number searches and counting money,” she said.

While at North Marion High School, Riley experienced accounting for the first time and her passion for numbers was confirmed. Looking to continue her accounting education, she found what she needed during a visit to FSU.

“When I started looking at the accounting program I liked what they had to offer, and knew that I could have the full college experience while still being close to home,” Riley said. 

The Mannington native graduated from FSU with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2011. She knew that she wanted to pursue an MBA to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

“My accounting degree is my foot in the door,” Riley said. “My MBA will help me advance and will give me the administrative background that I will require to be an effective leader.”

The MBA degree, first offered by FSU in 2006, is designed to prepare students, holding both business and non-business related undergraduate degrees, to apply concepts and principles offered in the various business disciplines to the responsibilities of management in a variety of organizational contexts.

“One of the benefits of our MBA program is that we maintain a small cohort group by admitting between 25 and 30 new students each year, which enables the students to become well acquainted with one another and the faculty,” said Dr. Tim Oxley, MBA Program Director.  “Another benefit is the rich learning environment created by allowing students from non-business backgrounds and having traditional students right out of their baccalaureate program learning along with non-traditional students who have business and professional experience.” 

Riley said Fairmont State’s MBA program was her first choice.

“While earning my accounting degree, Jaynes Hall became my home, and I knew the environment would be the same during my MBA. The professors were always available and they knew me by name; I knew that by choosing Fairmont State I would have a community available to help me and support me while never holding my hand. I was ready to learn and Fairmont State was the place to do it.”

According to a recent institutional survey, Riley is the youngest student to be accepted into the MBA program by approximately six months.

“Everyone keeps telling me that I am in too much of a hurry but I believe that you can lose the game because you run out of time,” Riley explained.

Playing one game is hard enough, but Riley is essentially starring in three. “In addition to being a full-time MBA student, I am a full-time financial analyst for the Fairmont Physicians Network where I work 40-70 hrs per week and I am in the process of getting my CPA.”

According to School of Business faculty member Dede Burnell, it is very uncommon for students to go to school full-time, work full-time and study for the CPA exam. Most students work full-time and study for the exam, but very rarely does one go to school full-time, too.

While Riley is fortunate enough to have a full time position, not all students in the program have that opportunity.

“Though the job market is improving, it is still rather soft causing students completing their baccalaureate degrees to consider staying in school to pursue a master’s degree,” said Oxley. “Our ‘fast’ track enables students who desire to remain full-time to move through the program in four terms or 15 months. They begin in May of their first summer term, and complete their program in August of the second summer term. This design is attractive to those students who are dedicated to studying hard over a shorter duration and committed to having fewer distractions to their graduate studies.” 

Today, Riley is on the fast track to graduating. In August 2012 she will complete her MBA and plans to finish her CPA exams shortly thereafter.

For more information about FSU’s MBA program, call Dr. Tim Oxley at (304) 367-4728.