The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh has two full-time MBA options: a one-year program and a two-year program. Both are fairly small, intimate experiences with the school entering less than 100 students in each of the past two years — and both are filled with a good bit of experiential learning opportunities to offset the younger age of the students here who tend to have a bit less work experience.
The Katz two-year MBA program is designed for those who seek a traditional graduate business education. Students gain real-world experience through an optional professional internship following the first year of study or through Katz Consulting Field Projects, electives, community service projects, and interactions with business leaders during case competitions and campus visits.
Degree requirements for the program include a minimum of 57 credits, an appropriate distribution of 22.5 credits of required core courses and 30 credits of elective courses, a maximum of 15.0 credits per term, and a minimum cumulative quality point average of 3.0.
Katz two-year students start in August and graduate 20 months later in April.
The Katz school offers “the most adaptable, future-focused MBA program ever created” — which may sound hyperbolic, but they might have a point, because this is an unusually customizable MBA which flexes to fit many potential career-paths.
For a start, the full-time program’s one-year option clocks in at just 11 months — in line with most European MBAs. The two-year MBA offers six more credits of electives than the one-year program, but perhaps most significantly, the one-year option has no internship. The one-year tends to appeal to people who want a career-accelerator while intending to stay with their existing employer, and the two-year is more exploratory. For this reason, the average one-year candidate has seven years’ experience, while the average two-year student has been in the workforce for four years.
The programs themselves are also very adaptable. They start with the foundations of business fundamentals familiar to all MBAs, but candidates can then choose from concentrations in Finance, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, or Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Even then, there is considerable choice because of the large number of electives. In Finance, for instance, candidates can choose from 15 finance-related options; Marketing offers 20; and Management Information Systems an incredible 40-plus.
Candidates can also take one of nine cross-functional certificates to make them even more attractive to employers in their chosen field. The options are: Corporate Financial Management, Corporate Valuation, Digital Marketing, Global Supply Chain Management, Investments and Trading, Organizational Leadership, Project Management, Sustainability, or Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
These are very practical, hands-on courses. For example, the Global Management Certificate, designed for those who intend to work on international assignments at some point in their career, promises to boost “cross-cultural competencies, knowledge of global markets, and skills for operating in a global environment.” It involves electives in subjects such as Cross-Cultural Management, and a study trip overseas. The Investments and Trading certificate is for future traders, portfolio-managers or private wealth-managers, and students get to use the Financial Analysis Laboratory, a 3,000-square-foot area equipped with Bloomberg terminals and trading software. A Portfolio Practicum elective involves working on a portfolio management team.
Katz stresses real-world, experience-based learning, which “empowers students to gain the critical cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills necessary to succeed in today’s business world,” they say. This leads naturally to the Management Simulation Capstone, an applied strategic management and general management course in which teams of students play executives in a computer simulation of a sports shoe company, competing against their peers.
There are even options for people who don’t want a pure MBA. In 2019 Katz launched a new Master of Business Administration with Business Analytics, whose candidates complete both the full-time MBA degree and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics; the new program features courses in analytical tools, statistics, data mining, and data-driven decision-making. Nine two-year dual and joint degree programs featuring the MBA are also available, including MBA/Juris Doctor, MBA/Master of Health Administration in Health Policy and Management, and MBA/Master of International Development.
The Katz School also has several research centers — for example in Branding and Ethics and Leadership, Healthcare Management and Supply Chain Management — allowing students to explore in depth pretty much any aspect of business you can imagine.