Grove City College’s Department of Graduate Programs first residency event brought students pursuing advanced degrees online to campus for three days of networking and collaboration.
The event drew 24 students working on their MBA or Master of Business Analytics degrees for in-person instruction by Graduate Programs faculty, guest lectures from experts in business, industry, and education, and face-to-face discussions with successful alumni like DuPont CEO Edward D. Breen ’79, Professor Bud Bowlin ’72, former Deputy U.S. Attorney General – and current College President – Paul J. McNulty ’80, and others.
The residency is one of the distinctive features that sets Grove City College’s Graduate Programs apart from other online advanced degree programs. While most coursework is delivered remotely to accommodate the needs of working professionals and career-focused recent graduates, the residency component is an intentional effort to provide students with something more.
“These events are meant to build strong leadership community for the students,” Graduate Programs Director Dr. Christy Crute said. “Strong leaders require a strong support system, and this program is meant to help them build that. A top skill for leadership is being influential. These residencies expose them to highly influential people thus helping them better understand how to be influential themselves.
“We want our students to learn how top leaders develop and think about different strategic initiatives in their businesses. Listening to the best leaders in the nation discuss key leadership topics extends their learning far beyond that which can be found in textbooks,” she said.
The three-day residency was packed with opportunities for students to get to know each other, their professors, and the community of experience and inspiration that supports the College and Graduate Programs.
The participation of Breen underscored that point. A near-legend in corporate America, Breen’s reputation as a transformational leader was secured when he joined scandal-plagued Tyco International and rescued the company from near bankruptcy by refocusing on its core brand and realizing billions in shareholder value by spinning off major businesses like Covidien, ADT, and TE Connectivity.
Now the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DuPont, Breen spent hours with students, sharing his own experiences in the C-suite and his values-focused approach to building businesses.
“I’m all about making the numbers. If you don’t make the numbers you’re not going to be in the job. But that’s not the most important thing,” Breen said. “Culture is important. Having values is important. People want to work for a company that has a backbone, that they believe in, that means something to them.”
Breen didn’t just lecture from a podium. One residency session featured the CEO, who also serves as chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, sitting down at a conference table with about a dozen students and discussing their goals and challenges. Breen fielded their questions and engaged in a real conversation with the students.
“I urge you to please go into something you are passionate about,” he told them. “It’s most of your waking hours and why do something you don’t like just for the money?”
MBA student Clinton Bonelli, an instructor of mortuary science and freelance funeral director from Philadelphia, said the residency exceeded his expectations.
“Our discussions were productive, pleasant, and challenging. The guest lecturers all brought unique, yet consistent, presentations and the setting was intimate,” he said. “I imagine that, in another program, I'd never get the access I got to the caliber of people I was able to converse with at this event.”
Bonelli earned a degree in political science from the College in 2002 and worked in law and finance before going back to school to become a funeral director. He said his employer asked him to pursue an MBA and it seemed like a good opportunity to add another credential to his title.
“Since the program started, it has challenged and motivated me enough to want to be a better professional,” he said. “Now I would say I'm pursuing it out of a fascination for multiplying the number of unexpected applications that this program has already had to my professional life and seeing where it takes me.”
“Why does a mortuary instructor need an MBA? Well, one could say that he doesn't, but I've already utilized statistical models in analyzing the final exam results of my students last semester and was able to improve how certain questions are asked and throw others out. I got that knowledge from Statistics with Dr. (John) Smith,” Bonelli said. “Using the Socratic method that Prof. (Darren) Warren reminded me about and helped me develop in Law & Ethics has found great application to how I operate as an instructor.”
Crute said the feedback from other students was also positive. “They loved that almost every event on the schedule was based on networking and collaboration,” she said.
Residency students also heard Nan Swift, fellow with R Street Institute’s Governance Program, talk about businesses can engage Congress, and met with Dr. Carl Trueman, professor of Biblical and Religious Studies.
Other residency participants included Grove City College faculty with significant leadership experience: David M. Butler, assistant professor of Management; Cedric Lewis, assistant professor of Entrepreneurship; Dr. Michelle McFeaters ’88, ’02, dean of the School of Business and professor of Accounting; John D. Smith, associate professor of Management; and Nicole Stone '98, '99, department chair and associate professor of Accounting.
Grove City College’s online Graduate Programs are built on the same foundation as the private Christian liberal arts college’s acclaimed undergraduate offerings: excellent academics, a Christ-centered community, and a commitment to affordability.
In addition to the Master of Business Administration and Master of Business Analytics degrees, the College will begin offering a Master of Science in Accounting (MAcc) degree in fall 2023. The new program is the latest offering from the fast-growing Department of Graduate and Online Programs. All Graduate Programs are offered as a stand-alone course of study for professionals or as a +1 program for current and future Grove City College undergraduates.
Grove City College also offers an innovative 3+1 program from the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies that allows students to earn their B.A. and an M.A. in ministry in the time it usually takes to earn a four-year degree.
The degree programs are designed around Grove City College’s firm educational foundation and legacy of exceptional student outcomes. All Graduate Programs professors possess extensive academic and professional expertise, while more than 80 percent of full-time faculty hold terminal degrees in their field. The College’s Christ-centered approach integrates faith and learning, fostering a moral and ethical approach to the profession that values service along with success.
For more about Graduate Programs at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/gradprograms.