Dayton programs working to bring accessibility to business education

Two Dayton programs are continuing their work to help Black students seek and access business degrees at a time when access to that education is growing virtually.

The 2020-21 school year saw more students in full-time online MBA programs than students in traditional, on-campus programs, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Business Schools. The rise of online options promotes more access to graduate business education for adult students with circumstances that could rule out traditional graduate school. Parents, veterans and those with a full- or part-time career can complete their MBA entirely remote.

Online programs can also be more cost-effective since they typically follow a shorter time-frame. This is another factor that contributes to accessible education, which in turn leads to more diverse students receiving their MBAs.

Barbara Bostick founded the Dayton chapter of the National Black MBA Association in 1984, and has been working to bring business education opportunities to minority students.

The organization also features the Leaders of Tomorrow program, run by Carol Prewitt, which mentors high school students wanting to go into business. Students from area high schools meet one Saturday per month for mentoring, speakers and workshops that cover these topics and more.

The National Black MBA Association was started in 1970 “to help Blacks coming into the corporate sector, largely for the first time.” Fourteen years later, Bostick started the Dayton chapter. In 1991, the Leaders of Tomorrow program started, and in 1999, Dayton won “Chapter of the Year.”

“By nurturing these growing professionals, the organization helps early members navigate and ultimately succeed in the unfamiliar and frequently hostile environment. And it has been those professionals who have risen up and reached back to bring us the next generation of Black business professionals,” Bostick said.

Students who go through Leaders of Tomorrow can compete for scholarships in a competition at a national leadership summit. Students can also receive scholarships regionally from the National Black MBA Association Dayton chapter.

“We did provide scholarships last year to three of our students and this year one of our students will be attending the University of Dayton under their Flyer Promise Program,” Bostick said.

Sally Berry, the MBA Director at the University of Dayton, believes employers view an online MBA as equivalent to on-campus degrees. About 100 to 125 students graduate from UD with an online MBA each year, and 75 to 100 graduate with an on-campus degree.

“Online has become a very attractive option. And over the last three to four years, we’re seeing an increase in the online space,” Berry said.

The UD online program includes live, remote classes and is more expensive than the traditional MBA program.

“You can be located anywhere in the world calling into class. And therefore you have access to the same resources and the same live experience that you would have if you came to the campus,” Berry said.

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