Bethel Adds Four Affordable Online Concentrations to MBA Program

By adding concentrations in expanding fields through the MITx MicroMasters programs, Bethel is broadening its strong MBA program and adding more affordable choices for students.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, content specialist

May 04, 2020 | 3 p.m.


Bethel is adding four concentrations to its strong MBA program to provide students with more affordable, online choices.

In March and April as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz made frequent updates to the public about the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethel’s Interim MBA Program Director Jeanine Parolini saw him integrate statistics and data analysis skills to interpret how models of the outbreak look in Minnesota. Then he discussed supply chain issues he and state officials faced as they considered whether Minnesotans would have enough key resources like food, ventilators, and intensive care unit beds. Walz has also been working with key Minnesota-based manufacturers to pivot their normal operations in order to produce face masks and ventilators instead.

To Parolini, such updates showed the relevance of four concentrations Bethel University is adding to its Master of Business Administration program in the graduate school through MITx—MIT's online learning initiative. “Wow, this is a case for all these concentrations,” she says, noting that they are relevant to today’s challenges.

Starting in fall 2020, Bethel students will be able to earn an MBA with a focus in one of four MITx MicroMasters® program concentrations: Data, Economics, and Development Policy; Principles of Manufacturing; Statistics and Data Science; and Supply Chain Management. The addition of the MITx MicroMasters programs broadens Bethel’s strong presence in the MBA market. This particular learning experience is designed to equip leaders to think broadly about a variety of issues affecting an organization, whether it’s a for-profit business, a nonprofit, or a church. “The person is being trained to think about finance, about accounting, about operations, about management, about leadership, about economics, and about marketing,” Parolini says. “They’re trained to think holistically.”

The core courses of Bethel’s MBA program—covering accounting, finance, economics, leadership, business strategy, and marketing—give students a broad base of skills and knowledge. “An MBA graduate is trained to think about all aspects of the organization,” she says. Students then choose an area they are passionate about for their concentration. The MicroMasters programs add additional choice and options to complement Bethel’s existing concentrations of Finance, Healthcare Administration, Management, and Strategy and Execution.

The four core concentrations that we have, additionally with these four new ones, add more choices for students.

— Interim MBA Program Director Jeanine Parolini
MITx MicroMasters

MITx MicroMasters Programs

The MITx MicroMasters program concentrations are taught entirely online by top MIT professors and designed to advance a student’s career quickly and affordably, with some programs even scaling cost to your income. After students complete the online certificate, the programs’ 12 credits are counted as prior learning assessments as part of a Bethel degree.

The Data, Economics, and Development Policy focus helps students develop skills and knowledge in microeconomics, development economics, and probability and statistics. They’ll engage with cutting-edge research as they strive to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges facing developing countries and the poor.

The Principles of Manufacturing concentration provides critical expertise as companies strive for excellence in increasingly competitive industries. It stresses the importance of manufacturing process control, production flow, supply chain, analytics, and finance.

The Statistics and Data Science concentration trains students in what Parolini calls one of the top growing fields. Whether in marketing, operations, healthcare, or manufacturing, professionals today often use complex data to drive decisions.

The Supply Chain Management concentration touches on another growing area, as professionals develop an end-to-end understanding of supply chain management, learning to use analytics, fundamentals, design, dynamics, and technology to improve efficiency.

Bethel’s involvement as a collaborative partner with MITx also benefits the university. Along with the added concentrations for Bethel, students who start by taking MITx can choose to continue their education at Bethel as a partner school to earn a full MBA.

A Core for Success

Also starting in fall 2020, the tuition rate for Bethel’s MBA program is dropping to $650 per credit, so now is a great time to get started. Many students enter MBA programs looking for career advancement, and Bethel surveys show nearly half of students make a career move while enrolled. Parolini adds that many others receive a promotion within six months to a year after graduation. “These new concentrations, which are contemporary and progressive, are going to enhance that,” she says.

Bethel’s MBA program also offers extensive career coaching, which sets the program apart. Bethel’s capstone course also prepares students in a hands-on way, allowing them to pull together their learning from throughout the program. “They’re actually doing a very practical consulting project to benefit a for-profit or nonprofit organization,” she says.

Parolini calls Bethel’s great workplace and educational culture one of the MBA programs’ top intangible benefits, even though it’s at times a hidden aspect of the program. Parolini, who also works as a consultant assessing organizations’ climate and culture, touts Bethel as a place where MBA students can develop skills and immediately incorporate elements of Bethel’s strong culture in their own organizations. While Parolini admits Bethel—like all organizations—is not perfect, but it is an incredible place where people put their own egos aside for the betterment of the overall vision.

“That’s an incredible culture to train up people in, to train up our students in, because we’re modeling a culture to them, giving them an experience of something that then we can help them go out and create in the organization that they’re a part of,” she says.

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Whatever your leadership gifts now, Bethel’s MBA program will challenge you to take them to the next level—to infuse them with not only confidence, passion, and professionalism, but character, wisdom, and grace. We’ll train you to become the kind of discerning, ethical leader that companies are looking to hire and promote.

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