By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney recently expanded its Master of Business Administration program, adding new tracks in two high-demand areas.
MBA students can now specialize in cybersecurity and business and information technology education, in addition to the existing accounting, human resources, marketing and professional tracks.
Cybersecurity continues to be a high-need area both nationally and globally, with companies paying a median salary of $102,600 per year to attract these professionals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau projects a 33% growth rate for information security analysts from 2020-30, far exceeding the national average for all occupations.
“Cybersecurity is a very hot field within the job market. If you have skills in that area, you’re going to be very marketable to a lot of different employers in a lot of different industries, especially with the remote work options available today,” said Dustin Favinger, director of the MBA program at UNK.
“If you package those skills with an MBA, that’s even more valuable,” Favinger added.
The new cybersecurity track provides the knowledge employees need to serve an IT team while also covering core MBA areas such as accounting, corporate finance, management and marketing, giving graduates a well-rounded, versatile skill set.
“Whether you’re looking for a new job or a promotion within your current company, one way to differentiate yourself is getting an MBA or graduate degree,” Favinger said.
BECOME A TEACHER
Like cybersecurity, UNK added the business and IT education track to address a growing workforce need.
“As we all know, there’s a teacher shortage across the state right now,” Favinger said. “This program is perfect for current professionals who are looking for a change and want to enter the teaching field.”
The business and IT education track allows students to earn an MBA and their Nebraska teaching certification at the same time. All of the elective courses within this track are requirements for UNK’s Transitional Certification Program, which provides an alternative pathway for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher who want to become certified teachers in Nebraska.
The Transitional Certification Program includes a mix of online courses and field experiences, giving participants an opportunity to start working in the classroom while earning their state certification.
“Nearly half of their MBA is already completed just by going through the Transitional Certification Program,” Favinger said. “So why not continue on, complete the MBA core courses and get a graduate degree?”
An MBA qualifies educators to teach dual-enrollment courses and advances them on the pay scale, he noted.
Because many MBA students are juggling busy careers and family lives, UNK offers its program in a hybrid format, giving them the option to attend classes remotely – with live instruction via Zoom – or through a mix of in-person and online sessions. All core courses and many electives are offered in both eight-week and full-semester formats, providing even more flexibility for students.
The 33-credit hour program also includes a professional development component that allows students to connect with their classmates and network with business leaders. Program participants toured businesses in Grand Island last fall and this year’s trip is planned for northeast Nebraska.
“If you’re part of our MBA program, it’s more than just taking classes and getting that degree,” Favinger said. “We want to continuously add value for our students.”
UNK’s MBA program is accredited by AACSB International, a designation awarded to less than 6% of business schools worldwide. Enrollment remains open for the fall semester.