Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State to offer professional MBA program in Hendricks County this fall

February 7, 2011

A new MBA program in Plainfield from Indiana State University will start accepting applications later this month for its inaugural class this fall.

The professional MBA program gives working professionals the ability to balance the demands of a full-time job, a family and other responsibilities while pursuing a graduate degree in the classroom. Classes will meet weekly for 10-week terms, with three terms in a year. The program, which is tailored to professionals with at least five years of business experience, will take two years for students to complete.

"We believe that the in-class experience is something that can't be underestimated, the learning experience associated with being face-to-face with a professor and the robust learning experience that goes on by having interaction with other rising professionals that are in the same classes," said Jeff Harper, director of graduate and executive programs and professor in the Scott College of Business at ISU. "All of that experience is very important for an advanced business degree."

The classes will be the same course offerings as the MBA program on the ISU campus in Terre Haute, with additional interactive components. Participants in the professional MBA program will take two classes per 10-week term and attend class one night a week. Additional interactions and projects will be available for students to access on the Internet.

"So you end up with the robust in-class experience that we think is so very important," Harper said, "and then web-based technologies round out the course and the program."

The professional MBA program will cost about $25,000. Graduates will receive the same MBA degree as students participating in the MBA program at Indiana State. All programs in the Scott College of Business hold the most prestigious accreditation of AACSB - International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Nancy Merritt, dean of the Scott College of Business at ISU, proposed the concept in the fall of 2007, and the graduate faculty of the college began researching MBA programs across the country. Merritt expects that program participants will not just learn from professors and speakers, but from their classmates as well.

"It is one of my preferences to see that this is a very interactive method of learning in that professionals learn as individuals, and because they are networking with the other class members. Each class participant accepted into the program has rich experiences to bring to the table," Merritt said.

T.J. Mattick, an MBA graduate from ISU and vice president and relationship manager for the Business Banking Group at Harris Bank, is excited about the program. The new initiative provides people with a "quality, affordable option to enhance their" education, Mattick said.

He knew the difficulty of balancing a full-time job with the rigors of the MBA graduate program. While at ISU, he typically worked during the day and had classes scheduled two nights a week. The new professional MBA program will meet just one night a week.

"One night a week is much more feasible than trying to make two or three nights a week fit on a regular basis," said Mattick, who lives in Plainfield, "so I'm glad they structured it that way."

ISU officials identified Hendricks County as an underserved market for the business graduate degree, Harper said.

"There is not another MBA program that holds classes in Hendricks County, but we have identified a good number of students or potential students that are in that area that would like to have a master's degree program," he added. "They simply have not found the right program to balance their needs."

Though the MBA initiative is intended for professionals in Hendricks County, Mattick thinks the program could attract some attention even in Marion County and Indianapolis.

"I think there's definitely a need," Mattick said of the program.

University officials considered several locations in the Indianapolis area as the initial site of the professional MBA program before deciding on Plainfield.

"We also think that this is a way for us to pilot the method of teaching and the type of teaching so the university might be able to offer other kinds of professional programming," Merritt said. "We might be able to utilize this to take the program to some other areas in the state where the professionals have to travel quite a ways to get their MBA."

Merritt and Harper have begun talking with business leaders and others in Hendricks County to promote the professional MBA. The program has already received positive support from various organizations, including college network programs and local Chambers of Commerce, Merritt said.

Additional information can be found on the professional MBA program website:

The application process includes an admission form, essay, GMAT scores and two letters of recommendation. Indiana State officials plan to keep the class size at about 27 students.

"It is an opportunity for us to develop a new set of alumni that are rising stars in business and industry in the greater Indianapolis area," Harper said. "It is an opportunity for us to do some innovative things, to put our best foot forward and to put another program into the state that is the high quality, high demand opportunity."

Photo: (ISU/Kara Berchem)
The professional MBA program from Indiana State University in Plainfield will be housed in a state-of-the-art classroom facility in the Plainfield Industrial Park near Interstate-70.


Dean Nancy Merritt

Contact: Jeff Harper, director of graduate and executive programs and professor, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2002 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or