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December 2016

Leavey School of Business Announces Overhaul of MBA Program

Changes make a program that is nimbler, more-flexible and Silicon Valley-focused, and can be completed in two years.

The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University has approved the most significant overhaul of its MBA curriculum in two decades, to meet the evolving needs of today’s working professionals.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 1, 2016 — The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University has approved the most significant overhaul of its MBA curriculum in two decades, to meet the evolving needs of today’s working professionals.

The changes, which take effect for all students beginning with the fall 2016 MBA class, are designed to accomplish numerous goals:

  • Leverage the best practices of Silicon Valley and of innovative global business models
  • Enable working professionals to complete an MBA in two years instead of three to four
  • Facilitate a greater degree of co-teaching by Valley executives as adjunct faculty alongside tenured or tenure-track faculty
  • Initiate the school’s first-ever MBA in-residence week, which will build much-sought-after collegiality and networking opportunities among the working professionals who come to SCU for their MBA
  • Streamline and focus the core requirements

“In recent years, we’ve heard from our students and advisory board members that our biggest value to students is the combination of strong business fundamentals taught by our highly experienced faculty, and real-life case studies from the many global tech companies headquartered within miles of campus,” said Caryn Beck-Dudley, dean of the Leavey School of Business. “So in a highly agile and student-centric manner, we have identified and are implementing a fantastic new curriculum that will quickly, efficiently, and flexibly offer our MBA students the very best of what Santa Clara and its Silicon Valley location have to offer.”

Among the most significant changes:

One MBA replaces three. Formerly, SCU offered MBA degrees targeted to accelerated, emerging professional, and traditional part-time students. Now, the program will be exclusively a part-time MBA offering, available to students with at least three to five years work experience.

Fewer, updated, core-required classes. The new curriculum will have 40 core units that each student must take—15 percent fewer units than previously—and 30 elective units. Foundational courses in accounting, economics, and statistics have been condensed to focus on the topics that are essential for Silicon Valley working professionals, giving MBA students more opportunity to personalize their degree to reflect their individual career needs.  Additionally, new core courses in emerging disciplines like business analytics and managing enterprise systems give MBA students the tools that they need to run the next generation of leading companies.  

More Silicon Valley experiential learning. The curriculum will incorporate increased links to Silicon Valley through site visits, adjunct teaching by working executives, and other opportunities.

A mandatory business analytics course. Virtually every business discipline today requires students to have a skillset in business analytics. The updated SCU MBA offers a core course supporting students’ ability to understand and optimize customer-data results and plan marketing or other strategic decision making accordingly.

An in-residence week. In a move that will build camaraderie among cohorts, each incoming class will spend much of their first week on campus taking 32 hours of classes focused especially on leadership and team building. The cohort will then have the opportunity to take required classes together.

“This new curriculum gives our students enormous flexibility to stay on top of the most current problems being faced by businesses today,” said Jim Burns ’86, chief financial officer of Accela, and member of the Leavey School of Business advisory board. “They will graduate with a tremendous capacity to solve today’s problems, a network of cohort members and SCU alumni—like myself—to draw upon, and a lifelong appreciation for business fundamentals conveyed through a real-world lens.”

More information about the new MBA curriculum, including how to apply, can be found at

About the Leavey School of Business
The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University began in 1923, and was one of the first business schools in the country to receive national accreditation. Its undergraduate business, MBA, and MS programs are consistently ranked among the top in the nation by BusinessWeek, U.S. News, Princeton Review, and others. The curriculum at all levels emphasizes the leadership role of business in creating prosperity within an ethical framework, as well as business responsibilities for social justice and sustainability in the global marketplace. For more information, see

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121

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