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Midland University to Seek Approval from Accreditors for New MBA Program

Midland University to Seek Approval from Accreditors for New MBA Program

Oct 12th , 2011

The Midland University Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution to seek approval from accreditors for a new Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program. The MBA will initially focus on serving the needs of working professionals and recent college graduates where demand is strongest. The Board set a goal for launching the MBA by the fall of 2012, pending appropriate accreditation and internal approvals.

The Board also unanimously approved the hiring of Raymond Sass, a graduate of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, to spearhead this effort as Director of the MBA at Midland. 

“Last year’s re-founding as Midland University helped us fulfill un-met needs as Midland’s offerings, core values and proximity to Omaha resonated with students,” Midland Board Chairman Rick Spalding said. “That process revealed a tremendous demand for master’s programs – especially those accommodating professionals who don’t want to lose career momentum while in school. We just needed an outstanding candidate to lead it; now that we have Ray on board, we are very excited to move forward.”

Sass started in early 2010 in a consulting capacity overseeing undergraduate marketing efforts at Midland. In addition to his new role leading Midland’s MBA program, he will continue to serve as Director of Strategic Planning for the University.

Midland President, Dr. Ben Sasse said, “Ray has a tremendous work ethic and strong leadership skills. The energy he devotes to solving every problem along with his experience in a cutting-edge, world-class MBA program at Duke, make him the ideal choice for this challenge. Ray has contributed much behind the scenes to the stability and growth of Midland, and we are thrilled to have him on board full-time now.”

Prior to this new role at Midland, Sass (no relation to Dr. Sasse) studied business in London, Dubai, Russia, China, India, and the U.S. while completing Duke University’s Cross Continent MBA program. As a peer-elected class representative, he served as a curricular advisor to Duke faculty and administration during the launch of the newly re-vamped global curriculum. He graduated cum laude from Brandeis University with a degree in politics.

Previously, Sass was Chief of Staff of the $40+ million internal think tank at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), where he worked to identify data-based policy levers to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. Before that, he managed communications campaigns for U.S. Health Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, such as a national push to standardize health information technology, and an effort to deploy American ‘soft power’ through global health diplomacy. He traveled throughout India as part of a tour that included import safety facility inspections, visits to U.S.-funded HIV & Polio clinics, and summits with World Health Organization officials on virus sample sharing to combat avian influenza.

Prior to his time at HHS, Sass was a policy analyst for a Congressional commission focused on health information technology standards and was responsible for briefing Capitol Hill on the report’s recommendations.

Dr. Steve Bullock, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “Business is consistently one of Midland’s most in-demand majors, and there is strong interest in a master’s level program that’s rigorous yet accessible to students. Ray is smart and hard-driving and we’re pleased to have him leading this effort.”

The MBA will build on lessons learned from Midland’s existing Masters in Professional Accounting. Further details will be announced as the accreditation process moves forward. However, the Board outlined key features the MBA should offer, including:

  • A program calendar designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals;
  • Blended in-person and online course delivery to reach students where they already spend much of their time; and
  • A flexible ‘4+1’ concept allowing the wavier of some credits for students with a business background and the option for undergraduate business majors to complete their MBA in one year.

Sass said, “It’s terrific to be joining a team with so much energy and momentum. Midland is in a great position to build an exceptional MBA program that brings together the best of what is being done around the country online and in-person, and to offer it in a location where there is nothing else quite like it.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a second year of explosive growth in Midland’s undergraduate programs. More on Midland’s recent growth is available here.