Stetson enrollment up after national dip

Graduate student enrollment in the United States dropped last year, according to a recent article in The Chronicle. But now, in Stetson University’s Executive MBA program, the numbers are higher than ever.

The article points to a study, Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2000 to 2010, which shows that new student enrollment fell 1.1 percent between fall 2009 and fall 2010. It had increased 5.5 percent in the prior year.

Students in Stetson's Cohort 9 are preparing for an increasingly demanding job market.

Similarly, enrollment in Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 8 was down in fall 2010, at 21% below Cohort 7, which began in fall 2009. But Cohort 9 (fall 2011) is up 67% over that of the students’ predecessors in Cohort 8, making Cohort 9 the program’s largest class to date.

The students in the current two cohorts (8 and 9) also have more diversity in their corporate background than any previous cohort. The companies they represent include Genworth Financial, Press World Co., Partners Federal Credit Union, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, FedEx, Westgate Resorts, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Waldorf Astoria/Hilton, Shades of Green, State Farm Insurance and Kaplan University.

In The Chronicle article, Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, pointed out the U.S. Department of Labor prediction that 2.5 million more jobs will require advanced degrees by 2018. As cohorts 8 and 9 graduate over the coming year and a half, Stetson University will be proud to add those students’ names to the list of professionals qualified for rigorous positions.

Cohort 9 begins its journey

Cohort 9 is off to a good start, with one weekend behind the students already — and now only slightly less than 19 months left to go!

Class began Aug. 12, and members of Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 9 started their Management and Leadership class taught by Dr. Richard Pernell and Professor Peggy Stahl. “The problem solving and early teamwork was evident as I witnessed small groups working and collaborating effectively,” said Wendy Lowe, coordinator for the Stetson University Executive MBA program. “The first weekend seemed to be extremely successful.”

The students of Cohort 9 are just getting to know each other. They started class Aug. 12 learning management and leadership.

The students agreed. “In the last two days I have gained an affirmation that this program is absolutely the right path for me,” said Christina Laemers, a Cohort 9 student who works as a communications manager for Walt Disney World.

One of the features that stands out in the Executive MBA program is the cohort environment, which teaches students to work together, to support one another and to learn from each other.

“Not only do I feel better equipped to be an effective leader,” said Laemers, “but I know the people in my cohort, although all very different, share the same investment in the learning process. I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity, and to be surrounded by such fantastic, unique and intelligent people!”

“Just in the first two days, we have witnessed a dynamic group of people that is well balanced with personalities,” said Laemers’ classmate, Duane Trumble, a quality assurance/guest support professional at Walt Disney World. “I can feel that we are going to have a lot of fun, learn a lot from each other, and cohesively walk each other together through this experience. It’s going to be an awesome ride!”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the first week of class dealing with behavioral patterns relating to business interactions,” Danielle VanCola, a member of Cohort 9 and a junior account executive at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. “Rich and Peggy engage and challenge us to be involved and interact with our cohorts.”

The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom, either, as the students begin to apply it in their careers. “Each week, I will make an effort to apply different aspects of the instruction to my personal and professional life,” said VanCola, “and see how it influences others positively.”

The students resume class Aug. 26 and will alternate weekends from now until April 2013.