URI Redesigns One-Year MBA Program and Moves to Downtown Feinstein Providence Campus

KINGSTON, RI – (October 22, 2012) The University of Rhode Island has redesigned its one-year Master of Business Administration Program and moved the program to the downtown Feinstein Providence Campus. This move allows students to be closer to the businesses and executives who will play a key role in the program’s strategic innovation-focused curriculum.

“Our new one-year MBA program is a breakthrough design,” said Mark Higgins, dean of the College of Business Administration. “This approach demonstrates to students that strategic decision making is not sequential, but rather interdisciplinary across all areas of the business. Disruptive innovation in business is becoming the rule, not the exception, and this new program will ensure our students can thrive and compete.”

URI originally launched its one-year, accelerated MBA program in 1995, making it one of the first programs of its type in the nation. The College of Business Administration made several incremental updates over the past 18 years, but the program had not undergone an extensive revision. Three years ago Higgins enlisted faculty members to conduct a comprehensive review of the program, and assess how to make the traditional MBA more relevant in this rapidly changing economy. More than 20 faculty studied market trends, benchmarked other institutions, and surveyed national and regional employers, URI alumni, and current students.

The redesigned program focuses on how to manage, design and implement strategic innovation. In addition, the new program’s approach differs dramatically from the traditional MBA learning model of students taking 5 or 6 concurrent, 15-week courses, each in a distinct functional area taught by a different faculty member.

Instead, this highly innovative curriculum is team-taught using a faculty cohort emphasizing critical thinking skills, evidence-based decision making, and interpersonal communication as faculty explore the functional areas. Using a continuous improvement framework, each two-week module is built upon the module that precedes it.

Students will graduate with a greater understanding of how to make their organizations’ processes more efficient and their new products more effective. They will have a greater understanding of the strategic priorities of the organization and how to help them create sustainable competitive advantages. The skills developed in this program are those which employers deem important to an individual’s growth within an organization.

“In business you are integrating a variety of disciplines including accounting and marketing and finance; no one works in a silo any longer, “said MBA Coordinator Lisa Lancellotta. “This cross-disciplined approach requires students to make informed strategic decisions by understanding how these decisions impact the various business areas. We will develop business leaders who are forward-thinking, creative, and solution driven.”

The redesigned MBA program incorporates two other features. First, the students will participate in a “live case” with executives from Hasbro, Inc. Several company executives will participate in classroom sessions to discuss Hasbro’s successful transformation from a toy manufacturer to a global entertainment company, thereby providing students with a real life context in which to apply their coursework.

Second, the MBA program students will engage in experiential learning by forming teams to either work with Rhode Island organizations to help develop a new process or practice, or work with start-up organizations or entrepreneurs to develop an innovative product. The process and product innovation teams will work in a collaborative “business laboratory” setting. The redesigned program culminates in the summer with an internship.

The one-year MBA program has attracted students with undergraduate majors in theater, engineering, history, pharmacy, and the sciences. The early admission application deadline for next year’s class is April 15, 2013.

The URI College of Business Administration, with more than 1,500 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students, has served as the leader in business education, research, and outreach for the State of Rhode Island since it was founded in 1923. It is the first accredited business school in Rhode Island (1969) and has the first accredited accounting program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the Northeast (1993). The College is a key stakeholder in shaping and fostering economic development in the state.


“I applaud the new approach of the URI MBA and its focus on experiential learning opportunities with Rhode Island businesses. As we focus on growing our economy and getting people back to work, teaching students to think critically and exposing them to real-world experience has never been so important. The URI MBA program has tremendous potential to serve as a business incubator for innovative ideas that will benefit the State of Rhode Island as a whole.”
R.I. Governor Lincoln Chafee


“We are pleased to welcome the University of Rhode Island one-year MBA program to downtown Providence and look forward to working with the University to connect Providence workers with opportunities to expand their skills. Because of the opportunities created by our colleges and universities, Providence is positioned to compete in the New Economy. URI’s decision to move its unique one-year MBA program into the Downtown business district will help URI expand its reach into Providence’s business community and will help move Providence forward.”
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras


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