Capstone course is key to Mount Mercy MBA

Mount Mercy’s MBA program, while steeped in classroom knowledge, demands that its students learn a practical side to business and management.

The Capstone course, a students’ final course in the MBA program, offer students hands-on, relevant experience gained through working with and supporting local Corridor-based businesses. Courses such as Principles of Project Management and Entrepreneurial Endeavors encourage outreach and help to facilitate connections between MBA students and local business leaders.

Deb Oliver, Ph.D., Mount Mercy’s MBA program director, has taught at Mount Mercy for 10 years and began her duties as MBA program director in 2008. As she planned course offerings, she knew a successful, meaningful curriculum would need to incorporate community outreach in order to hone students’ skills and build upon classroom knowledge.

“Our MBA students are driven,” says Oliver. “They are engaged, they ask questions and they do the work. The culture of Mount Mercy is focused on serving and caring, with an emphasis on community, so it is imperative that part of our curriculum would require students to partner with locally based organizations to help them succeed.”

Bob Walker, Ph.D., chair of the Mount Mercy business department and an associate professor in the MBA program, stresses that management — and learning how to manage – is all about the people. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” says Walker. With this axiom in mind, Mount Mercy MBA faculty prepare their students to cultivate relationships with local non-profit and business leaders.

MBA students have partnered with such local organizations as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois, and Iowa Quality Center, to name a few.

“We were able to take a concept of an idea and hand it over to the MBA students to build a solid project implementation plan. As a result, we will not only be able to implement this project, we will be able to start it two months earlier. Our final results for the project will most likely be better, too. A huge win for our organization!,” says a representative of the Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois.

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