TURLOCK -- California State University, Stanislaus, is extending its executive Masters in Business Administration program into downtown Turlock, with plans for an expansion into Modesto early next year.
The executive MBA offers 25 to 30 students an accredited CSU degree after an intensive, 15-month, 36-credit course load, with meetings Saturdays and online. University officials said the program helps middle managers and junior executives as they climb corporate and professional rungs.
Tuition runs $28,500.
Last year, the program began holding classes in Tracy, meeting in a fire administration building, and next month a Stockton-based class will begin at the Old Republic Title Co.
Turlock will hold the program in the City Council chamber at City Hall. In return, the students will work on a city issue as a class project; one city employee will be able to attend free. The Tracy class, for example, is pitching a plan to the City Council on greening the city procurement policy, said Neal Aly, program director and dean of the college. Turlock's issue hasn't been decided.
"This program is tailored toward business people with managerial experience. It prepares them to go to the next executive level," Aly said. "The learning environment is not traditional. Students will learn from one another."
Students with marketing experience, for example, will spearhead the marketing course and marketing aspects of the class project, he said. Two classes will be completed every nine weeks with two of the Saturday classes meeting online. Traditional MBA programs tend to attract younger students, often full time or at night, and can last several years.
Turlock Assistant City Manager John French said it's a win-win for the university and the city. Not wanting to hire an extra person to open up and lock down City Hall on Saturdays, the city suggested an employee take the class for free and act as a trustee.
The college agreed, so City Hall is holding an essay contest and interview process with its employees. A selection panel will make a recommendation to City Manager Tim Kerr, who has the final say, French said.
Stretching west to Tracy, north to Stockton and south to Turlock, the university is defining its geographical boundaries before moving into "our bread-and-butter, Modesto," Aly said.
"Next April, a year from now, we hope Modesto will follow in the footsteps of Turlock, possibly in combination with the county," he said.
The program doesn't meet on the main campus in Turlock or on the Stockton campus to emphasis the program's "practical nature" and connection to real-world business and management, Aly said.
Vance Prather, 45, a senior program manager with Fremont-based Logitech, is eight months into the 15-month Tracy program.
"I love it," he said. "The curriculum is based on real-world applications and examples in business."
His favorite subject is international business. No surprise. One Saturday, Prather woke up in Hong Kong and with the time change, managed to fly back and make the 8 a.m. class.
"That makes for a long day," he said.
For more information on the Stanislaus State executive MBA program in Turlock, visit www.csustanemba.com or call 667-3288.
Bee staff writer Michael R. Shea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2391.