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MBA Program to Offer Updated, Value-Added Curriculum

by Janelle Hill M’23 Jul 2, 2024
Kent MBA New Curriculum

The Kathleen Waterbury and J.B. Reilly School of Business is reimagining its MBA program by introducing a new “kind” of MBA to the business community.  

This innovative MBA is designed through the prism of the University’s Salesian values to prepare graduates for today’s business challenges and opportunities. The refreshed curriculum, which launches this fall, is driven by six guiding principles:

  • “Be Who You Are, and Be That Well” as a clear vision for effective leadership.
  • An effective leader has an astute sense of business acumen, including being able to navigate the new AI world.
  • Executives rely on data analysis and must be capable of steering discussions to make decisions.
  • Ethics must be the paramount force in business.
  • Productivity, efficiency, and the culture of workplaces can improve with an advanced study of individual and organizational behavior.
  • Knowledge is created through the transformation of experience in leading, not just theory. 

Karen Kent, Ph.D., director of the program, led a team of faculty and staff that studied trends in business leadership, technology, and experiential learning to examine and reimagine the future of business education. 

“In today’s world, it’s all about being able to enhance and develop your organization to meet the demands of both the internal environment and external forces. That’s why we think more of an emphasis on strategic thinking is necessary. The world is changing so rapidly with technology, we need skilled managers that can adapt to change quickly.”

 Karen Kent, Ph.D., MBA program director

Kent and her team considered the impact of AI and other changes in technology to offer the most up-to-date information and guidance to students. They also updated the foundational courses to enable students to acquire the skills they need to start the program sooner. Concentration areas are also being condensed from 14 offerings down to seven. 

“These changes appeal to the demands and needs of our students,” says Kent. “The self-design concentration has grown to be our number one concentration, and healthcare is right behind it. But, at the same time, some students still like to pursue a specialty-focused MBA. We’re always trying to carefully balance the needs of our students and the importance of their educational design for the future.”   

A new Experiential Capstone Course will provide students with an opportunity to practice their skills as members of the DeSales MBA Consulting Team. Teams will partner with local nonprofits and start-up companies on strategic projects, with faculty serving as coaches. This year, two capstone classes conducted a comprehensive strategic plan for Camelot for Children in Allentown, covering operational, fundraising, grant writing, and long-range facility plans.

Several hallmarks of the program that won’t change, Kent says, are flexibility, affordability, and personalized attention. Classes will still be offered in different formats—online, on campus, or asynchronous. 

“We take great pride in our unique, customized support of individuals, corporations, and institutions in need of a highly flexible, quality education,” Kent says. “I think that makes all the difference in today’s environment.”  

For more information on the MBA program, please email the program at