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For professionals on the rise, an MBA is a key credential. But while an MBA may help launch the next stage of a career, few are willing to put everything on hold to obtain one. Staying on top of course work while holding down a job and meeting personal obligations is challenging at best.

“Students nowadays aren’t willing to go to school to earn an MBA on a full-time basis and forego the economic benefits of a full-time job,” says Dr. Parviz Ghandforoush, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.

That’s one of the reasons why business schools like Pamplin have developed an alternative: hybrid MBA program options that combine the flexibility of online courses with the in-person interaction of a traditional MBA.

Online collaboration and discussion modules give students flexibility to access coursework whenever and wherever they are located. In-person class lectures offer hands-on learning, face-to-face discussions and substantive interaction with instructors and classmates.

According to Dana Hansson, Director of MBA Programs at Virginia Tech, the hybrid nature of the programs deliver flexibility and “a personal touch” that encourages students from various industries, work settings and management layers to pool their experiential knowledge.

Both hybrid pathways to an MBA — the Arlington-based Executive MBA and multi-city Professional MBA — offer advantages that promise to resonate long after a program’s completion.

An in-person element and cohort format create lasting relationships that can deliver significantly more value and meaning than any LinkedIn connection. Membership in an elite institution also promotes close professional relationships among peers throughout Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

With more than 100,000 alumni in the mid-Atlantic region alone, an MBA from Virginia Tech provides students with access to industry professionals and mentors, many of whom can connect graduates with opportunities for career advancement.

A part-time format means applicants can maintain a steady income while also furthering their career aspirations. As a public university, Virginia Tech also offers a high-value tuition rate.

The part-time Professional MBA and Executive MBA programs can each be completed in the same amount of time as a traditional full-time program, and less than a traditional part-time program.

Learn more at mba.vt.edu.

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In today’s digital environment, organizations must collect vast volumes of data, analyze that data to retain high-value customers, predict trends, identify emerging markets, mitigate risk, drive innovation and more.

This means IT leaders must know how to gather and store information, combine data into meaningful clusters, mine it for compelling insights, and present it in a way that can help the business.

“Nowadays every company needs data-literate IT leaders who understand how to manipulate data, hear the voice of data, and translate insights into a competitive advantage for the business,” says Barbara Hoopes, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech.

For those companies or individuals looking to deepen their data analytics skill set, Virginia Tech’s online Master of Information Technology (VT-MIT) program provides an excellent foundation.

Not everyone has the time or financial resources to commit to a full master’s degree program, however. Some may already have a master’s and are just looking for a narrow update on a current skillset. For these reasons, the VT-MIT program also offers IT professionals the option to earn a graduate certificate in six specialized IT subject areas, including Business Analytics and Data Mining.

“IT leaders can find a certificate that speaks exactly to their professional needs without having to commit several years to pursuing a master’s degree,” says Hoopes. In fact, students can earn a certificate in as little as 12 months.

Whether looking to enhance existing skills or prepare for a major career transition, VT-MIT students can expect:

  • Enhanced marketability as they develop skills where a current dearth of talent is driving competitive salaries and prime opportunities for career advancement.
  • Greater convenience through exclusively online courses and a flexible schedule that allow for VT-MIT students to stay in the workforce while they earn a credential, shift their course loads at busier times for their business, and benefit from the experience of peers from across the globe.
  • Rapid upskilling in high-demand areas through focused graduate certificate options. Employers often provide tuition reimbursement “to contribute to the skill sets and the knowledge base of employees without having to release them to earn a degree as a full-time student,” says Hoopes.

Data analytics can provide organizations with invaluable insights — but only if IT leaders know how to parlay data into insights that drive informed business decisions.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology and graduate certificate options at vtmit.vt.edu.

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Virginia Tech’s forthcoming Innovation Campus continues to develop as the university works to deliver 750 master’s degree graduates annually by the end of the decade.

While the new campus will help cement the university’s regional footprint, Virginia Tech has been quietly providing graduate education opportunities in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area since 1969.

Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business has offered its MBA programs in this region for decades and more recently made the decision to narrow its focus to working professionals in urban centers across the commonwealth.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

The No. 14 nationally-ranked Evening MBA program is based in Falls Church and designed to provide maximum flexibility. Students can change their course load each semester to balance work and other commitments. They also have the option to focus their degree in one of 10 specialization areas, including traditional business topics like finance and management, and some more niche areas like healthcare information technology.

Arlington is home to the Executive MBA program, an 18-month, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals. The curriculum is centered around experiential learning modules that provide students with hands-on experience in topics like business analytics and leadership and governance.

The Professional MBA program is a 24-month hybrid option with once-per-month in-person classes that rotate between Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Pamplin’s focus on working professionals extends beyond its MBA programs. The college also offers part-time formats for its Master of Science in Business Administration — Hospitality and Tourism Management and Ph.D. in Business — Executive Business Research at the Falls Church location.

A 100% online Master of Information Technology offered in collaboration with the College of Engineering is available to part-time students across the globe and can be earned as a dual degree with the Evening MBA program.

To learn more about Virginia Tech’s MBA programs, visit mba.vt.edu or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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No matter what industry you work in, technology is constantly changing. Companies are searching for candidates with new skillsets and experience with emerging technologies.

At Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center, adjacent to the West Falls Church Metro station, an administrative team manages more than 600 online graduate students looking to develop new skills and fill gaps on their resume.

Virginia Tech developed its #4 nationally-ranked Master of Information Technology program (VT-MIT) in 1999 in response to a request by the Commonwealth of Virginia to help meet the growing demand for employees in the information technology field.

Since then, the 100% online program has kept pace with changes in technology, in both course delivery and course options.

Working professionals from across the country are taking the online courses at their own pace and designing a degree that works for their individual goals, whether they are a seasoned IT professional or looking to shift into a tech career.

VT-MIT currently offers 11 areas of specialization, including analytics and business intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, health information technology and software development.

The program also offers six graduate certificate options for professionals that are not looking to pursue a full degree.

VT-MIT plans to continue adding new courses and graduate certificates that keep up with current trends in tech, particularly as the wider university takes on a central role in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

Virginia Tech launched the Ballston-based Hume Center for National Security and Technology in 2010 and was tapped by the state in 2018 to lead its $25 million Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.

The university’s forthcoming Innovation Campus is expected to triple Virginia Tech’s footprint in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and become a magnet for leading tech talent, research and education.

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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Since 1969, Virginia Tech has served local residents, government and industry in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

While the planned Innovation Campus in Alexandria is anticipated to triple Virginia Tech’s local footprint, it already boasts more than 45 graduate degree and certificate programs, as well as many laboratories and research centers, spread across the region from Arlington to Leesburg.

Among those degree offerings, the Pamplin College of Business offers two different MBA program options that serve working professionals looking to advance their careers without leaving the workforce.

The Executive MBA offers an accelerated, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals. Students meet bi-monthly for weekend classes at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston.

The experiential learning curriculum focuses on strategic management in a global environment with an emphasis on leadership and governance, business analytics, entrepreneurship and innovation, and globalization.

The Evening MBA program option provides students with maximum flexibility by allowing them to start in January or August, decide their own course load each semester, and focus their studies in one of ten specialization areas.

Classes take place at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center, which is adjacent to the West Falls Church Metro station and convenient to I-495 and I-66.

In 2019, the Evening MBA program was named one of the top 20 part-time MBA programs nationwide by U.S. News & World Report for a fifth consecutive year.

Graduates of both the Executive and Evening MBA programs create lasting professional connections and join the university’s vast alumni network in the D.C. metro area to help advance their careers both now and in the future.

To learn more about the Virginia Tech MBA Programs, visit mba.vt.edu or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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The working professionals who pursue the Arlington-based Executive MBA at Virginia Tech get a rich education in the fundamentals of business — accounting and finance, marketing, operations, ethics, communications and leadership.

But woven around foundation courses are “experiential modules” designed to accelerate development in four essential and current areas: business analytics, entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership and governance, and global business.

The hands-on experience of the integrated modules is meant to allow Executive MBA students to immediately put their learning into action. That’s the idea behind all of Virginia Tech’s MBA programs — giving working professionals the tools they need to advance their careers as they pursue an MBA.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

That strategy meant Pamplin had to rethink program formats and locations to ensure they were meeting the needs of their busy students. They now offer three different paths to the same MBA and have centrally located their classes in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Ballston is home to the Executive MBA program, an 18-month, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals that meets every other weekend.

The nationally-ranked Evening MBA program is just two Metro stops away in Falls Church. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility by allowing students to change their course load each semester to balance work and other commitments.

The Professional MBA program is a 24-month hybrid online and in-person option with once-per-month class meetings that rotate between Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Visit mba.vt.edu to learn more about Virginia Tech’s MBA programs or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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The ever-evolving “security threat landscape” and changes in user behavior and IT infrastructure require IT professionals to keep their knowledge up to date and stay on top of the latest trends and developments.

Earning a 100% online Master of Information Technology with a specialization in cybersecurity from Virginia Tech can help individuals meet these heightened demands in a number of ways.

Ranked the #1 online master’s degree for cybersecurity by Cyberdegrees.org, and one of the top 3 online graduate IT programs nationwide by U.S. News and World Report, Virginia Tech’s VT-MIT program takes a unique approach to specialized education.

Core courses in areas such as information systems design, elec­tronic commerce, software engineering and computer programming help students master technical expertise in a business context. After completing these core courses, degree students can choose to specialize in cybersecurity.

Areas of focus range from cybersecurity management — for those interested in running their own in-house cybersecurity practice — to cybersecurity policy, which explores the legal and ethical concerns triggered by data breaches. This breadth of content allows students to tailor their education around their career ambitions.

Part of Virginia Tech’s core strength is its world-class cyber­security research, supported by $15 million in research grants and contracts. Students can access six cybersecurity research centers, including the Ballston-based Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

The VT-MIT program’s 100% online format allows students to pursue higher education at their own pace — a flexibility that allows for a longer timeline. Further enriching the student environment is the program’s openness to students with diverse backgrounds and interests, including business line leaders looking to improve their technology capabilities while leveraging their domain expertise.

Combating today’s cyber threats has never been more difficult, nor more critical to business continuity. A Master of In­formation Technology degree with a specialization in cybersecurity from Virginia Tech can help leaders better under­stand the systemic nature of these threats, and teach them strategies for dealing with an increasingly complex security landscape.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology with cybersecurity specializations here.

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In today’s digital age, as technology drives innovation throughout the enterprise, business acumen and technology expertise are emerging as essential skills.

At the same time, traditional functional roles are blurring, creating a blended business environment where IT leaders must embrace more business-oriented responsibilities and line of business leaders must find their way around sophisticated and complex technology systems. Only through education can these professionals gain the necessary skills and expertise to keep pace with this evolving business landscape. But it shouldn’t have to come at the cost of a full-time position.

Virginia Tech’s dual Master’s degree in business administration and information technology (MBA + MIT) is based in the D.C. area and can help professionals gain the experience, expertise and advantages they need to succeed in a blended business environment. Here’s how:

  • Career boost: Students receive an MBA while keeping up with changes in the technology industry by adding on a Master of IT. The result: greater marketability in a competitive labor market.
  • Economize time and money: The dual-degree program double-counts up to five courses earned in the MBA program toward those also offered in the MIT program or vice versa.
  • Work-life balance: Both the MBA and MIT degrees are built for full-time working professionals. Students have the flexibility to set their own pace by choosing the number of courses they will take each semester.
  • Variety: Students can select from a wide range of specialization areas including business intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, networking and software engineering.
  • Network: An in-person class format for the MBA program encourages students to establish valuable working relationships with classmates, and engage with top-notch faculty. A 100% online format for the MIT degree provides additional flexibility for working professionals and opportunity to work with students from across the country.

The Virginia Tech MBA + MIT dual-degree program offers the flexibility to contribute to business growth, revenue and innovation as a working professional today — and as a substantially more marketable leader tomorrow.

Learn more about the dual degree program here or explore Virginia Tech’s other local MBA options here.

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Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology program has been ranked the No. 1 online graduate degree for cybersecurity nationwide in the 2019 rankings list from CyberDegrees.org, a Washington, D.C.  based company.

In addition, the program was named one of the three best online graduate information technology programs nationwide for the seventh consecutive year in the annual rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Based at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, the online program is offered jointly by the Pamplin College of Business and College of Engineering. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to develop a range of skills and focus their studies in a topic that best serves their career goals.

Cybersecurity is one of 11 areas of specialization that students can use to tailor their degree. Other areas include Analytics and Business Intelligence, Big Data, Health Information Technology and Software Development.

The program also offers six graduate certificate options for professionals that are not looking to pursue a full degree.

The program plans to continue adding new courses and graduate certificates that keep up with current trends in tech, particularly as the wider university takes on a central role in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

In 2010, Virginia Tech launched the Hume Center to lead the university’s research and experiential learning programs in national security. The center now has a research facility in Ballston.

In 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that Virginia Tech will lead its $25 million Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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Virginia Tech has been making local headlines lately with the announcement of its Innovation Campus in the newly-designated neighborhood of National Landing.

While the new campus will help cement the university’s regional footprint, Virginia Tech has been quietly providing graduate education opportunities in the D.C. area since 1969.

Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business has offered its MBA programs in this region for decades and more recently made the decision to narrow its focus to working professionals in urban centers across the commonwealth.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

Arlington is home to the Executive MBA program, an 18-month, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals. The curriculum is centered around experiential learning modules that provide students with hands-on experience in topics like business analytics and leadership and governance.

The nationally-ranked Evening MBA program is based in Falls Church and designed to provide maximum flexibility. Students can change their course load each semester to balance work and other commitments. They also have the option to focus their degree in one of 10 specialization areas, including traditional business topics like finance and management, and some more niche areas like healthcare information technology.

The Professional MBA program is a 24-month hybrid option with once-per-month in-person classes that rotate between Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Visit mba.vt.edu to learn more about Virginia Tech’s MBA programs, or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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The working professionals who pursue the Arlington-based Executive MBA at Virginia Tech get a rich education in the fundamentals of business — accounting and finance, marketing, operations, ethics, communications and leadership.

But woven around those foundation courses are “experiential modules” designed to accelerate development in four essential and current areas:

  • Business analytics
  • Entrepreneurship & innovation
  • Leadership & governance
  • Global business

Each module includes two concentration classes plus a “big experience” course that puts the learning to work immediately, says Barbara Hoopes, academic director for Virginia Tech MBA Programs.

Corporate leaders are brought in “to provide guidance and bring real-life projects to students,” adds Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs in the Pamplin College of Business.

What does this look like on the ground? For the analytics module, which covers BI and data mining along with marketing analytics, Hoopes brought in four software vendors — Microsoft, Qlik, SAS and Tableau — to provide access to their products and act as coaches.

Students addressed pressing issues with U.S. infrastructure using publicly available data to analyze Congressional airport funding and its relationship to economic growth, identify causal factors for large utility outages and predict hazard classifications of dams in order to prioritize inspections.

Hoopes asserts that students really “need to understand how data can be used to support their decision-making.” That means “learning how to tell a story that convinces others” — in other words, traversing that last mile between the data scientist and the people at the very top.

Ghandforoush notes that students often arrive with an expectation that the data work they will do during their MBA is a throw-away “because they don’t need it or they have analysts at work who will do this for them.” And yet faculty hear back from former skeptics that those lessons turned out to be the most valuable in the program “because they’re actually using it at work and they’ve seen the results.”

That’s just what Virginia Tech had in mind when it undertook its redesign of the MBA for working professionals. “It’s not like students graduate and four or five years later we will hear if they have benefited from their MBA,” he concludes. “This is like a laboratory. We get to watch this as it’s happening right before our eyes.”

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Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program moved up three places to No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 rankings of the best part-time MBA programs.

The Northern Virginia-based program now ranks as the top public university part-time MBA in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The report assessed more than 300 part-time MBA programs across the country on factors such as student quality, peer reputation and the ratio of part-time to full-time students.

“This marks the fifth consecutive year that the Evening MBA has featured in the top 20 programs nationwide,” said Dana K. Hansson, director of MBA programs. “We believe the faculty expertise and high level of flexibility we offer are key factors in continuing to attract high quality students to our program.”

The Evening MBA is one of three MBA programs offered by the Pamplin College of Business. With many shared courses and faculty, the Executive and Professional MBA program options offer a similar academic experience to the Evening program, but with alternate formats and locations to better serve a range of students.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

This commitment to serving part-time students contributed to Virginia Tech’s highest ever overall score in the ranking. Another contributing factor was a strong appraisal by other programs.

“We’re particularly proud of the peer assessment score given the high quality of other programs in the nation,” said Dr. Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs at Pamplin. “In part, we believe the high rating is due to our commitment to offering cutting-edge courses in areas like innovation and entrepreneurship, machine learning/AI and cybersecurity that aren’t available to students in more traditional MBA programs.”

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These days, there isn’t just one way to get an education, says Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast.

Popular program options for working professionals include MOOCs, coding bootcamps, technical certifications and master’s degrees. The question is which one to choose.

MOOCs — massive, open, online courseslet students audit courses online, at no charge, through well-known universities. Students may also participate in paid versions of the course, which add graded assignments, extra support and a certificate for successful completion.

Coding bootcamps vary widely in their duration, format and cost, but all have a similar goal: to help students ramp up quickly on coding skills, especially web and mobile development.

Technical certifications are credentials that show people have passed a test and, in some cases, worked in a given job for a set period of time. These can be inexpensive to attain, if the student is willing to do self-study. However, they’re of limited duration; when the technology is updated, the certification needs to be updated, too.

Then there’s the master’s degree:

  • It’s only available through institutions that have gone through an accrediting process to prove the quality of their instructors and courses.
  • In the leading schools, faculty have practical experience in the subject and bring cutting-edge information to their students.
  • The program generally includes a community of alumni with deep connections and support.

The online Master of Information Technology, offered by Virginia Tech, adds an additional benefit: It has been jointly developed by faculty from both business and engineering, which means it can strike that sweet spot of “technical and soft skills” that employers truly value, notes Sumichrast. The combination, he says, “makes for a really well-rounded student coming out of the program.”

So how do you choose a program? Sumichrast recommends looking at the context in which you’re operating. “If you’ve already got a degree in the field that you’re trying to update, then maybe a single course, such as a MOOC, could give you a narrow update on what you already know.”

“These are personal decisions,” Sumichrast advises. “Find the education that best fits you. For many students that means one that puts the facts that you learn in context and that approaches problems from different directions so that you can have a more coherent whole when you finish.”

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit www.vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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There is a new point of pride for the 35,000 Virginia Tech alumni and thousands of students from Northern Virginia: The school on Tuesday was named No. 1 on the Princeton Review’s Best Campus Food list for 2015.

Virginia Tech Dining Services has ranked in Princeton Review’s top four best campus food spots in recent years. The school previously attained the No. 1 designation in 2010 and 2008.

“We are compared with many fine institutions for this distinction, but we also continually challenge ourselves,” Ted Faulkner, director of dining services, said in a news release. “Our dining leadership, chefs, managers, and staff are constantly elevating the program and what we can achieve. To have this announcement come just as we are gearing up for the return of students is truly inspiring for our entire team.”

Staffers from Virginia Tech dining were on Wednesday morning’s Today Show, where they served apple tart and ice cream to hosts Al Roker and Natalie Morales.

Princeton Review editors point out that the school served 7.1 million meals last year.

By the way, Syracuse was named the No.1 party school. To see more from The Princeton Review’s rankings, visit Princetown Review online.

Are you a Virginia Tech student or alum? What do you think of the food? Tell us in the comments.

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