Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ISU officials to discuss MBA program

Presentation today at 5:30 p.m. at Sun Valley Inn

Express Staff Writer

Officials from Idaho State University will give a presentation today on a possible executive master's in business administration program in the Wood River Valley.

The event, hosted by the Wood River Economic Partnership and Sun Valley Co., will feature ISU Provost Gary Olson, Business College Dean Ken Smith and members of ISU's business school faculty. They will discuss their proposed concept at an open meeting in the Continental Room of the Sun Valley Inn at 5:30 p.m.

Other meetings on the subject will take place throughout the day, including discussions with Sustain Blaine, a group focused on economic development in the county, representatives of local businesses, and Blaine County educators. The Sustain Blaine presentation will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey and is also open to the public.

The idea of creating such a program began gaining traction earlier this fall when Blaine County Commissioner Tom Bowman, Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, and Smith met to discuss the feasibility of creating a one-year program in the valley.

In October, Smith said an inaugural class could begin as early as fall 2010 and would likely be comprised of 20 to 25 students. The program would take place over the course of a year, with students doing a significant portion of the curriculum online and meeting once a week, possibly at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Smith said the target student body would be employees in management positions, or those in line to move into management, seeking to learn overall business, strategic planning and company management skills.

During Smith's trip to the valley, he met with over a dozen Wood River Valley-based business owners and discussed the possibility of having resident business veterans help teach classes.

"The ISU officials were really surprised by the enthusiasm and possibility of presenters that could add value to classes," Jaquet said in an interview. "I think they now have a higher level of commitment because of the level of interest they encountered."

Jaquet said the potential is also developing to create a program to provide graduate courses for teachers.

Jon Duval:

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