The demand for online programs and virtual learning environments for full-time working professionals continues to increase, as evidence by the fact that the School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA) recently enrolled the largest Hybrid Executive MBA class since the program was first launched in 2006. A recent study of online students conducted by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, two companies involved in online educational consulting, found that one-third of the nearly 3 million online students are pursuing business degrees, by far the most popular field for online degrees. 

SEBA's hybrid programs are not only attracting the attention of students but also respected orgranizations and instituions. In 2012, MBAOnline.com recognized Saint Mary's Hybrid Executive MBA as a leader in this space and ranked SMC in the top 25 programs. Also acclaimed among our peers, Professor Barry Eckhouse, SEBA’s director of technology and online programs, created and hosted an Executive MBA technology conference (embatech.com) in San Francisco (in 2010 and 2012) that attracted executive directors, chief information officers or deans of universities such as Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, Wharton, Cornell University, USC, UCLA, the Naval Postgraduate School, INSEAD, and many more. The conference also included top executives of companies such as Microsoft, Pagewell and Xanedu.  As a recognized pioneer in using technology to enhance graduate student learning for professionals, Saint Mary's College continues to be approached by others eager to understand the school’s method and reason for success.

The Pacific School of Religion is the latest group of visitors to request a meeting with Professor Barry Eckhouse to learn more about SEBA’s innovative approach to hybrid online education and to discuss some of their plans to launch online programs.

“The meeting was very interesting and productive,” according to Professor Eckhouse, “and we have already started planning for a second PSR visit in March. This will most probably result in an ongoing partnership between our faculty and the faculty of PSU, one that should be beneficial to both schools.”

Past visits of this type include the faculty and administration of the Claremont Graduate School, the dean and faculty of Kennesaw State’s Coles College, and members of Kaiser Permanente’s professional development division.

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