PEMBROKE — Business professor Nick Arena was recently named director of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Master of Business Administration program.
With international accreditation recently accomplished, the School of Business is currently considering different approaches to expand its reach. Delivering the program fully online is one option as well as developing a hybrid format, where face-to-face instruction is augmented by online tools.
The move will require faculty support and training, according to Cooper Maysami, dean of the School of Business. Twelve professors have completed training and are redesigning the program for online delivery course-by-course.
“We are ready to move the program to the next level, and Nick is the right person to lead the effort,” Maysami said. “The first thing we plan to do is update the MBA curriculum to address the needs of the 21st century business.”
Arena joined the university in 2008 to teach management, marketing and international business. Arena earned his master’s degree in Business Administration from UNCP, and was the 2002 Master of Business Administration Student of the Year.
The MBA program started in 1995 as an evening program and currently serves approximately 50 students.
“The program is in a good shape now, and we will continue to serve our base through offering a strong face-to-face program,” Arena said. “That said, there is potential for considerable growth even beyond the program’s North Carolina base.
“I can see the program growing considerably in the near future to well over 100 students,” he said. “I have some marketing ideas that I hope will help make it happen. The AACSB accreditation is so important to the entire School of Business; it’s time to capitalize on it.”
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the leading worldwide accrediting agency for undergraduate and graduate schools of business. Only six percent of business schools globally are accredited, and UNCP gained its stamp of approval last spring.
Arena said high quality teaching, small classes and close interaction with faculty are the standard of UNCP’s MBA program. That will not change, he said.
“We’re going to do it right and get it right,” Arena said. “The student experience will be the same high quality.”
A suburban Philadelphia native, Arena received a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University. Arena also served as chief executive officer of COMtech, a business development incubator in Pembroke. He currently serves as vice chair of SCORE’s local small business development chapter in Robeson County.