Graduate Business Programs Appeal to Working Adults

E.W. Fines is 38, married, the father of two small boys — and back in school.

Returning to college and changing careers isn’t easy in mid-life, but a couple of new programs in Pacific University’s College of Business are trying to make it easier.

Fines, who left sales management with an eye on an investment career, completed his undergraduate degree at Portland State University and now is working toward a master of science in finance at Pacific.

He’s one of 11 students — ranging in age from 22 to 40-plus — who started the new program in January and will complete degrees by November 2014. Classes meet Friday afternoons and all day Saturday every other weekend, and are taught by both full-time Pacific University professors and faculty visiting from other universities accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“I like the speed at which we go,” Fines said. “Basically, one class a month so that we can throw everything into it. We get together and have a group study on Wednesdays and/or Thursday, so the weeks flow pretty well.”

Applications now are open for a similarly-structured program starting this fall and resulting in a master of business administration, or MBA. That program will include an elective-driven curriculum in which students can choose a focal path of accounting, entrepreneurship, or healthcare.

Fines is looking for an internship in the finance field to complete his education, but he’s interested in eventually earning an MBA, as well as his MSF.

“I would ultimately like to finish both … as one degree goes deep in the subject and the other is a broader business degree,” he said. “I want to start a career on the investment side but am not exactly sure.

“But,” he added with a smile, “working for the Blazers would be fun.” 

Saturday, June 28, 2014