This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Questions &Answers

Published: April 14, 2005

David Frasier is assistant dean in the School of Management and administrative director of the MBA program.

With the recent downturn in the economy, especially in Western New York and the rest of Upstate, has the MBA become a "must-have" degree? Can you still get a good job with just a bachelor's degree in business administration?
First, I think it is a mistake to assume that the focus of UB MBA or undergraduate business students should be just Western New York. Graduates should be open to going where the jobs are. There still are good jobs in Western New York, however. The accounting sector is especially hot for undergrads and grads. I see the MBA as a longer-term, career degree. Ideally, an undergrad should find the best possible job, stay in it for several years and go back for an MBA. An MBA student with several years of experience brings more to, and gets more out of, the degree. A number of our students came back because their career progress had stalled out with just the bachelor's degree. I think that an MBA will increasingly be important for long-term career growth, but it is more valuable after some experience "in the trenches."

What's an MBA worth these days in increased salary?
That's a little hard to say since the past few years have been a soft market for the MBA. However, we appear to be seeing a turnaround. Over one's career, it certainly is a solid investment. Forbes magazine rates the UB MBA as an excellent investment due to its low cost and the return to students. That is true even for graduates who stay in Western New York, where salary levels are admittedly lower than New York City or other major metro areas. But when adjusted for the cost of living, Buffalo can look pretty good.

Describe the different MBA programs offered at UB.
Our "flagship" program—the one that consistently is ranked in the top 10 to 15 percent of all MBA programs—is the full-time MBA Program. That is a 60-credit, two-year program with a core curriculum that grounds students in management fundamentals and features nine concentrations to choose from. The Professional MBA is a weeknight program designed for working adults with a year or more of full-time managerial experience. The Executive MBA Program is designed for mid-level executives who have 10 to 15 years of experience. The EMBA meets Friday and Saturday on alternating weekends, making it available to executives from a broader region. The School of Management also has EMBA programs Beijing, China, and Singapore. One-year M.S. programs are offered in information systems, accounting, supply chains and operations management, and finance—with tracks in financial management or financial engineering. The School of Management also offers the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and customized corporate training.

What's the MBA Advantage?
MBA Advantage is our orientation and professional-development program that begins during the summer prior to the start of the program. Students complete the online CareerLeader assessment, which helps our Career Resources Center work with them on their job search. When the students arrive on campus prior to classes, we have a range of team-building and problem-solving events, career workshops, an Ethical Fitness Seminar, several networking events with alumni and a career competition over a total of eight days throughout the first three semesters. We believe this program significantly contributed to The Wall Street Journal's recruiter-based ranking that rated our program grads among the top 10 in leadership potential and leadership skills.

There's a lot of competition among local institutions for MBA students. What makes the UB MBA program unique from its competitors?
Several factors make the UB MBA stand out. We are the only nationally ranked program in the area. We have one of the highest percentages of international students among all U.S. programs, as well as a very high percentage of female students. Our teamwork structure is distinctive and prepares graduates for the challenges of working on corporate teams. Recruiting a class of about 150 students each year places us among the smaller of national MBA programs, which allows us to develop strong relations among students, faculty and staff, but we have all the resources of a major research university at our disposal, and the relationships that affords. We have the only dedicated Career Resource Center in the university, and it was ranked number one worldwide by The Wall Street Journal in its last survey that focused on career centers. We also have the advantage that, as a SUNY school, our tuition rates make the UB MBA an outstanding value.

Is an MBA only for someone interested in a career in business?
An MBA is an excellent companion degree for a number of other professions. We have many joint-degree programs, such as the J.D./MBA, M.D./MBA, architecture/MBA, geography/MBA, pharmacy/MBA and social work/MBA. One of our recent M.D./MBA grads reported back that she had applied to some hospitals for her residency that she felt were a real stretch. She was accepted at all of them and got her top choice. The review committee told her that the MBA degree made her stand out from other applicants and made the difference. I am sure it will be a lifelong asset for her.

Do you have an MBA?
I wouldn't leave home without it—especially for my job as assistant dean for the UB SOM MBA Program. I earned it from Boston University in 1979 and it has served me well for more than 25 years in teaching and administration.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?
How do I find out more about the UB MBA? See our Web site at