Specialized MBAs, emerging technologies provide career opportunities

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In this installment of “Education Collaboration,” topics include specialized master’s degree programs in real estate, complex health care and project management, and insight into virtual reality and 3D printing. There’s also a new program to level the playing field for future female C-level executives.

Master’s in Real Estate Development

This master’s degree program at Nova Southeastern University’s Terry W. Stiles School of Real Estate Development teaches the skills used to perform market and financial feasibility analysis for residential and commercial developments and investment properties.

“The main goal of our students is to become project managers,” says program director Fred Forgey.  “Most want to end up as either a part of a development team or as entrepreneurs.”

Leaders in the real estate industry serve as mentors and often end up offering jobs to graduates, Forgey says. As part of the program, students work on projects that are judged by industry leaders.

One example is land-use planning for Air Glades International Airport in Clewiston. Students worked with county officials as well as the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. The project focused on the peripheral development of infrastructure at the airport, which is seeking to build a 10,000-foot runway and a perishable air cargo complex.

The Complexities of Health Care

Not only is health care a huge and growing business, it’s getting more and more complex. Individuals looking to become leaders in the industry increasingly need broad skills to deal with these complex issues.

NSU’s MBA in Complex Health Systems program is designed to give students a complete understanding of the field. “We want our students to become leaders and transform the industry, to change health care in this country,” says program director Francois Sainfort. “We want them to become agents of change.”

Graduates will learn about research, innovation, regulations and policies and how to integrate it into systems. “If they don’t understand the rules and regulations, they cannot make policy changes,” Sainfort says.

The primary goals are to improve the quality of care, increase accessibility, and lower costs, he says. The MBA program began in August 2017 and has 45 students.

“Most applicants come from either a clinical or health background,” Sainfort says. “They don’t want to practice; they want to manage. Others are already in health care, and they want to move up to the C-level.”

Project Management Degree

Palm Beach Atlantic University is set to offer an MBA with a concentration in project management this fall.

“This is a new concentration for the existing MBA program,” says Lane Cohee, an associate professor of management who is leading the new course of study.

A 33 percent increase in project management jobs is expected by 2027, Cohee says. There are high-paying jobs in fields such as health care, manufacturing, construction, IT, finance and aerospace. As a result, Cohee says a broad-based skill set is needed.

The new concentration will allow students to satisfy contact hour requirements, augment the existing nine-core curriculum and get certified in project management. “Having their MBA really rounds it out and grows their general management skills,” says Cohee, who previously was a manager at Harris Corp.

3D Printing Technology

Science and industry have joined forces to create the Johnson & Johnson 3D Printing Center of Excellence Collaborative Laboratory at the University of Miami’s College of Engineering.

The goal of the collaboration, which was dedicated in October, is supporting joint research, materials development and testing of 3D printing processes and technologies. Joe Sendra, vice president for engineering, science and technology for Johnson & Johnson, says the pharmaceutical company approached UM’s engineering college leaders to see if they could find mutual areas of science in which to collaborate.

While 3D printing has been around for 30 years, rapidly improving technological advances are creating new areas of innovation. Oral products, medical devices and bioprinting are among those technologies. Bioprinting combines cells, growth factors and biomaterials to fabricate parts that imitate natural tissue characteristics, according to the American Journal of Surgery.

“We can radically change patient specific solutions,” Sendra says. “The computing power has allowed us to cut a lot of time and cost.”

Virtual Reality and Entrepreneurship

Local businessman Christopher Hooper is encouraging students to follow his path in the emerging field of virtual reality to become entrepreneurs and business pioneers.

“I can say the technology industry and entrepreneurship go hand in hand,” says Hooper, president and CEO of Blue Raven Studios (blueravenstudios.com), a Fort Lauderdale-based company specializing in virtual reality programs and products. “I encourage creative ways to use this new technology.”

Hooper has spoken to students at area schools about VR and entrepreneurship. “I build interactive experiences that can be used for anything, including recruiting and touring,” says Hooper, who used to work in the printing and advertising fields.

Students come away from his lectures fascinated by VR and its potential. “They love it,” he says. “I tell students to create their own niche. We are cowboys. We are pioneers and trailblazers.”

Hooper says he tells students to be ready for anything. “That’s the lesson I want to impart,” he says.

In November, Hooper spoke to students and used Oculus Go VR goggles at an entrepreneurial studies class at Boca Raton’s St. Andrews School. His company installed the content for the googles for St. Andrews to use as a virtual recruitment tool.

Getting More Women into the C-Suite

Although women hold 52 percent of all professional jobs in the United States, less than 5 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are led by female CEOs. The Kathleen Brush Women in Executive Leadership Program at Florida Atlantic University wants to change that.

The program looks at gender bias, mentoring, communication, leadership, change, strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. The learning process uses case studies, simulations, collaborative tasks, lectures, readings and participant presentations.

While women often have advantages when placed in leadership roles, such as empathy and being able to read people well, they might also do things that sabotage them, says Paige Pavlik Garrido, assistant director for corporate training and talent development. For example, “When women walk into a room, they might say, ‘I’m sorry for interrupting,’ but there’s no reason to apologize,” Garrido says. Such actions might be construed as signs of weakness.

The program has already started and will conclude in April. However, Garrido says plans are underway to offer it yearly, if not more often.

“We have a mentorship program along with planned networking events,” she says. “We invite community members.” ♦

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