Adaptation Keeps Bloch a Top Choice for MBA Students

Flexibility puts students' needs first

For the third straight year, UMKC's Henry W. Bloch School of Management has topped the Kansas City Business Journal's ranking of enrollment in regional MBA programs.

The Bloch School had 429 students in Fall 2021, according to the list, with Rockhurst University's Helzberg School of Management (357 students) and Baker University's School of Professional and Graduate Studies (228 students) rounding out the top three.

A keen focus on meeting the needs of students and Kansas City-area employers helps the Bloch School outdraw its counterparts, said Dean Brian Klaas and Associate Dean Brian Anderson.

"We provide experiences that are very much focused on organizations in Kansas City," Klaas said. "And we are working to customize our program to really create stronger and stronger linkages with the industries that are here."

Those partnerships include major employers such as Burns & McDonnell, Cerner, Evergy and McCownGordon. Klass also noted "rich engagement" with startups through Bloch's Entrepreneurial Scholars program and work with entrepreneurs in underrepresented communities.

Flexible scheduling is a key way the Bloch School meets the needs of its MBA students, since many of them are pursuing their degrees while working. Students may switch between online and in-person classes, sometimes even week to week.

Significant investments in classroom technology facilitate this flexibility, including rooms specially designed to serve a hybrid audience. Screens in the front and back of the room integrate online participants with those attending in person.

Health and safety protocols necessitated by COVID-19 accelerated the move toward hybrid learning.

"Flexibility is something that has shifted from a desire to an expectation," Anderson said. 

This fall, the school expects to create two Bloch Studio spaces that will give remote students "an even more immersive online experience," Anderson said. The rooms will have TV-studio-quality audio and lighting along with interactive whiteboards and multiple monitors.

"We are investing in Kansas City and being a talent development partner for the region," Anderson said. "I think creating programs, connections and opportunities for students to build their network in Kansas City has significant appeal to working professionals in the region."

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