By Chris Avery
A new graduate program at NAIT seeks to focus business ventures in promoting local economic development.
As part of the continuing education department, NAIT has recently partnered with Cape Breton University to deliver a unique Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) that targets Community Economic Development (CED).
The program “aims to deliver advanced business knowledge and skills in the context of both the community and the world,” said the continuing education department. The goal of the program is to train individuals to become leaders in providing innovative approaches to developing local economies.
Training includes “strong business management capabilities, well developed collaborative and interpersonal skills, and deep knowledge of accountability, social responsibility, and development issues and practices,” said the continuing education department.
Some of the major admission requirements include already having a degree, reference letters, completion of the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or a university level credit in statistics. Furthermore, the maintenance of a 3.0 Grade Point Average or higher throughout the program is necessary for completion.
The delivery of the program takes place during the weekends, allowing students to continue working at their respective full-time jobs. The normal schedule of the MBA follows instruction on Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The semester also follows the September to June format.
Graduates equipped with an MBA in CED “foster capacities of analysis, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication,” said the continuing education department. The program “embraces concepts of diversity and inter-dependency and equips students with the knowledge base and skills to function effectively and productively in an increasingly global community.”
One of the approaches of CED is to encourage individuals in the community to “conceptualize and develop their economic activity to avoid being reduced to isolated players within the global market,” said Jennifer Sumner in her report about the connection between food, community and economic development.
Sumner goes on to discuss how “organizations associated with community economic development can understand and scale up their activity” by establishing connections with other businesses that demand or supply their products.
“For example, a backward connection measures how the demands of one sector can create economic benefit, and therefore strengthen, another sector,” said Sumner.
She stresses how “community economic development organizations need to realize their capacity to improve their impacts and role in transformative change by leveraging their potential power to influence public policy as a social movement.”
The MBA in CED teaches students how to leverage the power of the community to develop sustainable business practices.