During the spring of 2005, Oklahoma Baptist University business professors began plans to fill a void. As the horizons of business were broadening and the complexity of the issues faced in the business world thickened, these professors saw the need for a graduate program that could provide businesspeople the wisdom and expertise to engage a complex and international economy in a decidedly Christian way. In February of 2007, OBU launched its MBA in international business as a way to meet these challenges. The program is part of OBU’s International Graduate School located in Oklahoma City.

One of the formative minds behind the program, OBU business professor Rich Rudebock, cites four distinctive features of the program. First, the program comes from a Christian perspective, seeking to impart a Christian vision of business to its students. Second, the program is practical in nature. The goal of the program is to provide real-world expertise. Rather than preparing the student theory alone, the program’s goal is to prepare students with the practical tools to engage their own businesses and workplaces. Third, and in accordance with the second feature of the program, the MBA boasts faculty that are of a high academic repute, but at the same time, have practical and “real-world” experiences in the business world. Finally, the program is international.

And it appears the program is reaching these goals. When Ron Duggins, graduate of the program and now director of the Center for Business Development at the Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, was asked what made the faculty special, he noted their “ability and desire to integrate faith discussions” into the classroom. Duggins, who completed his undergraduate studies at OBU, believes OBU’s MBA “filled a gap” in his learning. While Duggins had received graduate degrees in subjects related to business, the OBU MBA gave him a knowledge base more connected to business. As a result, Duggins has been better equipped to help start-up companies and teach business courses as an adjunct professor at OBU and Oklahoma Christian University.

For Duggins, the international trip that is built into the program was a highlight. This trip, says Duggins, “makes it (the class work) practical.” Duggins’s international trip was to Europe where he learned from a European grocery store chain, a Mercedes Benz plant, a furniture factory and a pharmaceutical company.

The most recent MBA class ventured to the United Arab Emirates, spending much of their ten day trip in Dubai. OBU business professor, Gene King, organizes the international trips. On this most recent trip to United Arab Emirates students met with executives and leaders from three major oil field service companies operating in the area: Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Halliburton. Through their international businesses courses students develop a project that targets a specific area. The trip then allows them to gather more information about the particular market in question and further develop their project. In addition to their work with these oil field service companies, students also gained a range of other experiences, including a desert safari, trips to museums, an ascent to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and indoor skiing at the Dubai Emirates Mall.

The OBU MBA is comprised of 12 courses and typically takes 18 months to complete. The OBU International Graduate School is located at 111 N. Harrison, Oklahoma City, 73104. Deadline for enrollment is June 18. More information about the Graduate School can be found at http://www.okbu.edu/graduate/ or by calling 405/272-1656. The graduate program also offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. More information about this program will be featured in a future issue of the Baptist Messenger.