Graduates Honored as Midland University's Third MBA Class

Monday, February 1, 2016

Students complete the 16-month program from Midland University

Midland University awarded MBA degrees to 27 graduates in its third graduating class this December. The group makes up the third batch of graduates from Midland’s innovative Hybrid MBA program with consecutive classes completing all coursework within 16 months.

This hybrid format means that students can build deep, personal connections to their faculty and peers in person about once per month, while maintaining schedule flexibility with online classes in between.

“All of our students have active careers, and about half our students have families with kids,” said Raymond Sass, Midland University’s Dean of the MBA Program. “Many of them did not think they could take time out to go back to school until they saw that our format is built specifically for them.”

The aim is to maximize convenience by meeting in dedicated classroom space inside Children’s Hospital at 84th and Dodge, and allowing students to participate in online classes live or to watch them later when it fits in their schedule.

 “It’s business-minded and geared toward anybody who’s a professional,” said Jaime Briganti, a 2015 graduate. “That was perfect for me, since I do have a full-time job and two full-time kids and a full-time husband.”

 The hybrid structure also allows Midland to access a national pool of talent for faculty, some of whom fly into Omaha to teach. December graduates gained insight from a range of accomplished professionals, including Bill Bennett, Director of Pricing Strategy at Walmart, and Terry McClain, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Valmont Industries.

 “There’s less focus on theory and more focus on practice,” Bennett said. “We definitely cover theory, but in my class, for example, we quickly move into how you’re going to use the information in your day job whether you’re a finance person or not.”

 “Because Midland students are working while they learn, they’re able to integrate their lessons from the classroom into their careers every day,” said McClain. “I saw real, tangible growth, both in individual students and for the overall cohort.”

 “The faculty talent teaching in this program is a clear differentiator for us,” said Sass. “Our structure allows us to draw from a broad talent pool, and for our students to learn from their wealth of current, relevant professional experience.”

 This emphasis on faculty connected to business today is also reflected throughout the curriculum. Graduates build their skills in core functional areas of business in the classroom and apply their coursework to their careers in real time. As a final step before graduation, they complete live, capstone consulting projects of value to real host companies across the country or in other parts of the world. This year’s graduates completed projects for Valmont Industries, CSG International, and CBRE Capital Markets.

 “Our students are building connections both locally and globally,” said Avi Atholi, MBA Professor and Senior Director for Data Management at First National Bank of Omaha. “We focus on finding the student’s passion and developing hands-on experiences that can engage the learner on an exciting new level.”

 Students in the Midland MBA also have the opportunity to personalize their curriculum with concentrations completed within the 16 months. Concentrations in Accounting, Finance, and Entrepreneurial Leadership are currently offered, with additional tracks expected in 2016.

 December graduates will be honored at the Midland University Commencement Ceremony in May. The next 16-month Hybrid MBA Program at Midland University starts in August with options to start at multiple points throughout the year. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Midland University MBA office at for more details or visit