Dean Bill Boulding believes in lots of things; sitting still isn’t one of them.
“The key word in our vocabulary these days is relevance. It’s behind everything we do,” Boulding says. “We are continually adapting to make our programs relevant for the type of business leadership the world needs today and we must also adapt to be relevant to the ways people are learning.”
And so two months after Fuqua announced changes to its portfolio of executive MBA programs as well as a new certificate in the full-time Daytime program, it’s unveiling more big news. Fuqua will launch an online degree program in data analytics focused on health care.
“We felt like this was a no-brainer,” Boulding says. “Fuqua pioneered elements of online learning with the launch of our Global Executive MBA program in the 90s. Plus, the launch of our Master in Quantitative Management program this year has been hugely successful and has provided deep capability in teaching data analytics. You combine that with Fuqua and Duke’s deep expertise in health care, and we feel this program will be exceptional.”
The new program is named Master of Science in Quantitative Management: Health Analytics (MSQM: Health Analytics for short). The in-person MQM program has been renamed MQM: Business Analytics.
MQM: Health Analytics is designed for working professionals and is expected to appeal to students in the health care industry looking to broaden their skills, or people with quantitative backgrounds who want to move into the health care space.
"It’s really an exciting time in business education.”
Boulding has appointed long-time faculty member Preyas Desai as senior associate dean for digital education. Desai will lead the development and operations of MQM: Health Analytics. He will also be responsible for future related degree and non-degree initiatives in digital education.
“I’m tremendously excited about our foray into a degree program online.” Desai says. “Innovation has made online education a great way to learn for many people and I know we will continue to find even better ways to deliver our programs online. It’s really an exciting time in business education.”
Desai and the faculty committee who designed MQM: Health Analytics have focused on making sure the program stays true to Fuqua’s core commitment of developing business leaders who excel in collaboration and can bring together people who are very different to work toward a common goal.
“It’s been really important to us that we maintain the DNA of Fuqua in an online program,” says Boulding. “Team Fuqua is a way of working that draws out the strengths of others. This program has been designed so that there are learning experiences in small teams that require collaboration.”
“We feel a blended approach of real-time and self-paced content is the best of both worlds."
As such, MQM: Health Analytics students will work on some assignments with learning teams of four to six students. They will also engage in real time with their cohort and professors during live sessions, in addition to coursework that is self-paced and can be completed independently.
“We feel a blended approach of real-time and self-paced content is the best of both worlds,” Boulding explains. “Students have flexibility in completing coursework on their own time. However, they still have the ability to interact with their professors, cohort and team in real time. We feel that really differentiates how we are thinking about online education and will make this program especially effective.”
MQM: Health Analytics cohorts will be capped at about 40 students so real-time interaction can be meaningful.
In addition, students will have the opportunity to meet each other and their faculty at a two-and-a-half day orientation in Durham when the program launches in September. After that orientation, coursework will be purely online. Students will have an option to come back to Durham in April for a leadership intensive aimed at helping them develop their personal leadership skills.
“We felt it was important for students to be able to interact in person at least once in this program,” Desai says. “Our hope is that face-to-face interaction will help them cement strong relationships that will make this online program even more beneficial to them as they continue their coursework without being side by side. This is the way many people work these days, so this delivery format will be especially beneficial in cementing communication skills when you can’t just pop over to someone’s office in person.”
Boulding has also been a leader in increasing the accessibility of business education for working parents, as part of a White House initiative. He’s delighted the launch of an online degree program will help achieve that goal.
“We’ve been thrilled to see more and more students be able to take advantage of business education and to think about the impact they will be able to make as a result,” Boulding says. “We firmly believe business has the power to change the world in ways that government and other entities can’t. Because of that, we have a moral responsibility to equip as many people as we can with the tools they need to make a difference. We expect this will be just the beginning of ways we might be able to do that fully online.”