Arlington, VA

The working professionals who pursue the Arlington-based Executive MBA at Virginia Tech get a rich education in the fundamentals of business — accounting and finance, marketing, operations, ethics, communications and leadership.

But woven around foundation courses are “experiential modules” designed to accelerate development in four essential and current areas: business analytics, entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership and governance, and global business.

The hands-on experience of the integrated modules is meant to allow Executive MBA students to immediately put their learning into action. That’s the idea behind all of Virginia Tech’s MBA programs — giving working professionals the tools they need to advance their careers as they pursue an MBA.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

That strategy meant Pamplin had to rethink program formats and locations to ensure they were meeting the needs of their busy students. They now offer three different paths to the same MBA and have centrally located their classes in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Ballston is home to the Executive MBA program, an 18-month, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals that meets every other weekend.

The nationally-ranked Evening MBA program is just two Metro stops away in Falls Church. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility by allowing students to change their course load each semester to balance work and other commitments.

The Professional MBA program is a 24-month hybrid online and in-person option with once-per-month class meetings that rotate between Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Visit mba.vt.edu to learn more about Virginia Tech’s MBA programs or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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A free one-night seminar November 21 for prospective graduate students explores policies behind AI, big data, Uber, blockchain and more.

The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University is offering a rare opportunity to sample a range of courses across the Master’s in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics program in an evening focusing on “Transportation in the City of the Future.” The 90-minute sampler takes place Thursday, November 21, from 6:30-8 p.m. at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus.

“This will cut across all of our courses and some of the other programs offered at the Schar School,” said Laurie A. Schintler, director of the dynamic and timely Master’s in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics program. “We will focus on emerging technologies in smart cities, which is very hot right now. We’ll look at everything from drones and autonomous vehicles to transportation economics and logistics.”

The sample class will also examine ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, big data, the use of blockchain and AI in transportation, flexible and on-demand transit systems, shared-use vehicles, mobile payment systems, and a methods course and a systems course. New electives addressing additional topics, including one focusing on automated vehicles, will be introduced.

Just as importantly, Schintler will also address “the social, ethical and institutional issues that go along with these technologies,” she said. Those issues include planning, policy and privacy as well as inclusiveness, sustainability and livable communities.

The title may suggest the “City of the Future,” but Schintler said the future is already here, and so are employment opportunities.

“There are jobs in the field, but you do have to be abreast of the cutting edge,” she said. “Things are changing rapidly.”

The session is free for prospective graduate students. Space is limited. Register here. #ScharSchool

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The ever-evolving “security threat landscape” and changes in user behavior and IT infrastructure require IT professionals to keep their knowledge up to date and stay on top of the latest trends and developments.

Earning a 100% online Master of Information Technology with a specialization in cybersecurity from Virginia Tech can help individuals meet these heightened demands in a number of ways.

Ranked the #1 online master’s degree for cybersecurity by Cyberdegrees.org, and one of the top 3 online graduate IT programs nationwide by U.S. News and World Report, Virginia Tech’s VT-MIT program takes a unique approach to specialized education.

Core courses in areas such as information systems design, elec­tronic commerce, software engineering and computer programming help students master technical expertise in a business context. After completing these core courses, degree students can choose to specialize in cybersecurity.

Areas of focus range from cybersecurity management — for those interested in running their own in-house cybersecurity practice — to cybersecurity policy, which explores the legal and ethical concerns triggered by data breaches. This breadth of content allows students to tailor their education around their career ambitions.

Part of Virginia Tech’s core strength is its world-class cyber­security research, supported by $15 million in research grants and contracts. Students can access six cybersecurity research centers, including the Ballston-based Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

The VT-MIT program’s 100% online format allows students to pursue higher education at their own pace — a flexibility that allows for a longer timeline. Further enriching the student environment is the program’s openness to students with diverse backgrounds and interests, including business line leaders looking to improve their technology capabilities while leveraging their domain expertise.

Combating today’s cyber threats has never been more difficult, nor more critical to business continuity. A Master of Information Technology degree with a specialization in cybersecurity from Virginia Tech can help leaders better understand the systemic nature of these threats, and teach them strategies for dealing with an increasingly complex security landscape.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology with cybersecurity specializations here.

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In today’s digital age, as technology drives innovation throughout the enterprise, business acumen and technology expertise are emerging as essential skills.

At the same time, traditional functional roles are blurring, creating a blended business environment where IT leaders must embrace more business-oriented responsibilities and line of business leaders must find their way around sophisticated and complex technology systems. Only through education can these professionals gain the necessary skills and expertise to keep pace with this evolving business landscape. But it shouldn’t have to come at the cost of a full-time position.

Virginia Tech’s dual Master’s degree in business administration and information technology (MBA + MIT) is based in the D.C. area and can help professionals gain the experience, expertise and advantages they need to succeed in a blended business environment. Here’s how:

  • Career boost: Students receive an MBA while keeping up with changes in the technology industry by adding on a Master of IT. The result: greater marketability in a competitive labor market.
  • Economize time and money: The dual-degree program double-counts up to five courses earned in the MBA program toward those also offered in the MIT program or vice versa.
  • Work-life balance: Both the MBA and MIT degrees are built for full-time working professionals. Students have the flexibility to set their own pace by choosing the number of courses they will take each semester.
  • Variety: Students can select from a wide range of specialization areas including business intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, networking and software engineering.
  • Network: An in-person class format for the MBA program encourages students to establish valuable working relationships with classmates, and engage with top-notch faculty. A 100% online format for the MIT degree provides additional flexibility for working professionals and opportunity to work with students from across the country.

The Virginia Tech MBA + MIT dual-degree program offers the flexibility to contribute to business growth, revenue and innovation as a working professional today — and as a substantially more marketable leader tomorrow.

Learn more the dual degree program here or explore Virginia Tech’s other local MBA options here.

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When juggling a full-time job and evening classes four to five nights a week in George Mason University’s juris doctor (JD) program became difficult, graduate student Alicia Meads withdrew from the program. When she heard last year that the Antonin Scalia Law School was offering a new part-time juris master’s (JM) program, designed for working professionals, she re-enrolled.

“I wanted to understand the nuances of the law so that I could be a better lobbyist and policy professional,” said Meads, who works as a legislative affairs manager for one the nation’s largest fertilizer companies and regularly meets with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to represent her company.

Meads was able to transfer some of the credits from her JD program, and will be the first graduate from the JM program this fall. What she’s learning has been immediately applicable to her career, she said.

“I’ve been able to develop an expertise in environmental, social and governance — or ESG — reporting,” said Meads, who also helps the company coordinate its sustainability reporting and disclosure. “[The JM program] is perfect for anyone who’s working in public affairs, politics or policy and still wants a law school experience.”

Other JM students agree.

Ginger Burk, who’s been a journalist for more than a decade, said she joined the program to expand her understanding of the law and become an even stronger political correspondent.

“[Understanding the law] is inherent to all political and government reporting,” Burk said.

As a result of her studies, Burk is better able to understand court documents she reads for her job and how the lawyers she interacts with everyday have been taught to think, she said.

“A juris master’s degree will bring increased credibility to one’s skillset,” said Adriane McCray Webb, a mindfulness practitioner who said she facilitates workshops to guide clients to personal transformation, creative innovation and self-actualization. The Florida native believes the program will help her better understand intellectual property laws to help her clients copyright and protect their creative works.

Jessica Sartorius, director of the JM program, said the JM degree is in high demand and offered by almost half of all tier-one law schools. With Mason being close to Washington, D.C., the program could help many more professionals in the future, she said.

In addition to professors who keep class intellectually stimulating, there are other benefits to being part of a law school, the students said.

“You’re building professional and social connections with the people that you’re in class with and that you’re learning from,” Burk said. “It is truly a well-designed program.”

For more information about the JM degree program, please visit our website or contact Jessica L. Sartorius, Director of Juris Master (JM) Degree Program, at [email protected] or 703-993-8418.

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Since launching in 2019, the Juris Master Degree Program (JM) at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School has assisted students in building professional and social connections.

The JM Degree is designed for professionals who interact with lawyers and legal issues regularly in the course of their careers. This type of program is in high demand and now offered by over half of all tier one law schools.

“We are proud to offer the Juris Master Degree Program at Scalia Law School,” said Dean Henry N. Butler. “This is an opportunity for professionals to learn the law, so they will be better equipped to provide leadership in their respective fields.”

Scalia Law’s two-year part-time program is offered at the Arlington campus, and enrollment for the January 2020 class is currently OPEN.

As listed on the JM Degree website, https://jurismaster.gmu.edu/, in addition to general legal research, writing and introductory law courses, JM students can select law school courses from six concentration areas:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Employment & Labor Relations
  • Financial & Commercial Services
  • Government Contracts & Regulations
  • Intellectual Property & Technology
  • National Security, Cybersecurity & Information Privacy

JM students can maintain employment schedules, while benefiting from the opportunities afforded by a tier-one law school.

There is a growing base of legal services and legal knowledge required by employers and the JM Degree is designed to educate students with the legal knowledge necessary for them to succeed in their chosen professions.

Applications are being accepted now. For more information about the JM degree program, please visit our website or contact Jessica L. Sartorius, Director of Juris Master (JM) Degree Program, at [email protected] or 703-993-8418.

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Morning Notes

Arlington 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony — “The County’s wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Bozman Government Center. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m., the moment when the plane struck the Pentagon and 184 lives were lost.” [Arlington County, Press Release]

Stabbing in Boulevard Manor — “ACPD responded to a domestic violence incident in which a woman was reported stabbed in a home in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood around 11:30 a.m. [Tuesday]. She’s expected to be okay. Police are not releasing additional details, to protect the victim’s identity, per spokeswoman.” [Twitter]

ACPD Considering Ring Doorbell Partnership — “The Arlington County Police Department appears likely to become the fourth Greater Washington law enforcement agency to sign a partnership with Ring Inc., a doorbell-camera company owned by Amazon.com Inc., despite internal concerns over privacy and racial profiling.” [Washington Business Journal]

Marymount Jumps in Rankings — “Great news — Marymount has jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings for top Regional Universities in the South, according to the 2020 Best Colleges Rankings from @usnews!” [Marymount University, Twitter]

Arlington Visitor Spending Keeps Rising — “Arlington visitors spent a record $3.4 billion in 2018, a 4.3 percent increase over 2017, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending since 2009. Tourism generated nearly $94 million in local tax receipts, benefiting County programs and services, as well as state tax receipts of nearly $127 million.” [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Neighbor Drama Does Federal — “A former analyst for the FBI admitted Tuesday to copying the private emails of a conservative conspiracy theorist and sharing them with his superiors while his wife offered them to the press… Tolson, who has left the FBI, agreed to forfeit two phones and two computers and avoid contact with Burkman, his neighbor in Arlington. He was released on bond until sentencing on Dec. 20.” [Washington Post]

Hoskins Wants ‘Innovation Campus’ in Fairfax — “As one of the lead negotiators involved in bringing Amazon.com Inc. to Arlington County, Victor Hoskins also helped Alexandria land Virginia Tech’s new ‘Innovation Campus’ — and now that he’s changed jobs, he wants to help Fairfax County do the same.” [Washington Business Journal]

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The University of Maryland is expected to open a research and event space in Crystal City next fall in an effort to cozy up to Amazon.

Called the “Discovery Center,” the campus will occupy a 8,000-square-foot space in a building Amazon has leased from JBG Smith and plans to begin temporarily occupying this year. University officials say that the center is designed to connect students and staff with companies like Amazon for research and job recruitment, as first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

“This new space will help connect our flagship researchers and students with this emerging technology hub, fostering innovation in our growing Cyber Valley,” UMD President Wallace Loh said in a statement.

UMD described the purpose of the space in a press release:

The Discovery Center will provide spaces for academics, local businesses and community residents to interact and exchange ideas, as well as seminar rooms, a strategic planning and creative problem-solving center, spaces for students to work with industry partners, and career development interview rooms to facilitate internships and employment opportunities. The center will also function as an event space for researchers, industry leaders and alumni to meet, network and discuss industry trends.

Both Prince George’s County, where UMD is located, and Montgomery County were hopefuls for the 25,000 jobs Amazon promises to bring. Now that the tech and retail giant has inked its HQ2 deal in Arlington and is beginning to hire employees, the university appears to be trying to locate itself closer to the action.

“Although we wanted Amazon to choose Maryland, the fact is they chose, of all the places in the country that they could have chosen, they chose 11 miles from the flagship campus of the flagship university of the state of Maryland,” UMD’s chief strategy officer Ken Ulman, told the college newspaper Diamondback.

Although the space is not a formal college campus per se, the university says it will host “learning events” on topics likely to interest the company, including supply chain management, machine learning, and cybersecurity.

JBG Smith is using the ground floor of the building, at 241 18th Street S., as a pitch room to convince other office tenants to locate to Crystal City.

Earlier this summer, Virginia Tech finalized the details of its Potomac Yard campus, also strategically planned near Amazon. The Alexandria campus, which joins the university’s other locations in Ballston and West Falls Church, was a feature of Virginia’s pitch to Amazon. Last week VT announced that it had launched a search process to find a new leader for the planned “Innovation Campus.”

UMD is expected to benefit from Metro’s decision to start extending Yellow Line rail service all the way to Greenbelt for the first time since 2017, which will connect the university’s flagship location in College Park to Crystal City.

“With Metro’s Yellow Line extension, folks can go from campus to the Discovery Center in 30 minutes without changing trains,” Ulman said in a statement. “You’ll walk out of the Crystal City station, turn and literally see the University of Maryland sign in front of you.”

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Morning Notes

HQ2’s Towering Height — “Amazon.com Inc.’s planned pair of office towers at Metropolitan Park will have the same number of floors as the residential building next door. But the HQ2 buildings will lord over The Bartlett by nearly 60 feet. The 22-story HQ2 towers are expected to hit 322.5 feet at their highest point, according to plans submitted to Arlington County. JBG Smith Properties’ The Bartlett, with its Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market on the ground floor, is 22 stories but only 264-feet-tall.” [Washington Business Journal]

Retail Sales Up in Arlington — “Year-over-year retail sales in Arlington showed a boost in the first quarter of 2019, according to new data. Total retail sales of $767.2 million countywide were up 1.6 percent from $755.3 million during the first three months of 2018, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Taxation.” [InsideNova]

Univ. of Phoenix’s New Arlington Campus — The for-profit University of Phoenix this week will be celebrating the grand opening of its new Northern Virginia-D.C. Metro campus at 4401 Fairfax Drive in Ballston. [Eventbrite]

Heat Doesn’t Stop Youth Baseball Tourney — “Even as some events cancelled due to the extreme heat warning on Saturday, many people are still got outside. That included hundreds of young players from across the area who turned out for the Arlington Babe Ruth – Doc Bonaccorso Summer Classic Baseball Tournament in Arlington.” [WJLA]

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The working professionals who pursue the Arlington-based Executive MBA at Virginia Tech get a rich education in the fundamentals of business — accounting and finance, marketing, operations, ethics, communications and leadership.

But woven around those foundation courses are “experiential modules” designed to accelerate development in four essential and current areas:

  • Business analytics
  • Entrepreneurship & innovation
  • Leadership & governance
  • Global business

Each module includes two concentration classes plus a “big experience” course that puts the learning to work immediately, says Barbara Hoopes, academic director for Virginia Tech MBA Programs.

Corporate leaders are brought in “to provide guidance and bring real-life projects to students,” adds Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs in the Pamplin College of Business.

What does this look like on the ground? For the analytics module, which covers BI and data mining along with marketing analytics, Hoopes brought in four software vendors — Microsoft, Qlik, SAS and Tableau — to provide access to their products and act as coaches.

Students addressed pressing issues with U.S. infrastructure using publicly available data to analyze Congressional airport funding and its relationship to economic growth, identify causal factors for large utility outages and predict hazard classifications of dams in order to prioritize inspections.

Hoopes asserts that students really “need to understand how data can be used to support their decision-making.” That means “learning how to tell a story that convinces others” — in other words, traversing that last mile between the data scientist and the people at the very top.

Ghandforoush notes that students often arrive with an expectation that the data work they will do during their MBA is a throw-away “because they don’t need it or they have analysts at work who will do this for them.” And yet faculty hear back from former skeptics that those lessons turned out to be the most valuable in the program “because they’re actually using it at work and they’ve seen the results.”

That’s just what Virginia Tech had in mind when it undertook its redesign of the MBA for working professionals. “It’s not like students graduate and four or five years later we will hear if they have benefited from their MBA,” he concludes. “This is like a laboratory. We get to watch this as it’s happening right before our eyes.”

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Morning Notes

Body Found in Submerged SUV — “Authorities were working Monday night to recover a body inside an SUV submerged in the Potomac River [near Roosevelt Island]… D.C. Fire & EMS said they found tire tracks leading into the river and divers were able to locate the SUV by 6 p.m. Monday. Sources confirmed to News4 that a body was trapped inside.” [NBC Washington]

Clarendon Beer Garden May Open Next Month — “The 22,000-square-foot space, dubbed The Lot… [is] anticipating an early June opening, pending final permit approvals, with plans to incorporate drinking games, picnic seating, and tacos.” [Eater]

UMD Coming to Crystal City? — “The University of Maryland is scouting out potential sites in Crystal City, where it could potentially help to feed Amazon.com Inc.’s long-term plans to hire at least 25,000 workers to support its second headquarters. The state’s flagship university is in the market for between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet to support the growth of HQ2, according to sources familiar with the situation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Mosque Security Measures — “Members of an Arlington, Virginia, mosque are being trained on how to respond to an active shooter. Worshippers are learning how to take security measures to protect themselves and save the lives of others. The training follows mass shooting at houses of worship around the world.” [Voice of America, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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