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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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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Morning Notes

It’s Election Day — Voting today in Arlington will take place between 6 a.m.-7 p.m. at your local polling place. Most of the local candidates in competitive races penned essays describing why Arlington residents should vote for them. [Arlington County]

Almost A Century Since Suffrage — “Tomorrow represents 99 years of women voting in Arlington. Arlington’s celebrating with 19 events this year.” [Twitter, Arlington County]

‘Baby Trump’ Greeting Key Bridge Commuters — Arlington Democrats have inflated a 13-foot “Baby Trump” on the Virginia side of the Key Bridge as part of a get-out-the-vote message. [Twitter]

Anti-Trans Group is Based in Shirlington — “From the 12th floor of a glass office tower in the Washington suburbs, a campaign to sway the governor’s race in Kentucky on Tuesday is being waged with an alarmist claim that has little to do with the race itself: If Democrats have their way, soon boys will be able to compete against girls in school sports.” [New York Times]

Growing Season Over in D.C. Area — “As of this morning, the growing season has been declared to have ended across our entire forecast area. Frost and freeze [watches and warnings] will not be issued again until Spring 2020.” [Twitter]

Pedestrian Enforcement in Clarendon Tomorrow — “As part of the Street Smart campaign, officers will conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement… November 6th from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. [on the] 2700 block of Clarendon Boulevard (Pedestrian Enforcement Detail).” [ARLnow]

Nearby: Va. Tech Unveils Plan for Potomac Yard — “Plans are starting to take shape for North Potomac Yard. Virginia Tech has submitted its first concept plan, showing what its Innovation Campus will look like just as the design of the Potomac Yard Metro station nears its final design phase.” [ALXnow]

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Kurt Luther, an assistant professor of history and computer science at Virginia Tech, is well acquainted with the capabilities of artificial intelligence technology, recently launching an AI program used to rediscover lost identities in Civil War photographs.

Now, based out of the Virginia Tech Research Center (900 N. Glebe Road), Luther has moved onto his next project: GroundTruth.

Lead by Luther and Virginia Tech PhD student Sukrit Venkatagiri, the National Science Foundation-funded project utilizes AI software to narrow down the geolocation of any photograph, taken anywhere in the world.

During a presentation at the Virginia Tech Research Center on “The Future of AI and What it Means for Humans,” Luther showcased how his group of 11 expert researchers, along with 567 crowdsource workers, used GroundTruth to narrow down a framed shot taken from a video of a terrorist organization to its location with 98% accuracy.

“We’re in our third phase now,” Luther said, “Where we’re asking investigators, like journalists, to use the software for their real work to see how well it works in the wild, if you will.”

On November 11, Kurt and Venkatagiri will present the software at the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2019 conference in Austin, Texas.

Once finalized, Luther hopes the software will not only be used by investigative journalists, but by professionals in law enforcement and national security.

“In those cases, the time pressures are similar, and the stakes are potentially even higher, so it’s extra important we get it right and through our studies with journalists, we’re learning,” he said.

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Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology program has been ranked the No. 1 online graduate degree for cybersecurity nationwide in the 2019 rankings list from CyberDegrees.org, a Washington, D.C.  based company.

In addition, the program was named one of the three best online graduate information technology programs nationwide for the seventh consecutive year in the annual rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Based at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, the online program is offered jointly by the Pamplin College of Business and College of Engineering. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to develop a range of skills and focus their studies in a topic that best serves their career goals.

Cybersecurity is one of 11 areas of specialization that students can use to tailor their degree. Other areas include Analytics and Business Intelligence, Big Data, Health Information Technology and Software Development.

The program also offers six graduate certificate options for professionals that are not looking to pursue a full degree.

The program plans to continue adding new courses and graduate certificates that keep up with current trends in tech, particularly as the wider university takes on a central role in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

In 2010, Virginia Tech launched the Hume Center to lead the university’s research and experiential learning programs in national security. The center now has a research facility in Ballston.

In 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that Virginia Tech will lead its $25 million Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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Virginia Tech has been making local headlines lately with the announcement of its Innovation Campus in the newly-designated neighborhood of National Landing.

While the new campus will help cement the university’s regional footprint, Virginia Tech has been quietly providing graduate education opportunities in the D.C. area since 1969.

Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business has offered its MBA programs in this region for decades and more recently made the decision to narrow its focus to working professionals in urban centers across the commonwealth.

“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 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.”

Arlington is home to the Executive MBA program, an 18-month, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals. The curriculum is centered around experiential learning modules that provide students with hands-on experience in topics like business analytics and leadership and governance.

The nationally-ranked Evening MBA program is based in Falls Church and designed to provide maximum flexibility. Students can change their course load each semester to balance work and other commitments. They also have the option to focus their degree in one of 10 specialization areas, including traditional business topics like finance and management, and some more niche areas like healthcare information technology.

The Professional MBA program is a 24-month hybrid option with once-per-month in-person classes 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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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

Couple of Carbeques — Vehicle fires shut down several lanes of northbound I-395 and both lanes of N. Glebe Road near Chain Bridge during yesterday’s evening rush hour. [Twitter, Twitter]

Today: Left Turn No More — “Barring unforeseen circumstances (which we’ve seen before), this left turn from Washington Boulevard to Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon becomes history tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24.” [Twitter]

Caps Significant Others Watch Game in Clarendon — “Hey, isn’t that… the wives and girlfriends of Capitals players, gathered together at Bracket Room during Monday night’s playoffs game against the Carolina Hurricanes?” [Washington Post]

Nearby: Virginia Tech Still Picking Alexandria Site — “When Alexandria and Virginia Tech announced plans for a new Innovation Campus… the university gave every indication it would build the $1 billion project at Stonebridge Associates’ Oakville Triangle property… But the deal is not done yet — and the university has expanded its search to other sites in Alexandria.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program moved up three places to No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 rankings of the best part-time MBA programs.

The Northern Virginia-based program now ranks as the top public university part-time MBA in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The report assessed more than 300 part-time MBA programs across the country on factors such as student quality, peer reputation and the ratio of part-time to full-time students.

“This marks the fifth consecutive year that the Evening MBA has featured in the top 20 programs nationwide,” said Dana K. Hansson, director of MBA programs. “We believe the faculty expertise and high level of flexibility we offer are key factors in continuing to attract high quality students to our program.”

The Evening MBA is one of three MBA programs offered by the Pamplin College of Business. With many shared courses and faculty, the Executive and Professional MBA program options offer a similar academic experience to the Evening program, but with alternate formats and locations to better serve a range of students.

“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 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.”

This commitment to serving part-time students contributed to Virginia Tech’s highest ever overall score in the ranking. Another contributing factor was a strong appraisal by other programs.

“We’re particularly proud of the peer assessment score given the high quality of other programs in the nation,” said Dr. Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs at Pamplin. “In part, we believe the high rating is due to our commitment to offering cutting-edge courses in areas like innovation and entrepreneurship, machine learning/AI and cybersecurity that aren’t available to students in more traditional MBA programs.”

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These days, there isn’t just one way to get an education, says Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast.

Popular program options for working professionals include MOOCs, coding bootcamps, technical certifications and master’s degrees. The question is which one to choose.

MOOCs — massive, open, online courseslet students audit courses online, at no charge, through well-known universities. Students may also participate in paid versions of the course, which add graded assignments, extra support and a certificate for successful completion.

Coding bootcamps vary widely in their duration, format and cost, but all have a similar goal: to help students ramp up quickly on coding skills, especially web and mobile development.

Technical certifications are credentials that show people have passed a test and, in some cases, worked in a given job for a set period of time. These can be inexpensive to attain, if the student is willing to do self-study. However, they’re of limited duration; when the technology is updated, the certification needs to be updated, too.

Then there’s the master’s degree:

  • It’s only available through institutions that have gone through an accrediting process to prove the quality of their instructors and courses.
  • In the leading schools, faculty have practical experience in the subject and bring cutting-edge information to their students.
  • The program generally includes a community of alumni with deep connections and support.

The online Master of Information Technology, offered by Virginia Tech, adds an additional benefit: It has been jointly developed by faculty from both business and engineering, which means it can strike that sweet spot of “technical and soft skills” that employers truly value, notes Sumichrast. The combination, he says, “makes for a really well-rounded student coming out of the program.”

So how do you choose a program? Sumichrast recommends looking at the context in which you’re operating. “If you’ve already got a degree in the field that you’re trying to update, then maybe a single course, such as a MOOC, could give you a narrow update on what you already know.”

“These are personal decisions,” Sumichrast advises. “Find the education that best fits you. For many students that means one that puts the facts that you learn in context and that approaches problems from different directions so that you can have a more coherent whole when you finish.”

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit www.vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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