Hispanic Chamber Honors MBA Program

By Nadia Macias

UTEP News Service

The College of Business Administration has never been better.

The Master of Business Administration program recently received the Vision of Excellence Award by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, an honor bestowed upon an individual or group whose vision has grown from their past and the history of the people around them.College of Business Administration Dean Robert Nachtmann, D.B.A., second from left, accepts the Vision of Excellence Award given to the UTEP MBA program by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Laura Trejo / UTEP News ServiceCollege of Business Administration Dean Robert Nachtmann, D.B.A., second from left, accepts the Vision of Excellence Award given to the UTEP MBA program by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Laura Trejo / UTEP News Service

And indeed, the program has grown.

“When Dean [Robert] Nachtmann first arrived at COBA here at UTEP, we had an almost non-existent accelerated MBA and a flexible MBA that really had a very undefined mission. The track record for both formats wasn’t what we wanted it to be,” said Laura Uribarri, assistant dean for MBA programs. “Over the course of the past six or seven years, we’ve gone from that very limited model to one where we have a full portfolio of highly successful MBA formats that meet our students wherever they are in their career.”

Today, the college offers three MBA program formats for students at all stages: accelerated, executive and full-time.

The accelerated program allows students to complete the degree in two years while maintaining a full-time job. The executive program is targeted to business and nonprofit leaders who have already been successful but are interested in earning their master’s degrees and enhancing their skills. The full-time MBA is for students who are not in the workplace and can wholly focus on their studies.

Luis Gonzales is enrolled in the full-time MBA program, which is helping him reach his goals.

“Since enrolling in the program I have had the opportunity to network with several prominent individuals that have given us their perspectives on what to focus on during the MBA program and how to succeed after graduation,” said Gonzales, who wants to take a position in finance or management consulting. “The program has been great in disseminating job opportunities and giving us the opportunity to travel to events.”

Not only has the program grown, but Uribarri says the college has been able to do so to “where the success is off the charts.”

For example, the executive MBA program has a 100 percent retention and graduation rate, while the accelerated and full-time MBAs follow closely behind with an 85 percent graduation rate. In addition, between 2005 and 2011, Hispanic graduates of the MBA programs increased to 78 per year from 29, and overall graduates rose to 136 from 82.

“Those are remarkably high numbers,” Uribarri said.

For this growth and success, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented the Vision of Excellence plaque to Dean Robert Nachtmann, D.B.A., and Uribarri during its annual “Fiesta Celebration and Piñata Bash” at the Airport Wyndham Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 10.

“The El Paso Community is very fortunate to have such successful, fundamentally guided programs that are meeting the needs of not only our community, but the needs of the national business world,” said Cindy Ramos-Davidson, CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “With nationally recognized programs such as The University of Texas at El Paso’s Master of Business Administration program, we are able to cultivate young business leaders who are the promise of our community and the nation’s future.”

Some recognized graduates of CoBA include Debra Koch, human relations and security manager at the Boeing Company; David Rapisand, director of overhead control and financial management at Lockheed Martin; and Juvernando Ramirez, production manager at Procter and Gamble.

“It makes me feel very proud to be a student at UTEP, and especially an MBA student, knowing that the program is receiving all these awards and national recognition,” Gonzales said. “I think that each award adds to the pride that I already feel as a student.”

For its outstanding service to Latino students in business, CoBA has received two national recognitions this year alone: the 2012 Example of Excelencia award and the top business graduate school in the country for Hispanics, according to Hispanic Business magazine.