The University of Chattanooga's MBA program started with about 20 people.
Now, 50 years later, more than 300 people get a master's of business administration from UTC each year, leaders said.
"It's a really big milestone," Kristina Montague, assistant dean of external affairs with UTC's College of Business, said of the upcoming 50-year anniversary.
To celebrate, leaders have organized a weeklong series of events for alumni, current students and faculty members.
In the past 50 years, the program has grown to offer both MBA and executive MBAs, and to expand its reach even more, program leaders recently partnered with Volkswagen Academy.
Students who want to get their MBA and live or work in East Hamilton County or Bradley County can now take the classes at Volkswagen, leaders said.
—10th annual College of Business alumni golf tournament, Oct. 22 at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club
—Mini B-school with MBA faculty, Oct. 23, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in Fletcher Hall on UTC's campus
—Big River: A Chattanooga Story Program at Craftworks, Oct. 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by EMBA alumni network
— MBA 50th alumni reception, Oct. 26, 5:30-8 p.m., at VW Academy Conference Center
—MBA tailgate reunion at Mocs vs. Georgia Southern game, Oct. 27, 4-6 p.m., at First Tennessee Pavilion
To register, click here.
"We are offering almost all the MBA classes right now, everything short of the electives through a live video feed between a class on campus and section of the class at VW," Elizabeth Bell, director of graduate programs for the college of business, said.
Leaders also said the program has evolved into one that is recognized by the Princeton Review among the top 300 best part-time MBA programs and one of the top business schools in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Bell said that, although going full time is an option, the majority of program participants work full time and go to school part time, providing flexibility to students of all ages.
Recent news articles have questioned the value of an MBA.
A writer for Bloomberg Businessweek recently wrote that, despite some reports that job outlooks for MBA recipients are uncertain, "The MBA is an educational pathway that will help you navigate the unknown with new tools and provide a deeper understanding of the world and the global economic environment ..."
And Forbes recently took on the question as well, noting the ebb and flow of MBA participation. A 2011 Forbes rankingof the top 50 business schools in the country showed that investing in a master's of business administration can pay for itself in less than four years.
Bell said that the recession has brought more people back to the program and that additional credentials can help students find jobs or advance in their companies.
"I went to liberal arts school and wasn't sure if I'd like it," she said about UTC's MBA program. "But I loved every piece of it. Especially when you're working and doing a program like this, it's so applicable. It makes so much more sense when you see how you can apply it."
The College of Business provides AACSB-accredited educational programs to more 2,000 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The college’s faculty includes approximately 47 full-time and 15 part-time professors—all of whom hold advanced degrees from leading universities throughout the country.