Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 1, Page 20
Fall 1992
Du Ponters earn University MBA at the job site

      Thirty of the Du Pont Co.'s best and brightest-many of whom already
hold the Ph.D.-are back in school, participating in an innovative new
program that gives these highly trained engineers a basic understanding of
business, and does so at their workplace.
      The Du Ponters are the first students in the University of Delaware
MBA at Du Pont Program, an on-site effort to teach future executives of the
chemical giant such business-education staples as administrative
management, finance, marketing and operations management. All courses are
taught at the company's Barley Mill Plaza site in Wilmington, Del.
      "The program is very unusual," College of Business and Economics Dean
Kenneth R. Biederman says. "We're dealing with a Dow 30 corporation, one of
the largest companies in the world, and we're dealing with students who are
among the best compared to those in any MBA program in the country. The
fact that the program is conducted on their premises makes it very novel."
      While most of the students in the program are extensively trained in
engineering, and many hold Ph.D.s, most have received only cursory
education in business administration, according to Howard Garland,
chairperson of the University's business administration department. The
curriculum, therefore, aims to give students a broad business background,
just like the University's on-campus MBA program, he says.
      The chief differences between the Delaware MBA at Du Pont and the
University's part-time, on-campus program are the Du Pont program's
"lock-step" set-up, which means that all students take all the same classes
together, and the total length of the program: The Du Pont students will
finish in three years, while on-campus students complete the curriculum in
      John W. Himes, Delaware '66, senior vice president for human
resources at Du Pont, says the University's willingness to offer the
courses off campus reflects the school's commitment to graduate education.
      Of the students, Himes says: "This group of very talented people
obviously are managing their careers and themselves quite well. People who
can handle the complexities of a career, a family and an education are
rather unique, and they possess the kinds of skills that Du Pont is looking
      The selection of students, based on undergraduate grades, scores on
the Graduate Management Admission Test and a personal interview, was made
by the University, although potential students needed the recommendation of
their supervisors before applying to the program.
      "The problem we had in choosing students was that we had to say no to
a number of people we'd normally love to have accepted," according to James
L. Butkiewicz, associate dean of the College of Business and Economics.
There were about 70 applicants for the first class, and the demand allowed
the University to enroll a second class, which started its program this
      Garland says the Delaware faculty who teach in the MBA program are "a
group of nationally and internationally recognized scholars." Each of the
faculty members holds a doctoral degree, many from such prestigious
institutions as Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Pennsylvania and Stanford.
      One of the professors Garland refers to is Butkiewicz, recipient of a
University teaching award. Butkiewicz taught the Du Pont students'
macroeconomics and says the class was "probably one of the best, if not the
best, I ever had." He describes the students as very dedicated and
      "In my opinion, it's always more interesting to teach macroeconomics
to adults," Butkiewicz says. "They've seen macroeconomic events happen that
affect their workplace. They ask questions about monetary policy. They're
motivated and they want to understand the economy, which is really
fascinating for an instructor."
      Recently, University officials started talks with several other area
chemical companies about establishing an executive MBA program on the
University's Wilmington campus. The program would offer classes on weekends
and full-time for two weeks in the summer, and would lead to a degree in 11
to 24 months, Butkiewicz says. There also have been talks with
representatives of a local bank, which is interested in the Du Pont-style
MBA program, he says.
      Established in 1953, the University's MBA program is accredited by
the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, the only business
school accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
                                   -Stephen Steenkamer, Delaware '92