University of California, Riverside

Undergraduate Business Program

SoBA News

On June 10, the inaugural class of the UCR Anderson Executive MBA Program will be walking at the UCR business school's graduation ceremony.

(June 7, 2011)

The students of the first UCR Anderson EMBA cohort.
The students of the inaugural UCR Anderson Executive MBA cohort.

When the UCR School of Business Administration (SoBA) confers degrees to business students this Friday, students from the business school’s newest academic program will be joining the procession:  the Executive MBA students.

This will be the first time students of the EMBA program, which launched in 2009, will walk alongside fellow undergraduate and full-time/part-time MBA students at the graduation ceremony. The event will be held on June 10.

The two-year EMBA program is designed for experienced business professionals seeking to earn an MBA degree while maintaining full work responsibilities. The inaugural class drew Southern California managers, entrepreneurs, and other senior leaders from diverse fields as construction management, information technology, and real estate. Successful applicants to the program have a minimum of seven to 10 years of work experience.

“I feel especially fortunate to be a member of the inaugural class,” said Thelma Bloes, a principal accountant at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In particular, she cited the size of the cohort – comprised of 10 students – as a beneficial aspect of the experience. “The small class size enhanced the quality of my education,” she said.

EMBA students Thelma Bloes and Elia Quintana attending their first residential program.
EMBA students Thelma Bloes and Elia Quintana on their way to their first residential program at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. 

Los Angeles area consultant Michael Castillo said, “The EMBA program was a great experience and one that will be with me for a very long time. I had the pleasure to make great friends and learn from great professors.”

Brian Rojas, a project manager at CastleRock Builders said, “The professors were all top notch, and bonds were formed with my fellow classmates. It’s like we’re all family now, including the professors.”

The two-year program yielded several memorable experiences for the students. Tom Innocenti, program manager at QinetiQ North America and SimAuthor, cited in particular the first residential program. Referred to as “academic boot camp,” the students were subjected to grueling 12-hour class sessions at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center within the span of their first week in the EMBA program.

“Being shoved into a classroom with folks who you barely knew, and out of necessity being forced to develop a team relationship with my fellow cohort members, was a trying time for sure but also one to start the journey of the EMBA ‘lockstep cohort’ education model,” Innocenti said.

EMBA students in Shanghai.
EMBA students in Shanghai for their international residential trip.

Another favorite memory among the students was the week-long international residential trip to Shanghai in June 2010, during which the students met with leading international companies and learned about the new global economy. (Read "Local Professionals Open Eyes to Global Economy as Part of the UCR Executive MBA Program").

“The trip to China was of great value,” Castillo said. “It allowed you to put into practice the course studies and further develop the understanding for China and an international experience.”

Also among the students’ favorites was the capstone residential, held at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center. The week-long retreat, held in April, was the last time the students were in an intensive classroom setting together. Innocenti said, “It was an incredible way to end our EMBA journey, and continue the one of personal development which the EMBA process enhanced for me.”

“These three residentials were the times that I really bonded with my fellow students,” Bloes said.

The EMBA cohort at the end-of-the-program celebration.
The EMBA cohort at the end-of-the-program celebration.

The climax to the two-year program was a celebratory dinner held at the Mission Inn in downtown Riverside on April 30. It was an opportunity for the cohort to recognize family, friends, and professors who helped them on their rigorous two-year journey.

“It gave us chance to thank all of the people that made it possible for this program to succeed,” Rojas said.

Hai-Son Nguyen, Web user experience manager and developer at Covario, said, “The ceremony was pleasant and refreshing, a relaxing time for us all that have been through two tough years.”

Innocenti, who toasted his peers with “much brand recognition” in their future endeavors, was grateful for comments made by Dean David W. Stewart, Assistant Dean for Corporate Relations Jack Gregg, and Academic Director Richard Savich. “They wished the cohort the best as we step out into another act of each of our lives,” Innocenti said. “But they also challenged us to live up to the incredible reputation and history of the UC education system.”

Castillo said, “It was great to see the dean and staff remind us that although we have graduated we will always have a place at UCR.”

Dean Stewart will congratulate each EMBA student at the commencement ceremony on June 10. He said, "I am delighted to congratulate the graduates of our newest MBA program. This group of pioneers will be forever remembered as the first class. They are an outstanding group of professional managers who have already received significant value from their EMBA experience. We expect great things of them in the future."

News Contact:
Mark Manalang
Electronic Communications Manager

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Undergraduate Business Program
2340 Olmsted Hall

Tel: (951) 827-4551
Fax: (951) 827-5061