On Jan. 9, students passed beneath the Wake Forest University shield etched in glass above the entrance to 200 North College Street in Uptown Charlotte. They are first to experience the convenience and flexibility offered in the new home of the Wake Forest University MBA for Working Professionals Programs, executive education offerings and certification courses in Charlotte.
After 16 years in Charlotte’s South Park area, Wake Forest Schools of Business now have a prominent presence in the heart of Uptown Charlotte. Wake Forest University officials will host a dedication ceremony for the new Wake Forest University Charlotte Center on January 26.
“Our students, faculty and alumni are among the thought leaders of Charlotte. It’s only fitting that we move to the center of this vibrant business community,” says Wake Forest Dean of Business Steve Reinemund. “The central location is ideal for both student and business access.”
The Charlotte Center, located in the renovated International Trade Center, was built for flexibility. Classrooms were designed to facilitate small group discussions and two lecture rooms are equipped with streaming video technology to communicate with the Reynolda Campus. Other features include a state-of–the-art boardroom and interactive learning labs. The emphasis on group learning is encouraged outside classrooms with laptop workstations and seating areas grouped for discussion.
Wake Forest University President Nathan Hatch is excited about the promise of the new Charlotte Center. “Charlotte has the largest concentration of our alumni in the country,” he said. “The Uptown location will be a natural gathering place – somewhere our alumni can call a second home.”
Hatch noted that the Democratic National Convention in September will take place just down the street from the Charlotte Center at Time Warner Cable Arena. “The new center could offer unique opportunities for Wake Forest students, faculty and alumni to participate in the proceedings,” he said.
Wake Forest’s presence in Uptown Charlotte has created a buzz among the business community, eager to participate in the part-time MBA program recently ranked in the top 10 percent nationally and the number-one program of its kind in North Carolina according to U.S. News and World Report.
Students cite the quality of Wake Forest faculty as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the program. “Wake Forest professors bring expertise and extensive experience in their fields. For instance, I had the opportunity to learn financial accounting from a chief financial officer at a local company,” said Morris Whitner (MBA ’13), a regional finance analyst at Time Warner Cable. He adds that professors give personal attention to students and have a genuine interest in their success.
A quick return on investment is also noted by students who are working full-time while going to school. Kelly Meany (MBA ’12) says “The Wake Forest MBA is already paying off for me. What I learn in the classroom, I apply the very next day on the job.”
Keith Burney (MBA ’12) has already earned a promotion at Liberty AV Solutions. “I work for a company that really values education and recognizes that the rigor of the program prepares you for the challenges faced in the workplace,” he said.
The Wake Forest Working Professionals MBA program in Charlotte began in 1995 with 30 students. Currently, the school has 180 students in its two Charlotte MBA programs—one meeting evenings, the other on Saturdays. The new Charlotte Center is roughly double the size of the existing location. Plans are in place to increase enrollment within the next two years while maintaining the small class size and cohort structure for which the MBA program is known.
“The Wake Forest University Charlotte Center is about connection,” Reinemund added. “Connection to business, connection to the not-for-profit community and connection to our students.”
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