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UTEP MBA Program 40th Anniversary Celebration

Today, the UTEP Master of Business Administration (MBA) is internationally ranked and recognized for innovation and the success of its graduates.  Established 1973, the UTEP MBA celebrates its 40th anniversary this academic year.  What began as a small program forty years ago has grown to embrace a variety of formats tailored to meet the needs of full-time students and working professionals in the Paso del Norte region.

Early Years

Our History

When it was established in 1967, the College of Business Administration awarded only a bachelor of business administration degree.   COBA received approval to create the MBA degree on April 13, 1973 and launched the program in Fall 1973 with five evening courses.  COBA dean at the time, Dr. John Marvin Richards, explained in an El Paso Herald Post article that MBA courses would be offered in the evenings in order to make it possible for both part-time and full-time students to make progress toward completion of the MBA degree. One hundred students enrolled that first semester and in 1974 the first four MBA degrees were conferred. Two years later, the annual total had risen to 25, including the first three women recipients. From 1973 to 1982, courses were taught in the Liberal Arts Building.

In 1983, COBA moved into a new 80,000 sq. ft. building.  Over the next five years, COBA revised curricula, established new admission and retention standards, and hired 33 new faculty and professional staff-all of which contributed to the accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for all undergraduate and graduate programs in May 1989.

From Accreditation to International Recognition

MBA Graduation

The UTEP MBA entered the new millennium with non-traditional methods of delivery for MBA coursework.  Beginning in the late 1990’s, under the leadership of then COBA dean, Dr. Frank Hoy, the UTEP MBA went into online and off-campus environments.

The first non-traditional engagement occurred in 1998 when the University of Texas System’s Telecampus created a consortium of eight UT colleges of business to jointly offer an “Online MBA.”    The UTEP MBA managed 20 to 30 online students at a time during its involvement between 1999 and 2005. 

The UTEP MBA also began a partnership with The Boeing Company to offer a pilot Accelerated MBA (AMBA) at Boeing’s El Paso manufacturing facility.  The AMBA was structured as a cohort-style format that consisted of 6-week courses offered in lock step.  Starting in 1999, the UTEP AMBA offered two tracks on-site for Boeing employees - one for students with BBAs and another for students from other academic fields.  The venture proved so successful that COBA partnered with JP Morgan Chase Bank to offer a new AMBA to the public in the bank’s downtown conference room. 

In 2005, when Dean Robert Nachtmann assumed leadership of COBA, he quickly moved to update the MBA curriculum and hire professional dedicated staff in order to grow the MBA program.  UTEP “re-launched” the AMBA program in fall 2007 with two large cohorts hosted in part by the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce and Wells Fargo Bank. In fall 2008, another large AMBA cohort was launched through a hosting partnership with GECU.   

Graduate Business Center

Nachtmann responded to the increasing demand for MBA alternatives by proposing new executive and full-time MBA formats.  In spring 2010, COBA celebrated the grand opening of a 12,000 sq. ft. facility in the Chase Building downtown that featured three classrooms, student collaboration areas and administrative offices.  In January 2010, the EMBA began in an 18-month cohort format designed to serve business and non-profit leaders with at least 8 years of managerial experience.  The FTMBA was launched in fall 2010 as a 22-month day-time format intended to serve full-time students interested participating in  co-curricular activities including language workshops in business-related Chinese and Spanish as well as corporate engagement projects. The UTEP MBA exceeded growth projectionsfor the UTEP GBC within the first full year of operations.   By spring 2011, The UTEP GBC was home to four AMBA cohorts, two EMBA cohorts and a FTMBA cohort. 

In 2008, the UTEP MBA received its first national ranking, placing 6th in Hispanic Business magazine’s Best Business Schools” top 10 list.  In 2009, the program moved into 2nd place.  In 2010, 2011 and 2012, the program received the #1 ranking. 

MBA Cohort Trip

During the 2012/2013 academic year, the UTEP MBA also received the following accolades:  

  • #10 ranking in “Best of the Best MBA Schools” by Professional Woman’s Magazine and Hispanic Journal
  • #28 ranking among the world’s top 35 “Rising Star” business schools identified by FindyourMBA.com
  • Named the “Example of Excelencia” for graduate programs by Excelencia in Education, a Washington D.C. non-profit dedicated to identifying best practices in Latino/a educational attainment   
  • Awarded the “Vision of Excellence” by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Selected by The Public Relations Society of America to participate in a groundbreaking pilot program focused on strategic communication and reputation management education provided to MBAs. 

On its 40th anniversary, the UTEP MBA is providing a dynamic graduate business education to almost 300 students from all over the world. By offering a menu of flexible schedules and class formats in a state-of-the-art downtown facility, the UTEP MBA continues to meet the needs of full-time students and working professionals from industries ranging from healthcare, engineering, education, to cross-border business.