SRC scientists gain ‘business acumen’ through customized Oswego MBA

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego has teamed with SRC Inc. to deliver a customized MBA degree program to employees of the research and development company at its North Syracuse offices.

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Ding Zhang, professor of marketing and management at SUNY Oswego, teaches a course in operations management as part of a customized MBA program at SRC Inc., a North Syracuse-based research and development company.

More than 30 SRC employees began taking classes toward the master of business administration at SRC, from pre-MBA foundational courses to electives and core classes.

“Recent enhancements to our leadership model are setting expectations for technical experts to have an equal understanding of what it means to run our business — what we call business acumen,” SRC officials said. “Having an MBA program on-site makes it easy and convenient for our busy professionals to participate and gain this intelligence.”

A conversation last year between college President Deborah F. Stanley and SRC President Paul G. Tremont set the program in motion.

“President Tremont reached out to us and our nationally respected MBA program among his efforts to develop SRC’s staff, build internal strength and add to the professional toolkit of SRC scientists,” Stanley said. “We were more than happy to work with him. We pride ourselves on the flexibility of our MBA programs and we moved quickly to begin offering classes at SRC.”

This spring, the program got under way with an operations management course delivered at SRC as well as online pre-MBA classes. SRC pays employees’ tuition.

“Our students enjoy flexibility through part-time, online and hybrid courses,” company officials said. “The willingness to bring professors on-site to the SRC facility after work hours is an example of how Oswego provides a value-added program that works for our employees.”

Besides convenience and flexibility, SRC said having a cohort of employees go through the program together “provides natural study groups and a chance for students to work with other employees that may not interact as part of their SRC role. This interaction provides participants an increased breadth of SRC knowledge and creates an internal support system.”

Regional advancement

Richard Skolnick, dean of the SUNY Oswego School of Business, said cooperation between business and education brings regional gains.

“Initiatives like this help Central New York respond to a changing economy,” Skolnick said. “The SUNY Oswego-SRC collaboration is a case in point: SRC employees develop new skills and perspectives, SUNY Oswego faculty interact with talented professionals and SRC organically develops managerial and leadership potential.”

Irene Scruton, the college’s director of MBA programs, has led the tactical integration of the SRC custom program with the college’s nationally ranked online MBA program. “We wanted to give the student-employees a true college experience while maximizing efficiency and maintaining our rigorous standards of quality,” Scruton said.

Huda Suliman, a research scientist with SRC for three and a half years, has a doctorate in biochemistry. She took “Financial and Managerial Accounting” through the SUNY Oswego program. The microbiologist said she found the principles of balance sheets, other financial documents and financial projections “almost immediately applicable.”

“At SRC, we often have meetings that cover the company’s financials and now I have more understanding of the terminology used and the importance of the discussed financials,” she said.

Suliman said the program saves commutes to campus, allowing for “a feasible work-life-school balance.”

John Fazio, senior contracts administrator for SRC, said he enjoys the interaction provided by having coworkers as classmates. “In my most recent class, we had a pretty extensive group project to complete in a short amount of time,” he said. “This partnership allowed us to set up a group of all SRC employees. We were able to meet at lunches and communicate throughout the life of the project.”

Oswego’s Scruton said, “The bright, talented people at SRC are a phenomenal group, and all our faculty and staff at the college stepped up to meet the challenge and opportunity presented by offering this customized MBA.”

For more information on SUNY Oswego MBA degree programs, contact Scruton at 315-312-2911 or [email protected]