Behind the List with Elizabeth Meade of Cedar Crest College

While the economy continues to grow stronger and job growth in the nation is on the rise, young professionals are continuously looking for outlets to expand their knowledge and become successful in the working world.

One opportunity that’s proven popular is earning a Master of Business Administration, and with many accredited programs in Pennsylvania, there are many options.

Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions and give insight into MBA programs is Elizabeth Meade, interim president of Cedar Crest College in Allentown.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Cedar Crest College been operating in the region and what are its primary services?

Elizabeth Meade: Cedar Crest College celebrates our 150th anniversary this year. We are a historic women’s college and continue to primarily serve women in our day classes, but our mission remains to expand access to higher education for those who most want it.

Our MBA program is very much part of that vision for women and men who aspire to advance themselves professionally.

Cedar Crest created one of the Lehigh Valley’s first programs for adult learners, admitting women who did not have the chance to go to college after high school. Now, our School of Adult and Graduate Education admits women and men in our evening, weekend and online programs.

Business, education and nursing are our most popular programs, and we also have exceptional programs in forensic science and criminal justice, the natural and social sciences, nutrition and the health sciences, and the creative arts and humanities.

LVB: When did Cedar Crest College implement its MBA program, and what specialties does it offer?

Meade: Cedar Crest’s MBA welcomed our first class in 2016. We offer two concentrations, one in management and one in business analytics.

Our flexibility makes us distinctive. Students can start in any of four terms a year and complete the degree at a pace that makes sense for them. It is designed to be completed in as quickly as a year and a half, if students desire an accelerated pace.

LVB: How does the Cedar Crest MBA program work directly with local businesses to prepare graduates of its programs for jobs in their respective fields? What have been some of the most noteworthy stories of some Cedar Crest MBA graduates?

Meade: Our MBA program aligns itself closely with the needs of Lehigh Valley companies, the [Greater] Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and national standards through our ACBSP [Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs] accreditation.

Our inaugural MBA graduates this year are employed by companies throughout the Lehigh Valley in industries such as manufacturing, human resource and payroll management, health care, finances, energy and transportation. Such MBA graduates report leaving Cedar Crest to an average annual salary of $83,000.

LVB: With the cost of tuition continually on the rise and acquiring financial assistance becoming more burdensome, has Cedar Crest seen a decrease in graduate student enrollment over the years, or has it seen growth? Why, or why not?

Meade: Cedar Crest students understand the value of a graduate degree for the expertise it lends them and the path to professional advancement it opens up.

Our “Pathways to Professional Excellence” program provides tuition discounts to employees of many Lehigh Valley companies and organizations. A master’s or doctoral degree remains an investment worth making in yourself.

Cedar Crest has seen a greater than 40 percent increase in graduate enrollment over the last decade, which has been driven by new programs such as the MBA and other graduate programs such as those in nursing practice, the health sciences, art therapy and creative writing.

LVB: What does the future look like for Cedar Crest College?

Meade: Cedar Crest has seen regular enrollment growth over the last six years, at a time when other colleges in Pennsylvania struggle to attract a declining number of high school graduates. This fall, we welcome our largest freshman class in a decade.

Our “sophomore expedition” begins next March by taking our entire sophomore class to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And, we will have a new international destination for each following year.

We are adding new graduate programs, in areas of high demand to the Lehigh Valley and surrounding region. We are now admitting our first class of nurse practitioners and will soon enroll our first class of nurse anesthetists – the only such program in the Lehigh Valley region.

We have been able to invest operational surpluses into $12.3 million worth of campus renovations and improvements.

Cedar Crest students find exceptional value in the education we provide them. The college’s future? Exceptionally bright.

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