Online or In Person, Suffolk’s MBA Program Emphasizes Experience

MBA Program Director Jodi Detjen varies approach depending on the learning module, but the outcomes are the same

“The online program has surpassed all of my expectations. I have developed relationships with other students and all of the professors...have supported me each step of the way. It has been a flawless experience.” —Adrienne Crowley, Class of 2017

Although it happened a few years ago, the memory still puts a smile on Jodi Detjen’s face.

While teaching a summer course from the comfort of her home, the veteran Suffolk professor remembers getting up from her computer to reach for a book nearby. That’s when she realized she was wearing shorts.

“The students could see me, and we all had a good laugh,” said Detjen, who, like many television anchors, was dressed professionally only from the waist up. “That was my ESPN moment.”

Different modes of learning

As clinical professor of management and MBA program director, Detjen has been comfortably teaching both in the classroom and online for the past decade.

“I have no preference,” she said. “The learning objective is the same, but the tactics of how I deliver the material may change – like showing a video in class compared to having students watch it online on their own time.”

Being an educator today offers autonomy, flexibility, and new opportunities for creativity.

“I like helping students to learn in different ways,” said Detjen. “Whether I’m teaching in class or online, that’s my ultimate goal.”

Teaching the Experiential MBA

Detjen has had a new focus given the introduction this past fall of an MBA program that immerses students in theory and practice simultaneously.

Suffolk MBA students—both those on campus and those learning online—now work on live business problems throughout the Boston area, such as self-driving cars’ impact on insurance or a biomedical firm’s decision-making about whether manufacturing should take place locally, in North Carolina, or in China.

“The beauty of Suffolk’s MBA program is that it’s highly experiential,” said Detjen. “We’re bringing business problems into virtually every class, and students then synthesize all of the information and come up with their own solutions.”


Silicon Valley Experience

Detjen, her class, and Strategy and International Business Professor Russell Seidle traveled to Silicon Valley during spring break as part of the program’s emphasis on students’ gaining hands-on experience and visiting real-life global companies.

The trip was meant to immerse students in a totally different business culture as they visited companies in California and compared the start-up business environments of Silicon Valley and Massachusetts.

“The students learned so much because they were challenged every day,” said Detjen. “The opportunity that they had was intense, which allows for their overall skills to improve very quickly.”

Once they return to class, students working in small groups are required to deliver a final presentation with the theme How Can Boston Out-Compete Silicon Valley? Area businesspeople are invited guests at the presentations.

Connecting easily from Arizona

Her teaching method allows Detjen to connect well with students no matter the medium.

“She facilitated the discussions online so well that I felt I was in a classroom and not behind a computer,” said Adrienne Crowley, a distance learner who has taken two electronic classes with Detjen.

Crowley works 10 hours a day as a supervisory border patrol agent in Wilcox, Arizona. Earning her Suffolk MBA online was a natural choice because of her location, and one that she’s glad she made.

“The online program has surpassed all of my expectations,” said Crowley, Class of 2017, who hails from Massachusetts originally. “I have developed relationships with other students and all of the professors, including Jodi, have supported me each step of the way. It has been a flawless experience.”