Bringing together hundreds of graduate students in the University of Houston-Victoria Master of Business Administration program is no easy chore considering classes can be taken in three different cities or online.
But that is one of the reasons a group of UHV graduate assistants has launched the university’s first MBA Student Association.
With online classes and students spread across teaching centers in Sugar Land, Katy and UHV’s main campus in Victoria, it’s sometimes hard for students to network and get to know each other socially, said Rohan Thomas, MBA Student Association president.
“We don’t have many activities for students, and a lot of MBA students don’t know each other,” Thomas said. “That is why we are moving forward with the concept of having an association exclusively for MBA students. This will allow us to have more networking opportunities and bring in speakers from companies to share their knowledge.”
The group is open to all students enrolled in the School of Business Administration graduate programs. There is no fee to join.
The association will invite guests from local industries to talk with the group. This is not only designed to be a learning experience, but also could lead to networking, internships and recruitment opportunities with those companies. The association also will help coordinate various School of Business Administration events, such as the executive speaker series and alumni week.
“A number of MBA students have jobs in multinational companies, so we already have some contacts,” Thomas said. “We hope to build relationships through the association so that the companies will consider recruiting UHV students.”
Thomas credits Jeff Blodgett, associate dean of the School of Business Administration, for coming up with the idea for a student group. With the help of Blodgett; Jeffrey Radighieri, a UHV assistant professor of marketing; and Olga Chapa, a UHV assistant professor of management, Thomas and 10 graduate assistant took the idea and ran with it, laying the framework for the organization late in the spring semester.
Blodgett said the association will offer many benefits.
“Through social and academic activities, the association will create stronger bonds among our students and will help instill a greater sense of pride in UHV and the School of Business Administration,” he said. “By connecting with both current students and MBA alumni, we hope to create a strong network that will open up career opportunities for our graduates.”
Thomas, Vice President Cindy Ngoc Pham and the other graduate assistants held an information session in the spring. Most of the students attending were interested in joining, Thomas said.
The group’s first event was a party at Sugar Land Town Center the evening before the Master of Business Administration Conference in May.
The association is in the process of building a website to keep students informed about events. Plans for a fall member induction ceremony also are in the works. Thomas said the goal is to have 30 to 50 members by the end of the fall semester.
Even with students all across Houston and beyond, Thomas said it won’t be difficult to spread the word about events. Organizers will use the website, email and may ask faculty members to share information with their graduate-level classes.
MBA students wanting more information about the association can email Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.