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Wake Forest University School of Business: Cultivating Ethical Leaders for a Changing World


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For 75 years, the School of Business at Wake Forest University has exemplified a legacy of excellence in developing business leaders. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its prestigious MBA program, the institution firmly believes in the transformative potential of effective business leadership to improve the world. Wake Forest University focuses on developing passionate, ethical, and high-achieving leaders who prioritize integrity and purpose.

Through a holistic approach that combines innovative thought leadership, rigorous academic training, and strong industry connections, Wake Forest prepares graduates who excel right from the start. This tradition is deeply rooted in a community that fosters conceptual understanding, practical skills, and the cultivation of unwavering character from admission through a successful professional career. State-of-the-art facilities, promoting collaborative learning, and being staffed by dedicated professionals committed to student success, support the Wake Forest University School of Business as a beacon of excellence in business education.

Where Learning Meets Professional Growth

The Wake Forest School of Business possesses distinct qualities that differentiate its MBA programs and courses, creating a unique educational experience for students. At the core of its offerings lies a dedication to working professionals. The School acknowledges the multifaceted lives of its students, tailoring its programs to accommodate their demanding schedules by offering in-person, hybrid, and online MBA options. In small, diverse classes, students embark on a journey of hands-on learning, guided by experienced faculty and enriched by interactions with business leaders from various sectors. This dynamic environment enables them to immediately apply classroom concepts to their workplaces, enhancing the practicality and relevance of their education.

One of the standout features of the Wake Forest MBA program is its Career Ambassadors initiative. This innovative approach connects students with a network of accomplished alumni and industry experts, providing invaluable one-on-one access. Through resume reviews and personalized advice sessions, students receive guidance customized to their career aspirations, helping them confidently chart their professional paths.

The Wake Forest MBA program offers various support services to help our students achieve balance in their lives including pre-course boot camps and course tutoring sessions.  And, for students who join us in person, this also includes meals, convenient onsite parking, and complementary textbooks.  The School dedicates time attending to details allowing our working professional students time to concentrate on their learning and growth. These considerations underscore the commitment to ensuring students effectively manage their family, work, and educational responsibilities.

Tailored Curriculum with a Comprehensive Leadership Focus

The Wake Forest MBA program features a structured 5-semester curriculum with a significant emphasis on cultivating comprehensive leadership and management skills. What distinguishes this program, however, is its flexibility, allowing students to customize their studies based on specific interests and career goals through elective courses and optional concentrations.

One notable feature of the Wake Forest MBA program is that, in addition to a general MBA path, it offers a range of specialized and in-depth concentrations, including:

Business Analytics: This concentration equips students with advanced data analytics skills, enabling them to make well-informed decisions using data across various business contexts.

Strategy & Leadership: Focused on leadership development and strategic thinking, this concentration sharpens students’ abilities to effectively guide organizations through complex challenges.

Finance: Designed for those interested in financial management and analysis, this concentration provides a deep dive into the intricacies of finance within the business world.

Digital Marketing: In the era of digital transformation, this concentration equips students with the skills needed to navigate the digital marketing landscape and create impactful online strategies.

Project Management: This concentration emphasizes the mastery of project management methodologies and tools, a critical skill in today’s dynamic business environment.

Furthermore, the Wake Forest MBA program offers an exciting opportunity for students to participate in Global Immersion Experiences. These courses provide students with firsthand international experiences, allowing them to broaden their horizons, gain real-world insights, and explore the intersection of business and culture in various global settings. Through immersive experiences in local cultures and on-site visits to companies worldwide, students expand their global perspective and learn best business practices from an international standpoint.  Recent trips have included Dubai, Zurich, Morocco, and Portugal.

Additionally, Wake Forest University consistently updates its programs to align with the evolving demands of the business world. These updates include incorporating the latest industry trends, integrating emerging technologies, and expanding partnerships with global institutions to enhance the Global Immersion Experiences. By continuously adapting and innovating, the Wake Forest MBA program ensures that its students are prepared for success in an ever-changing business landscape.

Fostering Holistic Student Engagement

The Wake Forest MBA program promotes robust student engagement, creating a lively and dynamic learning environment that extends well beyond the classroom. To achieve this, the institution has implemented a multifaceted approach that ensures students receive not only academic enrichment but also opportunities for social and professional connections.

One of the key strategies employed by Wake Forest involves organizing a wide range of extracurricular activities, both on and off campus. These activities serve as platforms for students to network, socialize, and build meaningful connections with their peers and the broader community. The program takes a holistic approach to student life, recognizing that personal growth and professional development are closely interconnected.

On campus, Wake Forest offers engaging events like MBA tailgates and student socials. These gatherings provide opportunities for students to network with their fellow classmates in a relaxed setting. Off-campus adventures, such as rafting at the Charlotte Whitewater Rafting Center and various outings to local professional sporting events, add an element of excitement and teamwork to the student experience.

Beyond these social and recreational activities, Wake Forest actively encourages its MBA students to engage with their local communities in many ways, including mentoring and supporting students at Philips Academy in Charlotte, offering tutoring to K-12 students in math, and taking part in charitable efforts to assist families in need during the holiday season.

Comprehensive Approach to Practical Education

The Wake Forest MBA program employs a comprehensive approach to ensure that its students not only acquire academic knowledge but also develop practical skills and gain hands-on experience, effectively preparing them for their respective industries. Recognizing its students are working professionals, the program works to enable its students to immediately apply the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom to their real-world work environments. This practical application sharpens their business acumen and enhances job performance, making them valuable assets to their employers right from the start.

Furthermore, the program views the diversity of work experiences among MBA students as an invaluable asset. These diverse backgrounds fuel engaging class discussions, enrich case analyses, and promote effective teamwork. The exchange of different perspectives and industry insights within the classroom enhances the overall learning experience, providing students with a well-rounded understanding of the business landscape.

To further enhance the educational experience, the Wake Forest MBA program hosts a series of speaker sessions, information panels, and workshops. These events are led by renowned business leaders and influencers in their respective fields, providing students with direct exposure to industry experts. Allowing them to expand their professional knowledge and skills. These interactions not only enhance their understanding of industry trends and best practices but also create opportunities for networking and mentorship.

A Unique and Enriching Learning Experience

Wake Forest University is deeply committed to a meaningful teacher-scholar ideal reflected in developing strong relationships between student and faculty thought leaders.  As such, the Wake Forest MBA program prides itself on maintaining a student-faculty ratio that enhances the quality of the learning experience, making it more personalized and enriching. In core curriculum classes, where instructors tailor the instruction to specific modalities and campus locations, class sizes typically range from forty to fifty students. Elective or concentration-based classes intentionally enroll fewer students, accommodating up to thirty.

This commitment to meaningful student-faculty exchanges and relationships enables students to have direct engagement with faculty and ample opportunities for hands-on learning. Additionally, intentionally smaller class sizes foster the development of meaningful professional connections among peers, creating a vibrant and supportive learning environment. Wake Forest is committed to ensuring that students receive the attention and support necessary to excel in their academic and professional pursuits.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

At Wake Forest University, fostering diversity and creating an inclusive community is fundamental and a deeply ingrained commitment.   The institution’s dedication to an inclusive community goes beyond mere words; it is a guiding principle that shapes its educational approach and commitment to Pro Humanitate.

In creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment, the School recognizes the importance of embracing a wide spectrum of identities, backgrounds, and cultures, including race, ethnicity, gender, physical capabilities, sexual orientation, age, religion, and socioeconomic class. The aim is clear: to construct a dynamic and inclusive space that mirrors the rich tapestry of our world.

To actively promote diversity and inclusion, the Wake Forest School of Business, in partnership with the University, launched the R.I.D.E (Realizing Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) initiative. R.I.D.E. underscores the institution’s commitment to prioritizing inclusion and ensuring that individuals and groups, particularly those historically marginalized, genuinely feel a sense of belonging. It also ensures that all members of the community have equal access to support and opportunities.

This dedication to diversity and inclusion translates into a range of meaningful benefits. Students find themselves immersed in a multicultural environment that enhances their academic and personal experiences. Interacting with a diverse student body broadens their horizons and deepens their cross-cultural understanding, essential skills for global business leaders.

Furthermore, the institution also emphasizes intercultural effectiveness, recognizing its significance in today’s interconnected world. This focus on multiculturalism equips students with the skills necessary for effective business leadership on a global scale.

In this inclusive environment, international students have the opportunity to build a global network of peers and mentors, a valuable asset for their careers in our increasingly interconnected world.

Transforming Careers for Working Professionals

The Wake Forest MBA program uniquely designs itself to meet the needs of working professionals, offering them the flexibility to pursue their career goals while advancing their education. A cornerstone of this program involves the Market Readiness and Engagement (MRE) team providing comprehensive career growth support.

The MRE team plays a pivotal role in guiding students along their career paths, offering a wealth of career advancement resources, both in-person and online. These resources cover a wide range of topics, from job search strategies to interview preparation and networking opportunities. Crucially, the team also focuses on developing practical and soft skills that extend beyond the classroom, ensuring that students are well-prepared to succeed in their careers.

The success stories of Wake Forest MBA students serve as a testament to the effectiveness of this approach. Over 60% of students experience at least one promotion during their enrollment in the program, demonstrating the immediate impact of their education on their careers. Furthermore, students enjoy an average increase in compensation of 38% while still pursuing their MBA studies, highlighting the tangible and immediate benefits of this educational investment.

Upon graduation from the Wake Forest MBA program, students can anticipate many career opportunities across diverse industries. The program’s emphasis on practical knowledge, hands-on experience, and the development of critical skills positions graduates as highly sought-after professionals in business analytics, finance, marketing, leadership, and project management, among others. Additionally, the extensive network of alumni and industry connections fostered by Wake Forest opens doors to a multitude of career paths and advancement opportunities.

Dean Ranft: Leading Excellence at Wake Forest School of Business

Annette L. Ranft joined Wake Forest University’s School of Business as the Sisel Distinguished Dean in 2022.  Her distinguished background as a noted scholar in strategic management enriches the School with valuable expertise in the field. Dean Ranft’s leadership philosophy prioritizes open communication, which has profoundly impacted the institution by fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity. Through her guidance, stakeholders have been encouraged to engage in transparent and constructive dialogue, ensuring that the School of Business operates as a cohesive and unified community.

One of Dean Ranft’s notable contributions is her commitment to streamlining and simplifying processes within the institution. Her efforts have resulted in greater efficiency and effectiveness in day-to-day operations, ultimately benefiting students and staff alike. By eliminating unnecessary complexities, she has created an environment where the focus remains on the pursuit of educational excellence.

Furthermore, Dean Ranft recognizes the paramount importance of clear and transparent communication in today’s business landscape. She has championed these principles, ensuring that information flows seamlessly throughout the School, facilitating informed decision-making and a shared sense of purpose.

In an era characterized by rapid change and innovation, Dean Ranft’s visionary leadership acknowledges the need for students to be adaptable and open to innovative approaches. She actively cultivates an atmosphere of exploration and continuous learning, empowering students with the skills required to thrive in a dynamic and ever-evolving business world.

Dean Ranft’s tenure at the Wake Forest School of Business reflects her expertise, commitment to collaboration and inclusivity, relentless pursuit of excellence, and dedication to preparing students for future challenges. Under her guidance, the institution thrives, offering students a leading-edge education that equips them for success in the complex and rapidly changing business landscape.


ALSO READ: The 10 Elite MBA Colleges of 2023

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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