Associated with the United Methodist Church and located on 100 beautiful acres in the heart of Mississippi’s capital Jackson, Millsaps College is home to just over 900 students from 26 US states and 23 countries. Millsaps College’s Else School of Management MBA program has been named a Global Super MBA program by CEO Magazine and has been listed as one of only 20 top-tier MBA programs in North America, the only program in Mississippi to be listed. The Else School offers two graduate degrees – Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy. It also offers an Executive MBA program for mid- to high-level managers or executives who are typically on track to advance into senior leadership. Millsaps College has long sought to create programs that set it apart from ordinary institutions. It aims to do this by constantly making and reinforcing the connection between academic pursuits and the real world. In the following interview, Kim Burke, Dean of Else School of Management, outlines the secrets of the school’s success:

Millsaps College’s Else School of Management MBA program has been named a Global Super MBA program by CEO Magazine and has been listed as one of only 20 “top tier” MBA programs in North America. What do you offer that has attracted such accolades?
In today’s difficult economy, it’s easy for both students and academic programs to succumb to the hype that the value of an education is measured by the first job attained upon graduation. At the Else School of Management, we value our students’ first jobs, as well as their last. What we offer is an individualized focus on developing each student to his or her fullest potential and freeing that student to become an informed, ethical leader. We believe this prepares our graduates not only for their first jobs, but also for their longer career where that career is an integral part of a rich, fulfilling life.

Ensuring that focus on the individual student requires an exceptionally qualified faculty and staff who repeatedly demonstrate their passion for and commitment to teaching, nurturing and inspiring our students to reach their fullest potential. When that means our students need individualized attention in the classroom, in finding the right internship or job or in navigating a start-up venture, our faculty and staff understand and support the value of that attention. At the Else School of Management, our faculty and staff understand that growing our programs is not our end game – equipping our students for a long, satisfying career as part of a meaningful life is the end game.

Millsaps is located on 100 acres in Jackson, Mississippi. What does the campus and the surrounding city have to offer students?
Millsaps College has the advantage of being located in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi – the hub of government, commerce and culture. Jackson is a nexus for talented people who want to work together, whether they are looking for the next big thing or for an opportunity to contribute. The metro area has a population of 539,000 people, and with more than 35,000 students in the metro area, Jackson has been named one of the country’s best communities for young people. A major player in the history of American gospel, blues and soul, Jackson offers lively music, a welcoming arts community, energetic neighbourhoods and a booming restaurant scene. Socially networked, dynamic, and affordable, it’s a great place to go to college and launch a career.
As an active member of the Jackson community, the Else School of Management ensures that our students have excellent opportunities to extend their learning into the community. Our interns are sought after by businesses because of their maturity and problem-solving skills. In addition, Jackson has been recognized as the 11th best city in America to launch a small business.
Getting here is easy. Jackson is served by five major airlines and is just down the road from Birmingham, Memphis and New Orleans. Once they complete the rigorous academic experience and apply their skills and abilities, graduates of the Else School programs find that going anywhere is also easy.

Millsaps was founded by members of the Methodist Church in 1890 and is still associated with the United Methodist Church. How does the issue of faith affect student life at the college?
Millsaps College celebrates its beginnings and continued affiliation with the United Methodist Church. The influence of the Methodist Church is evident in the College’s strategic plan that notes its commitment to “promoting our heritage of social justice, commitment to freedom of thought, welcoming acceptance and inclusion of all people and critical reflection on the most important questions of life.” Our heritage points the College and Else School of Management towards openness, inclusion and rational inquiry. Students with strong religious affiliations or none at all find that Millsaps embraces diversity in its various forms and promotes a culture of good citizenship and engagement.

What makes a good MBA candidate? And are overseas students at an advantage or disadvantage as applicants to Millsaps?
Students who complete an MBA program have a tangible signal of their skills and abilities for current or future employers, a signal that typically results in a better job or higher salary. In a highly competitive economy, the signal alone can be great and very useful. In our experience, though, what is far more important is the lasting human capital obtained by students who complete a quality graduate program. A quality MBA program encourages students to take the time to reflect on the intersection of what their careers require, what they’ve learned and where they want to go. A quality MBA program requires students to reach beyond their current circumstances and context to understand their place in a global economy.

At the Else School of Management, we provide that quality MBA program because we want the value of the program to outlast the current or next job. Accordingly, it is our experience that the best MBA candidates are those who take a longer term view. The best MBA candidate does not necessarily come from a business background. Many of our students have pursued other intellectual passions before deciding that they need to improve their grasp of business concepts and practices. Students who are curious and want to solve problems; students who seek challenges and embrace new perspectives; students who want to make a difference in their various communities at work or home – those are the students who benefit most from the quality MBA program provided by the Else School of Management.

Overseas applicants interested in the graduate programs of the Else School of Management should feel completely at home. The liberal arts education at Millsaps actively develops students’ abilities to engage perspectives other than their own, understand the achievements, problems and perspectives of the past and recognize their influence on the course of events. Issues associated with diversity, international and differing cultural viewpoints are interwoven through the undergraduate and graduate curricula of the Else School. In addition, our focus on each individual student naturally creates a welcoming atmosphere for every student.