Deanna Wright

Florida Southern College and Florida Polytechnic University announced that they have partnered up for a “4+1” MBA program for STEM students. 

This new partnership will offer a path for Florida Poly STEM students to get their undergraduate degree while working towards a Masters in Business Administration in five years or less. 

“When I first found out about the partnership I was surprised, but I think it is a great idea,” junior Justin Santos said. 

These institutions are two of the six schools located in Lakeland within 15 miles from each other. 

“The schools are pretty far from each other geographically, and I know from 4 years of observation that a majority of Poly students tend to stay around campus and don’t venture beyond Plantation Square Publix,” Florida Poly senior Jonathan Dixon said. 

Due to the distance between the two institutions, many students tend to only venture around their campus and not visit the opposite part of Lakeland. Having this partnership means students will be making bonds with other students from Florida Poly and this would allow students to venture out of their circle. 

“With a program like this, students at both schools, even in their freshman years, will be more aware of the other school and more likely to look into making connections since they will be interacting at a senior and graduate level from now on,” Dixon said. 

The “4+1” MBA is the first of its kind and will benefit not just the schools but also the Lakeland community. Lakeland has over 21,000 businesses which gives these students so many opportunities for careers once they graduate. 

Both FSC President Anne B. Kerr and Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Poly, agreed that this new opportunity to earn two degrees in a short amount of time will help elevate these STEM students’ career paths and open doors for many possibilities in the announcement article. 

“It will be good for the Lakeland community as it is a very exciting [partnership] that businesses all across Lakeland should benefit from,” Santos said. 

Due to Polytechnic only being open for six years, the institution has a small selection of degree programs and does not offer any Master’s programs other than in the STEM field. Allowing them to pursue a Master’s degree in another field like business will create new opportunities for the community.

“Poly has such a small selection of degree programs, and not everyone wants to pursue a Master’s degree in a strictly STEM field,” Dixon said. “Many entrepreneurs at Poly want to pursue business to launch their ideas and start-ups, and a Business-related Master’s degree from a respected school like FSC will be a great opportunity for many graduates.” 

Florida Poly undergraduates who meet minimum qualifications and prove their academic progression can apply for the program during their junior year for early acceptance. If the undergrad is accepted during their junior year, they will complete nine credit hours of graduate work with Florida Southern prior to them getting their bachelor’s degree. 

Florida Poly freshmen who meet SAT or ACT requirements and maintain a 3.25 GPA will be automatically granted admissions to the “4+1” MBA program as well as GMAT/GRE admission testing to Florida Southern will be waived. Those who transfer into Florida Poly with a minimum GPA of 3.25 must maintain a cumulative 3.25 GPA throughout their undergraduate program. 

After completing the nine credit hours during their senior year of undergrad, students in the program will then attend FSC for a year to finish the program. 

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