Embracing the Cohort Culture

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
New Belk College Program Builds Strength From Diversity

As the Master of Science in Management students entered their program, they immediately embraced the cohort model.  The diverse group quickly adopted its own culture, centered around supporting each other, and drawing upon individual strengths to benefit all.  The group personifies the concept of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Beginning with day one, this cohort culture has continued to evolve as a significant strength, providing students an internal support structure like none other, enabling individual students, and the program itself, to excel exponentially.

The M.S. in Management students come from a broad variety of backgrounds and undergraduate disciplines including Art, Systems Engineering, Biology, Communications, African American Studies and more.  While many had recently earned their undergraduate degree from UNC Charlotte, others moved from nearby institutions such as Appalachian State University and East Carolina University. Still others traveled from international locations to earn this degree, like Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and Biju Pattanaik University in Odisha, India.  Clearly, the group of students has extremely diverse backgrounds and skill sets, significantly unusual for most other graduate programs. So how will this expansive array of individuals synthesize together as a class? Organically.


Dr. Carol Stivender, M.S. in Management Program Director and professor of economics, is leading the program as an aggressive course of study which covers foundational business elements such as marketing, accounting, management, economics and more.  These topics are new to most of the students, which make them similar in that way. They are augmenting their varied skill sets with a common purpose: develop business acumen. In addition, the program is designed as a cohort model, where all students take classes together and move through the program at the same pace.  With this structure, students are naturally becoming closely knit, supporting each other with their interdisciplinary backgrounds, each bringing strengths to the table that will reinforce all in the cohort.


Career aspirations of the students range widely:  IT Business Analyst, Healthcare Systems, Human Resources, earning a PhD, even becoming a Disney Imagineer.  Clearly, while all these students are seeking to become different types of business leaders, all want to be successful professionally.  LIkewise they each bring their own unique perspective to the program based on their professional passions.

UNC Charlotte and Belk College of Business are paving the way for the next generation of professionals who will impact a broad spectrum of industries.  Each of these students, upon graduation, will be skilled in the foundations that are required of business managers, giving corporate recruiters and small businesses alike the skills they demand.