SAN RAFAEL -- Dominican University of California plans to merge three separate programs into a single Master of Business Administration curriculum, anchoring various specializations to a central focus on the day-to-day realities of an increasingly globalized economy.

[caption id="attachment_75327" align="alignleft" width="179"] Sam Beldona[/caption]

Requiring ongoing consulting work with a foreign company, the cohort-style program, launching in fall 2014, will offer an experience that business dean Sam Beldona said is key to the competitiveness of MBA graduates.

"Today, we all have come to realize that we work in a very globalized marketplace. All of these companies have global innovation, global design, global manufacturing," said Mr. Beldona, a doctor of business administration who joined Dominican as dean of its School of Business and Leadership in July 2013. "In whatever function they work in and whatever company they work in, it will be of an increasingly global nature."

Three separate MBA programs -- including the groundbreaking "Green MBA" -- will become emphases in sustainable enterprise, global business or strategic leadership. Students will be able to combine those elements to customize a curriculum, if desired.

"There were best practices embedded in each of them, but they were siloed," said Mr. Beldona.

That emphasis, along with the mixture of talent in a particular cohort, will ultimately influence the nature of the foreign consulting work that serves as a capstone for the program. Students will research the strategic needs of a foreign company in markets like China, the Middle East and South America, and end their program with an in-person presentation to executives.

That ongoing work will expose students to the way that cultural, linguistic, economic and other differences can have a subtle but significant effect on the ability to succeed in an international marketplace, Mr. Beldona said.

"While here, they will be chatting with them, Skyping with them, and then will go to present to their senior management," he said.

The program is currently expected to focus on a single company or market, but may expand to multi-country projects in the future.

Full-time students can complete their MBA in as little as one year, with part-time and evening students expected to take two years. Cohort-style learning will keep students in a contiguous group during the curriculum, an approach that has been increasingly adopted among MBA programs in the North Bay and beyond.

The business dean credited Dominican's faculty for development of the new curriculum, and acknowledged that it reflected his own philosophies. Mr. Beldona helped expand the global reach of Rhode Island's Byrant University Graduate School of Business as associate dean, and has taught and studied in countries including Japan and India.

That experience has shown how students compete on an increasingly world-wide stage, he said.

"Globalization will help our students stand out in a crowded marketplace," he said.

The new MBA is expecting around 30 students when the academic year begins in mid-August, with the first full-time class traveling abroad n the summer of 2015. The San Rafael private college enrolls around 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students.

Mr. Beldona noted other initiatives in development at Dominican, including the addition of Web-based remote learning programs that could become active as soon as this year.

"It's a very exciting time to be at Dominican," he said.