The University of New Brunswick’s MBA program showed off its new digs in uptown Saint John today.
The university took over part of UNBSJ’s Grand Hall, overlooking King’s Square, with designs to become bigger and more visible to the business community.
Students have been working and learning in the space since last fall, which features classrooms, meeting rooms and a common meeting area.
Thursday’s announcement coincided with a federal commitment of $750,000 for the move through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
MBA program director Dr. Shelley Rinehart said one of the move’s benefits is the open concept casual meeting area.
“Really good, innovative ideas and really good solutions are born out of those informal conversations,” Rinehart said.
“They are not born out of those formal interactions, and that’s what this is all about.”
Students say they love the uptown location because it’s in the heart of Saint John’s business community.
“You’re so close to all the businesses,” said Michael Kirkpatrick, who played major junior hockey in Saint John and is currently enrolled in the MBA program.
“You’ve got Irving Oil — I’m looking at Irving Oil right across the street right now. You’ve got JDI just down here.”
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UNBSJ MBA society president Sherif Salaam, an international student from Nigeria, agreed.
“We don’t feel like we are just taking undergraduate studies,” he said.
“We don’t feel cramped up with undergraduate students. In this case, we feel like we’re truly in a business school.
“We feel like these people are taking us seriously.”
The school is partnering with Economic Development Greater Saint John (EDGSJ) to co-locate their business start-up incubator, Block One, in the building.
“At EDGSJ, we are committed to working with community stakeholders so our MBA students go from the classroom to the workforce here in Saint John,” said Andrew Oland, chair of Economic Development Greater Saint John.
Rinehart said an additional benefit to the move is the ability to accommodate more students.
There are 93 in the MBA program right now. Rinehart said she wants that number to hit 120 soon.