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ASU launches new grad programs in leadership and accountancy

December 04, 2006

Arizona State University received approval to launch two new Master’s degree programs designed to develop leaders in management and accountancy by bringing experiential learning and virtual problem-solving into the classroom.

The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) voted unanimously in support of ASU’s West campus School of Global Management and Leadership’s proposal to establish a Master of Applied Leadership and Management and a Master of Accountancy and Applied Leadership.

“To become effective leaders, graduates will need a comprehensive understanding of the principles of leadership,” said Gary Waissi, dean of ASU’s School of Global Management and Leadership. “Our new graduate programs were developed to incorporate all the disciplines that contribute to skillful leadership. By using technology and distance-learning approaches, we will continue to build the infrastructure that supports ASU’s global management mission of the School of Global Management and Leadership.”

The two distinctive degree programs combine the principles and technical skills students need to succeed in accounting and organizational leadership positions. Each program integrates innovative, computerized technologies into the learning process.

“We will use software simulations of leadership challenges to help students develop their emotional intelligence and decision-making skills,” said Pierre Balthazard, associate professor and director of Graduate Programs in the School of Global Management and Leadership at ASU’s West campus.

Using practiceware software, students will sharpen their awareness and hone their communication ability to exercise superior team skills. Students develop an intuitive ‘operating system' that makes them more effective in the real world. These virtual leadership challenges help cultivate emotional intelligence and decision-making skills in crisis and other problem-solving situations.

"Students will work with and learn from faculty who are conducting cutting-edge research in the areas of leadership and neuroscience," said Joan Brett, associate vice provost or Graduate Studies and Academic Programs. "There will be a very strong and sharply focused emphasis on experiential learning and team work."

The Master of Applied Leadership and Management is designed for applicants in a variety of technical and business disciplines who already hold undergraduate or graduate degrees in business administration and wish to study organizational leadership in greater depth. Graduates will be able to adopt global perspectives based on an understanding of an organization’s domestic and global challenges, lead effectively in teams and culturally diverse environments, and solve and resolve situations that develop inside and between organizations.

The Master of Accountancy and Applied Leadership program is designed to provide accounting students with an opportunity to satisfy the college course requirements to qualify as a Certified Public Accountant in Arizona as well as to earn a master’s degree. The new leadership program incorporates all disciplines that contribute to skillful leadership in accountancy. After completing the program, graduates will, among other things, be able to fully understand accounting theory as well as understand human behavior in organizations, including how to lead effectively, and to resolve conflict and act independently in low-feedback situations.

“Student demand is triggered by employer needs,” said Balthazard. “Students are much more willing to pursue degree programs that offer excellent job opportunities. Given the increasing demand for CPAs at the national level, and the current shortage of CPAs in the state of Arizona, the demand for accounting graduates with masters’ degrees is projected to be very strong for years to come.”

Graduates from both programs will have master’s-level expertise in business processes, business strategy, information technology, and management of people in the workforce. The new programs will begin admitting students for the 2007.

“We are pleased to be able to expand the School’s program offerings to include these two new master’s programs," said Waissi. “By bringing together key growth industries along with industry leaders who will share best practices in globalization, we will give our students the knowledge and skills to become effective business leaders in the global arena.”

For additional information about the Master of Accountancy and Applied Leadership and/or the Master of Applied Leadership and Management programs contact the School of Global Management and Leadership at 602-543-4622 or visit