Health Management MBA is Proving Successful in Its First Year

As a registered nurse, Pearl Lariosa believes a master of business administration (MBA) degree with health management concentration “will be very beneficial in the future.”

Lariosa is one of 10 students currently pursuing an MBA with the new emphasis through William Woods University. The program is offered by WWU’s Graduate & Adult Studies in conjunction with the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“I was glad when they started the health management program because of my line of work,” said Lariosa.

She’s not alone in her praise for the program. After the first six months, the health managment program is scoring high marks from administrators and students alike.

“By all indications, WWU students are doing well,” Kent Mulford, dean of the School of Health Management at Still University of Health Sciences in Kirksville, wrote in a letter to the staff at William Woods.

“I have polled my staff and faculty, and they inform me that your students are excellent. I hope this first time course is working well for you too. The close cooperation you have provided has contributed to the smooth operation of this agreement and the smooth transition of WWU students into school of health management courses.”

The MBA with health management concentration was first introduced in Jefferson City in August 2002. The 36-hour degree program for full-time working adults is designed to equip the health management professional with focused skills and knowledge for professional practice.

Blending theory and practice, the program uses a cohort model and on-line classes to make a truly applications-oriented program.

Janet Wolken, a graduate student and a registered nurse for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, explained the benefit of the cohort model:

“The WWU classes are arranged with a facilitator instead of an instructor so we can share the knowledge each of us as adults have.”

The nine on-line courses, offered through the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, include health care law and ethics, health care finance and administration-health care organizations. The on-line courses seem to be beneficial for the full-time professionals.

“I love the freedom of staying at home and yet learning,” said Lariosa, who works as a nurse at St. Mary’s Health Center in Jefferson City. “But I missed the interaction from the classroom because we do have a very varied background.”

Wolken added, “These classes are nice because you can take them from your own house and are not tied down to attending class any one night of the week. We still had a group project, but it was also all done in chat rooms on the Internet.”

Students choose to enroll in the William Woods program for a variety of reasons.
Lariosa chose the program “because of its flexible program designed for full-time working adults with family to raise.”

Wolken decided to attend WWU because of a friend.

“I was working on my pre-req’s at another college when a friend (Shellie Goodin, another student in the program), called and asked if I would consider changing to WWU,” said the mother of three.

“Because William Woods offered the health management emphasis and because I liked the way the program was organized, I decided to switch. You know the order of the classes and when they are scheduled, but, more importantly, you know when you will graduate.”

Even though the first year has not yet ended, the students are impressed overall with the program and plan to recommend it to others.

“Most of my friends don’t believe that they can still do their master’s degree and work and take care of a family,” commented Lariosa. “I will tell them that the WWU program understands the needs of working adults who want to further their education.”

Wolken added, “My overall impression of the program has been that WWU cares about its students and will assist them as necessary. I have a positive image of the WWU administration.”

The MBA with health management concentration will be offered in Columbia in August, and an orientation is scheduled for Aug. 25 at the university’s facility at 3100 Falling Leaf Court, near AC and Highway 63. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the university’s Graduate & Adult Studies prior to then, but walk-ins will be accepted.

Call 1-800-995-3199 or contact WWU by e-mail at More information is available on the William Woods website at