September 29, 2010 | | Leave a comment Economy The economic downturn has inspired many individuals to enroll in a campus-based or online school in order to increase their business knowledge. As a result, many of these institutions have begun to give their programs in related fields extra attention, and redesigning them to help students gain the skills they will need to succeed in the modern workforce. Business Programs The Baltimore Sun reports that enrollment in graduate business programs increased by an average of 4 percent annually between 1998 and 2008 – a period that included two recessions. The unstable economy has led school officials across the country to encourage their students to consider nontraditional careers. “We do an excellent job of preparing people to be creative, but many of them also see themselves as individual entrepreneurs,” David Gracyalny, dean of the Maryland Institute of Art’s School of Professionals and Continuing Studies, told the news source. The college recently announced that it will begin offering a master’s degree in the business of art and design next year. Business programs in various fields grow more widespread due to the fact that many typical career fields for business degree holders – such as finance and accounting – have been especially hard-hit by the recession, some schools are creating new programs that are intended to help degree seekers land jobs in other industries. Some are even encouraging them to work abroad. For example, Johns Hopkins University recently opened the application process for a new Global MBA program, which is intended to make graduates eligible for business-related positions around the world. The Prospector reports that the College of Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso has launched a similar offering – its International MBA – which will require enrollees to complete Spanish and Mandarin language classes as part of the curriculum. Graduate Degrees Graduates of similar programs may be qualified for management analysis positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the proliferation of international markets is expected to foster growth in this field, which typically offers high salaries. Furthermore, employers of management analysts tend to prefer job seekers who hold a graduate degree. Best Degrees Other schools are encouraging students to pursue jobs in fast-growing domestic sectors, such as sports management. Liberty University is one school that recently began offering a management degree in this field, which will be available completely over the internet. Online Degrees According to school officials, individuals who graduate from this online degree program will gain a foundational knowledge of social and ethical issues in sports, interdisciplinary approaches to management, related legalities, economics, marketing as well as research strategies. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in public relations, coaching, marketing, sports agencies, broadcasting, promotions, sports information management, interscholastic athletic administration or outdoor recreation. Traditional MBA programs remain popular Despite the proliferation of specialized MBA programs, enrollment in traditional courses of study is still on the rise. In fact, some schools are creating new degree-seeking curricula in an effort to cater to the continuous need for higher education in business. For instance, Southern New Hampshire University recently partnered with Central Maine Community College to create a new MBA program, the Sun Journal reports. This course of study will be offered at the Maine school, and classes are slated to begin in January. Charles Morrisson, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, told the news source that the new program will answer the community’s need for an advanced degree program in business. “Whenever we do surveys it’s something people want educationally,” he said.