Jeff Phillips, a scientist at Stryker Orthopaedics, in Mahwah, wanted to round out his undergraduate degree in biology by getting an MBA. But what with commuting to work and a demanding job, Phillips, like so many adults working full-time jobs, didn’t have time to travel to a university for evening classes.
Luckily for him and fellow employees at Stryker, a company that develops orthopaedic products and services, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) hand-tailored an Executive MBA (EMBA) program for Stryker. Instead of Stryker employees commuting to NJIT’s Newark campus, NJIT professors would hold classes at Stryker’s Mahwah offices on Tuesday nights and Saturdays. This way, employees could continue uninterrupted with their full-time work assignments. That EMBA program was launched in the spring of 2004.
Now, a year and a half later, the first two Stryker employees -- Phillips, who lives in Manhattan and grew up in Wilmington, Del., and Manal Morcos, of Harrison -- have completed the program and will receive NJIT diplomas in January.
Phillips, who works in Stryker’s Sterility Assurance Department -- he assures that its products are clean and safe -- credited the convenience and the excellence of the program.
“Being among the first to complete the EMBA program fills me with immense pride,” Phillips said. “I have a scientific background, so the EMBA rounded out my education. The convenience of having the classes on-site contributed to both a healthier work environment and a better personal life. I developed strong relationships with my colleagues since we are all in EMBA program together; that in turn directly facilitated the success of Stryker projects. Overall, the format, content and people involved with the program were wonderful and the program is one of the shining stars in the constellation of Stryker.”
David Hawk, PhD, interim dean of the School of Management, said the school works closely with New Jersey firms such as Stryker to tailor management courses and programs for employee and company needs.
“Consistent with this,” Hawk said, “the School of Management has worked closely with Stryker to develop an on-site EMBA program for their employees that deals with their general managerial challenges as well as some of their technological opportunities. The program has attracted highly qualified employees who seem to find value in their considerable investments of time and energy. We hope the program will continue to be of mutual benefit.”
Hawk, who has taught in the program, took a group of Stryker employees to France and Sweden as part of their international business course. “The trip helped the students see the importance of a global perspective in meeting the challenges of emerging business opportunities,” he said. “What they gain from such educational trips gives them confidence in managing cross-cultural aspects of business and shows them the importance of continuous learning.”
Lisa J. Peterson, vice president of human resources at Stryker Orthopaedics, said the company strongly supports continuing education for its employees and was pleased with the program that NJIT developed for the firm.
“This partnership with NJIT in the delivery of the EMBA program has been a particularly elegant solution for our working professionals, Peterson said. “Delivered right on our campus, the program prepared our employees for future Stryker challenges, including issues of global competitiveness, business strategy, finance and leadership. We have a lot of motivated employees who want to pursue continuing education but have been unable to pursue a traditional MBA because of their work schedule or travel commitments.”
Morcos, a project engineer who specializes in hip replacements, echoed similar sentiments. “The degree I earned through NJIT's Executive MBA program is more to me than just a degree,” she said. “It provided deeper insights into the work I was doing, allowing me to apply my new skills and education into a real-world experience. That is unique, and has given me the edge I need to succeed.”
Phillips and Morcos completed 16 classes for 48 credits and will receive NJIT diplomas in January. They took classes in accounting, finance, marketing, global competitiveness, strategic management and organizational behavior. There are 23 students now enrolled in the program, run by the NJIT’s School of Management, one of six colleges that comprise NJIT. The university also offers two other on-site degree programs for Stryker: a traditional MBA program and a master’s of science degree in manufacturing. The employees pay for the program but are later reimbursed in full by Stryker. And for any class in which they earn an A, employees are reimbursed an extra 10 percent.
Although the majority of NJIT academic programs are offered at the Newark campus, NJIT-- through its Division of Continuing Professional Education -- offers various graduate degrees, certificates or courses at public access and corporate extension sites throughout the state. The division uses online classes, streaming video and blended learning techniques and its one-stop-shopping principle allows a host company to have a single-point-of-contact with NJIT that addresses the variety of their needs simply and conveniently.
Stryker Orthopaedics is a global leader in the development, manufacture and sale of orthopaedic products and services. Through technology and innovation, the company seeks to enrich the quality of life of patients around the world. The company’s products include implants that are used in joint replacement and spine surgeries.