ETSU program will help grads break into e-business world

From Staff Reports

   An e-business program in the developmental stages at East Tennessee State University could be just what budding entrepreneurs need to make their mark on the business world and carve their niche in Cyberspace.
   A joint initiative between ETSU's College of Business and College of Applied Science and Technology, the program is expected to be available in January 2003.
   "For individuals who graduated 10 years ago, e-business was not even addressed in the classroom," said Dr. Linda Garceau, Business dean.
   "Our goal with the e-business certificate program is to make sure that individuals have the skills necessary to function effectively in the new economy when so much of even routine business relies on the Internet," she said.
   In the e-business certificate program, students take courses where they can learn to effectively market a business using the Internet, manage a developmental project and ultimately construct an e-business Web site to distribute products or services via the Web.
   "Both recent and 'not-so-recent' graduates will benefit from the program by achieving a competitive advantage in the marketplace," Garceau said. "It really increases their marketability when looking for an opportunity within their organization or outside of it. Or, as we hope, students will start their own business."
   The 18-hour program is geared toward those graduates with experience in either business or technology. However, students without the needed background may take prerequisites to prepare them for the certificate program. Courses in the e-business program are applicable to either a master's degree in technology or a master's degree in business administration.
   "The students get exactly what they need to accomplish their goal," Garceau said. "The certificate allows them to fulfill immediate needs without losing sight of their long-term objective of receiving a master's degree," she said.
   The courses also will be available for students pursuing MBAs or technology graduate degrees, but who don't want to complete the certificate program.
   Students with more experience in business can take courses in strategic management of technology, computer languages, systems development, data base and network architectures, and then implement an e-business Web site.
   Those with strong technical skills will take principles of management, e-marketing, supply chain management, an entrepreneurship elective as well as strategic management of technology and implementation of an e-business Web site.
   The two courses taken by both the technical and business students will be taught by professors from both colleges. The e-business certificate also provides an opportunity for cross-functional program development.
   "This is almost a common theme across campus," Garceau said. "Many of the best programs don't reside in one college; they involve faculty from other colleges. And you can get very innovative program development when you have this interchange among faculty.
   "What I think is most beneficial to the student, is not wearing blinders and saying, 'I'm a business student,' or 'I'm a technology student,' but branching out and saying, 'I'm a businessperson who understands the use of technology in the marketplace,' or 'I'm a technological person who understands the business applications of technology.' The e-business certificate enables students to say just that," Garceau said.