CoB graduate programs provide perspective and exciting opportunities

Southern Illinois University



CoB graduate programs provide students with fresh perspective and exciting opportunities

October 11, 2015, Katja Sonkeng


With Xiaoxin Wang Beardsley as its new director, the SIU College of Business Graduate Programs stands ready to continue its incredible success story and embark on a promising future.

Business Graduate Programs offers more than an advanced degree. Students can expect fresh perspectives, cutting-edge business knowledge, and networking opportunities that open up new professional and personal avenues. In fact, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the program among its “Best Online Graduate Business Programs,” climbing to No. 36 this year from the previous year’s position at No. 51.

Beardsley – a current Hamilton Family Faculty Fellow, as well as an associate professor of finance – replaced Donna Margolis, who filled the role until July of this year. Beardsley assumed leadership Aug. 16.

“I look forward to continuing the success of our graduate programs,” Beardsley said. “This is a new challenge in my career, as it gives me the opportunity to experience administrative work in addition to academic research, teaching and service I have been conducting for the past 12 years.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from Tsinghua University in Beijing in 1997 and a doctorate in finance from Pennsylvania State University in 2003, Beardsley joined SIU Carbondale in fall 2003.

Nominated by her colleagues Jason Greene, interim dean of the College of Business and professor of finance, and Cheryl Burke Jarvis, associate dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing, Beardsley said her main goal as director is to focus on strategic ways to move Business Graduate Programs forward, and to continue its success through broadened outreach to an increasing student body of cross-disciplines and career placement opportunities.

“We have been collaborating with the Colleges of Agriculture Sciences and College of Engineering to start new online MBA concentration in agriculture business economics, and a new joint degree in online MBA/supply chain management,” Beardsley said. “My vision is not only to continue the current success of the graduate programs, but also to further extend and broaden it, as well as increase our reach to domestic and international students.”

Beardsley’s vision is shared by Jeffery Reece, coordinator of graduate and external programs.

“The future of education is changing quickly, so we have to be very creative in coming up with ways to build on the current success of our programs and fulfill an ever-changing demand that exists,” Reece said.

Upcoming projects include the launch of a new concurrent degree program – a mass communication and media arts professional media and management degree – with Mass Communications and Media Arts and the College of Business.

As of now, the SIU College of Business offers an array of interdisciplinary programs, including the concurrent J.D./MBA with the School of Law, in addition to the residential and the online MBA programs. The online MBA program has enjoyed continuous popularity since its launch six years ago.

“Our program is offered 100 percent online, which allows the students the flexibility of working their classes and homework around their work and personal life,” Reece said. “This freedom makes the online MBA program appealing to busy, career-minded students. Likewise, our full-time working students get to network with other professionals and executives from all over the world, and from all different backgrounds and experiences, which further enhances their learning experience.”

While the residential MBA program is quite diverse in nature, it is restricted to students who have the opportunity to attend classes on campus. The residential MBA is designed for students who have recently completed their undergraduate degrees in business and are looking to take the next step in their career development.

“A master’s degree is oftentimes considered to carry more weight in the corporate world and in career placement,” Beardsley said.

According to Reece, all of the MBA tracks at the SIU College of Business share one common recipe for success.

“We have a strong commitment to global education and diversity in our graduate programs,” Reece said. “Every year we allow students the opportunity to globalize their MBA with our one-month study abroad program in partnership with Grenoble, France.”

The College of Business also has a partnership with NCKU University in Taiwan, in which five of that university’s best and brightest students come to SIU to earn their MBA degrees at an accelerated one-year rate.

With the fall semester almost at the halfway point, the application deadline for early admission to the SIU online MBA program is just a month away. The minimum qualifications for admissions into either MBA program includes a 2.7 GPA on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate work, or a 3.0 on all of the previous graduate-level coursework and a GMAT score of 550 to be competitive. International students must meet the required scores for the TOEFL exam: 550 on paper test, 80 on the IBT or 6.5 on the IELTS.

“Additionally, how a candidate answers their essays, what type and how much work experience, and the strength of their professional recommendations come in to play as well,” Reece said. “For the residential MBA program, work experience is not required but does help. But, for the online MBA program, work experience weighs in heavily on the admission decision.”

For those ready to take their education to the next level, the SIU College of Business graduate programs are great options.

“Our goal is to shift our graduate students’ perspectives and open their minds to new and exciting opportunities,” he said. “Our professors are some of the best subject matter experts in their fields, and that’s an important factor to consider when choosing a graduate degree.”

For more information on how to apply for graduate programs at SIU College of Business, visit the website, or make an appointment with Jeffery Reece either via email ( or by phone (618/453-3030).