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Shian-Li McGuire is pursuing an M.A./M.B.A. at Point Park while working full time at Dick's Sporting Goods as a marketing manager. | Photo by Jim Judkis
Shian-Li McGuire is pursuing an M.A./M.B.A. while working full time as a marketing manager at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Debating between pursuing an M.A. in journalism and mass communications or an M.B.A., Shian-Li McGuire was thrilled to learn Point Park University was launching a two-degree program that could help her achieve her multiple career goals.

Today, the 29-year-old marketing and advertising professional is studying for an M.A./M.B.A. while working full time as a manager of advertising at Dick's Sporting Goods. She networks regularly by serving on the board of the Pittsburgh Advertising Federation.

"I'm always looking to grow and learn. And I wanted to get an edge in my career," says McGuire of her decision to pursue the M.A./M.B.A.

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Point Park's rigorous program is designed for communication professionals who work in or plan to work in management and executive positions. For the M.A., students choose one of three concentrations:

The M.B.A. courses provide necessary business skills in accounting, finance, organizational management and overall strategy.

The public relations and advertising management concentration, which McGuire will complete this year, prepares students for management and executive positions in public relations, advertising, integrated marketing communications, or comprehensive marketing professions and industries.

Once accepted into both programs, students can complete the 54-credit joint degree in as little as two years of full-time course work following the carefully designed curriculum. Classes are offered evenings, Saturdays and online.

Steve Hallock, Ph.D., graduate programs director for the School of Communication, and Archish Maharaja, Ed.D., director of the M.B.A. program for the School of Business, serve as program directors.

Assistant Professor Archish Maharaja, director of the School of Business M.B.A. program, teaches a graduate class. | Photo by Christopher Rolinson
Assistant Professor Archish Maharaja teaches a graduate course.

"Journalists and communication professionals are looking to improve their knowledge of business and economics to increase their career opportunities," says Hallock. "The M.A./M.B.A. provides an excellent opportunity, particularly for those interested in management."

Janel Clement Grice, a 43-year-old design professional who most recently was a creative director at an interactive advertising agency, is pursuing the M.A./M.B.A. to move up in agency management.

Matthew Butter, a broadcast professional, is pursuing the public relations and advertising management concentration to expand his education and career options. The 24-year-old has a degree in broadcast journalism and several years experience working in radio and television production.

"Getting both an M.A. and an M.B.A. was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," says Butter. "I'm preparing to work in a multimedia world and increasing my value with the workplace."

Jessie Ball, 25, has a bachelor's degree in media arts and four years experience in multimedia work for collegiate athletics. She intends to work in the television industry and says the broadcast and digital media management concentration offers hands-on experience and business acumen.

"I'll definitely have an edge," she says.

McGuire, the Dick's marketing professional, sees immediate benefits, too.

"Pursuing the M.A./M.B.A. already sets me apart. It's being noticed by leaders in my group."

More About: M.A./M.B.A., success story, Rowland School of Business, alumni, graduate programs, Dick's Sporting Goods