The University of Tennessee, in partnership with Y-12 National Security Complex, a manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge, recently reinvented traditional graduate assistantships by creating the MBA Career Advantage Program.

UTY12VerticalLogosThe University of Tennessee, in partnership with Y-12 National Security Complex, a manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge, recently reinvented traditional graduate assistantships by creating the MBA Career Advantage Program.

The program, which offers students the same financial benefits as a graduate assistant, also provides practical business experience through Y-12, as those selected for the program become a part of the Y-12 staff for three semesters.

“Instead of doing the things I did during my graduate assistantship, including making copies and grading papers, these students are treated as a key part of the staff,” said Thomas Berg, executive director of technology commercialization and partnerships for Y-12. “They are members of the management staff and our expectations are equivalent to that. If you think of it as a super graduate assistantship, that’s what it is.”

The relationship between the MBA program and Y-12 began three years ago when two graduate students worked at Y-12 for a single semester.

“Four months into that first program, those two students did such a good job we wanted to get them earlier the next year,” Berg said. “The whole process evolved significantly during the past three years.”

This year, four students will participate in the 18-month program. Though each has a different area of interest, they all said the career advantage program made UT’s MBA program stand out.

“It was a deciding factor for me,” said Justin Gavin of Arlington, Va. “I had been offered similar packages from other schools but this was obviously the most beneficial and attractive one to me.”

From marketing to businesses analytics, the four graduate assistants will experience the business side of Y-12 in a variety of ways.

“One of the ways we can attract the best and brightest is by creating unique partnerships and learning packages,” said Amy Cathey, executive director of UT’s full-time MBA program. “We are looking at ways to increase these packages and our partnerships with alumni and friends.”

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
Photo: Y-12 National Security Complex | University of Tennessee