Purdue University North Central College of Business faculty and administrators presented certificates of completion to eight MBA students who completed the school’s graduate certificate in Economic Development.
The sequence of three courses that comprise the certificate was offered to the students in the Saturday MBA program as an option as they fulfilled their MBA coursework. The curriculum focused on Northwest Indiana, with the objective of preparing the students to serve as effective board members who may be involved with economic development in the community.
The students learned how to measure the economic performance of a region; how to analyze its competitive advantage, economic clusters and growth compared to peers and forecast regional economic growth. The final course involved a comprehensive project that required the students to apply what they learned through an in-depth analysis of two local communities.
The sessions were taught by Anthony Sindone, lecturer of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Development and Research; Dr. Derek Bjonback, associate professor of Economics and Finance and Chuck Eckenstahler, Economic Development advisor and educator.
Sindone noted, “From the very first class session, the students demonstrated a strong interest in learning how to improve the quality of life for community members through economic development.”
Bjonback added that conversations held during the last day of the program revolved around "making a difference" in their communities, “They believed that now they have the tools and understanding to be effective in this role. Even though they may not know all the details of an economic development issue, they know the right questions to ask and how to pursue answers.”
Toni Biancardi, a graduate of the program, serves as councilwoman-at-large for the Town of Burns Harbor and is a board member for several economic development entities including the Redevelopment Commission, NIRPC and Duneland Economic Development Corporation.
Biancardi noted, “As a board member, taking this course sequence has given me a greater appreciation for the complexity and interrelatedness of all of the parts of our community. When we make a decision in one area, I now understand how it impacts everything else. I am now a more informed board member and plan to share my learning with my colleagues.”
Program graduate Joe Bazil, reflected upon his experience, “The PNC economic development program taught me how to think outside the box when it comes to economic development in the region where I have lived for more than 40 years. I have developed an appreciation for the work that governmental officials, economists, and policy makers have to endure and the trials and tribulations that they must deal with when developing a better quality of life for people, especially when the region may be in a state of instability. In light of the upcoming elections, and considering the candidates that we are going to have to vote for, the courses have prepared me for a very difficult decision in electing our next president. After taking the economic development courses I feel that I am able to serve my community and our nation in a more productive fashion.”
College of Business Dean Dr. Cynthia Roberts praised the students who participated in the Economic Development Certificate. “It is rewarding to see so many of you interested in improving the health and welfare of the communities in which you live. You are the next generation of leaders and will be well equipped to impact our area in a positive way."