The School of Graduate Studies at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison (and just down the road from MTB Mecca Crested Butte) recently announced the formation of a new and innovative opportunity. Starting with the 2018-19 academic year, Western will offer an Outdoor Industry MBA. The two-year, online program includes an MBA core as well as specific tracks for either the product or service side of the outdoor-recreation economy, which generates $887 billion annually in consumer spending, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. The program also includes residencies, immersion experiences, and guest lectures from outdoor industry experts.

Ideal candidates have a bachelor’s degree, professional experience in the industry, and the desire to take their career to the next level. They have a lifestyle rooted in the outdoors, an aspiration to foster growth in this environmentally conscious, sustainable business sector and an interest in strengthening their network within the outdoor industry.

Western unveiling outdoor industry MBA for 2018-19

Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA (pending accreditation approval) is the first of its kind in the United States and is based in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  Classes begin Sept. 24, 2018.  Only the product concentration will be available for the Fall 2018 launch.

The outdoor industry is thriving. Many employees in the industry are interested in an advanced degree but do not want a generic MBA. Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA brings professionals the content and connections of a degree geared specifically to their field. Students take a traditional business core along with specialized tracks that focus on the unique social, environmental and structural elements of the outdoor industry. It is for people who want to move up the professional ladder and bring their lifestyle with them.

The Outdoor Industry MBA Program

The two-year, online program includes an MBA Core as well as specialized tracks for either the product or service side of the industry. The MBA Core includes traditional MBA courses with content focusing on the outdoor industry. The Product Concentration has specialized courses in Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing; Supply Chain and Logistics in the Outdoor Industry; and Sustainable Finance. The Service Concentration has specialized courses in Resort and Hospitality Management; Natural Resource Regulation and Economics; and Sales and Customer Experience. Unlike most MBA programs, students take their specialized courses first so they can apply class content immediately to the workplace.

Western is located in beautiful Gunnison, Colo., meaning residencies and immersion experiences will take full advantage of the natural resources surrounding the campus and nearby Crested Butte. Other opportunities include guest talks from industry experts, networking at trade shows and leading businesses in the industry. Students will complete a culminating Final Capstone Project paired with a company in the outdoor industry during their second year.