Aquinas College started its master of management program in 1977 in response to demand for more specialized leadership training than what an MBA program could offer.

Now in its 40th year, the Catholic liberal arts college program has graduated more than 1,800 students looking to advance up the ranks within their own companies or adapt to new career paths.

The program’s 2016 enrollment was 54 students, down from 68 in 2015. Its cost per credit hour is $570 — the median price for area graduate business degree programs.

Over the years, the program has adapted to demand, adding and subtracting various concentrations. It currently offers three tracks: marketing management, organizational leadership and sustainable business.

Cindy VanGelderen, interim director of the master of management since May and chair of the accounting department, said the evolution has been in response to changing philosophies of management.

“Management science and leadership have developed over time, so we keep those current,” she said. “We’ve always had leadership, group dynamics, teams and project management. We’ve always had a focus on what would be the skills of managers and leaders in an organization.”

The program requires students to have a minimum of two years of management experience prior to enrolling, whether post-undergrad or during, and most students are established professionals who want to take on greater leadership roles.

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