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Barbara Kreisman, assistant dean of DU’s Daniels College of Business speaks to the Denver Buisness Journal about Washington University’s decision to bring its MBA program to Denver.

Washington University in St. Louis announced Feb. 15 that it’s bringing its top-ranked executive MBA (master of business administration) program to Denver in September with hopes of recruiting about 20 students in its first year here.

Officials with Washington University cited Denver’s highly educated and growing population, its entrepreneurial spirit and welcoming business climate as among the reasons it decided to come here.

Despite Washington University’s insistence that it doesn’t aim to compete with local executive MBA programs, the announcement felt like competition to some local executive MBA officials, who touted their own programs. Some wondered out loud if a program that costs significantly more and requires students to split their time between Denver and St. Louis would appeal to this market.

“Other universities have gone to different cities and opened up shop in those cities, and some of the big-name schools do have a draw,” said Barbara Kreisman, assistant dean of DU’s Daniels College of Business, responsible for its working-professionals MBA programs. “But this is a different market. I don’t how it will pan out over the long haul.” Kreisman said the 18-month DU executive MBA program is also highly ranked and among the oldest in the country, graduating its first class in 1974.

And she thinks being a local university is a plus for DU’s executive MBA students. “Students are coming together and building a network in Denver and the surrounding area … the strength of that network is extremely powerful.”

She noted that the DU program includes “a heavy component on the importance of doing good in the community — the Bill Daniels philosophy. We’ve always had a focus on the greater good.”