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June 17, 2021

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Clark College Offers Four-Year Business Degree

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management (BASAM) provides the skills to advance a career or run a small business

Whether you’re trying to advance in your career or start your own business, management requires a complex set of skills: Leadership, communication, budgeting, and a broad understanding of business practices. It’s not something anyone learns overnight. But at Clark College, it is something students can learn in as little as two years. But at Clark College, it is something students can learn in as little as two years.

Launched in 2017, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management (BASAM) degree is designed for people looking to start a business or get into a management position. It is designed to “stack” on top of the sort of two-year associate degree that community colleges are known for, creating graduates with  both the technical skills of their chosen field and the management skills to lead others and run a business.

“They can come from all sorts of degree paths—maybe they earned their associate in cuisine management or early childhood education or automotive,” said Dr. Adnan Hamideh, chair of the college’s business division. “They can apply for this program, take a few prerequisite courses, and in two years get their bachelor’s.”

The program is accepting applications for its next cohort of students, who will start in the fall. Students tend to stay in the same group throughout the program, which helps them build relationships and support systems. Each cohort has roughly 25 to 30 students.

All of the students in the program have successfully completed a two-year associate degree from Clark or another community college before applying for admission to the program. Some of them are returning to Clark after working in their field for a while, preparing themselves to be good candidates for promotion into management. Others move straight into the BASAM program. from their associate degree so they can get started on their ambitions as soon as they’re out of school.

“The most important thing with this program is it gets you the knowledge to start your own business,” Hamideh said. “That’s why a lot of people have been motivated to come into this program. A lot of small businesses fold and go bankrupt in the first two years. This program gives you the business skills and the people skills.”

Because the BASAM program gets feeders from all these other programs, Hamideh said students are looking to finish with their bachelor’s and head into many different fields. To ensure students leave Clark as well-rounded business professionals, they take classes about varying issues that come up when operating a business, no matter what field you’re working in.

Students take management classes, classes on using social media to promote their business, accounting classes and classes on organizational communication.

“We work with students who really want to be team players with the others in the program,” Hamideh said. “We introduce them to each other, ask them to share their experiences and backgrounds. We are open for anyone who qualifies for the program. We provide our students the opportunity and motivation to finish it.”

“The personal and professional growth I have attained from the BASAM program is immense,” said recent BASAM graduate Silvia Marinova. “The BASAM program gives you the knowledge you need to succeed in the workforce. The professors in this program are experts in their fields and provide the students with real-life scenarios that help them understand the material better.”

One difference between the BASAM and other management programs is that it is an “applied degree,” meaning much of the students’ work is hands-on and project-based. Internships are integral to the program, providing students with both real-world experience and professional networking opportunities.

In their economics class, students do an economic analysis for a specific company or industry, according to Dr. Patricia Atkinson, the lead professor for the economics department and incoming director of the BASAM program.

“This helps ensure that what they’re interested in is a viable company or industry,” she said. “It helps them get started on starting a business.”

Another key difference between the BASAM and other management degrees is that, because it is offered at a community college, tuition is significantly less than at most business schools. Annual tuition in the program is roughly $7,000 and financial aid and scholarships are available to eligible students.

The BASAM program is designed with working adults in mind. Classes meet in person just once a week, with the bulk of the learning done online. The college is now considering adding a fully online option as well, providing opportunity for students who aren’t able to make it to campus.

Atkinson says she is also working to develop partnerships with local employers to provide paid internships for students. She points to the Career Launch program that pairs local industry with public education to create “earn while you learn” opportunities. “That program does an amazing job of launching students into their careers,” she said. The college is also considering adding concentrations to the program, so students can graduate with their bachelor’s and take a few extra courses more geared toward their specific interests—say, project management or marketing—to help them advance in a chosen specialty.

Regardless of where the program heads in the future, both Atkinson and Hamideh said the program is in a good spot currently. It gives students an affordable way to earn a business-focused bachelor’s degree in two years and can be combined with an associate degree in any field. Students can leave college with degrees for a specific trade and in business management.

“We encourage and work with students who are motivated, but might not know much about running a business,” Hamideh said. “We know there is so much talent and inspiration in our community, and our whole purpose is to give people the tools to turn that into professional success.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Phone: Jennifer Lea, (360) 992-2221
Email: jlea@clark.edu
Website: www.clark.edu/getstarted/basam.php
Facebook: facebook.com/ClarkCollege

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