Celebrating 60 years of MBA Excellence


// Academic Feature

If you’re a graduate from the past six decades, you have seen the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business change tremendously since your days in the Cathedral of Learning or Mervis Hall.

“Oftentimes, our passions aren’t covered much in business school because they typically can’t be quantified”

“Oftentimes, our passions aren’t covered much in business school because they typically can’t be quantified,” says Sapon. “But now, the world that we’re moving toward with climate issues alongside other issues we’re seeing globally are impacting not only business but our personal lives. What’s exciting is that we’re starting to see all of these changes and come up with solutions that require collaboration.”

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Sapon was vocal about his passion for combating climate change and because of that he’s started conversations and opened doors for others across the University. Now, Sapon serves as a senior advisor of clean energy and transportation at Peoples Natural Gas, an essential utilities company, in Pittsburgh. When he learned that CB Bhattacharya, H.J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics, also had a passion for sustainability he decided to connect with him. Bhattacharya invited Sapon to the brainstorming session held for what is now the Center for Sustainable Business.

“William showed up to the session as an alumnus which showed how driven he was to make the school a better place,” says Bhattacharya. “That was really the beginning of our partnership with him.”

Among the most discernible
changes for the school, like the move
to Mervis Hall in 1983 and the official
naming of Katz in 1987, the MBA
program has evolved and adapted
to fulfill the mission: to leverage the
opportunities created by our urban
location and strong research culture
to prepare students to be catalysts
for change, and merge communities
of knowledge with communities
of practice to create exceptional
integrated learning outcomes for
students and relevant insights for
business leaders. We prepare leaders to
shape organizations that embrace and
impact humanity.
The MBA program has always
been rooted in strong traditions,
faculty excellence, and high-quality
students. Sixty years since its founding,
the program has seen its highest
ranking to date—No. 30 MBA program
in the world by The Economist. This
outstanding achievement marks a jump
of 23 spots from the last global ranking
in 2019.
Katz has also seen major
improvements in other rankings
from Poets&Quants, Fortune, and U.S.
News & World Report. The rise can be
attributed to the school’s continuing
evolution of new integrated learning
opportunities, courses, and programs
to adapt to the ever-changing business
world. Students are prepared to
enter the workforce as agile business
leaders—something that has been
increasingly noticed and sought out
by employers.
Additionally, the MBA program
is annually recognized as being
among the best for salary growth and
graduates’ return on investment. In a
ranking by Forbes, Katz ranked No. 1
in “Years to Payback,” averaging 3.6
years for graduates to pay for their
investment in an MBA, the shortest
amount of time in the country.
“After an unprecedented and
challenging year due to the pandemic,
Katz continues to rise to the occasion
to come out on top,” says Sara
Moeller, associate dean for graduate
programs and executive education.
“These recognitions not only solidify
our success as a program, but they
encourage us to keep working and to
keep reinventing, in order to push the
edge of what’s possible.”
As so, Katz has reimagined
its program, incorporating a new
Signature MBA program, designed to
be completed as a cohort experience in
only 18 months, getting students back
to work sooner than a traditional twoyear
“The rigor, quality, individualized
service, and reputation of the Katz
MBA is evident,” says Arjang A. Assad,
Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean.
Katz owes part of its success
to its talented faculty. This year
alone, faculty members have been
recipients of countless awards across
the University and around the globe,
received research grants, elected to
prestigious research editorships, fought
for racial justice, and more—all while
transitioning to online education in the
midst of a global pandemic.
The journey to reach these heights
wouldn’t be accurately described
without mentioning Dean Emeritus
H. J. “Jerry” Zoffer. In fact, there
wouldn’t be a Katz MBA without him.
“During his 28-year tenure, Jerry
built one of the world’s strongest and
most influential faculty groups in
business ethics and corporate social
responsibility,” says Assad. “In the
process, he put Pitt Business on the
map, taking us from a regionally
recognized institution to one with
global acclaim.”
With global acclaim, comes a farreaching
alumni base—which is why
Katz is ranked No. 1 in “Breadth of
Alumni Network” in the world by
The Economist MBA.
Some recent notable alumni
achievements include Rosalie
Myers (MBA ’98), selected to the
Diversity MBA’s Top 100 Under
50 Emerging Leaders of 2020, and
several Poets&Quants Top 100 Best and
Brightest MBAs, such as Malena Hirsch
(MBA ’21) and Bianca Joi Payton
(MBA ’21).
Throughout the last six decades,
Katz has emerged as a global
frontrunner, preparing leaders who
impact humanity. As we look to the
future, Katz continues to prioritize
and challenge students to use business
as a force for social good. Starting in
the fall of 2021, a bold, new full-time
MBA-level program will provide an
accelerated track and more flexibility
for students, enabling them to
customize the duration and contents
of their education.
“I am certain the next 60 years will
be filled with even more outstanding
accomplishments,” says Assad. “I look
forward to seeing how our future
graduating classes will leave a lasting
impact on the business world.”

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