A new chapter for UNLV’s Executive MBA Program is being written in 2022, as Dr. Nadine Bentis begins her tenure as Executive Director following more than four years as Program Manager in the university’s Troesh Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The transition, coming as the recruitment process for EMBA Cohort 21 begins, continues a trend of appointing highly qualified lifelong learners to oversee the program and provide the kind of leadership that sets Lee Business School apart from its peers in higher education.
“A lot of our students have bachelor’s degrees that they earned more than 10 years ago, but they want to develop the skills they need to take the next step,” Dr. Bentis explains. “A lot of them know what they want to do, they know they want to stay in the business world, but they want to earn a position or transition to a new role.
“Having the EMBA opens doors to those new opportunities.”
The Path to UNLV
For Dr. Bentis, the journey to UNLV began during her undergrad experience at University of California Irvine, when she realized she wanted to pursue opportunities in higher education. As a Master of Education student, she started working as a graduate assistant and climbed the ladder quickly to become an associate director and later the inaugural director of the Global Executive Ed.D. program.
“What I love about higher education is that I’ve done every level of the job, and as director I was the first point of contacts for cohorts, and with them through graduation,” she recalls. “I was putting curriculum together, marketing, advising, and traveling with the cohort.”
After five years, Dr. Bentis transitioned to new role as Director of the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship at USC’s Marshall School of Business. The position required less travel with the cohort, but a much longer commute from her home in Orange County.
When the Program Manager position became available at UNLV, she saw as the perfect opportunity to tackle a new challenge. She’d been coming to Las Vegas as a visitor for many years, and saw at UNLV an opportunity to expand the university’s entrepreneurship program. Four years later, she’s taking on another challenge, but one that feels familiar.
“I know the caliber of the students, the intensity of the program, and I’m very interested in growing what we offer,” Dr. Bentis says.
The Evolution of Executive Education
Dr. Bentis takes over the program at a critical time. The aforementioned Cohort 21 will begin their work later this year, Cohort 19 set to graduate in July, and Cohort 20 to graduate in December.
In addition to assisting the students in each cohort as they prepare for the next step, she is making plans to evolve the program and further position UNLV as a Tier 1 institution – a designation given only to the most exceptional universities.
Much of her plan involves expanding EMBA awareness in the community so that when prospective students consider business school, or an organization wants to invest in its employees, UNLV is top of mind.
“I want to create more key partnerships in Las Vegas and build relationships with the experts that can connect with our cohorts,” Dr. Bentis explains. “The EMBA is so useful to so many different industries, so I’d like to see us take the conversation out of the classroom and bring it out into the community.
“At the same time, I want cohorts to get to know each other and host more alumni events. Alumni are one of the greatest assets we have in the EMBA program.”
Dr. Bentis is also planning to bring back the international seminar, one of the most unique elements of the program, in which a cohort travels abroad and is immersed in the business practices of foreign companies and cultures.
More than anything, she wants to emphasize the importance of continual learning.
“Our students are doing this for forward mobility,” she says. “Helping students realize what they want to do and helping steer them toward their next step, that’s something I love.”