Higher education on the rise as companies move to Collin County

Pepperdine University, a private university in Malibu, California, is expanding the executive MBA program of its business school to Collin County. This would be the first time the university will be opening a center outside of California.

The Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management in partnership with Emerge Education will open an executive MBA center inside the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center.

The program will hold its first semester in the fall followed by spring and summer 2017 semesters.

Blake Withall, director of online programing for the Graziadio School, Withall said if the center has a successful launch, the school will look for a permanent location. Frisco is being seriously considered, Withall said.

“The [Frisco] Chamber of Commerce has been incredibly welcoming to us and there are a lot of exciting things happening, particularly with the Cowboys facility and the growth that is occurring in the $5 Billion Mile,” Withall said.

The executive MBA program provides a comprehensive framework for the strategic management of business organizations. The program is designed for an experienced practitioner and planned around small group seminar sessions.

The 19-month program will be offered Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning/afternoon and meet once every three weeks. The program will be offered to senior-level management and directors.

Withall said there were several reasons why the school chose Collin County to open a center.

“Our largest number of alums outside of California is located in Texas. We chose the Dallas-Fort Worth area because of the incredible growth that we learned about that is taking place in the Plano and Frisco area,” Withall said. “We thought it would be a great area to offer our executive MBA program because of all the growth, business and industry in that area.”

Other higher education institutions have also expanded to Collin County.

The University of North Texas opened a new satellite campus in Frisco at Hall Office Park in January. The new campus accommodates 500 students and offers several degree programs.

Brenda Sims, director of UNT’s Frisco campus, said Frisco was selected because of the industry and business in the area.

Higher education in Collin County

“There are many corporate headquarters in this area and [Collin County] has one of the largest viable economies in the world, and so we would want to make what UNT has to offer as a Tier 1 university available to the residents in Collin County and the North Dallas region,” Sims said.

Sims said UNT is working with area businesses, the Frisco Economic Development Corp. and other community partners on programming that benefits students.

In 2006, Dallas Baptist University opened DBU North in Frisco, but the university has had a presence in the Collin County area since the 1990s.

“In the early 1990s, DBU witnessed the growing need to service our students as well as the developing companies in the Collin County area,” DBU North Director Shannen Smith said.

In the ’90s, DBU held classes in churches and in various partner businesses. In August 2001, DBU opened its first regional academic center in the Carrollton area.

“The response was outstanding, and we followed the growth to the Frisco area in 2006 and enjoy continued success at our current location in Plano,” Smith said.

In 2011, DBU North moved from Frisco to Plano after its lease ended in Hall Office Park.

Collin College also provides a range of higher education opportunities throughout the county with campuses in cities such as Frisco, Plano and McKinney.

In addition to associate degrees and certificates, the college partners with universities to offer upper-level classes and graduate degrees.