New graduate pathway to provide innovative leadership experiences for students, companies

Twelve students at East Carolina University’s College of Business (COB) will become the first cohort of the newly launched immersive master of business administration (IMBA) pathway.

Operated out of the COB’s Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business, the IMBA pathway takes place over one year. The pathway will provide students with meaningful internship experiences by matching them with local companies looking to fill leadership training and management-track positions. The students will take their classes together with select faculty. The curriculum is the same core courses required of all ECU MBA students, which is flexible to allow students to fit their MBA pursuit into their current work schedule or lifestyle.

“With this intensive, yearlong experience, the students will not only have the MBA coursework and internship, but they will also participate in leadership training programs, professional networking and volunteer projects,” said Dr. Linda Quick, assistant dean of the Arthur School.

Each IMBA student receives a full scholarship and a paid graduate assistantship position for an investment of $25,000 per student. They will receive an additional $10,000 for their internship. In total, the College of Business and the Arthur School plan to invest more than $500,000 in the inaugural IMBA pathway, a number that is destined to grow as the Arthur School plans to double the number of participants for the second and future cohorts.

The IMBA is open for any ECU undergraduate to participate. Greenville native Matthew Blount is ECU’s current student body vice president. He received his undergraduate degree in public health and is enrolled in the IMBA pathway. He said being a part of it and the Arthur School will help him make the biggest impact on his community.

“(With the IMBA experience), I am hoping to sharpen the necessary skills to prepare myself for entering the workforce as a proven leader and team member,” said Blount.

Ruth Anne Harrell is the talent acquisition manager for Hyster-Yale Group and currently serves on the IMBA steering committee. She is familiar with the Arthur School’s MBA program, having received her Arthur MBA in 2008. Her team regularly hires ECU interns and graduates to Hyster-Yale’s Greenville campus. She said Hyster-Yale is excited to expand its partnership with ECU and the Arthur School’s IMBA pathway.

“This collaboration holds immense potential to foster innovative thinking and novel approaches within the realm of business leadership,” said Harrell. “Our team eagerly anticipates hosting these bright, forward-thinking students for their internships (in the summer of 2024), offering them an enriching hands-on experience that dovetails with their academic journey.”

“ECU’s strategic plan states we will be future focused and innovation driven,” said Dr. Mike Harris, interim dean, College of Business. “With our IMBA investment and our approach to meeting the goals of the strategic plan, we expect the ROI (return on investment) of both to be immeasurable.”

The inaugural IMBA cohort also includes:

  • Matt Blount, public health, Greenville, North Carolina
  • Carter Cunningham, management, Haymarket, Virginia
  • Ashley Dickerson, management, Oxford, North Carolina
  • Joshua Furlough, management, Honors College, Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
  • Jewel Herlong, finance, Marvin, North Carolina
  • Andrew Kerry, finance and risk management and insurance, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jenna Mallberg, management information systems, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • Isaiah Rutledge, management, Greenville, North Carolina
  • Jenna Scott, fashion merchandising, Honors College, Roxboro, North Carolina
  • Theodore Sielatycki, entrepreneurship, Cary, North Carolina
  • Carmen Smith, management, Tucson, Arizona
  • Grant Smith, marketing and entrepreneurship, Honors College, Wake Forest, North Carolina


East Carolina University News Services

Howard House, 1001 E. Fifth Street

Greenville, NC 27858

Phone: 252-328-6481