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New Northwood degrees target GM dealership staff

New Northwood degrees target GM dealership staff

General Motors has partnered with Northwood University to offer bachelor's  and master's degrees tailored for GM dealership employees.

Northwood will offer a 30-month executive MBA program that mixes in  GM-specific case studies and projects.

A four-year bachelor's of business administration in automotive marketing and  management will mirror Northwood's normal program, but course work will be  offered mostly online to make it easier for full-time GM dealership employees.  Students enrolled in the bachelor's program can earn credit for previous GM  training.

A third offering, the GM/Northwood University Advanced Leadership  continuing-education program, will include a project specific to the student's  Chevrolet, Cadillac or Buick-GMC dealership.

The Advanced Leadership and bachelor's programs are to begin in October. The  MBA program is to start in January.

The programs will offer dealers a recruitment tool to attract employees  seeking careers in automotive retailing while helping GM improve its customer  service, says Chris Bower, a GM senior manager who oversees dealer-training  programs.

"We want to provide learning opportunities that build their professional  skills so they can not only deliver great customer experience, but also great  business results for their dealership," Bower says.

The move marks another step by GM to offer customers a more polished  experience at GM dealerships. For example, GM has hired a training arm of Walt  Disney Co. to train its 3,000 Chevrolet dealers on providing better customer  service, including visits to Disney theme parks for a behind-the-scenes look at  the company's methods.

"Customer experience has been a major focus," Bower said. During the Advanced  Leadership program, for example, "The assignment might become: 'Identify an  opportunity in your department that you can implement that would improve the  customer experience.'"

The GM partnership marks the first time that Northwood has joined with an  automaker to tailor the curriculum of a bachelor's or master's program, says  Timothy Nash, the university's vice president of strategic and corporate  alliances.

Guest lecturers could include industry leaders and could be from GM as well  as rival automakers and dealers.

The cost of the executive MBA will be $39,760, which includes tuition, course  materials, lodging and some meals.

The normal cost for the four-year bachelor program is around $50,000, but  would be less for students who qualify for credits based on their career  training or transfer credits.

The Advanced Leadership program consists of two eight-week courses with  tuition of $1,100 per course.

Northwood, a private university with main campuses in Michigan, Florida and  Texas, specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial programs. It claims to  offer the nation's only bachelor's degree in automotive marketing and  management.

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Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on October 2, 2013 at 5:25am

what a cool program

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