The Belk College MBA: Five Decades of Driving Business

Over 50 years ago, UNC Charlotte launched the first graduate program in the region for working business professionals. Today, the Belk College’s nationally ranked part-time MBA has more than 4,200 alumni. The Belk College’s oldest and largest graduate program, the MBA has continued to grow to serve the Charlotte region and beyond.


Al Minter ‘05 
Business Development Executive

Recalling his decision on an MBA concentration:

“The Belk College offered a number of MBA disciplines that were more comprehensive than many comparable institutions. UNC Charlotte’s business finance discipline captured both large and small management challenges and provided more well-rounded applicability.” 

Kelly Lorton ‘20 
Business Initiatives Consultant

On relationships and diversity in the MBA:

“My favorite aspect of this experience so far is the relationships I have formed with both faculty and other students. I enjoy being part of a diverse student body and learning from varying personal backgrounds and experiences.

Verl Purdy

Shamala Connor ‘21
Agile Transformation Leader

On the program’s approach to diversity:

“It is like a family here. It is a place that truly understands the many dynamics of diversity and truly supports diverse lifestyles, thought processes, and cultures.”

Lauren Shoaf ‘19
Events Manager

On the value of her MBA:

“I feel like I have such an advantage in my industry, since the MBA program has taught me to think in a way many others don’t. The MBA degree is an asset in all industries because of its versatility.”

Manuel ZapataManuel Zapata ‘72
Founder, Zapata Engineering

Remembering his student experience in the early days of the MBA:

“We were divided into small groups of about 20 students per class. The students were very cohesive, very intense, and we were very dedicated to studying and learning all we could. The faculty sensed this and made every effort to push us."

Sona Spencer ‘16
Legal Services Professional

Remembering her MBA decision process:

“At the time we were applying to schools (my husband and I), we were both in full-time jobs.  We would need to attend a local school that gave us the flexibility to complete the degree over time.  We also wanted a reputable and rigorous education. UNC Charlotte was the logical choice.”

Verl PurdyVerl Purdy ‘73
Business Leader, Entrepreneur

Referring to his student experience while working full-time: 

“In Charlotte, there were no other part-time programs to get an MBA, so it was a really special thing for all of us.”

On the impact of the MBA program:  “We’re a feeder school for the prosperity of the Charlotte Mecklenburg area.”

Gary KohutGary Kohut
MBA Program Director

Our program has a 50-year history of engaging working professionals as they bring their industry knowledge into the classroom environment.  This rich discussion has helped MBAs gain a holistic understanding of business, address the challenges of new ideas, and network with a variety of diverse audiences.”

PROGRAM MILESTONES (click each to learn more)

Master of Management Class in 1970sUNC Charlotte introduces the first graduate program for business professionals in the Charlotte region: Master of Management.

  • Allan Palmer, the Belk College's founding dean, created the unique part-time program at the urging of Charlotte business leaders who were looking to grow executive-level talent in the city.

  • Several dozen business professionals were selected from hundreds of applicants.

  • All students were working full-time with at least five years of business experience.

The program was formalized when the newly consolidated UNC System was first created.

The first graduates receive their diplomas and begin applying their new management skills in the Charlotte marketplace and across the region.

The program becomes the Master of Business Administration, continuing the high academic quality and program structure as the MBA.

The Belk College MBA becomes the first graduate business program offered in Uptown Charlotte. Classes are held at CityFair.

The Belk College launched the international, dual MBA program in partnership with the Graduate School of Business Administration and Leadership (EGADE) at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

First EGADE students take classes on UNC Charlotte's campus, beginning the international classroom experience for students of the dual MBA program.
The MBA earned its first national ranking from U.S. News & World Report, starting a consistent ranking in the top 20% nationwide. 
The program first introduced flexible course delivery, offering online and in-person classes.

MBA Alumni

The MBA achieves over 4,000 MBA alumni.