This summer I had a talk with Martin Harold from San Diego’s John Paul II Catholic University after learning the school is kick-starting their MBA program. As an MBA student myself, I was curious to see what they’re up to.
Matt Smith: JPCatholic is a relatively new school. Why start another Catholic university?
Martin Harold: JP Catholic was launched to fill a distinct need in higher education for an authentically Catholic school at the intersection of entrepreneurship, entertainment media, theology, and technology. We believe in the urgency of John Paul II’s call for the New Evangelization. With our focus in business, theology, and media, we think we’re uniquely positioned to respond to that call.
MS: Tell me about JPCatholic’s undergraduate degree in Youth Ministry.
We’re pretty excited about our the aunch of our New Evangelization major, which we introduced last fall. The New Evangelization major features an integration of Scripture, Catholic theology, and new media. Students will come out of the program with a rigorous training in Biblical theology, the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas , and practical hands-on production skills. We believe the New Evangelization uniquely equips a YM to be effective in ministering to the youth.
MS: That sounds like an exciting program. You guys are now offering an Masters of Business Administration at JPCatholic. I’m getting my own MBA at Arizona State while still working in ministry, so I’m curious to see if there’s a trend here. Why would a Catholic Youth Minister want to get a MBA and not a Masters of Divinity?
MH: Good question. Whether you’re looking to build an apostolate or obtain a new skill set to serve the Church in a greater capacity, our MBA program is a perfect fit. With many Catholic organizations struggling to stay afloat financially, it’s critical that those who serve the Church have a rigorous financial and business background. Significant cost savings and efficiencies can be identified and optimized with an MBA. We believe there’s huge room for your career to grow while serving the Church. With an MBA, you’ll be able to save your Catholic organization a huge amount of cash through the application of management best practices.
MS: I think this will be the first time the words “huge amounts of cash” will appear on CatholicYouthMinistry.com. So do you have a curriculum guide? What types of classes would your MBA students take?
MH: The curriculum is uniquely tailored for those who want to serve the Church. First and foremost, our curriculum provides an opportunity for you to encounter Christ in Scripture. You’ll take a nine course sequence in Scripture, philosophy, and theology. Youth ministers with a background in theology can take graduate level Scripture courses.
On the Business side, the program also contains fund raising and leadership classes that directly relate to building a more engaged and financially stable Catholic organization. You’ll also get an integrated curriculum that spans everything from financial management to marketing, economics, social media, web application development, and other important aspects of business.
We emphasize entrepreneurship and creative, outside-the-box thinking in all of our courses–this approach suits most youth ministers who have had the experience of building their own programs from the ground-up.
The curriculum comes together in the Impact Plan course sequence, where you apply everything you’ve learned to building a five-year strategic plan for a parish, parochial school, apostolate, or diocese. If a YM is interested in taking their talent to the for-profit sector, we have he option to take our for-profit MBA in Entrepreneurship and Business Transformation, which focuses on the business creation process. Instead of creating an Impact Plan, the for-profit students focus on building a company.
MS: Why would a Youth Minister get an MBA from JPCatholic and not at their closest state school?
The people and curriculum are the most compelling reasons to choose JP Catholic. We’re passionately Catholic and focused on furthering the Church’s mission in the world through unparalleled creativity and innovation. You’ll find an awesome dynamic here — faculty who care about you professionally as well as spiritually. Everyone here at JP Catholic is focused on one goal: to impact culture for Christ. If you’re invested in that mission as well, we’re an interesting place to be.
MS: Tell me more about your faculty. Are they more business-focused or Catholic-focused?
MH: Our faculty are primarily business-focused with a deep love for the Church and an appreciation for how it works. We do, however, have several faculty members like Prof. Brian Mooney and Fr. Andrew Younan who have extensive experience working within the Church. JP Catholic’s business faculty includes professors who have built and sold companies as well as run private and publicly-traded companies. Their entrepreneurial experience helps them mentor students in thinking creatively and in forging new business models.
MS: Okay, let’s talk about huge amounts of cash again. Do you offer scholarships or any financial support for Youth Ministers? Last time I checked, none of us are getting paid that well.
MH: (Laughs) I’m glad you asked. There are significant scholarships that we grant on the basis of merit and need. Typically students can qualify for 4-8k.
MS: If people are interested, who do they talk to? How do they apply?
If you’re interested in our program, you can contact me. My direct number is 858-653-6740 ext. 1101. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can apply online at our website. We require a completed application, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
MS: Well, Martin, it’s good to hear about all the good work you all are doing at JP Catholic. Thanks for taking time to chat.
MH: Thank you, Matt. And thanks to all the work that Life Teen does for teens.
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