National University Teams Up With CCL to Launch First-of-Its-Kind MBA

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National University, a nonprofit institution with 50 years of experience serving veterans, educators, and working adults, today announced the launch of a low-cost Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus in leadership. Designed for working adults to complete in 12 months, the new Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) MBA degree program is rooted in evidence-based research on leadership development and curriculum from CCL, a top-ranked global provider of leadership development that has worked with more than 2/3 of the Fortune 1000.

“As we grapple with unprecedented societal and economic change, employers and aspiring executives are demanding new models of management education that help students  navigate the interdependent ethical, political, and social issues at stake in the modern workplace, said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, chancellor of the National University System. “We are pleased to collaborate with the Center for Creative Leadership to augment the best of the MBA experience and challenge our students to develop the sort of purpose-driven leadership skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex world of business.”

The collaboration between NU and the Center for Creative Leadership marks the first MBA program utilizing the leadership training philosophy from the Center for Creative Leadership, which has more than 750,000 alumni and 50 years of experience developing custom training programs. Its partners include some of the world’s largest corporations, such as American Express, Ingersoll Rand, and Mars; influential non-profit organizations; and federal agencies including the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.

The program is designed to meet the needs of experienced professionals and working adults who are looking to build additional leadership and management skills in pursuit of a career change or internal promotion. The curriculum blends traditional MBA coursework with leadership skills, such as managing a diverse workforce and applying an ethical lens to business and management decision-making. In addition to the MBA degree, NU aims to provide graduates a series of micro-credentials for the practice and theory of leadership and management.

As colleges and universities adapt to a new business climate during the pandemic, traditional, residential MBA programs are experiencing enrollment pressure as they adapt to serve a more diverse population of prospective students and face increased competition from online programs. The Center for Creative Leadership MBA will offer a workplace-relevant curriculum delivered through engaging online courses taught by faculty at National University’s School of Business and Management.

“The tasks of leadership and management have never been more demanding than they are today, and they require aspiring executives to be as fluent in leading change and innovation as they are at managing a balance sheet,” said CCL President and CEO John R. Ryan, who previously served as chancellor of the State University of New York and Superintendent (President) of the U.S. Naval Academy.

“Just as CCL offers global expertise in leadership development, National University’s team of faculty and experts bring deep expertise in crafting online offerings designed specifically for working adults — and a willingness to reimagine the possibilities for what an MBA can be.”

Now open for applications, the Center for Creative Leadership MBA will launch in March 2021 with its first cohort of students, with the goal of serving more than 3,000 students by 2023. Rather than requiring traditional entrance examinations such as the GMAT or GRE, the new program requires only recommended GPA thresholds and a conferred bachelor’s degree, making the fully-online, part-time program more accessible to working adults and busy professionals.

“The integration of the Center for Creative Leadership’s unique leadership training model into this new MBA is an example of how we are advancing the model of precision education as an operational strategy, said Dr. Gangaram Singh, provost of National University, a former business school dean and department chair. “This work is about developing new and workforce-aligned training experiences and embedding them directly in our curriculum.”

The program is accredited through National University’s regional accreditation with WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

About National University

National University, a veteran-founded nonprofit, has been dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults by providing accessible, affordable, achievable higher education opportunities since 1971. As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, NU offers over 75 online and on-campus programs and flexible 4-week classes designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives. Since its founding, the NU community has grown to over 25,000 students and 180,000 alumni around the globe, many of whom serve in helping industries such as business, education, health care, cybersecurity, and law and criminal justice. Learn more at

About the National University System

The National University System (NUS) is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving a diverse population of students including Pre-K-12 students and working professionals. NUS higher-education institutions serve more than 45,000 students through National University, Northcentral University, and City University of Seattle. NUS education-focused initiatives include Workforce Education Solutions and the Sanford Programs. Learn more at

About the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)®

CCL is a top-ranked, global provider of leadership development. Learn more about CCL.


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