New graduates from Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School of Management will bring their expertise to auto dealerships across the country.
Eighteen students made up the first class to graduate from the Dealership Executive M.B.A. program at the university, which is based in Midland, Mich. They received their diplomas at a Dec. 11 commencement ceremony.
The master’s degree program, which began in 2008, teaches leadership and management skills. John Young, Northwood University vice president, says the 27-month program prepares students for greater roles at dealerships and the organizations that work with them.
“It covers all aspects of dealerships and incorporates it into an M.B.A.,” he said. “These folks already have some of that day-to-day experience and it grooms them for the next step up.”
Almost half of the graduating students work at dealerships. The others have job experience with automakers, vehicle financing companies and firms that analyze the auto industry.
Graduate Rick Levitin, an Infiniti dealer product and service trainer at Nissan North America, said the degree has given him skills to meet challenges and changes in the auto industry.
“I am able to quickly apply the curriculum material and best practices shared among classmates to my contact with the Infiniti dealer body,” he said in a release issued by the school.
Classmate Sara Villarin-Yi agreed: “I would have to say that whatever success my dealership will be experiencing it will be because of this program,” said Villarin-Yi, the comptroller at Talisman Suzuki in Houston. “I started not knowing much about the automotive industry but finished with a plethora of knowledge and great friends.”
Northwood University is a private school that was founded in 1959. It has campuses in Midland, West Palm Beach, Fla. and Cedar Hill, Texas.