The Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University (KSU) provides a traditional business education with special emphasis on entrepreneurship, team building, and global business. Located in Kennesaw, the college has the nation’s second-largest accredited executive MBA (master of business administration) program.
In addition to the executive MBA program, which meets one weekend a month, the college offers an undergraduate business administration curriculum, a master’s degree in accounting, and an MBA program with evening and weekend classes. Coles College is also a member of the Georgia WebMBA network, which provides accredited MBA degrees in an Internet environment.
In 2005, 3,372 undergraduate students and 538 graduate students were enrolled in the college. Coles College is KSU’s largest graduate program and generated 39 percent of the university’s graduate degrees in 2005. The number of declared undergraduate majors increased 23 percent from 1999 to 2003. To accommodate the student demand, Coles College added twelve new faculty positions in 2004.
The college is named for Michael J. Coles, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who also made two unsuccessful bids to represent Georgia in the U.S. Congress. Coles founded the Great American Cookie Company in 1977 and grew it into a successful national retail chain before selling it in 1998. In 2001 he was appointed by Governor Roy Barnes to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Coles was named chief executive officer (CEO) of the Atlanta-based Caribou Coffee Company in 2003.
Coles has a long-standing relationship with KSU. In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the university, he has served as chairman of the KSU Board of Trustees and as a member of the executive committee. In 1994 his Coles Novak Family Foundation made a $1 million donation to KSU.
Coles College is located in the A. L. Burrus Building, a 100,000-square-foot facility built on KSU’s main campus in 1991. To provide easier access for professionals in its graduate programs, the college opened the Executive Development Center near Interstate 75 and Chastain Road in 2001 and began offering some graduate courses at the Cobb Galleria complex in fall 2003.
In its July 2005 issue, Chief Executive magazine published the results of a study conducted by its editors, who ranked Coles College as one of the top business schools for CEOs. In 2001 Business Week magazine included the school’s executive MBA program in its “Best of the Bunch” business education ratings and ranked the college in its top ten for “ebusiness” and teamwork. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits the college’s business and accounting programs.
Every year Coles College of Business hosts the National Collegiate Sales Competition, which brings together students and corporate sponsors from around the country for two days of competition, networking, and recruitment. A number of business and research programs are housed at Coles College, including the Center for Professional Selling, the China Research Center, the Cobb Microenterprise Center, the Cox Family Enterprise Center, the Econometric Center, and the Small Business Development Center.