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March 6, 2018

Growing Demand for Creative Problem Solving and Marketing Skills Produces New MBA Courses



Students in class look on as a professor lectures.

The College of Business is thrilled to announce the development of two exciting graduate-level elective classes for students pursing an MBA at California State University, Chico. The two courses were proposed in response to a growing demand of skillsets in creative problem solving and marketing strategies, and they were developed by faculty with strong experience in each area. 

MBA professor Mitch Casselman will be teaching the course “Management of Creativity and Innovation” next fall. Casselman previously taught this course in the MBA program at St. John’s University in New York City, receiving rave reviews from its students and their employers. The course focuses on design thinking and creative problem solving. 

“In the turbulent and very dynamic business environment we see today, helping students to develop their skills in creative problem solving will give them with the opportunity to apply their learning from our MBA program directly to their jobs from day one,” said Matt Meuter, director of the MBA program.  “Another interesting aspect of this course is that it is co-created with the students so that they have a say in making it relevant to their personal situations.”

MBA professor Mitch Casselman

MBA professor Mitch Casselman

Casselman’s private sector background is in various senior management roles in the technology industry in Ottawa, Canada. He has worked in large research and development operations, sales ($1 billion-plus), as well as chief financial officer roles in technology start-ups. His PhD at the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia at the University of Melbourne focused on knowledge management.  

The second new course began in spring 2018, taught by MBA professor Ryne Johnson. The course “Marketing of Entrepreneurial Ventures” provides students the opportunity to learn about and fine-tune skills they can use in any future employment or entrepreneurial venture.

“It is important for our students to realize that entrepreneurship happens both with new ventures as well as with established businesses creating new products, opening new markets or creating social media campaigns,” said Meuter. “The topics covered in this course will help students to become valuable resources for organizations big and small.”

MBA professor Ryne Johnson
MBA professor Ryne Johnson

The course is designed to connect the processes of business formulation, early stage marketing, and startup finance, and uses case study projects based on actual early stage ventures to build a practical framework for product refinement, messaging, and social media marketing to support the development of personal entrepreneurial projects proposed by students. 

Johnson has extensive executive-level business startup and management experience spanning more than 30 years. He began his career in Washington, D.C., as the assistant to the undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked on policy for housing and economic development. After working on presidential and congressional campaigns, Johnson completed his master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in government administration before moving to San Francisco to work for KPMG as a management consultant specializing if infrastructure financing. 

More recently, Johnson founded his own management consultancy, The ChicoProject, LLC, where for more than 10 years he supported the establishment and development of startup enterprises specializing in business formulation strategy, startup financing and marketing, focusing specifically on social media strategies. He has assisted in the development of more than 300 early stage ventures.  

The MBA program at CSU, Chico provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective managerial decision-making. In addition to the general MBA option, students may specialize in enterprise information systems or project management. The MBA program, along with all of CSU, Chico’s business programs, has maintained accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business since 1972. To learn more about the program, please visit www.csuchico.edu/mba.


Matt Meuter
MBA Director, College of Business
530-898-5880
mba@csuchico.edu