Loyola University Maryland's business school will kick off 2010 with three new programs designed to give graduates a leg up in the stagnant job market.

The first, called Life After Loyola, is a two-day crash course in business etiquette, interviewing and other things post-college. The Jan. 15-16 seminar is designed to give seniors a final polish as they figure out what's next.

In May, Loyola will begin offering an 11-week accounting certification course, designed to give graduate students the extra hours many need to be eligible for the certified public accountant exam. Students need 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam in Maryland, but undergraduate programs require only 120. The program will offer a condensed way to bridge the gap.

In August, Loyola will offer its first full-time graduate program in business, a 12-month Emerging Leaders MBA designed for recent graduates with little work experience but ambitions for corporate leadership.

"Loyola as a university has become more focused on bringing the business community and its needs into our classrooms," said Karyl Leggio, dean of the Sellinger School of Business and Management. "It's very important to bring the practical together with the theoretical. It's paying attention to our markets."

The spring semester of senior year can be an anxious time for college seniors, many of whom have never had to conduct a business dinner, choose health insurance or buy a suit. Life after Loyola, which will cost $150, is designed to give them practical advice on those fronts.

"These are decisions that a lot of students have never had to make as they go through college and high school," Leggio said. "Do I need a 401(k)? If I'm going to be at a business dinner, how do I order the right wine? The first 90 days at a new job, what's that like?"

She said interest has been overwhelming.

The summer accounting program grew out of changes in the profession's standards. The 150-credit requirement forces many students to cobble together online courses before taking the CPA exam. "We think this program can provide a much better bridge," Leggio said.

The 12-month, 18-course Emerging Leaders program is also a response to the changing market. Loyola officials noticed students with little experience flooding night courses that traditionally had served veteran workers and saw a place for an MBA program that would combine intensive internships and courses for students with less than five years of experience.

Students will benefit from going through the courses and internships on a schedule rather than assembling their degrees piecemeal, Leggio said.

"Thirty to 40 years ago, a college degree was something special," she said. "Now, it's an entry-level requirement. We think we can give students something that builds on what they've done and makes them more competitive."

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