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FUTURE CAREERS LOOK ROSY FOR MBA NIGHT STUDENTS

What has come to be known in recent years as "the MBA glut" is a national concern, as the once magnetic advanced business degree continues to lose its pull among corporate recruiters.

Many students enrolled in MBA night programs, however, seem to be an exception to the gloom. Part-time students mostly, they see their new training as the polish on their preparation for careers, or a card to be played later.In a class one night last week at Georgia State, prospective spring graduates were relaxed, talking about their hopes and expectations.

Here's a sampling of their comments:

- Bryan Coffman, 28, a loan officer with Bank South and part-time student, will graduate this spring.

"I have every intention of staying in banking with Bank South," he said. "My training improves my chances of rising in management there."

- Dan Bearison, an account supervisor at AT&T, graduates in June after 21/2 years in the program that consists of about five quarters.

He said: "I'm lucky. The company paid the tuition, and the degree can open many doors for me in AT&T. I came here for the exposure to concepts."

- Dr. Haviva Goldhagen, a family physician who works half-days and rears two sons, went through the night program in five years.

"I just wanted to know more about business," she said. She does not rule out employing her professional and economic training later to start a small health maintenance organization.

- Scott Olson, 31, who is graduating next month with a finance specialty, is an assistant manager in a small company.

"I'm under no pressure to move fast, but I want to get into financial investing, and I am talking to a local bank here now about opportunities."

- Tom Carthron, 24, is a contractor specializing in remodeling properties for banks.

"Getting the MBA is gravy for me," said Carthron, who graduates next month. "I'm in control of my future, and I now have more flexibility."

Ben Oviatt, an instructor whose strategic management course is a capstone of the MBA sequence, says the gritty nighttime sequences, like the one at Georgia State, have some advantages over traditional MBA programs.

`There are real advantages in teaching students who are actually using in their daily work many of the principles we discuss in class. You have to be on your toes, and be able to go beyond textbooks teaching them," Oviatt said.