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KNOXVILLE — A unique partnership between the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and B&W Y-12 promises to attract exceptional students to UT’s full-time MBA program and enhance business development efforts at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

“The Career Advantage Program is the first time we’ve partnered with an organization to help identify top potential candidates for our program,” said Amy Cathey, executive director of UT’s full-time MBA program. “We hope it serves as a model for future business partnerships.”

Through the Career Advantage Program, Y-12 is offering full-time employment to up to five prospective students before they enroll in the full-time MBA program. Previously, Y-12 offered part-time internships to several students after they enrolled.

“In this new collaboration, identified students simultaneously interview with us for acceptance into the program while they interview with Y-12 for employment,” Cathey said.

Selected MBA students receive a tuition waiver and small stipend, which makes the program particularly attractive to out-of-state students.

“We need to attract top talent to ensure that our operations benefit from the best management thinking available, and letting MBA students work for us while they’re getting a great education at UT Knoxville already has yielded excellent results for us,” said Darrel Kohlhorst, president and general manager of B&W Y-12, which operates Y-12 for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Students work at Y-12 for the program’s three semesters, plus a summer internship. During the academic year, the student’s Y-12 work commitment is approximately 12 hours per week. During the summer when there are no MBA classes, the students work full-time at Y-12.

In addition to developing contacts with a diverse array of businesses and business leaders, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, students work with Y-12 senior managers, perform market research and collaborate with Y-12 staff to determine the commercial potential of Y-12 technologies.

“Y-12 is helping us make offers to outstanding students who might otherwise not have considered UT Knoxville,” Cathey said. “Y-12 is offering these students the experience to work in a unique research and technologically focused national security environment that is transferable to any organization.”

UT Knoxville students who have worked at Y-12 have helped to find the best way to site a new warehouse, analyzed business and financial data to identify the best measures of business performance, and helped to formalize the review process for licensable technologies.

“My graduate assistantship at Y-12 has permitted me to apply the concepts and teachings learned in the MBA program to the real world,” said Michael Bowman, UT MBA class of 2010. “Also, Y-12 has a real teamwork atmosphere that mirrors the attitude found in the program.”

Cathey noted the partnership has already had positive results. One of the MBAs who interned with Y-12 last year was hired by Y-12 and another became president of a small local business.

Y-12 is a large manufacturing complex with responsibilities that include stewardship of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal, provision of fuel to the nuclear Navy and provision of material for peacetime uses such as fuel for commercial and research reactors and the production of medical isotopes. In fulfilling its missions, Y-12 also develops technologies, processes and equipment that can benefit other government entities and the private sector.

For more information about the UT Knoxville-Y-12 partnership, visit

For more information about the UT Knoxville College of Business Administration, visit

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines, UT Knoxville (865-974-4359,

David Keim, B&W Y-12 (865-574-1053,

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