Rochester-based ad agency Dixon Schwabl has a 16 month program which offers employees the opportunity to achieve a master’s degree without having to leave the office. The program is also offered to students in the area. The agency hosts weekly three hour classes in conference room and the degree comes from Roberts Wesleyan College, an institution in the Rochester area.
The program was launched ten years ago when the agency realized one of its clients, Roberts Wesleyan College, needed classroom space to provide classes for students on the East side of Rochester which is about 50 minutes from the college's main campus. The agency provides classroom space in the form of conference rooms and offers the agency's 115 employees as guest speakers who can offer up real-time, real world case studies.
In exchange for providing the classroom space, access to agency expertise and equipment, the agency receives two free seats each session which are provided to agency employees. One employee, Kathy Phelps recently completed the tuition-free program and received a master’s in marketing which garnered her a nice raise in pay.
The program has contributed to the agency frequently appearing on Fortune's list of the 50 Best Small and Medium-Size Companies to Work For. I'm guessing the frequent free ice cream, scavenger hunts, paid time off for volunteering and open access to company financials also contributes to the agency's appearance on the list.
So far, six agency employees have received degrees through the program with four more currently in the program. All have risen to leadership positions within the agency. The agency also views the program as free advertising for itself as graduates from the program will have had direct access and experience with the agency and could very well hire them one day when they find themselves in marketing positions and seeking the services of an ad agency.