EMBA Degree Program Overview
Cheryl Oliver, Director of Graduate Programs in Business
Learn more about WSU’s Executive MBA online degree program, including what it’s like to learn online, how an EMBA can help you reach your career goals, and how and when to apply. Topics included:
- Washington State University & the College of Business
- WSU EMBA online curriculum, faculty, unique opportunities, and degree outcomes
- Comparison of EMBA & MBA programs
- The online student experience
- Admission criteria and process
- Interactive Q&A
Cheryl Oliver: My name is Cheryl Oliver. I direct graduate programs here for the college of business. I will go over today a couple of things about the college. I have been working for Washington State University now for a little over 10 years and I also an alum of the university.
The college of business at Washington State University is one of the things I will talk about today, but I will also go a little bit over the history of the university and talk to you about our accreditation and why you might want to consider WSU as your university of choice. We’ll talk about why other students choose WSU and we’ll go over the logistics of the EMBA program, talk about the curriculum, talk about what our goals are there for you and then go through the admissions process and criteria. This shouldn’t take longer than probably 40 minutes and then we’ll have about 20 minutes in which I’ll be happy to entertain questions and answers, if you’ll send those directly to Amanda, she will feed those to me at the end and any questions that we don’t get to at the end and an enrollment advisor will gladly get back in touch with you to answer after the presentation.
Washington State University was founded in 1890 as Washington State College. We are a land grant university for the state of Washington. And for those of you not familiar with the land grant mission, at the time that we were founded, more than 90% of people in the United States were actually receiving their livelihood or working in agricultural pursuits. And our mission at the time was to improve lives through development in agriculture.
Over the years, of course, as industrialization has occurred, fewer people, less than 2%, actually received their direct livelihood through agricultural pursuits. And many, many more, almost 90% are in business in any of its related forms. And so as a college of business, and as a university, we have tried to further our mission and try and get innovative and creative in how all the different areas that we do have on this university campus can continue to fulfill that mission, making lives better through knowledge that we have here.
You’ll note here that we are one of the nation’s top public research institutions. We do the research in a variety of areas. Even in the college of business, a lot of the important research that goes on, those human-computer interaction with financial decision making with accounting information and forensic accounting investigations does happen right here at the WSU campus.
The college of business has over 50 years of excellence in graduate management education. We have been offering the MBA since 1957 and that’s a degree that was only about 25 years old in this country at that time. So, we have been on the leading edge there. We have over 20 years of perfecting online degree programs. Washington State University started offering our first online programs through correspondence and some other media channels in the 1980s and then through satellite to campuses and libraries and different areas across the state and we have expanded that now into a leading online environment.
In fact, we do consider online to be one of our four campuses and we do have a campus in Vancouver, Washington, north of Portland, Oregon. We have a campus in Richland, Washington which is considered part of the tri-cities where Richland, Pasco and Kennewick all converge there in the center of the state. And, of course, we do have extensions across the state through the various counties as a land grant institution. Our MBA is offered in Pullman, Vancouver, Tri-Cities and our online campus.
We do have a strong commitment to providing the highest quality of research and offering world-class programs. And one of the things I think is really important for people to understand is that while we are a research institution, that research has to get to market. So, whether we’re discovering new ways or we’re finding out patterns and decision-making here in the college or biotechnology is coming up with some new ways of looking at different plant pathology or if animal science and global animal school is finding cures for diseases that transfer between humans and animals, we have to get that information out to those that can use it in the general market. And so it’s really important to us that we be entrepreneurial and innovative in that arena and make sure that we aren’t just generating a bunch of thought that stays here on campus.
We do have over 120 years of an alumni legacy here at WSU. We have a very, very active alumni association. It’s one of the largest and fastest growing in the country. We have a very, very high rate of membership and I’d encourage you, if you join this program, to also be a student-member, because it will connect you to the alumni in your area. And of course we have an international network of corporate alliances, people that we do research with who we educate their employees who hire from us and with whom we have partnerships.
We are accredited by the AACSB, that’s the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business. They have changed their name in the last few years. This is a very, very rigorous process for us. It is a pure accreditation process, so we are accredited at the Ph.D., the masters of accounting, the undergraduate in accounting, the bachelor’s in business administration and the master’s in business administration levels, which puts us at about 4% of all universities globally that are accredited to all of these levels intermittent.
In order to receive that accreditation, you have to do a rigorous assessment of each program. We have to have faculty crew get together and format learning goals for each of these programs, showing how students are meeting these learning goals, the students are not meeting these learning goals, how we’re retooling the curriculum, how we’re looking at what student population we have. How we’re making sure at all times that we are a rigorous program and then we undergo a peer review, with a peer accreditation team, so other institutions come and look at our material and decide if we meet accreditation or not.
So, it’s a very significant process. From the AACSB is a very well-known as the premiere accrediting institution in business accreditation. We’re also the university and college of business accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. That’s really important for those of you that would be seeking financial aid. We are accredited regionally as well. And then we are also a Princeton Review 290 business schools and we’re consistently in the top 60 public universities in the U.S. News & World Report.
One thing to note on the rankings, we do not chase the rankings. It’s important to us as a land grant institution to continue to offer programs that are premiere programs are growth leading programs, but also that we’re fulfilling that mission of making people lives better. And so we aren’t expecting 3,000 applications and only accepting 600 of those to say that we have a good selectivity rate or only going out and scholarshipping particular GMAT scores so we can show particular metrics in the rankings. We’re very particular about making sure to offer quality program and that shows up time and again as we’re recognized in those rankings, but without actually pursuing them.
So what I’d like to talk about now is why students choose WSU’s business programs and we are in an academic institution obviously very heavy in the academics and research, but that does not mean that we have the practical experience here. It’s very important to us to partner with business and see what businesses need. But also not to be coming into training or technical school. Making sure that we’re providing our students with the acumen that they need to be able to solve business problems and the tools that they need, but without giving them _____ skills only.
As I mentioned, this is an accredited degree and their faculty will work with our candidates to help them understand their real world leadership experience as well as their academic experience and how those two are so important and how they appear together through this experience.
One of the things that’s really important to us is that our students are able to use what they learned in this program to show that they have more value at their places of employment than they had without the MBA. And that’s by showing what tools they can bring to the table, what skills they’re learning, what knowledge they have. And it’s really important, I’d encourage you now as you shop for a program to think about how you can tell your employer all the way through this process or if you are an employer, how you can show your employees and your shareholders that this is very valuable and that you are bringing in an ROI.
And the reason I say that is over the years I’ve had a number of different MBAs say, okay I finished the degree now, how do I get that raise? And I think it’s really important that you take the leadership position in that right from the start. And as soon as you use a tool that you’ve learned in the program that if someone asks you, oh how did you solve that problem that you remind them, oh this is something new I learned in the MBA or you know I brought this problem to my class and one of my colleagues who’s in a different industry told me one of the ways that they’re working to solve this problem, and I transferred that information to this and that’s something I might not have gotten if I wasn’t networking with someone in my executive MBA program.
So, it’s an opportunity for you at every turn to be able to show what you’re learning and doing is making a difference where you are today. And you’ll see in the few moments that the college of business faces everything that we do on three ________, it’s by our actions and our strategic focus. It’s very important to us that we have a plan and that we have an identity and that we follow that and that if we veer from that, we can assess why that will be and change course if need be. But we really wanna face _________.
And so with that, I’ll go into our principles. We definitely want to have globally competitive business leadership be at the forefront of everything that they do and that’s not just from the perspective of our faculty being world-class, our students being world class, our partnerships with business being world class and globally competitive. But we want you as a prospect of student to see that we are globally competitive too and we try and give our students information in the classroom at all times that helps them use as global perspective.
There’s a lot to be said about people using terms like cultural competency now and one of our board members had a really great thing to say in a recent board meeting. He said you really have to be in a place a long time to understand the culture and I agree with that. So what we try and help you to is understand practices within different cultures and different regions in the world so that you have a baseline when you go in to those environment and can then start paying attention to what cultural nuances you see and learning how to acclimate to those and how to use your business acumen to work with people in various cultures around the world.
Delivery of innovation is also very important to us and sometimes when they talk about those people that, oh my gosh, I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not an innovator, I don’t have an invention in my back pocket, I just don’t know how I can fit with this. And that’s not entirely what we mean, although we do have a number of students who have new ideas, new services and spinoffs and spinups of their companies. What we want you to be able to do is to think entrepreneurially and innovatively about the problems that are happening within your own company.
For example, we had some EMBA students working together on a project and strategy. And one of our students worked for a major shipping company and one of our students worked for a major travel company. They built something, they had similar problems and they both addressed them in very different ways. But the ways that they addressed them actually helped provide solutions for one another and they wouldn’t have been people that each other had talked to and trying to find a solution for those problems before.
So, just being innovative in the way that you think about things and the way that you are practicing business in your company and as you start working more around the world if it’s not something you’re doing already. And of course, the positive societal impact, I think most places hope to have a positive impact, we want to leave the smallest footprint that we can, we want to make sure to do right by others and this is something that we do in the college, not get in teaching our students about it, but from our dean’s office, all the way to the student services and advising offices to the support staff and to the academic units. We wanna make sure that in our communication we’re being respectful with others, that we’re being sensitive to their needs. That we’re considering our stakeholders that we’re being __________ of the environment. That we aren’t generating reams and reams of papers for things that we could send by digital and electronic communication. That as we travel around the world we buy points to offset our fuel use when we take airplanes. So, we wanna do a good job of that internally, as well as pass that on to our students.
So, let’s talk a little bit about why you might choose WSU’s executive MBA program. We do have the same faculty and curriculum as our on campus programs. We have the same small class sizes. You’ll be in groups of people about 20-25 in size, so we don’t have thousands of students in one space. You’ll also work on the same assignments, the group projects and current event discussions and networking opportunities.
Now when I say this if you’re thinking of yourself as an executive and you’re thinking about our emerging leaders in a full-time MBA program with very little experience, note that when we’re giving them an assignment, we’re giving them a case and we’re asking them to use the theoretical skills and tools that we’ve given them to analyze that. When we’re giving you a case, we’re asking you to use those theoretical tools and those skills. But we’re also asking you to use your business acumen, your experience, your knowledge based on your years of experience to determine what a good course of action will be.
We’re also relying on you to use a little bit of thought in terms of what you know on the record place. What if you come across what knowledge that you have about this case that helps you answer the question from a higher level? And so, while everything is the same at the fundamental level, we do cater things to the learner’s level. So, our professional MBAs, those people that have three or so years work experience are looking at the problems a little bit differently than the executives who are looking at it a little bit differently than – actually a lot differently than those emerging leaders, the young MBAs who are right out of undergrad.
The important part of that is that we do offer one MBA degree. There had been a time when an executive MBA degree meant that you went to a particular campus for maybe 14 days, you took your annual leave, you went there, they just horse fed you a whole bunch of business information during the day time, wined you and dined you in the evening and took your golfing that weekend in between and gave you an executive MBA certificate that did not count as an MBA degree on the market, but might work within your own company to get you a promotion.
Our MBA degree, even though we’re teaching at the executive level, will say Washington State University MBA for that very reason. We want to avoid putting your degree in a site where it may not have as much value on the market. So, sometimes we have questions about that where people say just can’t have my diploma say executive MBA and I’m worried about that. And your diploma will say masters of business administration from Washington State University.
Of course this program is fully convenient. Everything is online. You can learn any time, anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. You can complete the degree in as little as 18 months by using continuous enrollment. And it’s an asynchronous learning platform. So, that means that you can start the class at the same time someone does on a Sunday night and you’re going to maybe be reading Sunday night or they’re going to wait until Monday morning or their lunch hour on Monday afternoon, or maybe even Monday evening after their children go to bed, they’ll be working on that same course space. So, you will have assignments that are due throughout the five-week period where everyone has to turn everything on time and you won’t be able to wait until the day before the course is over to be able to turn everything in, but you will have your own time throughout the week to work on those assignments. And as a contrast then to sitting in a class and having to be there from 1:30 to 2:30 every day of the week.
You will also have opportunities for synchronous interactions, that’s office hours if you’re interested in connecting with your faculty member, there are particular times throughout the week and there’s specific teach faculty. They may be available for you to directly email or chat with them where you could also be chatting with other members of your class at the same time.
We do offer covenant services and resources for students. You will have complete academic advising. You will always be alerted as to what the next courses are, what books you’ll need to purchase, the best means for getting those books expeditiously. You’ll have live 24/7 technical support, you’ll have financial aid counseling. It’s very important if you’re considering going to school this fall that you start working on some and you expect to get financial aid, even a private education that you start now filling out that federal application for financial student aid.
They’ll get registration assistance and you’ll have the ability to rewatch lectures and reread discussions in the workspace. You’ll also have easy access to assignments, test course, the online resources, the library and reference material directly from your course page.
One of the thing’s that great about the WSU library is that they’re connected on a global scale to a number of different resources, other universities, world libraries and so on where it might take a little bit to get through it, you may have to enter a password more than one time because they are verifying your affiliation with the university. But, there’s just a world of resources at your fingertips through the WSU library and through the online course space.
So, right now, you may have already been talking with an enrollment advisor who once your application is complete would send your information to our associate dean who will review for admission. After admission, a student then has a student services advisor who, as I mentioned, provides all that academic advising, can help with the technical support, put you in touch with financial aid and so on. You’ll have your faculty there. We have excellent, excellent faculty. In your classes, you’ll also have an additional faculty member who is there to facilitate, they’ll help with decisions, they can support the homework. You’ll have a lot of support in the classroom and then again as I mentioned that technical support.
So we want to make sure that while you’re working on your school work, you’re focusing on the academic portion of that. You’re not running around having to do a lot to access that information. Instead you’re able to balance your school with your work and with your family life.
One of the benefits of being in this program is the networking with faculty and students is initially we have world class faculty with a variety of experiences in the different disciplines, strong research history in their areas of academic study and who are amazing teachers. They will have designed these courses to work well in the online environment so it will be a little different than being able to be in class and walking up to a professor afterwards for clarification. They develop and design everything so that is there for you.
You’ll be able to participate in online discussions with them and your fellow students and be able to share your ideas. And that will be highly expected at the graduate level. _______ graduate can obtain other master’s even, sometimes especially if they’re putting you through the lot of what other people make and you expect that you get into the work and you get out. In the graduate level, particularly in the executive MBA, your opinion is what adds so much value in the first place, so it’ll be really important that you’re an active participant.
We do have an active online student government that I mentioned before. We consider our online campus to be an individual campus and so we do have a group who is – they’re elected student government officials. We have had online MBA students, not executive yet, but MBA students participate in that government which arranges a variety of online seminars, social gatherings based on your locale, graduation parties based on your locale. Sometimes everybody decides to get together in a certain area and go on a campus tour or even have a sporting event outing or have a reception together where they watch a game in their specific geographic locations.
You’ll also have access to the alumni location. It’s $20 a year to be a member as a student and I highly recommend it. There is a cautery of services available there to you from discounts on travel and eateries to opportunities to get career services help and support, have your resume reviewed to look at job postings to get some tutorials on how to search. So, that’s all available to members only.
And then you’ll be able to interact with other alumni. I think one of the really important things about being a cougar is that no matter where you go if you have a WSU sweatshirt or t-shirt or pin, around the world, everywhere I’ve been I’ve heard someone holler across an airport or down a lane or across the bridge or over a boat, go cougs when I’ve had something on that’s a WSU cougar item and that’s something that’s unique to WSU.
But what’s also unique about us is that we have the fastest growing and very, very large alumni association membership, which means when you join as a member, there’s probably a leader somewhere in your committee who’s decided to put together events for local alumni. Whether that’s a golf tournament or a cocktail reception, a yacht party, an opportunity to meet at a local pub and watch a sporting event or at a local golf club and watch a football game, the opportunities around the world do exist to network with other cougars and I think that’s something that’s really special. And as I mentioned, there are chapters everywhere and you can get involved as those as early as you want and I do encourage you to check out that website.
So, the EMBA program is really designed to refine the skills that you already have, even if you don’t have a business undergraduate degree. You’re obviously in your position because you have some acumen that allows you to make business decisions and make decisions in general, to lead other people and _______ not everyone else is able. And we wanna help you fine tune that so that you can develop your agility as a global leader, to be able to make those decisions more quickly, to consider more possibilities, to consider more angles to look at those different problems. I want you to be able to be entrepreneurial, innovative. And as I mentioned before, you may not be an entrepreneur, you may not have an invention, but you can certainly start looking at how your business could expect, how it could have a spinoff or a spinout and you might be able to provide other services. How you may be able to do a variety of different things within that company.
We do offer the advanced business planning and career coaching. The MBA at Washington State University is not at every university and is not a research degree like a master’s in science. So you won’t be working during those 18-months on a thesis or working toward comprehensive exams. You’ll be working on a business plan and we’ll help you with that halfway through your program to the very end. Teaching you how to plug in everything you need to a sound business plan, from your market research, to your financials to where your spinoffs or spinout should be located or what consideration do you need to make if it’s going to be located where you’re currently at.
Some of our EMBAs have chosen to do something entirely different and start their own business after their degree is over. Some have decided that there’s room for promotion and growth in their company and so they’re able to write a business plan for something that the company has already been thinking of doing or had a new strategic plan but just haven’t had time to execute or an opportunity to really look at in a front line scale. So, it’s an opportunity for you to do that. And then that does come with career coaching. So, that helps you decide if this is something I wanna do and grow within my own company or is it something I want to do on my own.
Of course you’ll be able to add an immediate value to your current organization and as I mentioned, you’re really going to want to start taking those things that you learned each day that you’re in a program and applying ________ business practices at your current worksite. And then make sure that you don’t let that go unrecognized. So that as you add value to the organization, they, in turn, will give you some responsibility or some rewards as well.
And of course we will build invaluable relationships with your classmates. Prior executive MBAs, both online and ________ face to face online program have made some very, very meaningful and professional and personal relationships through the EMBA. And several of our students have said, even in the online environment when we reach out and we meet with other people, I have a set study date with this partner at 7:00 every Tuesday. We have coffee in the morning, we talk and we meet and we work for two hours on our assignments and then each week we meet. And of course you get to know each other really well that way.
Other people, oh I have a standing wine date Thursday night with these five people and everybody has a glass of wine at home and we spend five minutes talking about what wine we have and the other two hours working on an assignment or sitting together and helping support each other whether that’s through Skype or through a Facebook group or through a telephone conference calling in. So, there’s some really good ways for you to build meaningful relationships even in the online environment with your classmates. And there’s certainly people that you’re going through balancing very hard studies with, as well as family and worklife. So, there are people that really have a lot in common with you and you can form a good bond with. So, I’d encourage you to consider that as well.
So, when you are going through the EMBA, we’re helping you to look at how your approach to business and entrepreneurship helps you to successfully drive delivery of innovation across and supported around the world. And some of you have said that three times in this presentation already, but it’s so important today that you constantly be on the cutting edge of what’s new in services, what’s new in technology, what’s new in practice, whether you’re in healthcare, whether you’re in the fine arts. What can you do to add value to your organization and it is going to mean that you’re constantly thinking ahead of the competition. And so we do want to help you build up your entrepreneurial and innovative way of thinking even, as I said, if you don’t have your own invention in your back pocket.
We do have a nationally ranked entrepreneurialship program here in the college of business, and as I said that business manager final is definitely a requirement and you can bring that to campus. And you can present it here at our business signed competition. We have venture capitalists, angel investors and a number of entrepreneurs and innovators who have successfully launched multiple businesses who are here and will judge your plan and give you really good feedback.
Additionally, because it’s a competition, we’ve given out over $115,000 this year to our winning team for their business plan. Some people have been able to sell their businesses here, some people have been able to receive funding from the venture capitalists that are angel investors. So, if we really need opportunity for you to come to campus, if you so choose, you will have to do the plan regardless for a graduation that if you wanted to you could come to campus and network in that environment and I think that’s something that’s really valuable and special about WSU since I’ve been privileged to be a part of the competition each year and meet all the different judges and see what the students have come up with, and I’m amazed all the time at the ingenuity of our students and the finesse at which they’re able to write business plans and present them. And then the engagement of those judges is just phenomenal. They care so much about you even at the executive level all the way down to our undergrads who are 18-21 being successful and developing business here in the U.S. It’s a phenomenal opportunity and I would encourage you to partake in that.
So as a part of that, we also offer the advanced career coaching. So, as you’re working on that plan and you’re starting to plug in the different pieces, look at these _________ from the book at orientation and you can certainly purchase it and start looking through it. The workbook __________. And then as you take the course, you’re gonna start handing in various ___________ as you’re taking your other coursework and plugging in those different components as you go along.
So, we’ll also be giving you coaching. How is this something that – you know, if it’s a startup a spinout or starting at your company, maybe that’s something that’s going to help you and we wanna help you work with your company to advance there. So, maybe you have something new that you always wanted to launch or you see a need in the market based on what you’re doing now at your position and you want to transition into that. And so, we’ll give you some advice and guidance as to how to make the most of that as you continue in your EMBA career.
As I mentioned before, it’s really important that you’re able to bring things from your workplace now into the classroom. And that doesn’t mean that you have to bring in a bunch of intellectual property or confidential information, it could be something you currently are facing. Maybe you are having some challenges with some employees. Maybe the marketing plan that the company has set out just hasn’t quite seen the results that you want. Maybe you personally have a lot of experience in marketing or in some of the software areas, but not a lot in some of the quantitative areas or vice versa. And so this is your opportunity to bring your individual or your small group or your larger challenges into the classroom and share that information with your other colleagues and with your faculty and ask for advice.
I did a webinar earlier today for online MBA students and one of the online MBA candidates shared with me prior that she’s been able to take a problem at work and say, okay, here’s what I learned in my class, here’s what I replied and her supervisor can – well what about X, Y, or Z, could you do that too? And if she doesn’t have that skill, she’s wouldn’t be able to go back to her faculty member and say okay, now I’m being asked, since I have this ________ information if I can do the next step, what would that be? And the faculty are very willing to work with you and say, okay the next steps in using the physical model would be – and presenting that to you. So, it’s really important that you contemplate that as you’re going through the program and not just stick your head in the EMBA _______ and start working on academics so that you fully integrate those at your work and your classroom activities.
As I mentioned before, you’re going to be working with other leaders in business and we are very specific about who we do welcome into the EMBA program and who we don’t. We definitely want to make sure that we have business leaders in these programs that can network with you and assist you in your career. We also want to make sure that you’re able to work in teams with one another and I’ve heard about programs before I even worked with a faculty member here who when she was going through her MBA program went to the library to get a particular case and someone had ripped it out of the book because it was so competitive there, they didn’t want anyone else to get it so everyone else failed the assignment.
Well, this is a competitive program and you need to have the highest marks that you possibly can and a 3.0 minimum GPA is required for good standing in the program. We also want to make sure that you have an opportunity to work in a team environment with your online colleagues. And you know, we work in teams every day in our work life and we want you to be supported and work together in your academic work as well.
And as mentioned before, we do have the faculty coaching. We definitely want you to work peer-to-peer on your learning and have the challenging team project so each of you can bring your expertise. And each of you can rely other people as well when there would be an area that you don’t have expertise and learn from one another.
We do have an optional international trip and of course though you do need to do the business plan, you have an opportunity to participate in that optional business plan competition. The international trip this year will be leaving in June and they’ll be going to China for 10 days. They’ll be meeting up with our partner school at Southwestern University of Finance & Economics at Chengdu, China. They’ll be meeting with other executive colleagues and graduate students there to network and talk about business challenges. And then they’ll also be meeting with some other companies and I’ll talk to you about that shortly.
The executive MBA online program features one course at a time and we can do that so that you can delve deeply into that course material. The courses are five weeks in duration and WSU students does have 16-week semesters. As somebody who works about 60 hours a week while going to graduate school, I can tell you safely that this is an easier way of doing it than the traditional way of taking two or three classes over a 16-week period to be considered a full-time student.
I was going to classes on Mondays maybe from 4-7, on Tuesdays from 7-10 and then maybe throughout the weekend went to one-hour courses on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday. And I was constantly in triage mode, taking care of one class project and then moving onto the other class and the topics weren’t just necessarily related. And then just turning those assignments in as fast as I could.
And as a conscientious learner, I tried to delve into the material, but it was a lot to balance and I felt like I was hopping from one subject to the other. In our case, with the EMBA, you’ll be in that one course for five weeks. You’ll be getting very, very deep into the topic matter, so it’s fine at the beginning that you might be doing some pretty finite material, for example, in finance. You’re going to learn from the problem solving tools for the day.
If you work in finance regularly, those might be pretty simple for you. If you don’t, they might be quite challenging and then as you round into the second half of that term, from weeks two and a half to week five, you’ll be looking at how you can apply those principles and be sure that you can hold your employees accountable for the finite details while still being able to have a strategic point of view and looking at those problems from your level. So, we’ll make sure that you have everything that you need in that five week period of time to be proficient in that academic area.
We do have 10 core courses and we have the two electives. So, the two electives actually will be announced at least one term prior to the delivery of those classes. And then we’ll do – study abroad is definitely one of those options as well. And we try and put courses in that are relevant in today’s market and that are meaningful to the group that is currently in the program. So, you will have four courses in strategic leadership, two in the management of innovation and four in functional business tools. So, that would be accounting, finance, marketing and __________.
And then your presentation of your final business plan is what we call business administration 702 and that’s where you turn in that final document to your faculty committee who will review that and give you the final feedback for graduation. So, again all of that is conversed in 18-months.
So this here is the student that are taking the option to go to China are going to an energy related company, a healthcare industry company, an IT services company, a tech company, a law firm, a tobacco faculty and Intel, in addition, as I mentioned, to going to Chengdu, China and visiting our center there. We do have a building that says Washington State University on it. We have a staffed office there that works with our programs. We’ve been partnering with them for many, many years and it’s very important to us to have a partnership in China where we’re able to take our students and we’re able to bring students over to the U.S. and continue to look at the different ways that we do business in those two countries.
The students that will be going together will be meeting there and they’ll be going into the classroom together to get a little bit of an overview about what they can expect during the trip. Prior to the trip, they’ll have spent at least one week in the online course environment learning some basic Chinese phrases, learning about where they’ll be going, learning some introductory cultural practice information.
And then during the 10 days that they’re there, they’ll still be doing coursework. They’re going to be doing an analysis of each of these businesses, so a little mini case for company and then writing that up. And then during the last couple of weeks during the class, they’ll be writing up their experience and doing a larger case on one of these companies and comparing it to their own. So, a really neat opportunity to interact with business executives at each of these companies from outside the country. And obviously Intel being a U.S. company will be really interesting for those students to get to see how things are done in another environment.
And there are also opportunities, they will go to the Great Wall of China, they will go see the Palace, they will go see the pandas, they will have some dinners out with the other graduate students from the SWUFE, Southwestern University Finance & Economic Center, __________ SWUFE students too for a meal. So, a really packed 10-days, but a great opportunity to see business in China and actually make some friends with some of our students there.
So, just so those of you that are comparing the MBA to the executive MBA, some people look at price point, some people look at the degree, some people look at time to the degree. There are a lot more than that. We really want the executive MBA program to be an executive environment. So, we’re very cautious about enrolling anyone that has less than seven or more years of work experience – seven is our very minimum – as a manager, senior manager or any executive, or being primed for an executive role. So, we’re very, very careful about that.
Our students who are in the MBA have three or more years of preferred work experience. They do have 24-36 months of program length because there are pre-requisites for that program. The executive MBA program does not have pre-requisites, but we do have some tools for you if you think that you need to brush up in a particular area.
We do offer a waiver for qualified candidates of the GMAT, however the GMAT is a good predictor of first year success in a program. We really want to help you strengthen and polish skills that you may already have as an individual and previous _______ business definition to some of them. So, some of you may already be naturally be good decision makers and you may not realize that some of the tools that you’ve used are tried and true named business sensible and that when you go to the table and just say oh, with my intuition or oh I have this idea, it’s helpful for you to be able to say, well I did this analysis or I did this analysis which supports the idea that you already had. If you’re able to show some statistical support why you’re idea is such a good one to help you defend your practices and strategies.
We definitely want to help you ignite your career growth. We know that you’re here because you want to take that next leap into a greater leadership position or enhance what you already have done. Maybe you’re looking to go to another company and take a CEO role if you’re a vice president now, we want to give you that power.
We also want to make sure that you can out pace your colleagues. Sometimes it’s just a matter of who has the piece of paper. Who’s got that MBA going into the decision making process. We definitely want to make sure also that you get that international opportunity and I do encourage those of you thinking about this program to find a way to make that work with your schedule, it’s in your finances. This year, minus the plane ticket, it looks like the program fee is a little over $3,000 though. It’s definitely manageable. It takes care of the room and board and in country transfers and so on. So, I highly encourage you to start thinking about how you can manage that.
The curriculum in the EMBA is really going to look at things from a higher level perspective than the MBA. We’re going to ask you to consider your personnel when you’re making decisions and __________ ask a full-timer or online MBA student to ______ their personnel, they may actually be doing the job function that you’re looking at from a higher level view. So, giving you that managerial perspective. Of course, we also want to help you with that business planning and career coaching in a way that helps you accelerate your career or move onto something new. And then, of course, you could come to campus and participate would be quite _______ here.
The international program is available only to the EMBA students. It’s not available to the online MBA students. That is an executive level trip. You are going into companies and meeting with their executives. And so, again as I mentioned, that’s something to really consider making work for you.
We do have upcoming start dates this fall. Fall, we start August 22, so now is a good time to start applying for fall and spring, so it’s January 9. That might sound a little bit far in advance, but we really wanna make sure that you get all the different components of application in on time so you’re starting completely comfortable, not rushed. If you’re opting to receive any financial aid that that’s all secure before you, you’re enrolled, that you’re able to get your text books, make the different adjustments to your time and schedule as needed and start the program.
And you know, I’d encourage you too, if it’s always been on your mind that I wanna go back to school, but you’re thinking oh it has to be fall or spring because you remember the traditional dates from your undergrad or another master’s degree. It really doesn’t matter whether you started in May, January or August, summer, spring or fall are all great dates to start in, one of it meets your personal work and family schedule. So we take that into consideration, there isn’t a particular _______ for those different dates.
As far as the admissions requirements go, we do ask ____ for that seven or more years of professional business experience. So, the average year’s work experience in our program depends on the coworks. If each groups can manage between about 13-24 years of experience overall after the bachelor’s degree, and of course seven or more of those years have always been progressively responsible business management or senior management in executive level experience.
We do require that you have a minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and that can be tricky for people that graduated in the 70s, 80s and even the early 90s. Grade inflation has taken place. Maybe you weren’t really series as an undergrad but you’ve gotten serious and obviously done really well since then. What we can do is look at your overall GPA and if you’re pretty close, we’ll look at your last two years and see if you’ve done better as an undergrad in your major courses. And so that usually is your last two years and see if we can’t get a three point.
The university, because we are a research one institution does have a minimum standard of three point, so if you fall a little short of that, we’ll have to look at the GMAT and we’ll look at your other supporting documents to try and make a case, but we do only have a 10% exception to policy rate on that 3.0. So, for every 10 people in the program, the most we would ever admit that don’t meet that 3.0 minimum would be one and we’re very, very disciplined about who we will allow to be in the program with all the success they’ve had since college with that GPA requirement.
You will have to complete and send the application which is online. We do have an EMBA supplemental form. The supplemental form does not determine whether you get into the program pursuit or not. It’s a data keeping tool for us so that we can remain a member of the EMBA Council, which is a council that helps us maintain our standards and executive MBA education. And so they ask those questions to look at trends and different things. So, we will be asking you about your number of years, work experience, what industry that’s in, what you’re starting salary was and what your current salary was, and that’s also _________ from your admissions requirements, we’re not looking at that specifically. We use that in aggregate form to just benchmark ourselves against other executive MBA programs and see where we are in terms of our number of years work experience, what salary people have when they start this program and when they leave. And what industries we’re recruiting from.
We do as you for a statement of purpose and that’s going to be a one-page cover letter essentially. What do you want from the MBA at Washington State University and why would you want to be a member of the cougar and as an alum, what do you plan to contribute? And we’re not saying oh are you going to write checks, we’re saying how will you represent this university from an ethnical perspective or from an engagement perspective. Are you someone who has an interest in helping undergrads? Are you interested in offering professional development advice? Are you just someone who is going to represent Washington State University with sound business practices and ethnical judgment?
You see in the media a number of business leaders whose school is named in the newspaper when things don’t go very well at their company. And we would like to prevent being in a position where we have graduates who make unethical decisions and our name ends up in the paper. We always want to make sure that the people that we bring into this program will represent our brand very well.
We also want to represent you very well and so it’s important to us that we know that what you’re expecting that when you wrote that cover letter or that statement of purpose, what are you hoping to get from this program. We also just don’t let people in and then only graduate a few. It’s very important to us that we admit people that will finish this program and finish it successfully and that’s true of our Ph.D. program, our masters of ______ program and the various offerings that we have of the MBA. We do not want to weed people out. And so, we also want to provide some value to you.
We do ask for three letters of recommendation. We ask that those are from your recent supervisors and leaders in your organization. Sometimes people will ask if they can send in a letter from a client or a co-worker. That’s not as highly looked upon as letter from people that can attest to your work ability. Sometimes people have been recently out of school, if you have already achieved a master’s degree recently in another area, maybe you’re in engineering and you have a masters in engineering but you’re also growing in your business leadership and are going to do the EMBA, we could look at a letter from a professor and chair of your department. But what’s most important is that people can speak to your capability and your ability to be successful in this program.
We will ask you for a resume. We want to look at your career trajectory. We also want to look at your potential to see what we can do to help further that. So, your resume is really important in this process. So, please turn one in just as you would if you were applying for another position. And we will ask for an employer endorsement or statement of organizational support. Some people think this means that you have to get us a notice that your company is paying for you. That’s not the case at all. What we’re asking is that your company show that they’re aware that you’re going back to graduate school. Graduate school is no small feat especially while you’re working 60, 70, 80 hours a week. We want to make sure that they know that you’re in this position. Even if they can’t be entirely flexible with your schedule, that they’re very supportive and that they know that some of the things that you’re going to be learning will be through this program. This is not a guarantee that you’re going to be advanced after you finish the degree. We’re not asking for them to allow you to share intellectual property in the classroom. We just want to know that you’re being supported in your work environment to do this program.
We also ask for an organizational summary and an order chart. It’s important, as I mentioned before, to make sure that we have executive level and are interested in the classroom. So, we’re going to ask you to turn in 500 or fewer words describing your organization and the roles in it. That helps us understand what your needs are in the classroom and helps us understand where you are in your organizational chart compared to your peers and try and keep everyone at a particular peer level in the learning space. So, different types of things you have to discuss are similar to your peers and so that you always have a discussion point and your discussion point is always cogent to the remainder of your class.
We do require official transcripts and those transcripts are going to be sent in with your other materials directly from your registrar of your formerly attended institution. Your enrollment advisor will ask you to send those to an address in Chicago that is a processing center for us where everything is put together and sent confidentially directly to me and our associate dean to our graduate program’s office here on campus. So, I know it seems like it’s a little bit of a way’s away, but it certainly worked that we are doing it in partnership and so that’s where it will be sent.
And then you’ll need official copies of certificates and/or diplomas. If you went to school in the United States your certificates and diplomas should be listed on your transcripts. So, there’s no need for you to go in and get additional copies of those. That’s primarily for people whose transcripts come separately, which is typically outside of the U.S. So international students, in that case, would want to work with our enrollment advisor for additional requirements, such as English as a foreign language and any credentialling support they would need with those transcripts and diplomas.
At this time would I would like to do is open the floor for some questions. I believe Iman will be feeding me those questions over the phone so that I can answer them for you as they’ve been typed in through the chat space. Iman, are you available to ask me some of those questions?
Moderator: Absolutely. So Cheryl, thank you so much for taking the time to walk us through that presentation. And I wanna thank everyone for submitting all of their comments. It looks like a lot of the questions here have been answered, but there are a few more that I will direct your way, Cheryl. The very first one that we have here are how are tests taken with an online program?
Cheryl Oliver: That’s a very good question. We actually use an online proctoring service called proctor review, which does require that you turn in an authentic login as well as sign in with a web camera. You will only have a specific amount of time to complete that exam from the start to a finish. We do offer assistance for students with documented disability and who have gone through our disability resource center if they do need more time that is adjusted for them prior to the examination.
To be honest with you, while we do use that technology, in a couple of the quantitative courses, you’ll find very infrequently that we’re using exam based metrics in the executive program. We’re really looking at project based metrics, written based metrics and at your group work. And so, it will be really important for you to try to put together a sound portfolio of items through this program.
Moderator: Great Cheryl and we have another question here. Can you elaborate a bit further on a special project, the capstone case project? Would you be able to provide a little bit more information on that project?
Cheryl Oliver: Certainly. And I’m sorry if I wasn’t really clear on that. Typically in a master’s program, people will complete the degree by completing comprehensive exams which are frequently two days of exams and the exams last 4-8 hours each and it’s usually from memory. Or they could be answering a thesis. So, throughout their masters program, they’re taking a variety of research methods courses and then applying those on a thesis which is then evaluated by faculty at the end of the program.
Because we’re an MBA program, we don’t require either of those, but we do require you write this business plan and we do work with you through that entire second half of the program at nine months helping you with the brainstorming process and going into feasibility study and into market research and then implementing your financial plan, your personnel and human resources plan, figuring out where you’re going to locate this business, what resources you’ll need and how you’ll make that pitch if you’re going to go out and try and get some funding for that. It may be that you’re going to do a spinoff or a spinout or a new division at your own company and we’ll coach you in that direction as well.
At the end, the final deliverable will be a comprehensive fitness plan, chapters long but not hundreds of pages by any stretch at all, as well as a 10 or 15 minute video of you making that pitch, selling this idea to whichever audience, usually we would call it an investor model, so the investor group, whether that’s within your own company, the group that’d be investing as stakeholders, whether that’s a board or your CEO, or some other level of stakeholders. And then if you were really looking to do something unique and get some outside funding, that would be the audience, and so your faculty member, because you’re new on that.
The overall plan and video will also be reviewed by a committee of three faculty members who will be looking at it, not from the viability standpoint so much as looking through to see are all the elements of this gonna be a finance class present here, did you apply all of the various components from the marketing course and some market research principles? So, they’ll be going through each of the core areas of your business plan looking to see if you’ve implemented those. And quite frankly, they’ll be coaching you so much that you’ll know about right where you stand before that goes to that faculty committee. So, we’re not just turning in anything and then doing passing and failing. We’re hoping that most people, by the time that gets to that committee process are ready to be passed through as masters of business administration.
Moderator: Excellent, thank you for that Cheryl. We do have another question here. How many people are currently enrolled in the EMBA? What would be the anticipated typical class size when you’re in an EMBA program?
Cheryl Oliver: You know it depends on what school you go to. Sometimes very, very large classes, some have smaller classes. The maximum that you’ll see in your section _______ is 25. And that was a two part question. In terms of the total enrollment right now, we have about 30 students and we’re anticipating a significant increase this spring.
Moderator: Great. Okay and I’m just looking through here, I think we’re gonna be able to take two more questions. Next question we have is how does the online degree differ from one that could be earned on campus?
Cheryl Oliver: Oh certainly. Our face to face executive MBA program requires that students appear on a Friday evening overnight – not overnight, pardon me. After work until about 9:00 p.m. and then arrive back on campus at 8:00 in the morning and go until about 6:00 p.m. that Saturday. So, your weekends are tied up. In addition, it’s _________, so that you’re taking online classes and meeting face to face. And it also takes 18 months.
One of the challenges there is that you have to get from an office to an campus on relatively short order on a Friday evening and dedicate each and every Saturday for 18 months to being in a face to face program. With an online program if it’s easier for you to study evenings after work or stay late or go in early or wait until the kids go to bed, there’s an opportunity to do that on your own time without having to commute somewhere. And then if your weekends have some other commitments, whether that’s children or sporting events, additional work or travel, you have some time to either continue to work on it in that space or make some changes to your schedule so that you can be present in the classroom without having letdown anyone. You can be present in the online classes, without having let down your classroom or your teachers in the on campus space. Am I answering that significantly enough or would you like some more information?
Moderator: No that sounds great, thank you Cheryl. One last question we’ll take over here. So one question that we have here that seems to be occurring is how many hours, on average, should we dedicate for study in terms of the EMBA program?
Cheryl Oliver: Right. So, I would say about 20 hours a week. And I know we’ve heard from other students in previous webinars who have said, you know if they have expertise in an area or they’re really comfortable with material in a particular area and also people are more quantitative learners, the finance _________ just really clicked for them and they spent 10-15 hours a week. Where for other learners quantitative courses may be a little bit more challenging and they’re spending closer to 20 hours a week. And then the opposite is true, maybe the quantitative learner needs a little bit more time in a more spots or skill based class later in their MBA career and it takes them 20 hours a week, but that’s about the average.
Moderator: Great, thank you very much. I notice that there are some questions that are on the chat box there. They are direct to individual applications and I wanna make sure that we let everyone here know that all of those questions that are pertaining to individual applications will definitely be answered and an enrollment advisor will be happy to follow up with you and discuss, not only your application, but your individual questions and any other feedback that you require with regards to the program.
So, this concludes our session and our EMBA program webinar. We wanna start by thanking each and every one of you for taking the time to participate today in the executive MBA online program webinar. A recording of this webinar will be available on our website within the next few days. Once again, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to call our admissions office. They’re an incredible group of people who are always willing to help and answer any questions that you may have, and especially when it comes to individual or particular questions related to your field of study or throughout the application process. Those are questions that our advisors would be happy to assist with. So, once again Cheryl, I wanna thank you as well for taking the time to walk us through this presentation. And if there’s any other questions at all, please refer to our admissions group. Thank you very much for taking the time to join us and have a great day.
Cheryl Oliver: Thank you, Iman.
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