WSU EMBA Faculty of the Year Winner / Program Director and Alumnus Panelist Webcast
Hi, good afternoon everyone and welcome for joining us for our executive MBA webinar session. We do have faculty winner of the year, Vel Kolde, and one of our alumni students, Brian Lewis joining us today. I am just waiting on everyone to get a chance to log in. So, we’ll begin the presentation in just a few minutes. If you’ll bare with us and we do have some Q&A box that you’re more than welcome to ask any questions at any time, but just give me a couple of minutes and we’ll get started.Hi, good afternoon everyone again. Thank you for joining us for lunch. My name is Jason Techeira, I am the graduate advisor here with Washington State University’s online MBA and executive MBA programs. And I will be your moderator today. I’d like to thank you as we are just starting a few minutes late here. I wanted to give everyone a chance to log in and really wanna thank you for joining us for Washington State University’s executive MBA online program webcast with guest speaker faculty of the year winner and program director, Velle Kolde, as well as our alumni student Brian Lewis.
Before we get started today, I do just wanna go over a few housekeeping items. In order to minimize background noise, the presentation is in broadcast only mode. So, please note that we cannot hear you, you can hear us. And we ask that you please communicate with us at any time by using the chat and questions answer feature to the bottom right of your screen. And we’ll do our best to answer as many questions as possible during our Q&A session at the end of the webcast. If we’re unable to answer all of your questions today, then I will follow up with you after the presentation. And finally, we are recording this webcast, so it will be emailed to you after the presentation, as well as posted to our website in the next couple of weeks.
During today’s webinar, you will have a chance to learn more about our rankings, accreditation of the program, as well as a program overview, admission requirements, our amazing international field study, and you’ll have a unique opportunity to have a personalized student experience from our alumni Brian Lewis. You’ll also hear from the program director and faculty of the year winner, Velle Kolde.
So as I mentioned today, your presenters today are going to be myself, as well as Brian Lewis, guest speaker and alumni. And he graduated from our program in 2015 and he’ll speak to his experience within the program a bit regarding life afterwards. So, please do be sure to hang around for the Q&A session with him at the end. And myself, I am one of the graduate enrollment advisors here that’ll really help provide you with that concierge service through the admissions process.
As well as Brian Lewis, we have faculty of the year winner Velle Kolde that will be presenting with us today. And he is running just a few minutes behind, so I’ll give him a chance to log in and be able to jump right in when he gets here. And he will be available for quite a few of those questions and answers at the end of the presentation as well.
And at this time, I’d like to begin our presentation and just go over a little bit about the history of Washington State University. We are a land grant university founded in 1890 in Pullman, Washington. And that is very important when you’re looking at institutions showing that long lasting reputability and strength of a program. The land grant universities were first formed through the Moral Act and that really is just to make higher education more affordable, which is why we pride ourselves at being one of the more affordable top-tier institutions. Over 125 years of alumni legacy leaders and well over 20 years perfecting that online degree program and we really try to cater to the professional adult.
So, having our program set up so that it is asynchronous, online education. And even prior to having online education, we’ve had distance learning program. So, it is something that we are – we have a very reliable system in place to ensure that you’re getting that academic quality.
As for some of our accreditations, we do hold the regional accreditation for our institution. And then we also have the programmatic accreditation through the AACSB. And that is the most respected business accreditation and we are proud to hold that, not only for our master’s degrees, but also at all levels. We’re among 1% of business schools worldwide to obtain that accreditation at all levels. So, again, something that we’re very proud of. It’s the longest lasting accreditation and really just shows that quality. And it’s very important for most employers that you do have that type of accreditation as it’s vital to show that you had the program that is going to align with their processes and the job focus.
As far as some of our rankings and recognitions, this is just a short list. We have been consistently ranked among the top online MBA programs in the nation year after year. Among the top 15% for five straight years. And in addition to that, we are recognized tier 1 global EMBA for the CEO Magazine. And we’re also a very military friendly institution. We do offer the yellow ribbon. We’re ranked best for vets colleges 2017, as well as several other rankings for our institution itself. Anything from the money magazine’s list of colleges that add the most value, to nine years in a row, WSU has been recognized by the World Wide Sales Education Foundation as a top university for professional sales. So, it’s again, something that we’re very proud of to be able to share so many rankings and recognitions with our students.
And if you’ll just bear with me one moment, I do have Velle Kolde, our director, trying to join in. Going to just hang on one second while I get him on the line. Hi everyone, as we’re waiting for Velle Kolde to log in, I would ask that you please do write any questions that you have into the Q&A box and I’ll be sure to either message those answers back out to you, or I can answer live, while Velle is joining us. Again, I apologize for the slight delay here, so just give me a minute while I get him logged in and we’ll begin again shortly. Give me one moment. Hello Velle is that you?
Hi Velle. Thank you so much for joining us today. I would like to take this time again to introduce everyone to Velle Kolde, the director of the executive MBA program and faculty of the year winner. He is here, again, to give us information about the program. Velle, I have covered the history of Washington State University, as well as our rankings and accreditations and would like to give you the opportunity to discuss our program.
Great, okay. Yeah, so for history regarding the program – a little bit about how we view the program and some of what we really tend to focus on in the program is the quality, convenience and relevance. So, when people ask me what does the program stand for, those are our three primary pillars. Now in terms of quality, we’re a tier 1, fully accredited AACSB school. And in fact Washington State University is one of only 2% of all business schools that are accredited at both the undergraduate masters and Ph.D. levels. We’ve got world class faculty, world class curriculum.
But also, it’s not just about the faculties in that program. The other students in the program, your classmates, your peers, are all successful mid-career professionals. They come from diverse industries, diverse business disciplines. We have IT people, finance people, marketing people, engineers, etc. And you will learn as much from your classmates in the program as you will from the professors, maybe even more.
And even though we’re an online program, we do do a lot of group projects. We do bring a lot of current events into the classroom and into the discussions. And we actually encourage the students to bring in the challenges or problems that they’re having at their work place to the class and discuss them in the context of the class and gather the insights from both the faculty and from their peers.
Now in terms of convenience, Washington State University’s been offering distance degree programs since the late 1980s. This was actually prior to the internet we were doing distance learning degree programs. And over those years, almost 30 years now, we have learned a lot about how to teach to working professionals and how to teach in a distance learning or online environment. So, I’ll get into some of the specifics of the things that we do a little bit later. But, I did wanna mention that we really are designed to be online for adult learns and for working professionals.
And then on I touched on relevance in the sense that we were talking about things and challenges people are facing today and you can actually bring in your own work or your own challenges from work into the classroom. We encourage you to do that. And also in the class that I teach, which includes the innovation course and the capstone course, I’m very much encouraging you to pick projects that are very interesting and very relevant to you personally, something that you’re excited and motivated about versus giving you some kind of other assignment or some kind of canned assignment.
So you can pick something, it can either be something that is with your current employer and in your current line of work. Or it can be something completely different. It can be something that you’ve always had an interest in but never had an opportunity to explore.
We do have a lot of support for our students. We have support of the enrollment advisors, who you’re speaking with now, and who will take you step by step, guide you through the admissions process. Once you are in the program, we have student support advisors that will help you with all of the administrative and logistical issues you may encounter during the course. And then from a technical perspective, we have 24/7 technical support available for our learning platforms online. So, whenever you’re studying, you’ll be able to access health.
We do have smaller class sizes. We do run a carousel model and in each of these courses, we will have a lead instructor, a lead professor and then there will be section instructors and there will be one section instructor for every 20 students in the course. And you have access to me as the program director any time. All the students in the program have my email and my cell phone number. And I spent 30 years in the tech industry, so if I’m awake, I’m working and students can contact me any time for any reason at all.
So, our curriculum, we’re 100% online. It’s an 18-month program. As I mentioned before, we’re designed for working professionals that have busy lives. We know that pretty much all the students in the program are working full-time. They have family or other personal obligations. So, we have devised a curriculum in a matter to give you a lot of convenience and flexibility in how you find the time to accomplish your coursework. Some of the things that we do is we do, do weekly live sessions, but all of those sessions are recorded.
So, in the event that for professional or personal reasons you’re unable to attend one of the live sessions during the week, they are recorded and you can watch them then at your time. Also, most of the work is asynchronous, so it allows you to figure out when you have time to do your schoolwork. Most assignments are due on Sunday. So, that gives you flexibility to figure out when are you gonna get that 20 hours or so of coursework done during the week. Are you gonna do some before work? Are you gonna do some at work? Are you gonna do some after work or late evening after you put your kids to bed? Or are you gonna do longer sessions on the weekend? We give you the flexibility to determine how to do that.
Also, the final exam in this program is a capstone project where you’ll be working on a team and you will be coming up with an idea for a new business and then developing a business model for it, testing the feasibility and then writing a complete business plan.
This is a way that we do the final exam for the program versus – the other way of doing final exams for programs would include having you write a thesis, but writing a thesis is probably pretty good if you’re gonna pursue a career in academia that you’re going deep and researching on a narrow topic. The other alternative is to give you a big comprehensive exam, but that thinking probably tests your ability to take exams a little bit more than your ability to really understand and apply business acumen in a complex environment.
So what we do is we put you in teams and have you work on developing a complete and comprehensive business plan which incorporates all facets of business. So, there is the marketing, the distribution, the operations, the technology, the strategy, etc. is all involved there and so that gives you a very holistic point of view. ‘Cause you will note that in our program, there are no specializations. We don’t have a specialization, for example, for international or for healthcare. That’s because at the executive levels, you need to be a master of all trades. When you get into the upper levels of management, whether you’re a CFO or a CMO or VP of Sales of VP of R&D, you’re expected to understand how the entire business works and what implications there are for what happens in other disciplines within the company, what impact that will have on your business unit and what changes in your business unit will have on the other business units within the organization.
We do have an international field study course, which includes an 11-day trip to China. That will happen in April, 2018. The way the carousel is set up, you do need to do the international trip the first time it becomes available to you in the carousel. So, your only opportunity to, if you want to take that course, it’s the International Business 600 course field study to China. And that will be in April. The actual date for the trip, I think are gonna depart the U.S. on April 8 and then we’ll return 11 days later, so returning April 29 or so. And then that could be plus or minus a day.
Another thing we do do is for all our students and alumni in the executive MBA program is every fall we do a leadership conference. We’ve been holding them in Seattle, but we may possibly look at alternate locations. But this year, we will be in Seattle September 29 and 30 and we are in a boat. We’ll be at the Hotel 1000 this year. And we bring in two days worth of speakers and these are speakers with expertise that will augment the teaching that we do in the EMBA program. So, these are executive coaches that will be talking to you about building your brand, how to present yourself better in executive meetings and to hire executives.
We have some really great coaches coming in to talk with you. And we provide that to you at no charge. So, we’re providing the speakers, and the catering and the evening events around that two day conference and you’re just responsible for your own travel and your own hotel room. And again, that will be September 29 and 30 in Seattle.
We also have a lot of programs and a lot of support for active duty military and veterans. We actually have a dedicated support staff, a gentleman named Blane Golden and any of you that are military or former military, Blane can help you work through and what options and all the benefits that are available to you. So, that’s all he does. He works with veterans and making sure that they can get the most out of a benefit that they have heard. So, Blane is a very powerful resource available to you.
Some of the facts and figures of speed and keys as we used to call it. The program length is 18 months if you go consecutively through. It’s 100% online, that you are never required to come to Pullman or show up at any place. Of course, the field study trip is optional as is the leadership conference. So, you do have the opportunity to meet with your professors, meet with your other classmates in a face to face environment, but it is not required.
And this is particularly useful to working individuals like active duty military. You might be in North Carolina this year, but you may be in Germany or Afghanistan next year.
But you can still continue on your studies with this type of flexibility. Likewise for business traveler or business people that tend to have to travel a lot or just can’t or don’t want to take time off of work to fly to a campus for a weekend every month or a week every two months. This is what down line option provides that kind of flexibility.
In general, the minimum requirements of the program are seven years with progressive management experience. So, that means an increase in responsibility. And a minimum of 10 years total work experience. On average, the average student in our class is 42 years old and has 18 years of work experience. So we actually tend to have a little bit more senior profile than most of the MBA programs. Most of the MBA programs have students that average about 12-13 years experience.
Our class size, the maximum would be 20 for a section instructor and you will take one class at a time for the first nine months of your program. So, rather than taking multiple classes over a 15-week period, you will take one class over a five-week period. You’ll complete that course and then you’ll move onto the next course and that would be five weeks. So, they’re intensive five-week courses, but you’ll only be working on one class at a time.
The exception is during the second half of the program, i.e., the last nine-months of the program. In addition to your five-week class, you will also be working on your capstone project. So, that’ll add probably another eight hours or so, plus or minus of work a week for the last nine months. But this structure and this format works the best for working professionals. So, this is something that has evolved over the many years of the offering online programs. And students have found this to be the best format for them.
GMAT waiver is available pretty much if you meet the professional work experience requirements, you also meet the requirements for GMAT waiver. So, virtually all executive MBA students get the GMAT waiver. You do need to apply for the waiver, because the GMAT is a requirement for the graduate school of Washington State University for admission to the program, but you can submit a request for a waiver and as I mentioned, virtually all executive MBA students qualify for that.
So, this is the application process, but don’t worry too much about it because your enrollment advisors will walk you through the program and assist you with all the specifics of getting your application in and submitted. We’re just really super about doing that.
We do offer a lot of networking resources for you. We have an EMBA LinkedIn group and pretty much you’ll find your network expanding quite rapidly with all of your classmates and also previous graduates of the program. And then as I mentioned before, the leadership conference, when we get together face to face in Seattle with some great speakers and some great social networking events. And you’ll also be getting to know your classmates much better through group work that you’ll be doing in your courses as you go through, particularly in the capstone where you’ll be working together with them for over 30 weeks.
Coug Sync is our online campus, if you will. And that’s available to all online student at Washington State University. It is the online equivalent of campus social events and interactions. Also the WSU Alumni Association, you’ll probably join that after you graduate, if you’re not already a coug. And that just opens you up to connect with all the alumni from the university. And we already talked about the international trip.
And just to drill into the international trip a little bit deeper, I teach this course – Thad Peterson and I are the instructors for this course. It is an immersive looking into doing business in China. It is only 11 days, so that might not seem like a lot, but the amount of understanding that you will develop for business and for doing business in China and doing business with Chinese partners is gonna be invaluable. We really do a nice blend of visiting businesses in China and then also visiting cultural sites in China, such as Tenement Square, The Great Wall, etc. So, you get a good appreciation for the culture and the history of China and the philosophies and the ways of thinking of Chinese people, as well as the business environment over there.
And we can tailor the business visits to your specific interests. For example, I had a couple of students in telecom. Of the businesses we visited in China, that included some telecom companies. Also, I brought some students into aerospace, so we met with the head of R&D for Boeing in China. So, those are the kinds of business visits that we have where you’re meeting with senior executives and you’re getting a real inside baseball look at what it’s like for them operating their businesses in China in the Chinese environment and their interactions in the case of multinationals with their counterparts and headquarters in the U.S.
So, if you are interested in the trip and you have specific industries or companies that you’d like to visit, then please let me know and I am happy to make whatever accommodations we can for you. And then we’ve visited Sensa. We visited Nike. We visited Porche. There’s a whole lot of companies with – multinational companies as well as the Chinese companies. One of the biggest manufacturers of power plants and energy facilities in China is Don Fang and we visited with them for people that are interested in the energy business.
But the key takeaways, it’s a great experience. China is the fasting growing economy in the world. It’s the second largest economy in the world. It soon may be the largest economy in the world overtaking the U.S. So, regardless of what business you are in, there’s a very high probability that you will either be partnering with Chinese businesses, you will be competing with Chinese businesses, or you’re gonna be wanting to sell your products into the Chinese market, the largest consumer market in the world. So, that’s what makes China and an understanding of China so critical to the business executive today.
And I’m giving you a perspective as a professor in the program and as the director of the program. But now, I’d like to turn it over to Brian Lewis. Brian who was a student, not graduate of the program. And he can give you his experience from a student’s perspective. Brian?
Thanks Velle. Hi everybody. So, again my name is Brian Lewis and I was invited to speak with you all today based on my experience with the EMBA program and Velle and the team essentially. I’ve also recommended the program to a number of people that have begun the program, a couple have finished and two more just started, I believe, this summer. So, I’m a big believer in it, not only from my personal experience, but recommended some family members, some previous co-workers and friends to start the program.
And just a real brief background of myself. I retired as a marine Lt. Colonel a few years ago. Then I went to work for Booz Allen Hamilton, as a consultant in the Seattle area and really had an opportunity to apply what I learned from the program and data visualization and data driven decision making in the consulting world and that lead to an opportunity to become a global operations manager with Cisco, which is what I do now.
I have a family, three kids. I did a preponderance of the program while I was on active duty and doing a tremendous amount of traveling from the west coast of the United States to the pacific. And the recordings and the ability to kind of catch up with your classes and do your coursework and have a predictable schedule of when homework was gonna be due was really – the only way that I was gonna be able to get through an advanced degree program like this one and use it as a vehicle to do an industry transition.
So, I guess that’s one of the main points I’d like to spend a minute talking about is if you are in a position where you got some work experience in one industry and you’re interested in doing a transition with it that’s from military or private sector to public sector, whatever it is, I am a strong believer in the MBA education as an opportunity to really let you launch pad into another industry. It’s worked for me in several of my close contacts.
The 100% online and recordings, again, for most of us who are really thought committed to raising a family and paying bills and really kind of getting through life, the 100% online program was really the only option that I had to get through the program and it’s a fantastic –. The tools that they have, in Blackboard and others to be able to collaborate and have classes and listen to recordings and then respond to your classmates was tremendous.
Velle was really my favorite instructor, not just because he’s on the panel today. It’s no accident that Velle was honored this year as the lead instructor. He taught my very first class in the program, which was innovation and it absolutely blew my mind. I fell in love with this program really from jump street because it broadened my perspectives. And you can see the picture on my slide there. It’s a guy casting a cast net there and I’ll talk about that in a minute, but it broadened my horizons to not only developing technology and processes and governance and leadership styles. But, it was a great introduction to the program. There’s no guarantee that that’ll be your first class, but you will have it with Velle and he’s a tremendous asset to the program.
Time management, I kind of mentioned that I was on active duty. I was doing a lot of traveling back and forth between the states and overseas. And really not only trying to raise a family and do that, but do the program itself. So, the way that I work it out was I basically would lock myself away for four hour blocks when I had the opportunity and I would just blast through my coursework and catch up on recordings and prepare my assignments. And although I didn’t graduate with a 4.0, I graduated 3.88 or something like that. And for a guy who’s maybe average or just barely above average intelligence, that shows you that you can do it. It’s not an insurmountable course to get through, although it can be very challenging for folks who may not have had finance or accounting work, like I did not have.
There were some courses that I had to work extra hard to catch up on. And the point there being when I was behind on understanding, I had great course instructors that were accessible to me whenever I needed to have them. And that may have been through email or scheduling phone calls, but the instructors in this program have a vested interest in your success and that really shines through and it made a big impact on me.
Collaboration. You know what? I still stay in contact with some of my classmates from when I went through the program. I met people that were working abroad in India and Malaysia. We had folks really all around the world and some incredibly unique perspectives. We had doctors and lawyers and business folks in the program and they really brought a unique perspective that was obviously different from my perspective from the military and just rounded out my learning.
So really the last point there about casting your net widely. I steal a line from a speech that I heard years ago about the second law of thermodynamics and that closed systems tend toward entropy. And if you stay in your industry or if you stay in the lane that you’re an expert in right now and you don’t cast your net widely or if you don’t open the appature and really try to learn a broader perspective in life, then you’re going to get diminishing returns from what you’re investing in.
And EMBA program at WSU is just a phenomenal opportunity for you to gain a much broader perspective of the business world. I mean I can list off the top of my head a number of books that really made a profound impact on me that I never would have read or been introduced to without this program.
So, I’m gonna leave you with one really quick story about the program. I had been assigned to go to Leavenworth to take a three month course on Red Team, which is a risk analysis and problem solving school. I was going through that program and taking the EMBA program and I had in my curriculum the next class that was coming up was gonna be in Leavenworth was a course on leadership. And I thought, man this is gonna be great. I’m gonna be learning this new stuff on red teaming and alternative thinking and I’ve been a Marine for 20 plus years, so this leadership class is gonna be one that I’m gonna be able to save some time.
And I could not have been more wrong. The perspective of the professor when he came at leadership from a direction that I’d never thought about before. And within the first week, I was introduced to some eastern philosophy approaches to leadership. And it became my absolute favorite class. I still think back and I bought several of the books and keep them around. And it just is a great example of if you think you know what you’re doing in your lane, this program is gonna make you faster, smarter, better.
Truth in advertising: I’m not being paid or getting any kind of commission for recommending people to the course or being online with you today. It really comes from a place of I struggled with how I was going to transition from being a Marine for over 20 years to working in the private sector. The only reason I am where I am today and enjoying the lifestyle that I’m enjoying is because I chose this program. I wanted a brick and mortar school. I needed 100% online program and this program and Velle and the team really hit it out of the ballpark for me and I feel an obligation to make sure that other folks are able to take the opportunity to do it as well.
So that’s really kind of my pitch. My contact information is there. You guys can type questions in Q&A. I’m gonna stick around after. If you wanna send me an email and there are questions you wanna ask that you’re not comfortable asking now, please feel free to reach out to me. The program with networking and other folks and opening doors and opportunities has been absolutely tremendous for my family and for myself and we couldn’t be in a better spot. So, I really hope that you guys think through your options and pick the program that’s best for you. This program was tremendous for me, again, and my family, so I wanted to pass it on.
Wow, okay yeah, thank you so much Brian and Velle, again, for sharing your insight and experience with us. I think it’s such a remarkable opportunity to hear from a graduate of the program and have that perspective and absolutely from our director of the program and just have all of that insight on the program.
I’d like to take this time to point out our application deadline, which is July 24 and that’s for our fall semester with classes starting August 21. We do have a few questions already coming in and we have been answering a few of those. And I do want to remind you to please enter in any of your questions in the box located at the bottom right of your screen and we’ll be happy to answer those for you.
And before we move into answering those questions, I do also wanna point out that Velle and Brian have both graciously provided their contact information. You can find their information under their names in the speaker bio on the left hand side of the screen, so please do feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn or you can email them after the presentation as well. And now I would like to begin answering some of these questions. So, bear with me while I pull some of those up here.
So one of the first questions that we were asked here is if the program is 100% online? And so I know we talked about some opportunities that we had for travel outside of the program and our program is 100% online. So, there is no residence requirement whatsoever. We do have opportunities for various networking or even academic travel. Again, that international field study trip that both Velle and Brian spoke of are optional trips, but highly encouraged. The information that you receive, the experience that you have during that trip is just phenomenal. And so, I do encourage you to go on that trip. But yes, the program is 100% online.
And we do have another question here and this one I think both Velle and Brian will have a little bit that they can share on this. And so one of our attendees is asking what are typical assignments. And so Velle, for your courses, I think I’d like to get your take on what some of your assignments are. And then after you answer, I’d like to get your take, Brian, as well.
Okay, well the assignments they can vary. We do somewhat are just short answer questions, maybe 300 words or less. But there definitely would be some analysis and in my courses, you will have a paper for the force. So, basically consider it a term project. In the innovation course, you will be coming up with an idea and you will be writing up the strategy for developing that innovation. And that will incorporate pretty much all the things that you learn in that course.
So that’s somewhat typical. Most of the assignments, they’re geared toward higher levels – like I said, mid-career professionals. So, we tend to have – compared to a non-executive program, we have a lot more emphasis on the innovation, the strategy and the leadership aspect of all the business problems and challenges that we are studying. And then Brian, do you have anything you’d like to add?
Sure. I think the first thing that really jumps out about this question is they recommend and use quite a few Harvard Business case studies which were tremendous learning opportunities and frankly those Harvard case studies have popped up more frequently probably than anything else post-graduating and then the work that I’m doing. We wrote a lot of essays. I learned some new skills in excel and some extensions of excel. But predominantly, just a bunch of writing.
All right, yes thank you so much Velle and Brian. We do have another question here asking when are live sessions typically held? And so I can answer that for you, great question. Our program, again, being 100% online, we do have to make sure that we’re making it convenient for all of our professionals in the program. And so typically, you’ll have one or maybe two live lectures a week. But usually, those are going to be held at a convenient time for somebody that is an executive leader and that typically is going to be in the evenings. An average time, I would say, is maybe 6:00 p.m. Pacific time in the evening. And we find that that time frame really does help accommodate our pacific coast, central, eastern and even international students. So, that usually is the best time. But again, these live sessions are all being recorded and archived. So, program is asynchronous. You can come back and watch those live lectures whenever and as often as you like.
As far as the next question here, I’ll give my take on it and then Velle, I’ll ask you to kind of chime in. So, the difference between the MBA program and the executive MBA program. And I’m asked this question very often. And when I look at graduate business programs, you have several programs that really stand out. You have a master’s in management that is pretty much just geared for getting you employed and then you have your MBA program which – our MBA program is phenomenal. It absolutely has those intricacies of management. It’s a more tactically driven MBA degree and again those functional skills, knowledge, all applicable within that program.
And then when we have our executive MBA program which we’re really trying to, again, cater to an individual that has a very experienced background. So, it’s going to be a more strategically driven program, diving into those complexities of innovation, looking into going beyond the functional skills and knowledge and trying to gain that executive vantage point, so to speak. Those are the main differences within the program. And then Velle, I would love to kind of have a little bit more of your viewpoint of the two programs as well.
Sure. One of the key differences is that the cohort that you’re in, the group of students – in a regular MBA program you will be with people that have, on average, zero to five years business experience. If you’re in the executive MBA program, your peers, your classmates are gonna have about, on average, 18 years business experience. So, you have a much – the students you are learning with are just more experienced, proven achievers that you will learn a lot more from.
Also in the executive MBA program, we are very selective about the faculty. I wouldn’t say that other MBA programs are not, but we simply are taking the best of the best instructors and we are teaching differently. Because you are an experienced business professional, we recognize that. We teach to you at that level. And we have increased emphasis on strategy, innovation and leadership aspects. So, it’s not just about hey, how do I do these quantitative – how do I perform this quantitative analysis or do these statistics? It’s like hey, after you’ve got that data, how do you interpret it? How do you apply it to your business decision making? So, it’s a much higher level of – and much deeper perspective on the business.
So, I strongly recommend if you have got the experience for an executive MBA program, you should absolutely take an executive MBA program, because you’re gonna invest a lot of time and money regardless of whether you do an MBA or an executive MBA. But you will get so much more out of an executive MBA program than you will out of a standard MBA program, if you are qualified for an executive MBA program. So, anyway, I hope that’s respective to your question.
Yeah, thank you so much Velle. Another question we have here is I wanted to know if there is a final project at the end of the program apart from the various assignments along the course. And yes, there is a capstone project which is a business plan that you choose, you’ll develop. We actually break that capstone project up into three segments and stretch each segment out over the course of an entire semester, which, again is just going with the flexibility and convenience of the program. And typically, that business plan that you create will be start to finish. So feasibility study, complete in depth business plan, as well as a final presentation. And then, since we do have the privilege of having one of our graduates, Brian here, I would like to see if you have anything that you would like to add to that, Brian.
Sure. So, I actually have two other master’s degrees and had to write a master’s thesis and defend them. This program allowed me the opportunity to write a business plan that was my conception of how I would start the business. It allowed me to use my internal competencies to keep motivated about what I wanted to do. But also, not only Velle, but other programs, structures within the EMBA are resources to help you write a complete business plan. And my classmates, several of them, took their business plans from Capstone and started their own businesses after graduation, which is really the kind of point of it. So, it’s a very practical opportunity to put your education into practice before you graduate and have the resources from the business school to help you get there.
Thank you so much Brian. And to be conscious of everyone’s time here, and since we are almost at the end of our webinar, we do have time for one last question. But again, I encourage you to please submit your questions, reach out to Velle and Brian. They’re more than happy to speak with you, as well as myself. I am more than happy to answer any of your questions off channel as well.
But the last question here is wanting to know if you’ve already applied to the program, can you switch your application from the MBA to the Executive MBA program? And fantastic question that you absolutely can. If you find that the Executive MBA program aligns better with your goals and that your background and experience fits with the traditional Executive MBA student, as Velle mentioned earlier, I do encourage you to apply to that program or to switch to that program. It’s such an invaluable experience as Brian has shared. The Executive MBA cohort has a dynamic that is just an amazing experience. So, absolutely, you can do that. Communicate with your admissions advisor if that’s something that you would like to do. And you can, also, of course, again, reach out to me off channel and I’d be more than happy to help you with that.
And so, again at this time, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to join us over your lunch. We hope that you found this webinar to be both useful and informative. As a reminder, I will be sending an email with a link to this webcast within the next week and we will have it posted on our website as well. Please pay attention to the application deadline dates for our fall semester and again I encourage you to reach out to us at your convenience. Thank you again and I hope everyone has a fantastic afternoon.
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