MBA Online -March 2015
Samantha Margentina, Enrollment Advisor
Lori Schrafel, Student Advisor
Donald Allen, Current Online MBA Student, Active Duty U.S. Air Force Officer
Topics include information on:
- Washington State University Carson College of Business
- The MBA Online Program
- Accreditation and Recognition
- The online student experience
- Interactive Q & A
Moderator: And again, just a reminder, please type any questions throughout the presentation in the chat box to the right of your screen and we will go ahead and answer them at the end of the presentation. Today’s presentation’s going to cover a range of topics from the Washington State University history, a program overview, we’re going to go into a little bit about military benefits, and, of course, hear from a student.
Right now I’d like to go ahead and introduce Samantha Margentina. She will be presenting first. She’s an enrollment advisor for the online MBA program at Washington State University. And Lori Schrafel, who is a student advisor for both the online MBA and the Executive MBA. Our student today is Donald Allen. He’s a current online MBA student and active duty US Air Force. He’ll be speaking a little later in the presentation. Right now I’m going to turn over the presentation to Samantha to tell us a little bit about the history of WSU.
Samantha Margentina: I want to first welcome everyone. We’re excited to have you on our call today. I do want to start off our webinar this evening by giving you a little bit of history of Washington State University. We are a land-grant university founded in 1890, which means that we are going to be celebrating our 125th year of being a university. We have multiple campuses across the state, including our main campus in Pullman, Washington. We also have satellite campuses at our Tri-Cities locations, Vancouver, Spokane, and now Everett. We also have learning centers around the globe located in China, Switzerland, and Tanzania. The College of Business, which has been recently named the Carson College of Business after the former CEO of Boeing, is AACSB accredited at the undergraduate, master’s degree and doctoral levels.
Let’s go into a little bit more history of our MBA program. WSU has offered our MBA program for the past 55 years on campus. About 20 years ago we became really invested in offering online education, which meant that we actually offered our first business course in 1995. This has led to us being able to offer a full online MBA program since 2009, and with the success of this program we were able to add our second program, our Executive MBA program since 2011.
For all the students that are looking for schools right now, obviously accreditation and recognition are very important aspects to consider when finding the right program. Washington State University is among the two percent of business schools in the world that are accredited at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels by the AACSB accreditation. We have been consistently ranked among the top 25 best online graduate MBA programs by US and News World Report. We are currently ranked third best online graduate program for veterans by the US News and World Report. WSU Carson College of Business is recognized as a military-friendly school for 2015.
Now let’s dive a little bit deeper into our program to discuss four of our distinctive characteristics. Those four characteristics are quality, convenience, relevance, and support. We hold quality as a high priority in our program. With that being said, our courses are going to be led by world-class faculty and have the curriculum to match. With quality comes selectivity. So we pride ourselves in being able to be selective in the admissions process. We want to make sure that students will have the interaction with other students that share these same motivations and passions. You will also be able to interact with your classmates through group projects and other interactive current events and discussions, which will also allow for you to network with students around the world.
We know that students look for an online program because convenience is important to them. So we want to provide you with a program that will be 100 percent online, that you will not have a set login time, set login dates, and no residency requirements. With that we want to make sure that you’re able to have access to your assignments, test scores, online resources, like our library and other reference materials at your fingertips. That is why we’ve also made it capable for you to use your mobile devices, iPads, phones, things like that, to be able to connect at anytime and anywhere that you would like.
Our third distinctive characteristic is relevance. We want to focus our curriculum on solving today’s business problems using the best tools. We want to help students identify and analyze business situations so they can correctly apply the proper theories and practices. Our goal is to make sure that students are able to apply what they learn directly from the classroom to their current position and for future positions. We also allow students to participate in an optional study abroad trip each year to also allow students to gain a global perspective. I would now like to turn over the phone to Lori, who will discuss the importance of support in her role here.
Lori Schrafel: Hello, everyone. My name is Lori. I work in student services. Basically, as far as support goes, we in student support, we pick up where your enrollment advisors kind of leave off. So we help you once you get into the program. We’re with you through the entire thing. We’re making sure you’re getting registered for your classes, you have your book information, you’re trending well in the program and we’re with you every step of the way. So as far as support you definitely will have contacts here at the school. Always somewhere to turn to if you ever have any questions, issues, concerns, those types of things.
Moderator: Okay, thank you, Lori. Back to Sam.
Samantha Margentina: Now that we understand what WSU is all about, I would like to break down our MBA program options. As you can see on your screen, we offer a traditional online MBA program and an Executive MBA program. Our traditional MBA program is 13 courses, a total of 36 credit hours. You’ll see that we have seven core courses that every student takes in this program. We then have three elective courses where students can choose to declare a concentration in their program.
The option for concentrations are in finance, marketing, international business, and coming Fall of 2015, we are going to be offering hospitality management. Students that want a concentration will have all their elective courses in that particular area or students can still stick with a general MBA where their elective courses can be arranged in different areas.
The course work that you will see will be ranging from five to seven weeks in length. So your program can range from 22 to 29 months. The reason why we have that seven month range is we want to make sure that all of our students will be successful in our program. So students who are coming from outside of a business degree background may have certain business courses that are added. That’s called our foundational business courses. We’ll check your transcripts from your past to see if the business courses that you’ve taken, to see if those are things that we can bring in for you and try to eliminate some courses, but we want to make sure that every student is going to have the competency level to be successful in our program.
Our second program is our Executive MBA program. We offer this option as more of an accelerated program for students. This program is 15 courses, 44 credit hours. The courses are going to be five weeks in length and the program will be able to be completed in 18 months.
Now that we have broken down the two program options, I would like to be able to discuss the requirements of acceptance so that we can help you determine the program that may be best for you. With our traditional MBA program we do not have a certain amount of management years of experience as a requirement. We do prefer work experience but it’s also not required. That is the main difference between that and our Executive program. Our Executive MBA program is geared for students who have a minimum of seven years or more of progressive management experience and around ten years of work experience.
A GMAT is a large part of our admissions process. For students that are applying to our program we do ask for a 550 score or higher. You’ll see that with the MBA program it’s a requirement, but there are some asterisks next to it. There is the opportunity for students that have over a 3.0 GPA and have a minimum of seven years or more of progressive management experience, or have successfully completed a master’s degree program with quantitative course work to be able to potentially ask for a waiver of this requirement.
The MBA program is offered six different times throughout the year. So with our three 16-week semesters, we’ll have two entry points that students can jump into in each semester. So those classes are offered in January and March, May, June, August, and September. For our Executive program, the program is offered three times throughout the year at the beginning semester. So there’s our January, our May, and our August start dates.
Lori Schrafel: So I’m going to talk a little bit about the international business trip opportunities that we have. Every spring we’re going to offer a study abroad. This past year we actually had students that went to China. You can see on the screen here just some of the logistics pieces to it. We typically send out information a couple months in advance once we have a set place where you guys will be travelling, but it’s definitely a great opportunity. We highly recommend students going on the trip. This past time we had about nine students that went on the trip. They had a blast. They actually went with one of the instructors and they just had such a great time. It’s a great opportunity if you guys would like to join. We highly recommend it. We’ll get you more information once you’ve entered into the program, but definitely something to kind of keep in mind. It occurs every spring semester.
Okay, so to talk a little bit about the military. We are a military-friendly school. Donald, did you join the call by any chance?
Donald Allen: I did.
Lori Schrafel: Oh, wonderful, great. So I know you can definitely speak to some of the military pieces of things. But we do offer discounted tuition rates for the military. We are certified to receive GI and post-911 GI Bills. We do have VA contacts, so if you guys have any questions about veteran’s benefits, we can get you in touch with them. We’re also participants in the Yellow Ribbon program. Donald, I don’t know if you want to touch base on any of the military pieces, but if you’d like to, you definitely can.
Donald Allen: Yes, ma’am. The one thing about the military, because I’m active duty, the one thing about being a military member and going through the program is that the entire process is really user friendly, I think would be the best term for it. I was able to work a lot with Samantha Margentina, who was my, I guess, counselor while getting enrolled, with getting started and everything. And going through all that, she really kind of held my hand all the way through it because I was worried about my lack of civilian work experience. And she walked me through it and of course I got accepted. So, I guess it all worked out in the end.
Lori Schrafel: Donald, she’s actually on the call with us running the webinar. So I’m kind of glad that you guys were able to connect and we got you both on here. It’s been a great ride so far. Donald, we just went to the next slide which talks about the student perspective. So if you want to talk a little bit about the online experience, your networking, kind of talk a little bit about the workload between the time with school and the balance between home life and work.
Donald Allen: Well, I’m actually – I guess been fortunate in that I did both my undergraduate and now I’m doing my graduate online, and the experiences have been completely different. Washington State has done a great job in trying to build that network because I know when I was looking for my business school, everyone told me that the most important thing you get out of business school is that ability to network. So I worried about doing an online.
Washington State has done a great job. We’ve got a Facebook page that is quite lively. A lot of the students, we gripe more or less. The instructors take the criticism because if we complain about a class, that feedback gets back to the instructors through the Facebook page. I know that Lori will pass along a lot of our information. When we do our feedback at the end of the term I know that – I’ve seen some changes already just from a few – my first couple of classes.
So far I’ve been really grateful for it. I’ve met some really good friends which is surprising. Again, because there’s nobody out here – I’m in Virginia right now, I don’t know anybody else in my local area who’s going to Washington State online. But I’ve made some really good friends from New York City. In fact, we’re going up this summer to meet one of the guys from class. And so I’ve never had that level of networking in an online environment. In that respect it’s been really great.
The workload can be a bit rough sometimes. I will say that when you guys do your capstone classes, which is all geared towards building a startup and a business plan or a startup, that it takes more time than what you think. When I did my undergrad I had a one credit class that took me all of 30 minutes to complete. But your capstone A class is a one credit class. I think that was harder than my three credit class that I was taking at the same time.
I will also say that the classes are spaced out just right. They won’t allow you to take more than one class at a time, with the exception of your capstone classes. And doing a capstone class at the same time doesn’t cause a conflict. It does put you under – it puts stress on you, but that’s intentional. The program is designed to stress you out a bit. What else can I say about it?
As far as being a student, balancing out the work life, being in the military, balancing that workload with doing the school work, I really have not had a problem with the balancing of it. Most of the folks I’ve met who are military are either more senior enlisted or mid-career officer, so we’ve all had some experience in balancing our workload so far. A lot of people, especially on the enlisted side, do actually do some sort of undergrad work online. So they’ve got some experience with it.
It’s really a close community. I really can’t stress how important that community is because we’re able to work together, we’ll do these phone conversations, we’ll use the new platform. We were using Blackboard to collaborate to get together and just having conversations.
I just finished up my first elective class from my concentration, which is international business management, and it has been really good. The instructors will do these breakout sessions, will sit down and talk to you, I have not had a single instructor come back and say, “No, I don’t have time for that. I can’t work with you.” Shoot, I’ve even had assignments that were running behind schedule, which is a no-no, but I’ve worked with the instructor and let him know, “Hey, we had a no notice exercise pop up. There’s nothing I can do about it.” And they were willing to work with me. As long as you’re up front and you’ve told them what’s going on. I don’t know where we’re at on this one, so I’m going to just be quiet for a moment.
Lori Schrafel: No, that’s great, Donald. Thank you so much. I know we’re going to have some questions for you from students here. So I think Sam’s going to talk a little bit about the tuition piece and then if you can stick on the call we’ll have some questions for you.
Moderator: Yes, thank you, Donald, and to everyone who’s sending questions, thank you so much. I have received them. We just have about one more slide and then we will move to the question/answer portion. So please go ahead and keep submitting your questions to the chat box on the right of your screen, and we will be answering them in just a few minutes. Thank you, Donald, for that presentation.
Samantha Margentina: Okay, I know the excitement of looking at schools and the excitement of being able to visualize yourself graduating. The fun part that usually you don’t think about until you start applying to schools is tuition. So I want to make sure that we can break down the tuition in a little bit more detail so you can see that this could be a reality for you. Our MBA program is $750 per credit hour. When students are looking at our 13 courses in the MBA program, you’re looking at your tuition being $27,000 for the entire program over the 22 months.
For students that are coming from outside of the business degree, I know we had mentioned earlier in the presentation that there are up to seven additional foundation classes, so an additional 17 credit hours of a total of 53 credits. So students that are looking at taking all of those foundation courses are looking at about $39,750 over the 29 months of the program.
I always welcome students who are interested in the program to reach out to an enrollment advisor. We can help you best identify if any or if all foundation courses are required in your program to maybe give you a little bit more of a specific idea of your cost and time commitment in our program.
For students that are looking for ways to offset the cost, too, we have included here a link to FactWeb so that you can look to see if there are any scholarships that may be available for you. Then we also have included the FSFA website so that students can look into student loans and other opportunities that way. We do have a financial department that can work with students on a more individualized basis to see if there are any other options available, tuition assistance, I know, is a common one. So we’re certainly here to help you in making this a reality.
Moderator: Thank you, Samantha. We will now begin our question and answer portion of the session. For those who joined late, this is a broadcast only presentation due to the volume of participants we have, but if you have any questions, please go ahead and type them in the chat box to the right of your screen, and I will go ahead and start asking them in the order that they were received. The first question is for Samantha. Can you tell us a little bit more about the GMAT waiver?
Samantha Margentina: Of course. So we look at several things when trying to waive the GMAT requirement. First I’ll maybe backtrack a little. The reason why we request a GMAT or GRE score is we want to make sure that we can get a better idea of a student’s aptitude and how well they would perform in a graduate level. So a GMAT or a GRE is kind of like the equivalent of an ACT or an SAT when you are entering into your undergraduate program. But we do know that there are a lot of other things that can show a student success. So we will look into waving a GMAT if a student has successfully completed a master’s degree. Unfortunately, it can’t just be any master’s degree. We also want to make sure that the course work that you’ve completed is quantitative coursework. So I would say that if you’re not sure if your master’s degree may entail quantitative coursework, reaching out to an advisor here they can best look through your transcripts and give you a better idea if that could be an option for you.
The second way that we can look into a GMAT waiver is for students that have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for their undergraduate program, and then they have seven years or more of progressive management. When we look at management, years of experience, we look at while you’re in that supervisory role, how many people are working underneath you. Are you working with finances and budgets and different roles and responsibilities at a management leve? So those are the main things that we will look at.
Again, you’re always welcome to send over your resume for an enrollment advisor to review if you have any questions about your availability for this waiver. When students do want to put in a GMAT waiver, we do have a policy so students will write a short essay explaining how they meet their criteria. So wanted to talk a little about that. So an advisor can work with you on that essay as well. Great questions.
Moderator: Thanks so much, Samantha. Donald, the next question is for you. How much more or less do you spend on your class work every week if you could give us an estimate of that?
Donald Allen: Yeah, that one is really – there’s a wide variable on that one. I want to say for some of the easier classes, at least easier in my opinion, I think I’ve spent a total of maybe four to six hours a week total. And then add in another hour of that with a _____. Every class that I’ve had there’s been an instructor who does a one hour once a week where they give a lecture of some sort. Every instructor, of course, does it slightly different, so they teach it a different way.
And then some of my hard classes – like I said, that capstone class, I spent a lot of hours because there’s a section where you do market research, and I was quite literally at the shopping mall for two hours on a Saturday for about four Saturdays in a row, and that’s on top of the papers. And I think on that particular class I think I spent close to ten to 12 hours a week just getting all the stuff together.
But once you get the hang of it a lot of it is taking the time to write the paper, show all your work. I know – like I had to do on a survey I had to make sure I compiled all the notes for it right and I had all the comments right. So a lot of it was the tedium of making sure that I was thorough versus it wasn’t 12 hours of note taking book work. But I did have a lot of reading this last class I had. So, the range could go anywhere from four and 12 hours a week, but the 12 hours is a rarity. I would say six to seven hours a week would be more the norm.
Lori Schrafel: Awesome, and I know for each student it’s going to be different. Typically we try and tell students, especially in their first class, to budget for 20 hours. Like I said, obviously everything is going to be a little bit different, and I know with you, too, Donald, it helped that you’ve done your undergrad and now your grad online. So normally we try and tell students to budget for the 20 hours, but like he said, it can vary between classes.
Donald Allen: I’ll just add this one bit. Having my undergrad in a business has also made it a lot easier to grasp a lot of the concepts. So I haven’t had to devote as much time foundationally I suppose because I’ve already been exposed to some of the ideas and the thought processes. So the budget for 20 hours, especially if this is your first online course and more so if you’re changing over from say, my wife, who’s a social worker, if she were to change, it would take a while to grasp a lot of the foundational text stuff.
Samantha Margentina: Thank you. And that’s why here at Washington State University we actually include foundation courses instead of being prerequisites where you take them elsewhere and then try to start our program. We want students to be able to jump in. We offer those courses for you so you have the convenience of being at one school and you can have all the foundations and the background information you need to be successful. So that’s great. Thank you, Donald.
Moderator: And actually a followup to the foundation courses is we have a question from the audience. Do the foundation courses also apply to the Executive MBA program?
Samantha Margentina: That is a great question. We actually do not require the foundation courses in the Executive MBA program. What we find is that with students that have that higher level of progressive management experience, a lot of their roles and responsibilities tend to also take in the knowledge that students would gain from the foundation classes. We do not require those because those types of students at that level usually have a good grasp of those particular areas.
Moderator: And another followup for the foundation courses is what is the timeline for those?
Samantha Margentina: Yes, so our courses are – the foundation courses are five to seven weeks in length. So a student can complete all seven within seven months. It’s designed for it to be, I guess, a part of your MBA program. That’s why there’s that range from 22 to 29 months. You will take all of the required foundation courses first before moving into the core courses of the MBA program.
Moderator: Okay. Samantha this question is probably for you. Referring back to something Donald said. Is one class at a time – does that mean one per semester or how does that work?
Samantha Margentina: No, that’s a great question. So think of our semester system, we have three semesters in a school year, they’re 16 weeks in length. Students that need foundation courses, so they’re in the courses that are the five-week courses, they will see themselves taking one class at a time, but they’ll have three five-week courses in that 16-week semester. When students transition from the foundations courses to the core courses and elective courses of the MBA program, you’ll see that the courses are seven weeks in length. So you’ll have one class the first seven weeks and then you’ll typically see a week break, and then you’ll then see the second half of that semester being your second seven-week course. So it is designed where you’ll have the one course at a time but still be able to get enough courses in throughout the school year to make it in the 22 to 29 month range.
Moderator: So the next question sort of follows that same pattern so maybe – Donald, I’ll throw this out to you since you’ve been in the program. Do most classes follow a similar format and is homework due each week? So it’s a two-part question.
Donald Allen: Sure. I know when I did my undergrad, I know that I had to post something on line by Thursday. By Sunday I had to have responded to two other’s people post, and I also had to do a one- to two-page paper every week. That is not how the MBA class is that I’ve been to so far. I think I’ve been to six or seven now. I’m actually at the half way point right now. Most of the classes have really followed the same format yet. There is usually something due every week.
I do know that some of the classes have proctored exams. I think my next classes coming up, I think we’ve got three exams to take throughout the course, but it doesn’t appear that these ones are proctored. I do know the stat class, from what I understand, those are proctored exams. At least that’s what I’ve heard, again, through the Facebook page. That’s a great thing about the Fscebook page is everybody who’s on the Facebook page is at a different point in their MBA career. So if you have a question about a class coming up, if you put it on that Facebook page, there’s somebody on there who has taken the class before and they can tell you if your concerns are valid or not.
I will say I’ve probably had in terms of being every week with a couple of exceptions, but by and large, the instructors have been fantastic about providing a calendar and a syllabus to match everything up. So you know what to do; there’s no real surprises. Like this last class, we had a group project that was due on week five of seven, and then another one that was due on week seven of seven. And every single week we had to do a case study and a 500-word response to the case study. So we had seven case studies in one week and then we had the group project which was ongoing. And we also had to do a presentation, like an actual – not a screen capture but a screen cast, a PowerPoint presentation with your voiceovers.
So some of the classes have been a lot of work but I don’t think any of has ever been so much to where – because if there’s questions, it’s really easy to get an answer. So I’ve not been a situation where I didn’t understand what was expected of me.
Moderator: Okay, thank you, Donald.
Donald Allen: Yeah, I hope that answers the question.
Lori Schrafel: Yeah, definitely. And I know someone had a followup question about the proctoring. So with the proctored exams, that, again, it’s not in every class where you’re going to have that. It’s pretty few and far between. You don not have to go to a proctoring center. You can actually do that all on line with your computer and we’ll work you through the process, obviously, too, and if it’s a proctored exam, you will know right off the bat. The way the proctoring works is you get a set timeframe where you have to take the exam and you basically are setting up an appointment for the proctors. You pick the day and time that works for you to do the proctored exam. And, again, guys, it’s few and far between where you have those proctored exams, but they are part of the program.
Moderator: Thank you, Lori. I’ll go ahead and leave this open probably to Lori and Donald since they’ll know best. What technology platforms are used in this program?
Lori Schrafel: Yep, so we use Blackboard. That’s where you’re going to be completing your coursework. With the foundation courses there a few other sites that you’ll use. There is the My Pearson Labs or the My Accounting Labs, that’s mostly in the foundation courses. As far as the core program goes, you’re really sticking to Blackboard. You might be asked to complete surveys or put together surveys for your capstone series. So that’s really kind of most of the platforms. Donald, I don’t know if you have anything else in regards to that one.
Donald Allen: The platform just changed to the Blackboard one. By the time you ______ and get started, everyone will have had several months of working with the new platform. I know I worked on a couple of those in my last class, but I think it was the first semester with the new platform.
As far as the surveys, I did want to say everybody fills out surveys because in order to do your capstone classes you have to have these online Survey Monkey surveys. Everybody does surveys for each other because you need to have so many to make it a valid survey. So especially if it’s someone you know and they’re doing a survey, they’ll put a request out and you’ve got like 200 members now. So if you need 50 people to fill out a survey, you can usually get done fairly quickly by just posting a link on there. And everybody’s in the same pain at different points throughout the years, so we really kind of bend over backwards to make sure that everyone gets all the survey responses in. But if you join, understand that you’re going to be doing surveys because you’re going to want them to do surveys for you.
Lori Schrafel: Great.
Moderator: Thank you so much, Donald. I’m going to go ahead and move to the next question. So Samantha this comes back to you. Can foundation courses be taken at a local community college?
Samantha Margentina: Yes, you can take the foundation courses at another institution. I would say that that’s an option for you. Just know that it will take you longer. Most schools that will offer these types of courses may run them for a semester. So it may take – you may be doubling, tripling, maybe taking four classes at once to try to knock out your required foundations courses at another institution. The other thing I would state, too, is just before taking those courses maybe submit a course description to your advisor just so they can give you a much more accurate depiction if we can bring that course in. It’s important that as we’re looking to wave courses that the curriculum matches as well as you receive a B or better in that course. So I always say it’s better safe than sorry. So reach out to an enrollment advisor with the courses you’re interested in taking somewhere else so we can confirm that those are classes you’ll be able to bring in. You want to make sure that you’ll be getting credit for the courses that you’re taking elsewhere.
Moderator: And this next question is for Lori. Are there any scholarship programs specifically for students already working in Washington state?
Lori Schrafel: Yep, great question. So I know Washington State has something where they do offer scholarships. With the WSU undergrad program that’s no applicable, but we do offer other types of discounts. So we do have military discounts available and we also have business university discounts. So depending on what company you work at, you may be eligible for a discount scholarship that way. So that’s definitely something to talk to your enrollment advisor about and they can walk you through that process, too.
Samantha Margentina: And maybe to just give you a little more heads up with that, students that work for a company that we have a partnership already built out, that would allow for there to be a ten percent tuition reduction, and then it does cover your application fee. I know Lori had mentioned the military discount. So those that are either active military or are veterans of the military that can supply their DD214 form would be looking at a tuition rate of $658 per credit hour for the traditional MBA program.
Moderator: Thank you, Lori and Samantha. Donald this next question is for you. Are most professors understanding with work/life/school balance while completing your MBA? Have you found that to be the case?
Donald Allen: The short answer is yes. I will warn any of the students out there that the point of the MBA program, the point of why they do the things the way they do is that it’s supposed to at least simulate stress and the normal stressors you’d be under at a higher level of management than where you’re at now. And everybody who I’ve met in the MBA program is a go getter because all of us who are doing the online MBA are trying to build our careers beyond where we’re at right now. I’ve not seen any deadweight, I’ve not seen laggards or anything like that. Everyone is a hard charger, to use a military phrase there. So there’s really not much tolerance for late work. I gave that one example, and that’s the only time in the last year that I’ve turned in anything late. But my expectation going in was that they were not going to accept it, and they did but I would say that’s not the norm. At the same time they are humans, they are going to work for you, but I wouldn’t go in with the expectation that they’re going to work – because everybody in the program is working full-time.
Moderator: Thank you, Donald. And I apologize; I missed this question when we were speaking to proctoring, but what is a proctored exam in the case of an online school? If we could just go over that really quickly in case we didn’t cover everything the student needed.
Lori Schrafel: Yeah, of course. So with the proctored exams obviously with an online environment it’s definitely difficult to kind of counter cheating, which obviously none of you guys will have to worry about, but one way that they do is to have a proctored exam. So basically it’s a test that you take online and literally somebody will watch you take the exam. So you’re given a timeframe where you will need to take the exam, so whether that’s a three-day period or a five-day period, you pick a day in time that works with your schedule. You log into the site and one of the things that we do tell you is that you need to have access to a web cam. So you have the web cam and then somebody will basically watch you take your exam.
So again, in the online environment that’s one way to counter cheating. So, again, few and far between where you’ll see that in the courses. Most classes you’ll have either papers, you’ll have exams that are not proctored, you’ll have case studies, so it all kind of varies by course. So that’s kind of what the proctoring is for the online environment.
Moderator: Thank you so much, Lori.
Lori Schrafel: Yep.
Moderator: And, again, we have about ten minutes left, so I’m going to continue to move through the questions until time is up but please keep them coming in the chat box to the right of your screen, and we’ll keep answering them in the order of which they’re received. The next question, Lori, I think I’m going to direct towards you because you have experience with both. But can you tell us a little bit about the difference between the MBA and the Executive MBA program, a little bit more?
Lori Schrafel: Sure, with the Executive program it is a little bit shorter. As far as coursework goes it’s a little bit higher level. It’s very – both programs it’s going to be applicable to what you do on a daily basis. The student population in the Executive program is a little bit different because they do have that managerial experience in that background. It is a smaller cohort size in the Executive program and, like I said, it is a shorter program in length. So if that’s something that you are interested in you can definitely talk to one of your enrollment advisors to kind of give you more information about that program.
Moderator: Thank you. And, Donald, I see you wanted to make a followup comment regarding military.
Donald Allen: Yes, ma’am. My initial call, I was so groggy trying to get home from the airport. But the big thing about Washington State, especially for the military personnel, because Washington State’s a public school so for those of you who are active duty or going to be relying on tuition assistance from the military to help out, what you can do is use your VA popup to cover the cost. So, if I remember right, I paid $628 a credit hour for my three-credit hour classes, but the Air Force will only pay $250 for a credit hour. So the rest of it I either have to come up with out of pocket or I use my post-911 GI Bill VA popup. It’s a long title, but because it’s a public school that I’m going to, they pay every penny of it for tuition. They don’t pay any of the fees, which I haven’t run into any fees, and they don’t pay for any books, but to know that my tuition’s covered across the board, it made a really easy decision for me.
Moderator: Thank you, thank you for adding that. I know that our active duty military and veteran attendees will appreciate hearing that. Samantha, I’m going to direct this next question at you. An audience member noticed the application deadline is coming up. Do they still have time to start an application and finish in time?
Samantha Margentina: Of course. Our application process is a very streamlined process, so we have plenty of time. You’d work one-on-one with an enrollment advisor to kind of help with every step of the process. I would say the longest parts of the process that students should focus on first and make it a first priority would be ordering their transcripts from every school they’ve attended past high school, and then securing recommenders because we do require three letters of recommendation. I will say that – unless you feel really comfortable with the GMAT or GRE, if that’s a requirement for you, I would say that that would also be the next priority. That does take some time to set up a test date to take that exam but it can be done. You actually get an unofficial score the moment you hit the submit button from your GMAT. So that’s something that can still be submitted in this timeframe, but we would certainly be happy to work with you on a one-on-one basis to talk about your background, see what we can do with helping you through that admissions process in the next couple of weeks.
Moderator: And the next question, Donald, is for you. Have you been able to apply the things you’ve learned in real time? Have you applied anything you’ve learned, I guess, so far or had an experience that you were able to either bring to class or to work vice versa?
Donald Allen: There’s a couple things for this one. First of all, I, until recently, I did not realize how much the military management is very similar to commercial management. We just use different terminology, that’s it. So I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from class, whether it be about the management of different systems, information systems management, which was actually my very first class, how to integrate that into an organizational structure, different organizational structures.
I ____ point to where I was put in charge of merging the command and control structure here at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. So directly from the lessons I’ve learned in class, I’ve put into place to change the way the Air Force manages its installations from an emergency management/command post perspective. And we’ve become the first fully integrated C2 structure at a joint base, based solely on the things that I have learned since I started my MBA program. And it’s done – my commanders, they think it’s amazing that I’m able to just pull it out and use the case studies from class, and it goes back and forth. Like I’ll use work things that pop up as case studies during the lecture that we’ll talk about, and I’ll take the case studies and apply them at work. We even did a swap analysis in my work center.
But as a Master Sergeant it puts me head and tails as a manager above my peers, who also administrators, because I understand the principles and some of the rationale for how things work, and I can use that to be more effective as a manager. And my peers struggle with that because the military doesn’t do a very good job teaching its managers to be big-picture managers, and that’s where _____ has _____ a few times and been really helpful.
Moderator: Awesome. Thank you, Donald; that was very insightful. We have about four minutes left so I’ll take one more question and then I’ll leave a minute or two for any closing thoughts from Donald. But the last question is if you aren’t able to attend a live session, is it recorded? So, I guess, Lori or Donald if you want to take that one?
Lori Schrafel: Yeah, sure thing. So with the live sessions each instructor’s a little different with how they run their live sessions. They’re kind of like lectures. It’s basically face-time with the instructor. So each instructor will carve out an hour or so each week that you have real-time access to them. If you cannot make the live sessions, they are not required and they are recorded. So you will always have access to the recordings. We definitely recommend going to the live session because just like I said, especially in the online environment it’s great to have that face-to-face time with the instructor. You can ask questions, you can voice opinions, and have that interaction with them and your other classmates. But, again, if you can’t go, not a big deal, no worries there. They are recorded for you guys and you’ll always have access to those.
Moderator: Thank you, Lori. And Donald with the last two to three minutes really quickly if you wanted to give any closing thoughts or perhaps advice to perspective students looking into our online MBA programs.
Donald Allen: Yes, one of the neatest things that I’ve run into is the amount of interaction that you’re available to do and the amount of networking possibilities there are. For instance, I’m doing an online MBA program and I’m also running for the student government president. I didn’t even think that was a thing. But Washington State University has an Associated Students of Washington University government and there’s one for the campuses and there’s one for the online students and they are intermingled. So we’re able to do that.
Another thing that we’re able to do, like I’m doing a case study right now with a bunch of undergrad and graduate students, and it’s a competition to use all the areas of expertise, and I’m working with a mechanical engineer and a chemical engineer and a psychology major to come up with a way to solve a real-world problem. It’s a contest and if we win, they’re going to send us to Brazil to implement this in real life. So I can’t tell you how exciting it is that Washington State does all these things to make us feel part of the school, that we’re not an, afterthought that we’re not, oh, yeah, we’re Washington State University and we also happen to have an online program. We actually feel part of the school itself. So for that – and Lori’s a big part of it, to that, though, my hat’s off to them. I think they do a great job of it and I’m going to stick around for a minute in case any of you have any other questions.
Lori Schrafel: Thanks, Donald.
Moderator: Thank you. Thank you, Lori, Samantha and Donald. That was a wonderful –
[End of Audio]