Online MBA Information Session

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Find out if the Washington State University Online MBA is for you. This session covers:

  • An overview of WSU and the Carson College of Business
  • An in-depth look of the Online MBA program
  • Military and veteran benefits
  • Admission requirements and support available to students
  • The international field study and other networking opportunities
  • An overview of what to expect as a student

Presenters:

  • Erin Abbott, Admissions Coordinator
  • Matt Beer, Military and Veteran Affairs Manager
  • Jake Moscinski, Enrollment Advisor

Originally presented on October 20, 2020.

Transcript

Jake M.: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Washington State University’s online MBA information session. We’re excited, thank you for having us, or thank you for hopping onto this session. It’s likely your lunch while you guys are probably working from home still, that’s what we’re doing. But we set this information session up just to give you guys some more details about the MBA program, what the structure is, what the admittance process looks like, as well as sort of how it will manifest as a student of the program, so thanks for hopping on.

Jake M.: Before we really get into the solid content, we’re just going to go over some logistics around the presentation: we have set this presentation into broadcast-only mode, we did this to minimize background noise. Really, what that means is you guys can hear me as well as the other speakers on the line; however, we can’t hear you. So if you have any questions, go ahead and use the Q&A function, should be on your screen, where you can ask any questions. We will be addressing those, one of my colleagues, Keisha, is on the line, so she’ll be responding back via chat to some of those questions, and then other ones we’ll be bringing up at the end of the presentation, we’ll have a Q&A section.

Jake M.: And then finally, we do have a recording of the session, it’s going to be emailed out to you after the session concludes, usually within a day or so, so if you got to hop off early and can’t stay for the full thing, don’t worry, we’ll get you out the recorded copy. Going over an agenda of what we’re going to be covering today, obviously we’re going to start off with some introductions, so that way you guys know who’s talking on the session. Then from there we’re going to dive into just some quick history, rankings and accreditations of Washington State and of the Carson College of Business, where the MBA program is housed out of.

Jake M.: From there, we’ll give you a nice overview of the MBA program, so mainly around structure as well as curriculum and some of the choices and experience that you guys will have. After that, we’ll dive into the admissions requirements so that you can see sort of what the full application process looks like, what steps are going to be required to have a solid application here. And then we’ll go into a day in the life of a student, we do have a student speaker on the line. Having a bit of tech difficulties there, so hopefully we can get her to chime in there. If not, I have also got some good insight into what it looks like as a student.

Jake M.: From there, we are going to dive into the optional international field study that we have, a pretty cool opportunity that we’re excited to expand on, especially during the pandemic that we find ourselves in, so want to give some clarity around what any travel looks like. Again, it is optional, so we’ll go into that. And we’ll talk about some of the networking opportunities, both virtual and in-person, and like I mentioned before, wrap things up with the live Q&A session.

Jake M.: But let’s start off with some introductions. I’m going to begin with myself, my name is Jake Moscinski, I’m in the top left of the screen there, so I’m an enrollment advisor with the MBA program. Really what that means, I’m here to help students learn about the MBA, see if it’s a program that might fit the things that they’re looking for, that’s what we’re hoping to do on this info session, and then if you felt it was a good fit, I would also be able to assist you through the admissions process. We have a team of enrollment advisors here, so a lot of people to be helping out anyone who’s interested in the program.

Jake M.: We also have Erin Abbott on the line. Erin, want to go ahead and introduce yourself?

Erin A.: Definitely, thanks, Jake, and thank you, everybody, for joining us today. My name is Erin Abbott, and I am the admissions coordinator for graduate and online programs of business here in the Carson College of Business. I work on the backend of admissions, and I have been with WSU for about two years now. Matt, would you like to go ahead and introduce yourself?

Matt B.: You bet. Hello, everyone, thanks for joining us today. My name’s Matthew, I am the military and veteran affairs manager here at the Carson College of Business. It’s my pleasure to work with all of our military affiliate students as they progress through our program. Thanks for being here.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thanks, Matt, thanks Erin. We also have Brie Andriesen on the line, she is running into some technical issues as of right now, so as soon as that’s resolved, hopefully that does end up getting resolved, then I will go ahead and introduce her at that point. But for the time being, let’s just go ahead and move forward with the history of Washington State University. Erin, you’ve been here for a while, can you go ahead and tell us a little bit about WSU’s past?

Erin A.: Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to spend just a few minutes on this slide so that we can really get into the nuts and bolts of this program. I’m going to go over a bit about the background of WSU, as well as the geographical location. So WSU was founded in 1890 in Pullman Washington. For those of you who are maybe not familiar with the state, Pullman is right on the Idaho border. We’re actually about six miles away from the University of Idaho on the eastern side of Washington. In comparison, if you know where Seattle is, we’re about four and a half-hour drive or so from Seattle. And if you know where Spokane is, we’re about 80 miles south of Spokane. WSU is Washington’s land grant institution, and what that means is the university was founded on the mission of providing affordable education to anyone was willing and able to pursue it.

Erin A.: When university did start in 1890, it started mostly as an agricultural institution. If you’re kind of familiar with our area, which is wheat fields galore all around us, so it makes sense that our main focus was agriculture. Up to date, we have about 125 years of alumni legacy, and currently have one of the largest alumni association. Once you become a Coug, it’s really cool how many people around the world will see you wearing some kind of Coug gear or the WSU logo and shout, Go Cougs! It literally happens anywhere and everywhere, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s definitely a strong alumni base here. We’ll go into that a little bit later, but we highly encourage, if you become students, that you consider joining the alumni association. There really is a lot of benefits to it.

Erin A.: So regarding the Carson College of Business, we have over 60 years of graduate business education. I believe we awarded our first MBA around 1957, then we have over 20 years of online degree experience, as well as … excuse me. So 20 years ago, it was interesting, it was actually set up where the lectures would be recorded and sent to students via VHS. They would then watch them, re-record on the VHSes and send the tapes back. We’ve definitely come a long way from the VHS days. Our online MBA program, as we currently have it now, started in 2007. The goal of our program was to work around the busy working professional, and we’ll get into the more depths of that later.

Erin A.: Then the last thing I want to mention is that we do have an international network of corporate and academic alliances, which allows our students more corporate and learning opportunities. If you go on the international field study, you’ll be able to see some of those opportunities. We’ll be discussing our international field trip here in just a minute, so I will save the rest of that for when we continue on.

Jake M.: Awesome, thanks, Erin. I appreciate you giving us some insight into WSU and the background that we have. I think when I’m looking at this page, the main things that are important, as far as MBA students go, 60-plus years of excellence in graduate business education, so you’re going to see sort of what that manifests as, with the rankings and the accreditation here in a second. 20 years of perfecting online degrees, we’re in the 13th year of the online MBA. It’s a lot of time to refine our approach and really make things flexible for our students. And then that international network of corporate and academic alliances is pretty excellent, when we’re trying to create those international field studies, those experiences for our students. So excited to share more on that in just a bit.

Jake M.: But let’s dive into the accreditations and rankings, I think this is a huge part of the process when you’re trying to find a good fit as far as MBA goes. I’m going to start with accreditations, that’s going to be the top of the screen. We’re going to start with that AASCB accreditation, and then I’ll move onto the NWCCU. Accreditation, the Washington State University and specifically the the Carson College of Business, is AASCB accredited. We’re among less than 2% of business schools in the world that are accredited with the AASCB at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level. This AASCB accreditation is specifically a accrediting body that looks at business programs, rather than a full university.

Jake M.: So when you’re looking at MBAs and when you’re doing your research about how to find a good fit, usually things are going to recommend you to go with AASCB-accredited programs, as that’s typically thought of as sort of the gold standard of accreditation for business programs, MBAs included.

Jake M.: And then from there, outside of the programmatic accreditation, you’re going to want to look into the school’s entire accreditation, so typically there’s two main categories, there’s regional and there’s national accreditation. What you want to see is regional, doesn’t really matter which regional accrediting body is accrediting your university, but for us, we’re in the northwest, so have the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, NWCCU. So that’s going to be for Washington state as a whole.

Jake M.: That is sort what I would always recommend as your first step in your research, what’s the accreditation of the school and the business program? And then from there I like to go into rankings, as sort of an understanding of how much brand recognition your school has that you move forward with. WSU has been, we don’t chase rankings, but we have been pretty well-recognized from a lot of these ranking bodies.

Jake M.: US News and World Report is probably the most common one that I see students going to, they rank tons of different things, from cars to schools, obviously. They have us at #18 right now for best online MBAs. So that’s amid top 5% nationally, we’ve been consistently in that top 5% since I’ve been here, so in the past three to four years. And then we also got a pretty awesome new recognition, Poets&Quants is likely a site that you guys might come across in your research, they just ranked us this year for the first time, they put us at #16 for their 2020 rankings of best online MBA programs. We’re really excited to see that. And then CEO Magazine, another one we commonly get ranked in, we’re currently #28 there for global online MBAs as of 2020.

Jake M.: The right two are a couple of military-specific ones, again, going back to US News and World Report, we’re #13 for best online MBAs for veterans, that’s going to be probably primarily because of our veteran support as well as success rates. Matt Beer will be jumping into that in just a moment here. And then we’re also recognized as a military-friendly school from Military Times. So great to see that, both as the MBA as well as MBA for veterans and for military members, but speaking of sort of that military side of things, Matt, can you tell us a little bit about what your role is and why you’re seeing a lot of students come to our program?

Matt B.: Sure, Jake, thanks. As I mentioned before, Matt Beer, I’m a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force, and I get a pleasure of serving our military-affiliated students, so that’s active duty, guard, reserve, veterans, and their spouses as well. They compromise about 15% of our cohort, and a lot of them are looking for the same features in an MBA as you are, flexibility, looking for a rigorous program that’s something they can do from around the world. About 40% of those students are in transition, meaning they’re leaving the military, they’re looking for some assistance in getting the most out of this program, and that’s really what my work here is.

Matt B.: If that’s you and you’re interested in what the experience might be like, how we take care of that community and how we help you professionally develop, those students can please reach out to me and I’m happy to answer any and all questions that you might have.

Jake M.: Awesome, thank you so much, Matt. I think it’s huge that we have the support that we do. Matt, can you tell me just real quickly a little bit … I know a lot of our students are in transition, I know you specifically have put together some workshops and networking events around supporting that transition. The one that I always liked the most was that resume and LinkedIn workshop. Can you tell me just a brief intro into that?

Matt B.: Yeah, sure. In terms of the professional development, we’re focusing on a few things. We’re focusing on, number one, career plan, helping those folks kind of figure out what it is that their next step’s going to entail. We’re also working on some of the more tactical skills too, like resume review, some LinkedIn profile reviews, and some workshops to help along that. So we have some staff here that helps support those two specifically as they try and bolster those skills.

Matt B.: We also have workshops over the course of the program, the two-year, 24-month program, to help them, again, dig a little deeper into those, especially considering their unique experience in the military.

Jake M.: Excellent. I appreciate that, I’ve always found that, and students I’ve worked with have found that to be really helpful, primarily those ones who are transitioning out and looking to communicate the skills and the experiences they’ve had the in the military to the private sector. Appreciate you putting that together for students.

Jake M.: At this time, [crosstalk 00:14:20] … yeah, absolutely. I’m going to move onto the online MBA overview, just so you guys get a feel for what the program looks like as a whole. Starting right off, we are 100% online, so a lot of programs are going to have different mandatory travel or residency. We’re not going to do that, we are leaning into that flexibility side of things. So 100% online, we can be completed pretty quickly, fastest is going to be 22 months, the maybe more common pace is going to be right around 29 months.

Jake M.: The reason for that range is the next bullet point, that’s those foundation courses. So really, foundation courses can be looked at similarly as prerequisites. We’ve added in seven classes for non-business majors. If you’re coming in without a business degree, maybe you went through with a psychology degree for your undergrad and now you’re coming into an MBA. Likely you would need those seven foundation courses. If so, that would make it a 29-month program.

Jake M.: Now, if you came in with a business degree, maybe had a marketing degree in your undergraduate, that means you’re going to have taken, very lightly have taken these seven courses. In that case, we would request waivers for it while you’re applying, and likely you’d be at a 22-month mark for completion. That’s going to be the standard range, 22 to 29 months, and that’s what you’re looking at there.

Jake M.: We also have four concentrations for our MBA program. These are going to be specific areas that you can really focus in during your time. Really, the concentrations are made up of the three electives courses that you’re going to take. We have marketing, we have finance, we have hospitality/business management, and we have international business. Those are the four main concentrations that we have. If none of them jump out to you, you can choose a general option. What that allows you to do is sort of mix and match different courses from the various concentrations, maybe taking one marketing class, one finance course, and an international business course, just sort of find things that are most professionally relevant for you.

Jake M.: Now, our program is technically an asynchronous program, so we have asynchronous content in our MBA. What that means is you can be completing this on your own time, there’s nothing that you need to be attending live. We want you to, like I had mentioned earlier in the webinar, we want you to have that flexibility so that you can complete this while going through your career and any other requirements, family, friends, that type of thing. So asynchronous content is huge for us.

Jake M.: At the same time, though, we do really want you guys to get the most out of the program, and a part of that might be adding some optional synchronous content. So that’s going to be these live and recorded lectures, so every week you’re going to have typically two different live sessions that you can hop into, we try to make them after working hours, I’m going to dive deeper into that in a bit. But after working hours, live sessions. If you don’t make them, they’re recorded so you can watch them on your own time without any penalty.

Jake M.: And then that second-to-last bullet point there, you see, is the Capstone project. This Capstone is going to be something that’s fairly unique to WSU. It is going to be the final deliverable that you have in the MBA program, and instead of having you do a large research paper or big comprehensive exams to test your skills on what you’ve learned, we have you create a Capstone project, which is going to be developing a business plan from start to finish. We found the entrepreneurial project of creating a business plan is an excellent way for us to look at all the different skills you learned about in the MBA, from management style to marketing skills to financial decision-making. We lump that all up into this business plan, and we really love it, we’ve had some great success with our students actually taking those to market after the MBA.

Jake M.: And then finally, the last bullet point down there, you see the international field study. This is an optional event, it is something that have been, we love having students on, it has been impacted a bit from the pandemic, of course, so we are constantly evaluating that. But we will dive into that in a little bit later on in the session.

Jake M.: Now, going into the MBA certificate, so these are going to be those going to be those concentrations I had mentioned before. We offer these concentrations as standalone certificates, so to preface it, let’s say you go through the MBA, you choose your marketing concentration first. When you graduate the degree, you’d get your MBA degree, you would also get a graduate-level certificate in marketing or whatever concentration you chose.

Jake M.: Now, maybe you didn’t want to go through the full MBA, or maybe you wanted a second concentration after finishing it. Then we do offer these concentrations as individual certificates. So you can go through, let’s say you went with the finance option, you can choose that as your certificate. You would only take the three finance electives that we have, and you graduate with a graduate-level certificate in finance, for those three courses.

Jake M.: Now at the bottom of the screen, you see those foundations certificate. For students who need to take those seven foundational courses as those prerequisites to build that knowledge base, you do end up getting a certificate for those foundational courses. So that is another credential that you’ll add, so at max, you get the foundational certificate, you get your MBA degree as well as your certificate in marketing or whatever concentration you chose. That is sort of the way that you actual certificates will look upon graduation.

Jake M.: Now I’m going to go over some highlights. Some of this is going to be a recap of what we’ve already covered, other of it’s going to be new info. But again, mentioning the length, we are a 22 to 29-month program, depending on those foundational courses needed. We’re 100% online, we don’t have any mandatory travel, no residency required, and then we also have that optional field study, international field study.

Jake M.: We try to keep our class sizes pretty small here, we want a good student experience, being able to have your professor address your questions quickly, as well as getting to know the classmates around you. We try to keep it around 25 to 30 students. Additionally, I think this is one that’s huge for a lot of the people that I’m talking to, which is going to be the course structure. We’ve made it a one-class-at-a-time program, and then we end with that Capstone project.

Jake M.: I want to highlight that one-class-at-a-time structure here real quick: that has been very helpful for our students, because when you’re in school mode, you get done with your workday, you have some time to devote to school, you know exactly where to be spending it. You know what program, what class you’re in, because you’re only going to be in one at a time for shorter durations. The typical format would be a class for the first half of the semester, so seven weeks long, and a class for the second half of the semester, another seven weeks long. I really like that one and so do a lot of our students.

Jake M.: Finally, tuition is always a big factor, deciding at going to a program, want to make sure you’re getting that return on investment while getting a good quality education. So we are $834 per credit hour, that’s not including the cost of books. At the lowest amount, you’d need 36 credits, that’s assuming you don’t need any foundation courses. So in that case, you would probably have a business undergraduate degree. So we could multiply that 834 by the 36 credits, that’d be a total tuition of $30,024.

Jake M.: Now, if you needed all of those foundation courses because you don’t have any business coursework from your undergraduate degree, now you’re looking at 52 credits, multiply that by the 834, overall tuition would be $43,368 in that case. So if you have any questions or are confused about that, definitely let us know. Advisors are here to work with you to really give you a predicted cost. We can look at the prior business courses that you took and see sort of what the anticipated amount of credits would be for you.

Jake M.: Now, moving onto the admissions requirements. I want to talk through what it takes to get admitted here and what the process looks like. We’re going to have an online application, you’ll complete this online form and sign the application. Within the app, we’re going to have a few different documents: we’re going to need official transcripts from all universities you’ve attended, we’re going to need a current resume, really want to see the work experience that you’ve done so far, sort of what trajectory you’re on. We’ll need one letter of recommendation; really the main requirement for this is to not make it coming from a friend or family. Instead, we really would like to see a manager or supervisor, if possible. If you’re a younger student and haven’t really had much work experience yet, you could use a professor here as well. And then finally, you’ll see that statement of purpose. That’s the last main document required. That’s going to be an essay just detailing a little bit about your academic and work experience background, what your career goals are and why the MBA’s a good fit. I’m here to guide students through that essay, help review, make sure we’re looking at the right content here.

Jake M.: We don’t have an experience requirement for our MBA, so we have some younger students coming straight out of undergraduate into the MBA. Alternatively, we have students who have been in the workforce for 20-plus years, so pretty diverse student population. I’d say most commonly, I’m talking to people, usually they’re about five years into their career, looking to make that jump into management.

Jake M.: And then as far as GPA goes, ideally we want to see a 3.0 or higher on the 4.0 scale. So that’s going to set you up for admittance, typically the easiest way possible. We do make exceptions to that 3.0 rule typically every semester, so if you’re under that 3.0, I still highly encourage you to reach out and see what your options might be. But ideally, again, we do like to see a 3.0.

Jake M.: And then finally, you’ll see there at the bottom, the GMAT. We do have GMAT waivers available for qualified applicants, a lot of our students are requesting those. Well, another significant portion of our students are taking the exam. If you have to take the exam, we usually recommend trying to score around a 550 on the test or better. To give you a little bit of reference, since most students aren’t too well-versed with the the GMAT at this point in research, that would be about the 50% percentile of score distribution. So right in the middle, sort of a standard 550 score.

Jake M.: Now, I do want to give you some more clarity around GMAT waivers. That’s usually a big talking point, a bit deciding point, often, for students on whether or not they’re going forward with a program or not. So here are the six main options that we have, or five main options that we have, sorry. So we have, the top one thee, if you previously earned a graduate or professional degree. If you already have a master’s of some sort or maybe a PhD in another area, we can use that as evidence, assuming you have that 3.0 mark, to request a waiver for the GMAT.

Jake M.: Right under that, it’s probably one of the more common ones. We can waive the GMAT if a student has five or more years of progressive work experience paired with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Or maybe you’re right around that standard mark where you’re five years into your career, you got a 3.1 GPA. We can use that as evidence to request the waiver. In that case, we’re really just going to do a deep dive into both your transcripts as well as your resume to make that final decision.

Jake M.: The third option on the list is having a, we can waive the GMAT if you have a STEM degree, so that’s going to be a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. There’s no work experience required for this path, so you could be a fresh undergraduate or just finished their engineering degree, and we can be waiving that GMAT if you have that 3.0 mark or higher.

Jake M.: If you don’t know whether or not your degree would be considered STEM, there are a handful of degrees that are hit or miss, they’re sort of STEM-adjacent sometimes. So feel free to reach out to one of the advisors, like myself or any of my team members, and we can do that evaluation for you, see if your content would be considered STEM in the eyes of admissions committee.

Jake M.: Then moving on, we do have that fourth bullet point: this is another pretty common one, we can waive the GMAT if you have a business degree from an AACSB-accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA or higher. In that case, again, we do a deep dive into the transcripts, we also want to do a deep dive into the school, make sure that their business program has that same accreditation as us, that AACSB accreditation. If it does, oftentimes there’s larger state schools, or the big universities within a state, are oftentimes going to hold that AACSB accreditation. So let us know, we can do a double-check for you.

Jake M.: And then finally, the last bullet point down there is we can waive the GMAT is you have 10 or more years of progressive work experience alongside a 2.79 GPA or higher. So this is specifically for our students who maybe didn’t do as well in their undergraduate, but they’ve also had a successful career of 10 or more years of that, so progressive experience. We do oftentimes find that to be enough evidence to request the GMAT to be waived, we see a lot of student success with some of those working professionals. So those are the main ways, like I said, reach out to the advisor, we’ll give you contact information here at the end of this, but we’re happy to help and see if the GMAT waiver might be applicable to your case.

Jake M.: Now I do also want to talk a little bit about the support that you have as a student coming into our program. We have a really high graduation rate, last time I checked I think it was hovering right around that 80% mark, and I think a big part of this, aside from having great students into our program, is also going to be the layers of support that we’ve put in. So starting day one, you guys have access to enrollment advisors, that’s my role, so we have, I think we’re right around 10 enrollment advisors that are here to help. We are going to assist you with learning about the program and helping you through the application to give you that support there.

Jake M.: As soon as you’re admitted and you’re in that transition stage from applicant to student, you’re getting access to a student support advisor. This is going to be your main point of contact throughout the duration of the program, they are going to be basically the person to help you navigate any situation that’s thrown your way. They help you register for courses, they’ll point out ways to get books, and then any issues or any schedule issues that you guys might run into, they’re there to help work together and find the right solution.

Jake M.: So student supportive team is awesome, and then we also have technical support, if you ever run into any issues with any of the technology that we use for the online MBA. You’re going to have 24/7 access to our learning platform; currently we’re using Blackboard, they’ve got 24/7. And then for some the specific Washington State features that we use, we do have a help desk that is excellent at handling any of those issues. So always going to have a point of contact there.

Jake M.: I had mentioned this earlier, but we keep our class sizes small, typically hovering at that 25 to 30 student range, that way you get the help you need from your professor, the connection you want from your classmates. And we also have the session instructors. You’ll have your lead professor in a class, and then we break down those classes into smaller groups to give you even further attention with section instructors. They’re going to be very good people to help on any content-related questions that you have throughout your classes.

Jake M.: Perfect. Now, we also have the optional international field study. Erin, why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about this? I know we’re looking at potentially going to Prague here in July of ’21.

Erin A.: Certainly, yeah. Like Jake said, this is not a required part of our program, however it is encouraged for people to attend for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, kind of like that Jake was saying, our international field study was canceled for this year, but we are planning that for next summer. The last couple of years we traveled to Chile as well as Finland, and to kind of give you guys a planning standpoint of when this typically happens, it typically happens around mid-July of every year. This trip is usually 10 to 11 days, and that includes your travel depending on where the location is.

Erin A.: Field study is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and aside from the company visits and some of the tourist-y things you get to do, one of the nice things about this trip it really gives you the opportunity to network face-to-face, not only with a few of the faculty members that will go with you, but also with your peers.

Erin A.: Since our program is 100% online and your group work and course work is happening usually via Skype or Zoom or something similar, you don’t get to meet face-to-face. So there are a lot of times where the trip ends up being the first time you get to meet some of your classmates face-to-face. I think that the network-themed piece of this is really important.

Erin A.: Like I said, the trip to Prague this year had to be canceled, but some of the companies that were going to be visited included Nike Corporate in Prague, McDonald’s Corporate in the Czech Republic, and [Finer 00:32:34] in Coburg, which, if you’re not familiar with them, they make luxury chocolates. Some of the feedback was to go to more of the restaurants and retail businesses for this particular area. With enough notice some of it could be tailored, and what I mean by that is that if we have enough people who have a certain area of interest, we might be able to tailor some of that. For example, on one of our previous trips to China, we had a few of our students work for Boeing in the aerospace field, and because of that, we were actually able to coordinate with Boeing R&D [inaudible 00:33:07] in Beijing. We can’t promise anything, but we can certainly to our best to tailor the trip as much as possible.

Erin A.: Other stops that were going to happen for Prague were included Tlusty leather works, a book chain hub, and then a Bitcoin bank. Then outside of the company visits, there were also going to be some tourist-y attractions as well. The goal of these business visits is really just to see what the business climate is like outside of the U.S. So again, this is not required participation, but we do highly encourage our students to participate, as there is really a lot of great benefits.

Jake M.: Awesome, I appreciate that, Erin. Now, these trips are awesome, so like she had mentioned, we did pause out for the 2020 one while COVID really was making everything difficult. That being said, we do have Prague on the books for July of 2021, we’ll keep feeling out the climate, seeing if that is going to move forward, but at this time, nothing’s changed there. So if you guys can make it, excellent opportunity. I’ve heard tons of great stories about students forming really close relationships, we’ve had a handful of students actually attend a few of these throughout their time in the MBA, going to two or three different international field studies because of the value that they saw. So good way to not only go on a cool vacation, but also sort of open up your perspective for how to operate as a business.

Jake M.: Perfect. I’m going to move on to the MBA curriculum. This is a pretty cool breakdown of what the actual … I had mentioned that one-class-at-a-time structure earlier. This is going to be a little bit of a visual aid here. At the top, the top bar says Spring 2021 MBA Foundations; this is going to show you what the beginning of the program looks like if you need foundational courses. You can see, in Spring 1, that would go from January 11 through February 14th, you might be starting off that semester with BA 500, that’d be Data Analysis for Managers, sort of a statistics-based course.

Jake M.: So you take that for five weeks, soon as that concludes, you’ll have about a week break, and then hop into your next course, that’s going from February 22nd through March 28th, and that’s going to be Foundations in Business Law. And then as soon as that class concludes, go ahead and hop into the final course of the semester, and that would be BA 504, Foundations in Finance, from March 29th through May 2nd.

Jake M.: So that’s the structure of the foundational period of time, that’s typically going to take you about two to two and a half semesters to get through those seven courses. We can fit three into a semester, so just under two and a half semester to complete. But for a bulk of the program, we’re going to reference this next part of the slide, which is the Spring ’21 MBA Core. This is what most of your classes are going to look like throughout the program.

Jake M.: These are a bit longer; as opposed to fitting in three of them in a semester, we fit two, so you’ll take one in your Spring 1 semester if you didn’t need any foundations. You might hop in with Management Information Systems, and that would be going from January 11th through February 28th, so a little bit longer, a couple weeks added there. And then you’ll have, again, another week break and transition into your second course.

Jake M.: Now you’ll see here I didn’t list any specific course, I listed elective, that’s because everybody’s second semester, or second half of the semester, is typically going to be the elective courses. Those are going to be based on what concentration makes the most sense for you. So if you chose a finance concentration, you might be taking Interest Rates and Finance Markets from March 8th to April 25th. But that would change depending on the concentration that you chose.

Jake M.: At the bottom there, this is the current learning system that we’re using. Just so you guys could see sort of what it looks like as a student, this is Blackboard. You see that it’s really just a pretty straightforward portal here for your classroom. On the left, you’ll have your tools and your tasks, so this is where, announcements is where your professor would communicate any updates in the course, and then you can see My Tasks are below the tools bar. It is a pretty straightforward one, and we do have, right now we have a demo one that I could send your way, if you want to get a feel for the Blackboard learning system.

Jake M.: That being said, we are transitioning to Canvas, we should be switching to a new platform in the spring semester, so if you’re starting January or later, we’re going to be using Canvas. This is a very user-friendly learning platform; typically Blackboard and Canvas are the two big ones. But we’re excited to introduce Canvas into our student population, because we have heard a lot of great things from other universities as well as student experiences with that platform.

Jake M.: Now I’m going to move into a day in the life. Looks like we’re still running into technical issues; normally I like to bring in the student on this part of the presentation, but just since we’re still having some tech issues there, I’m going to go ahead and tackle this slide.

Jake M.: I had mentioned before that we got the one-class-at-a-time structure. What you’re going to notice is that class weeks begin on Monday and they end on Sunday, so basically you’re going to see what your weekly breakdown looks like starting Monday morning, and what you need to do is complete all of the assignments and the material by Sunday night. We usually have it set for 11:59 PM Pacific Time. So really give you that full week.

Jake M.: It’s going to be up to you when you work on different items, but the two different times you’re going to get time to actually connect live is going to be during these live sessions, so you’ll see there, live sessions are generally Monday through Thursday between 6:00 PM and 9:00 Pacific. So that’s just when they would start, it doesn’t mean it’s a three-hour session.

Jake M.: Try to make them after working hours; 6:00 PM would be the earliest, 9:00 PM would be the latest, typically it’s earlier than that, though, in my experience. These are usually hovering around an hour-long session where you’re learning directly from your professors, you’re asking questions, maybe your professors are separating you guys into small groups where you’re getting to work pretty closely with classmates. So that’s sort of your consistent live interface there. If you can’t make those sessions, like I’d mentioned earlier, they are recorded, so go ahead and just watch the recorded copy if you’re working late or just not up to it that night.

Jake M.: So moving on to that third bullet point, you’re going to see expect 10 to 15 hours per week or work, that’s including class times from those live sessions, or the recorded copies that you watch. Usually 10 to 15 hours seems to be a good breakdown; I will point out that sometimes towards the end of the program, specifically when you’re doing that Capstone project, it can climb up maybe towards 20 hours, that’s what I’ve heard from a few students, as any average really does.

Jake M.: But again, those 10 to 15 hours, they really are going to be up to you when you spread it out. We have students that tackle a couple hours a night, Monday through Sunday, we have other students who prefer to make it a weekend project, because that fits better with their schedule or with their learning style. So they spend maybe a heavy Saturday and Sunday knocking out their assignments.

Jake M.: And then that final bullet point, get ready to adapt to remote teamwork. In our MBA, one very useful mode of learning that we found is to do group projects. This is one way for you guys to learn together, it’s a way for you to develop that professional network within the MBA, we have excellent students coming in. So those group projects are a great way for us to do that.

Jake M.: During these group projects, we have a variety of different tools that we recommend. Typically, students will use either the online Microsoft or the Google equivalent products, so maybe that’s Google Sheets versus Microsoft Word. These are pretty cool, you guys can be collaborating live, adding to the same sheet and seeing other people’s updates. We also highly recommend video conferencing, so whether that’s hopping on a quick Zoom call, maybe using Microsoft Teams, just so that you guys can get from face-to-face interaction and do some planning around what needs to be tackled this week, and then break out from there and work on the items independently.

Jake M.: That’s going to be your remote teamwork piece of things. The final big project that you have, that Capstone project where you’re developing a business plan, that is also going to be a group project, so usually three other students are in with you there. At that point, you guys should be pretty comfortable with the teamwork component and really be able to be an effective team to create that full business plan.

Jake M.: Excellent, okay. Now we’re going to hop over here to the networking opportunities. Erin, tell us a little bit about some of the opportunities we have.

Erin A.: Yeah, definitely. I’m going to go through this list, and then actually, at the end of it, I’m going to defer to Matt so he talk to you guys a little bit about the military events that he does specifically. I do want to mention that, due to COVID, a lot of our networking opportunities did have to be canceled this last spring, but we are actively working on ways on how we can incorporate them while maintaining safety.

Erin A.: But I’ll go ahead and discuss what our typical opportunities are for our students. Over the last year, we did decide that we really need to make a priority of allowing more networking opportunities for MBA students. I know one of the draws of our MBA program is that it is 100% online and there is no residency requirement. Of course we always welcome people to campus, but you’re not required to.

Erin A.: That being said, we do still have just as many students who, although it is online and they appreciate the flexibility, they are looking for some opportunities to meet face-to-face, much as the international field study offers. With this last year, we’ve kind of done some deep diving into how we can best do that. One of the things that we’ve added is an online MBA meet-and-greet slash happy hour events. Right now, we typically have those events either at the college … either around what the college is putting on. For example, last fall we held an MBA meet-and-greet during the week where we have our power breakfast event and some other events.

Erin A.: This happens in Seattle, where a huge bulk of our students are in or around the greater Seattle area. It is pretty informal, and just last fall we did it at Flatstick Pub, for those who are familiar with that, and it is Coug-owned. We really do try to support Cougs where we can. It was from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, and we had appetizers and really just wanted to create an event where students could speak with other students. We also had alumni there as well as a few faculty members and some staff members.

Erin A.: In fact, if you’re actually looking at the slide in front of you, the picture on the bottom right with the group of people, that was taken at our meet-and-greet event in Seattle last fall. So we already talked a little bit about our international field studies, but again, that is a great way to network as well. We do hold the Carson College power breakfast, and the picture on the bottom left was actually taken at the power breakfast in Seattle. You’ll see there that our dean, Dr. Chip Hunter, was speaking, and there’s an invite to all Cougs as well. It’s over breakfast, and we’ll have either a speaker or a couple speakers there, speaking about a specific topic.

Erin A.: Just last year they actually did a panel, which you can see in that picture, and they were discussing various business trends. There’s also an option for you to participate in. We do have the CougsFirst shows, and those happen a few times a year. They happen in Seattle as well as Spokane, and are open to anybody and everybody. It’s a free event and it is a huge event that a lot of activities go into.

Erin A.: There’s a trade-like format of it where you go in and there’s all of these Coug-owned businesses. It’s literally just Cougs networking with other Cougs. We represent the MBA there, and we have various faculty and staff there as well. We definitely encourage people who are interested in WSU’s MBA program, current students as well as alumni, to join as just another opportunity to network. And then the alumni association also has various events.

Erin A.: Like I said before, it is one of the largest alumni associations in the world. If you go to their page and type in where you’re located, you’ll actually see various alumni association groups in or around your area. Then on there, it will also keep you up-to-date with various activities that go on. For example, during the football season you’ll typically see all sorts of watch parties. They’ll announce and send something out like, hey, anybody in or around, let’s say, Seattle? Here’s a list of places that the alumni association may be able to view the game. We highly encourage our students and alumni to attend these as well.

Erin A.: Then the last thing I was going to talk about was commencement and the Carson College reception. Every fall and spring, so December and May, we do have commencement on campus. This spring, commencement was a bit different, as it was a virtual event. When it is held in person, if you can, we highly encourage you to come out, as it is a really cool experience, one, just because we’re celebrating the fact that you’re graduating, and second, a lot of times it really is the first trip to campus that a lot of the students get to make.

Erin A.: We really encourage it so our students are able to see WSU here in Pullman and what it has to offer. We do have an all-college reception the night before graduation, and this includes all undergrads as well as our PhD students. It’s pretty fun: we have toasts, our dean speaks, and it’s a really cool event.

Erin A.: Then before commencement on Saturday, we actually do a get-together with students who are choosing to walk. It’s just another opportunity that you have to network with some of the stuff and your peers. We plan to help you with your regalia, and then on the way to commencement, we also show you some of the hot spots on campus, including Martin Stadium and some of the other cool places.

Erin A.: Those are just some of the few networking opportunities we have. I do want to point out that I know I mentioned Seattle, the Seattle area, quite a bit, and like I said, that is where a huge bulk of our students are. However, we are looking within the next year at some of the other hot spots around our country to see where we might have other students, and then plan other online MBA meet-and-greets as well. So those are still forthcoming, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t in the Seattle area; we are working on getting our events expanded.

Erin A.: Now, I am going to turn this over to Matt so he can talk with you all regarding his military events.

Matt B.: Thanks, Erin. Yeah, I’ll keep this quick. As Erin mentioned, we’ve strived previously to do a lot of in-person events, and our military community’s no exception. We had an all-call over in South Puget Sound area last spring for our students, our alumni and our community partners, which was a nice event. The good thing, the silver lining about everyone else going online, we’ve already been there for a while, is that our students are becoming more comfortable as well in participating in these kind of events, and so this spring, we’ll be doing our military all-call online, which will actually open it up to people from all around the world, all around the country. So that’s going to be a great …

Matt B.: The other event we specifically have had in the past for our military students is an MBA veterans’ conference. It’s run by a third-party, it’s typically an in-person event in Chicago with Fortune 400 companies looking for students getting their MBA who have military experience, and this year, this fall it was online, so the participation was increased and the amount of visibility for those students was great as well. Again, if that’s you and you’re interested in finding out more, please connect with me, I’m happy to chat any time.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you so much, Erin, thank you, Matt, for chiming in there as well with the military events. One thing I’ve noticed over the years, like I had briefly alluded to before, I’m about three to four years into my tenure here with the MBA, and this list gets bigger every single time I do these webinars. We keep adding different events, I think, specifically with the pandemic, we’ve been able to adapt to a lot of virtual events, which is, in turn, very useful for our MBA students. So I’m excited to see the expansion there.

Jake M.: But now we’ve got about nine minutes left until the top of the hour, so I want to move into that Q&A section. Before that, if you got to hop off early, I want to highlight that we do have an upcoming start date this spring, we’ve got multiple start dates per year, next one’s going to be the January 11th start date, so that’s starting the new year off with an MBA.

Jake M.: We have an application deadline of December 7th, I would recommend trying to get things wrapped up by mid-November, that would be ideal for you as a student. But reach out to us, you can see our phone number there at the bottom left, you can schedule a call there with that link on the bottom right, that live.vcita link. Reach out to us if you’re interested in doing a deeper dive into the program based on your background. So whether that’s admissions or student experience, got a team of advisors here to help out with that process.

Jake M.: But without further ado, let’s start diving into the questions, because we’ve had some great ones rolling in. I got one question, are there live sessions for the MBA program? I had mentioned that a little bit earlier, apologies if I was unclear there, but we do have live sessions, those are going to be … typically you’ll have two per week, so you’re in that one class at a time, let’s say you’re in marketing, introduction to marketing. You might have a live session on Tuesday, introducing the content of that week. Maybe you guys are going over the five Ps of marketing, and then you might have a smaller session on Thursday where you’re actually applying that information from the Tuesday session, so getting a little bit more granular with it and working on it through assignments or practice problems.

Jake M.: So those live sessions are awesome, they’re highly encouraged, but if you can’t make them, they’re all recorded, so you always get the recorded copy whether you attended it or not, so you can watch it a second time, you can loop back and reinforce any knowledge you learned there, or you can watch it for the first time in the recorded manner.

Jake M.: I got another question here: do students receive Office 365 for free? I had mentioned earlier in the group work that Microsoft Word and Excel products are oftentimes used in the various group projects that you have, and we do give our students a student access for the Office 365 applications, sot hat would be those Microsoft products; Word and Excel are the most common ones used in the MBA. You will have access to that, we want to supply you guys with the necessary tools to be successful in the program. Perfect, okay.

Jake M.: Now when do we select the concentration? Do we do it when we apply, or do we do it later on in the program? That’s an excellent question, so you don’t need to select your concentration right away. During the application phase, it’s totally fine if you don’t know which one to go with, as a reminder, we got those four different ones: finance, marketing, international business and hospitality/business management. So if you’re just not sure what path you’re going to take just yet, you don’t really need to know until you take your first elective course. If you don’t need any foundation classes, it would probably be your second or your third course, so a couple months into the program is when you’d want to have some inkling of which concentration to move forward with.

Jake M.: If you’re taking foundation courses, though, because you don’t have a business background, you wouldn’t need to choose that until about almost a year into the program, because we need to run through those foundations first, as well as some intro courses. So you got a little bit of time to make that decision, and as an advisor, I’m happy to talk through what those concentrations look like with you and see which one might make the most sense in your career path that you’re laying out.

Jake M.: Perfect, okay. Now, can I take additional breaks while in the program?, is another good question that I see. There is the opportunity to take additional breaks; we try to get students to run through the program from start to finish without any big gaps in their schedule, just so you guys have a better experience and so that you don’t have any of those large gaps to be overcoming. If you need to take a break, through, we do have students, like I’m sure Matt’s familiar with some military students who end up getting deployed in the middle of their program, then you could put the program on pause and return when you’re in a better state, a better environment for knocking out the remainder of the programs, the remainder of the classes there. So absolutely, breaks are available. If possible, though, we want to avoid those.

Jake M.: Perfect, okay. Next question that I am seeing here, are there any campus visits that are required? We don’t have any campus visits that are required, we got those optional networking events that often take place in the Seattle area, we got the international trip, but there’s no mandatory travel for the program, to campus or anywhere else. Most frequent time that we see students coming is to graduation. Like Erin had mentioned earlier, we did have a virtual graduation recently, but hopefully we’ll be able to reintroduce the on-campus graduations, because it’s a cool experience. If the environment permits, that would be the main time that you would travel to campus.

Jake M.: Perfect. Let me scroll here, I got a good admissions question. If you need to take the GMAT, do you need to take it and have a score before you submit an application? That’s a great question. First thing I would recommend this to explore GMAT waiver options, talk through with an advisor, make sure that you need that GMAT exam. If we come to the conclusion that that GMAT is going to be the path to admittance, then we will need that to make a final decision. We can submit your, we can have your file complete. That way, as soon as you get the GMAT score complete, we can send it right off for review. That’s usually what I like to do, that way I can be building your case to the admissions committee and really getting your file familiar with the people that are making the decision. That way, students who get that score, we’re in a good spot to get a quick turnaround time on the decision.

Jake M.: Perfect. Now, those are some of the main questions I see. Bear with me one moment here while I hop into the Q&A section again. Perfect. Oh, here’s a good one specifically around the healthcare career. For previous students who were in healthcare, what concentration has been most common or do you suggest? So I work with a ton of healthcare students in our MBA program; the most common concentrations that I see are either going to be in the finance realm, so if you’re looking to move into some of the upward management side of the healthcare industry, a lot of those finance skills are transferrable into that industry.

Jake M.: Now, alternatively, I do work with a lot of students who end up choosing a general option, where they might be taking in some of those hospitality classes because hospitality has some service-oriented courses that are definitely transferrable to the healthcare industry, or you learn how to use different KPIs and make sure that customer experience is ideal. Definitely going to see inklings of that in the healthcare industry. Sometimes they might mix and match a few hospitality classes with some finance classes to be answered.

Jake M.: Perfect, okay. We are wrapping up here, we got about a minute until the top of the hour, so any questions that did not get answered? We did have a bunch of them come in here in the last few minutes that I wasn’t able to get, so those are all going to be followed up with you, we will reach out via email. You’re also welcome to call if you want to talk through things, I’m absolutely happy to do that. But as a reminder, we got that January 11th start date, definitely reach out if that’s of interest, and we can start working towards an application.

Jake M.: Thank you, everybody. Erin, Matt, thank you so much for hopping on. To all the people that watched this webinar, we’re excited to be working with you. I hope you see it’s a good fit. Have a great day, everybody, and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

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