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
- A firsthand experience from an Online MBA student
- Erin Abbott, Admissions Coordinator
- Matt Beer, Military and Veteran Affairs Manager
- Jeremy Dornbusch, Online MBA Student
- Jake Moscinski, Enrollment Advisor
Originally presented on June 1, 2021.
Jake: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the online MBA information session. We are excited to have you guys joining on what’s likely your lunch hour, I know it’s mine typically. So happy for hopping on. Really just excited to share some information about our MBA, see if it could be a good fit for you, and move on from there. So to start, I want to talk just a little bit about the logistics of this presentation. So in order to minimize background noise, we did set this into the broadcast-only mode. Now, what that means is you guys can hear us, we can’t hear you talking. So if any questions pop up, you can go ahead and use the Q&A feature at the right or bottom of your screen, and then we will have that list of questions, we’ll be able to address those later on in the session. Additionally, if you have to hop off for any reason, or you want to re-watch the session, a recording will be emailed to you after the webinar is concluded.
Jake: But just to give you a sort of overview of what we’re going to be covering, first, we’re going to start off with some introductions, so you know who is speaking on the line. From there, we’re going to talk a little bit about the history and the rankings and the Accreditation of Washington State and the Carson College of Business in the MBA program, of course. And then we’re going to touch a little bit on the military and veteran students support benefits. From there, I’ll be giving you a nice overview of just the MBA program, its structure, its curriculum, and different opportunities there. And of course, the admissions requirements. We’ll talk about our optional international field study. We also have a student speaker on the line who’s going to be able to give us his perspective of the MBA, talk through sort of a day in the life of an MBA student here. We’ll also be talking about the networking opportunities that are available for our MBA students, and we’ll wrap up with that live Q&A session to address any specific questions that pop up for you guys.
Jake: But I am going to begin just with some introductions. I’ll start with myself. My name is Jake Moscinski, I’m there at the top left of your screen. I’m an enrollment advisor here for the online MBA. So really, my job and my team’s job is to help students learn about our MBA program. And then if it does seem like a good fit for you, we would then guide you through the admissions process. We also have Erin Abbott on the line. Erin, can you take a second and introduce yourself?
Erin: Absolutely. Thanks, Jake. And thank you, everybody, for joining us today. So as Jake mentioned, I am 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 back end with admissions, and I have been with WSU for about a year and a half now. Matt, would you like to go ahead and take a minute to introduce yourself?
Matt: Of course. Hi everyone, thanks for being with us this afternoon. My name is Matthew, I’m the Military and Veteran Affairs manager at the Carson College of Business. It’s my pleasure to serve our military-affiliated community as they go through their MBA journey. Thanks for being here again. And Jeremy, if you’re on you can introduce yourself too.
Jeremy: Thanks, Matt. I really appreciate that. And thanks, everyone, for taking the time out of your day to join us, and thank you to the team for the opportunity to speak with everyone. As Matt mentioned, my name is Jeremy Dornbusch, I’m an active duty service member currently stationed in Hawaii, and a current student finishing the last class in accounting right now.
Jake: Awesome. Thank you so much, Erin, Matt, and special thanks to you, Jeremy. We appreciate you hopping on and taking the time to really give us some of your expertise, being a student in the program. Perfect. Well Erin, I know you’re going to be taken over this slide. Tell us about the history of Washington State and the Carson College of Business.
Erin: Certainly. So I’m going to just spend just a few minutes on this slide, so that way we make sure we really have enough time to get into the nuts and bolts of this program. But I’m going to talk a little bit about the backgrounds of WSU, as well as the geographical location. So to start off with, WSU was founded in 1890 in Pullman, Washington. So for those of you that maybe aren’t familiar with Washington, Pullman is right on the Idaho border, and we’re actually about six miles away from the University of Idaho. So in comparison, if you know where Seattle is, we’re about a four-and-a-half hour drive of Seattle. And then if you know we’re Spokane is, we’re about 80 miles south of Spokane.
Erin: WSU is Washington’s land-grant institution, and what that means is the university was founded on the mission of providing affordable education to anybody who is willing and able to pursue it. When the university did start in 1890s, it started mostly as an agricultural institution. If you’re familiar with the [inaudible 00:04:54] area at all, there’s just [inaudible 00:04:57] all around us. So it makes sense that agriculture was the main focus. Up to date, we have over 125 years of alumni legacy, and currently have one of the largest alumni associations. Once you become a Coug, it really is cool how many people around the world [inaudible 00:05:15] either Coug gear, or a Coug logo, and will shout, “Go Coug!”. It happens literally anywhere and everywhere.
Erin: So regarding the Carson College of Business, we have over 60 years of graduate business education. Our first MBA was awarded in 1957. Then we have over 20 years of online degree experience. When it first started, 20 years ago, it was really interesting. It actually started where the lectures would be recorded and sent to students via VHS. They would then watch it, re-record the VHS, and send them back. We’ve really come a long way from those VHS days.
Erin: Our online MBA program, as we know it, started in 2007. The goal of our program was to work around the busy working professional, and we’ll get into that in more depth moving forward. The last thing I did want to mention is that we do have an international network of corporate and academic alliances, and this allows our students more corporate and learning opportunities. If you do go on international [inaudible 00:06:24], which we will talk about in more depth moving forward, you’ll be able to see some of those opportunities.
Jake: Awesome. Thank you so much, Erin. I appreciate the background here for WSU and the Carson college business. I think the things that jump out to me on this one, the 20 years of perfecting online degrees is really outstanding. I think we were really a leader in that front, and you’ll see the way we’ve been able to learn and adapt and make this as flexible as possible, given that experience. And then yeah, like Erin just said, the international network of corporate and academic alliances [inaudible 00:06:59] directly to our MBA students through that international field study and different networking opportunities that’ll happen for you guys.
Jake: I am going to move on. I want to talk a little bit about accreditations and rankings of WSU and the Carson’s MBA. But just to preface it a little bit, accreditations are really, I think, a good way of looking at the respect and rigor of a program’s academic nature, whereas rankings, I think, are a really good way of looking at the brand recognition of the school and the MBA as you’re looking to use this to further your career.
Jake: So to begin with accreditation, at the top of your screen, there’s going to be two main ones that you want to be looking for. First one’s AACSB, so Washington State, and the MBA program here is among the less than 2% of business schools in the world that are accredited at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels by the AACSB, so that’s The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, it’s an international body. Really, that’s thought of as the gold standard for business programs. I’d say any school you’re looking at, I would really encourage you to try to find that AACSB accreditation. And then from there, the other one that you want to be looking for is school accreditation in whole. So typically, there’s two main ones. You got regional accreditation, and you have national accreditation. These are the two main bodies that accredit programs. Typically, you want to see regional accreditors as the primary one instead of the national accreditation. So we are regionally accredited. Since we’re in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll see we have the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredit us. So that’s on a whole school, so Washington State University as whole, whereas that AACSB is specific to the Carson School of Business, and then the programs that are housed out of there. So that’s accreditation. Quick summary: you want to look for regional accreditation for the whole university, and you want to look for AACSB for the business programs.
Jake: And then we can move on to the rankings. Again, it’s that way of looking at brand recognition and how the school is going to be received, oftentimes, from employers or from people you’re telling about your MBA. So you can see we’re ranked number 20 from US News and World Report for best online MBA programs this year, in 2021. We’ve been consistently at that top 5% of programs that are being ranked, so we’re happy to be, once again, awarded pretty high ranking there.
Jake: Additionally, another great research resource is this other organization called Poets&Quants. You can see they ranked us as number 12 in the 2021 rankings of the best online MBA programs. That’s a fairly recent ranking body that’s been adding us to their list the past couple of years. So we’re very happy to be a part of that. And then you’ll also see CEO Magazine ranks us as number 28 for global online MBA programs. And then, specific to our military and our veterans, U.S. News & World Report also ranks another list there. We’re currently number 13 for best online MBA programs for veterans. We’ll actually have Matt beer on this next slide tell us a little bit about some of the support that we have for our military members. Matt, you want to go ahead and share your expertise?
Matt: Yes, sir. Hey [inaudible 00:10:31]. So I graduated from WSU a long time ago, and I had more hair and less wrinkles. I served a career in the Air Force, and I’m proud to be back here now, creating policies and programs for these students, which actually constitutes about 10 to 15% of our total enrollments. So it’s a pretty good number. About 40% of those students are actually in transition, meaning they’re leaving the military, or they’re getting ready to do that. Or maybe they just left a few years ago, and they’re trying to invest in themselves through this MBA. So while we do provide some benefits, the real meat of what we do is try and help them develop professionally. And so that takes the place of workshops, of community building networking, and again, professional development over the course of their MBAs over the 24 months of taking this program.
Matt: So I won’t delve too much into details here, but if this is you, and you’re interested in what we do, and how we support these students, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or talk to the enrollment advisor, because they’re pretty familiar with the programs and policies that we have, and they really have made a difference in our students’ transition experience. So, I appreciate the opportunity to share that, Jake.
Jake: Awesome. Thank you, Matt. I’ve been with the MBA program for about four years now, and I think you jumped onto the team a couple years back. And that’s been an awesome initiative, is just the additional support that we’re having for that professional development for our military members in the program. So I appreciate you sharing that information with us. At this point, I do want to just move into an overview of what you can expect out of our MBA, some of the main highlights of it. It is 100% online MBA, and it’s completed in as few as 22 to 29 months. The reason for that range is primarily due to our foundation courses. So basically, the prerequisites. Those are designed for students who don’t have a business undergraduate degree, didn’t really take too many business courses in their undergrad studies. So we’re going to bring you up to speed on some of those main concepts, things like marketing, and accounting and finance, at a little bit of a lower level to build upon in the core curriculum.
Jake: We do have four specific concentrations in our MBA. So ways that you can really tailor the program to the career path that you’re on are looking to move forward. So currently, we offer a marketing concentration, a finance concentration, hospitality business management, and then international business. Those are really going to be comprised of the three elective courses that you’re going to be taking throughout the MBA.
Jake: It is technically an asynchronous programming with asynchronous content. What that means is all of the mandatory requirements are going to be really at your time. There’s no mandatory times that you need to be logging in, or attending live. So what we’ve done in order to keep that live component, keep that interaction with students and faculty, is we’ve implemented optional live sessions. So basically, every week, you’re going to have a couple of these, you can be jumping on attending live, asking questions, learning material. But if you don’t get a chance to attend them, maybe you’re working late, maybe you have something else getting in the way, these are all recorded, so you can watch them, without penalty, at a later time.
Jake: And then we wrap up the program with a capstone project. So most graduate degrees, they end with maybe a large thesis paper or a big comprehensive exam, and then others will do a capstone project, like ourselves. So we found a great way to really test students on the knowledge that they’ve learned and give you practical outcomes to take away is by having you develop a business plan, from start to finish, typically in a group setting, as that final requirement for graduation. And then like we’ve mentioned a few times before, we do have that optional field study for our students. So that’s a really great opportunity, especially if you’re looking to get some of that face-to-face interaction while studying in a really cool, different country with some of our international alliances of companies and academic bodies.
Jake: Here’s a few highlights, some that we covered on the last slide, but just want to really reinforce these. So, length of our MBA, 22 to 29 months. Again, that’s based on the foundations or prerequisites that are required for the student. It’s 100% online, no residency required. So you never have to travel for our MBA. That international field study is an optional event. Typically, we keep classes pretty small, right around the 35 student mark for the MBA. Reason we do that as try to give you the correct amount of face-to-face time with your professor. So when you have questions, when you need advice and support, you’re able to get that in a timely manner. Another really big highlight in my experience with students, since you’re probably are likely going to be working full-time while doing the online MBA, we’ve structured it uniquely to be one course at a time, plus the capstone at the end, where you’ll double up. But, really, we’re going to have you take shorter classes in a very concentrated effort, where you’re focusing all of your time in one place, rather than multiple different classes at a time. I will give you a visual example of this down the line, give you a little snapshot of the schedule, but I think that’s a huge benefit for our students.
Jake: I do also want to cover the tuition. Obviously, that’s a pretty big factor in making your MBA decision. So we’re pretty competitively priced here in my research of other top tier programs. You’re looking at $855 per credit hour, and that’s not including the cost of books. There is a tuition range just for the same reason that there’s a length range, and that’s depending on those foundation courses that are needed. So if you don’t need any of them, you’re looking at 36 credits. That would be a total tuition of $30,780. If you needed all of the foundation courses, you’d be looking at 52 credits, so that’d be a total tuition of $44,460. You also see at the bottom there, in parentheses, we do have a $750 per credit hour cost for our military-affiliated students. So if you are a veteran or you’re active duty, you will get that discounted rate as a way of showing some additional support here for those students.
Jake: I do also want to cover some of the admissions requirements, so you have a clear understanding of what you’d be doing if you apply and what’s going to be really some of those main ways to be competitive as you apply. So you’re going to have an online application completed and signed, and then you’re also going to be getting, in that online application, a few different documents. So we’re going to get your official transcripts from all schools attended. So if you went to some community colleges, as well as a four-year school, order both transcripts, and we’ll be using those in our evaluation. We’re also going to get a current resume. We don’t have any mandatory work experience required for the program, but we do want to see where you’re at in your career. So you’ll go ahead and put that resume in there, highlighting your work experience. We’re also going to get one letter of recommendation. Ideally, I’d like to see that from a manager or a supervisor that you have or previously had. And then we’ll also write a quick essay called the statement of purpose. So that’s really where you’re going to be communicating, in a narrative format, what your background is, what your career plans are, and why the MBA program makes sense for you. Like I mentioned before, no minimum work experience required for the program. We do have a fair bit of students who are coming pretty early out of their undergraduate studies, sometimes straight from their undergraduate studies into the MBA. And then we also have students who are further along in their career, 10 to 15 years, coming back to get an MBA to further that management or leadership path that they’re on.
Jake: We also have a GPA requirement. I’d say it’s a semi-soft requirement. So ideally, we want to see students getting a 3.0 or higher on that 4.0 GPA scale. The reason I say it’s a semi-soft requirement is, we do make exceptions to that rule for exceptionally-qualified candidates. So if you fall under that 3.0 mark, definitely reach out and see if there still could be a path to acceptance. Oftentimes, there is, for a lot of our applicants. So definitely worth having a conversation with an enrollment advisor like myself on that.
Jake: Another question students oftentimes have is about the GMAT exam. So currently, we do have GMAT waivers for qualified applicants. My next slide is actually going to be diving pretty deep into those different waiver options. But if you need to take the exam or you’re planning to take the GMAT exam, typically our successful candidates are scoring a 550 on the test, or better. Again, that’s another one where I’d encourage you if you’ve already taken the test or you’re planning to take it, talk with an advisor, so that they can recommend a specific score to you based on your whole profile of your work experience and your academic experience. We definitely want to make sure we’re giving you the right information here. But like I said, this slide is going to be covering those GMAT waivers, so you know if you might fall into one of these boxes. And if you do, we can be requesting a waiver throughout the application process, streamlining that a little bit. So at the top, you’re going to see our first waiver options are for students who previously earned a graduate or a professional degree. So if you have a master’s degree or you have a PhD in another field of study, you can be using that as evidence for that GMAT waiver request. The second option that is very frequently used is for students who have five or more years of progressive work experience, paired with that 3.0 GPA or higher. So really, what we do for that is a pretty deep dive into your resume. We want to see what your experience has been and what different responsibilities you’ve had.
Jake: The third option, and another very frequently used one, is for students who have a STEM degree. So that’s in any field that would be considered science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, with a 3.0 GPA or higher. So that one’s pretty commonly used for students who don’t have much work experience. So under that five years, they’ll be using their STEM degree as evidence to waive the GMAT exam. If you have any questions on what might be qualified as STEM, reach out to an advisor, we’re happy to review your transcripts and talk through opportunities, see whether or not that does work.
Jake: Finally, we do have two more. We got the business degree. So if you have a business degree from an AACSB-accredited institution, with a 3.0 GPA or higher, that’s, again, another very commonly used one, and a great opportunity for students. If you have any questions about whether or not your school has that AACSB accreditation, you can look that up online, they should be showing that on their program page, or you can be reaching out to an enrollment advisor like myself. We can do that research for you and see whether or not your school fits into the AACSB box. The last one that we have is for students who have 10 or more years of progressive work experience, and have a 2.79 GPA or higher. So this one’s specifically crafted for those students who don’t need that 3.0 mark, but still have a good case to be made for acceptance into the program.
Jake: Perfect. Now, this is the sort of snapshot of what this schedule looks like. We put this slide on here to give you a little bit of a clear understanding of the way courses flow while you’re in the program. So I’m going to start with that top bar, which is for the foundation courses. So, let’s say you started in the fall, and you knew that you didn’t have a business degree, so you needed those foundation courses, those prerequisites for the program. We’ve made those courses a little shorter. So those are five-week courses, so we can fit three of those courses into a semester. So you can see on here, your first third of the semester would be going from August 23 through September 26. Your main focus would be on the course, Data Analysis for Managers. So you’re only taking that class, you’re focusing on statistical methods, and then making decisions with that.
Jake: Then once you conclude that class, you have about a week break, and you’re hopping back into the program on October 4. That course is going to be Foundations in Business Law, and that’ll go from October 4 through November 7. And then your final course for the final third of the semester, going from November 8 to December 12 would be BA504, Foundations in Finance. So that’s what this semester looks like for students who begin the program with foundation courses. If you already have a business degree, you’ve already taken foundation courses in your undergrad, now you’re just going to be going into the core curriculum.
Jake: So here’s a snapshot. That next bar is going to show you the core curriculum schedule. These are a little longer, so they’re seven-week classes. That means we can fit two of those into a semester. So for fall one, for the first half of the semester, from the August 23 through October 10, you take International Business Management for those seven weeks. Again, just focusing on that topic. Once that class concludes, again, about a week break, and you’ll hop back into the program on October 18 through December 12 with Managerial Leadership and Productivity for your back half of the semester. So that’s the flow that we have divvied out here for students. I think it’s a huge benefit for you guys. I’ve had a ton of students who really couldn’t have gotten through the program without that nice one-course-at-a-time for structure.
Jake: At the very bottom of the slide, this is just a little snapshot of what the actual course profile looks like. So this is what it would look like if you were a student. So here we can see this is for a student’s BA 599 course. Basically, we break up the course into different weeks. So you got week one, you’re going to be focusing on just an introduction into the program, into the class. Week two you’re doing this, week three, week four, week five. So it is a modular basis going week-by-week. This is all housed through an awesome website application called Canvas. It’s very user-friendly, very easy to understand. Here’s my course, here’s what I need to do this week.
Jake: So I hope that was useful to give you a bit of a snapshot into what the actual course flow looks like and what the courses look like. Now I do want to talk a little bit about the graduate certificates that we offer. So to give you a bit more insight, the graduate certificates are essentially the concentrations of the program. So if you choose the MBA and you want to get a marketing concentration, you’re actually going to graduate with your MBA degree alongside a graduate-level certificate in marketing. So it doesn’t add on any additional credits, it doesn’t make it more expensive, but it does distinguish you further, ideally, from your competition. As you apply to new roles, it shows another credential that’s useful for that career path. As a reminder, we got Marketing, Finance, International Business, and Hospitality Business Management.
Jake: Now, if you didn’t want to jump in for the full MBA, and maybe you just wanted to get one of these certificates, because that’s going to be the most beneficial thing for you in your career, you can choose these as standalone options, where you’re just taking those three concentration courses to earn the graduate-level certificate in marketing, or whatever concentration you end up choosing. So you have a bit of a secondary option to just choose that certificate option, rather than the full MBA, plus certificate. And then at the bottom of the screen, you’re going to see we have this certificate in General Business Administration. So this is really just for students who are taking the foundational courses, students who don’t have a business undergrad degree. Really what that does is you complete… Once you complete five of the seven courses, you will be getting an additional certificate in General Business Admin in order to give you another credential, give you another distinguisher for you as you apply to different roles.
Jake: So I hope that clarifies some of the opportunities you have in the MBA and the alternative options to the MBA with the certificates. The next slide I am going to be talking about is the student support that we have for our students. So starting day one, starting essentially now that you’re researching the program, you have access to enrollment advisors. So that is my job, and we are here to be answering questions, to be giving you our insight, and really just trying to see whether or not our MBA is going to align with the goals that you have set out for yourself. This credential is going to be beneficial, and also have the structures and the flexibility in place to have you be successful in the program. So reach out to us for the research and the application portion of your time. We’re here to help there.
Jake: Once you’re in the program, we then transition you to student support advisors. So these are really your point of contact throughout the entirety of the MBA. They are here to help you with your schedule, help you register for courses, point you in the right directions for different resources, and really just help you navigate anything that gets thrown your way throughout the program. Go to them, they are awesome. We currently have four different advisors who are a huge help to our MBA students.
Jake: And then should we run into technical issues, since this is a fully online program, we know we lean on different technologies, some that you might not be familiar with. So we do have technical support available to you. Each individual application will have its own technical support line that you get access to. But additionally, we have a help desk here, it’s called the Crimson Service Help Desk, and they are able to also help out with a ton of different issues that any student could potentially run into. So a lot of support on the technical side. And then like I mentioned earlier, got those smaller class sizes, around that 30, 35 student mark, and we break up our larger classes into sections, where you’ll get a section instructor. So now you have two different experts on the content to go to. You got your lead professor, they’re able to help, but then you also have a sections instructor who might be even a quicker response time for some of those homework questions or topic questions that you need answered.
Jake: So those are really the main layers of support that we’ve put forth. I think that’s a huge reason a lot of our students are successful outside of, obviously, bringing in excellent candidates, is just the layers of support that we have for you guys. Now, I know I’ve done a lot of talking, so I want to hand it off to Erin to tell us a little bit about the international field study. Can you go ahead and just break down what that is and what the opportunity looks like for students?
Erin: Certainly. Thank you, Jake. As Jay has said before, this opportunity isn’t something that is required as part of our program. However, it is encouraged for students to attend for a variety of reasons, and I will go into those. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the International field study for last summer, as well as this coming summer, did have to be canceled. But we are actively working on confirming the summer 2022 trip and the location of it. So details of that will be coming. The last couple of years did include traveling to Chile and Finland. To give you all an idea from a planning standpoint of when this trip usually happens, it’s usually every July, and from the mid to early July standpoint. The trip is usually 10 to [inaudible 00:30:42] days, and that will include your travel, depending on where you are going. The field study really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Aside from the company visits and the touristy things that you’ll get to do, one of the nice things about this trip is it’ll give you the opportunity to network with some of your faculty members that would be traveling with you, as well as some of your peers.
Erin: Since this program is 100% online, usually your coursework and your group work is happening via Skype, Zoom, or some sort of similar format. So this trip typically ends up being the first time that you’ll ever get to meet your peers face-to-face. So, like I said, the trip last year had to be canceled, unfortunately, but it was going to happen in Prague. To give you an idea of some of the companies that were going to be visited, they included Nike Corporate in Prague, McDonald’s Corporate in the Czech Republic, and then Steiner & Kovarik, which if you’re not familiar with them, they make luxury chocolates.
Erin: Some of the feedback that we had received some previous trips was that the students really wanted to visit more restaurants and retail businesses within the areas. So with enough notice, we can tailor some of the trips to what students would like to visit. What I mean by this is if we have enough people who have a certain area of interest, we might be able to tailor some of that. So for example, a previous trip we had, which the students went to China, we had a few students that worked for Boeing in the aerospace field. Because of this, we were able to coordinate with Boeing R&D Center in Beijing and do a tour. Other stops that we’re going to be included for [inaudible 00:32:30] including [inaudible 00:32:32], a blockchain hub, and then a Bitcoin bank.
Erin: And then outside of the company visits, you also get to see a lot of touristy attractions for the area, as well. The goal of these business trips is for you to be able to see what the business climate is like outside of the United States. So again, this is not a required participation. However, we do highly encourage it, since we do think that there’s so many great benefits to it.
Jake: Awesome, Erin. Thank you so much. I know COVID has shaken up things, but it looks like we are planning to reintroduce this next summer, I believe, is the target at this point. So if you’re planning to start the program, in the next point coming up here, I got that August 23 start date, should have an opportunity for that field study pretty quickly. Awesome. But now I want to really start leaning on Jeremy for his experience. Jeremy is our student speaker. I’m going to just read through this slide a little bit and bring you in on a number of different questions that I’d like you to cover.
Jake: So to begin, class weeks begin on Monday, and they end on Sunday. So you got your standard Monday to Sunday work week. Jeremy tell me, how were you working on the program? Since it is asynchronous, you were really making that schedule for yourself. How were you breaking that up? Were typically working mainly throughout the weekdays, mainly on the weekends. Give me what your day-to-day was like there.
Jeremy: Things shake. So typically, I’m an active duty service member. So currently active duty in Hawaii, like I mentioned before. For me, my days start pretty early. Typically wake up about 5:00, run through my typical training, check emails. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning and also check some assignments that maybe due, just to give myself a projection on what I’ll need to do when I get home later evening. Each class varies between the time spent. Typically I’ll get home about 5:00 in the afternoon, and I’ll do some homework for a couple hours, probably about two hours once I get home. Again, every class vary. So when you start getting into your team projects, you can do it couple of meetings a week. But typically I spend between 10 to 20 hours a week on each class, some some a lot less than that, though.
Jake: Right. Excellent. Well, I appreciate the breakdown there. That’s what we’ve seen from a lot of our students. I think the awesome thing is you get to be really in control of that schedule, and that can ebb and flow from week-to-week and month-to-month, given what other responsibilities you have at work. I am curious, we have those live sessions that we mentioned earlier. So typically, they’re from Monday to Thursday, somewhere in that window, and they begin at usually 6:00 PM, somewhere between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM Pacific Time. Were you attending those live sessions mostly? We you oftentimes watching the recordings? I know you’re on a different time schedule there in Hawaii, so I’m curious how that played out for you.
Jeremy: So I actually like the online environment. It’s very beneficial to somebody who has a schedule that’s not always the same. For me, I was able to participate in some of the live sessions, and then others, I would go watch the recording. Every professor has meeting times [inaudible 00:36:14] and instructors were extremely reachable through throughout. So if you miss the live sessions with the main professor, your section instructors could pick up where they left off, and then your section instructors also have live sessions, as well, that they’ll also record. So for me, [inaudible 00:36:37] pretty convenient to log in when I had the time, if I wasn’t able to get away from work, or if I had a training session each time in each class.
Jake: Perfect. That’s what I’ve seen from just about every student that I’ve had in the program. It’s usually a mixture of attending some of the sessions, maybe prioritizing some courses that you really liked the live sessions or get a lot of value out of them. And then others were, you might already have a lot of expertise in that particular area. Maybe the live sessions aren’t the most beneficial use of your time, so you can be watching the recordings at your own convenience. I appreciate the clarification there. A fun question, I’m curious, what was your favorite or most fun course that you took throughout the MBA? We’re covering a wide range of topics, from finance, to analytics to marketing. What jumped out to you as your favorite course?
Jeremy: So I have a couple, actually. One that I didn’t really know I was going to be interested in, something that my wife does, is marketing. I really like the different approach to the marketing class and being able to decide on a marketing scheme for a company. That was a lot of fun for me, trying to just give insight on how a company should move forward in their deliverable. And then I would say overall, the funnest course I had was my capstone classes. Working with other team members from around the nation, in the US and internationally throughout the course, and doing those live meetings with my team and building a business plan really opens your eyes to how business actually operates. I was unique and I actually did the international marketing program. So, looking at international programs, or international business, and how we could tie that into our business plan going forward.
Jake: That’s awesome. What did you guys end up doing on your capstone? What was the business, the product that you ended up creating and creating the plan for?
Jeremy: So our final project was with CarMax, and we were… we created a subsidiary off of that CarMax [inaudible 00:39:04]. Pretty much what you see online now, what Carvana and CarMax are doing, and creating a hybrid model for individuals to be able to see the vehicle as a whole, both 3D, and then also tying in the hybrid and being able to fill out the documentation previous to coming in with the COVID mitigation. So we took a lot of what the risks were in the current state and how we could allow the customer to have all their needs met prior to them even coming in and test-driving the vehicle, having the documents pre-filled out, the financing and so forth. So it was quite an interesting case.
Jake: Love it. I recently purchased a car, and I can tell you I went to some of those websites and I was looking at Carvana and CarMax. So that is awesome. I think the capstone is such a highlight for most of the students that I talk with. It’s not an easy course, but it’s an exciting one. So I guess on that topic, What’s the hardest course you ran into throughout the time? What was the one that gave you the most difficulty and the most effort needed?
Jeremy: So, it’s actually the class that I’m currently in. Although I did do an early graduation on May 8, the hardest class, the most difficult class, given my background in the military and sports, accounting is the most difficult. I will say the workload is very heavy. There’s been times that I’ve spent four to eight hours just on one homework assignment. We’ve had study sessions within our groups and team members in our section to help out with getting us through. But we also were able to provide feedback to the professor, letting them know that we felt that the workload was a little bit excessive, and some of us that are finishing up capstone and some other classes at the same time. And he took that feedback from over the 200 students that are in the class, and he cut down some of the work, but still keeping the integrity of the entire class as a whole, so we still meet the metrics that are required for that accounting class. So the professors are really easy to talk to, they do work with you, and they do take into consideration your request and feelings about their class.
Jake: I love it. Thank you for that. That’s certainly a common difficult course from the students I talk to, accounting. That tends to be one of the heavier courses throughout the program. I think that understanding the professor has… Most of our professors are that same way; they’re looking for feedback. We’re constantly trying to make sure this is that mixture of rigor, plus flexibility. So that’s awesome to see that you guys were able to share that and be able to tweak that course moving forward, especially as you balance it alongside that capstone project. At this point, I do want to pass it back to Erin to talk through a little bit of the networking opportunities that we have within the program. Erin, can you quickly run through the additional optional opportunities our students get?
Erin: Yeah, certainly. So, as [inaudible 00:42:32] mentioned, I will briefly go through this list. And then at the end of it, I will defer to Matt, since he can talk to you all a little bit about the military events that he specifically does. So I do want to mention, unfortunately, due to COVID, a lot of our networking opportunities had to be canceled for this last year, but we are actively working on ways and how we can incorporate them while maintaining safety. So over the last couple of years, we decided we needed to really make a priority of allowing more networking opportunity for our MBA students. We are aware that one of the things that really draws students to our MBA program is the fact that it is 100% online. However, we have heard a lot of feedback from students, that they really would like more of these networking opportunities. So one of the opportunities that we’ve added are online Meet & Greet Happy Hour event. This event is usually held around a few of our other events, such as our Power Breakfast. For example, one of them that we held was at the [inaudible 00:43:31] Pub. If you actually look at the slide in front of you, the bottom right picture is from that very event.
Erin: Then we already talked about the international field study. But again, this is a great way to network as well. And then another one that we do have is our Carson College Power Breakfast. So if you’re, again, looking at the slide in front of you, the picture on the bottom left was taken at a Power Breakfast in Seattle. That’s actually our Dean, Dr. Chip Hunter, speaking there. It’s an invite to all Cougs. It’s over breakfast, and we’ll either have a speaker or a few speakers talk about a specific topic. I do want to mention that we do have a couple Power Breakfast events scheduled, and we have one scheduled for next Wednesday, on the Ninth, which will be a virtual event. And then we do have one scheduled for September 28, as well, and that one will be held in Seattle.
Erin: Along with that, we do also have CougsFirst! Shows, and those happen a few times a year. Those happen usually in either the Seattle or Spokane area, and they’re open to anybody and everybody. It’s a huge and free event that a lot of activities go into, and has a trade show-like format. And then as I mentioned before, we do have a huge alumni association, and that holds various events as well. So if you go on to their website, you can type in your location, and we’ll let you know various alumni events that they have going on in and around your area.
Erin: And then the last thing I’d like to talk about is the commencement and the Carson College reception. So when commencement is held in person, we really do encourage you to come out at this really cool experience. One, just because we’re celebrating the fact that you’re graduating. And then two, a lot of times, this is the first trip to campus that a lot of students make. We really encourage it, so that all students are able to see WSU here in Pullman, and what it has to offer. We do an all-college reception the night before graduation, and this includes all of our undergrads, as well as PhD students. We have [inaudible 00:45:44], our Dean speaks. It’s really just a cool event. So those are the networking events that we currently have. I’m now going to pass it over to Matt, so he can talk to you a little bit about his military events.
Matt: Thanks, Erin. I appreciate that. So I will just echo what you’ve said in this slide and in previous conversations about the Cougar network being really strong, it is really strong, and not just across Washington State, but around the country and around the world. If you run into somebody who’s a Coug, you’ll know. So my mission in life came on to Washington State, was to combine that with a strong veteran network. So that’s what I’ve really been working for, for these military-affiliated students. That’s our active duty, guard, reserve, even including their spouses. So we work hard to create not only live events, which are great, but some folks are in other places and they can’t be there. So creating some virtual opportunities, as well.
Matt: So those take place again. We have some workshops that take the place of some LinkedIn opportunities. They also take the place of a military roll call that we do once a year in the spring, where we bring experts from industry, academia, and community partners to participate in conversations around veteran employment. So there’s a lot going on with this. This is near and dear to my heart. So again, if you are a military-affiliated student, you have questions about this, please reach out contact me. This is probably the number one most important thing for those folks who are leaving, either military service or even the corporate world, if you’re pivoting from one thing to another, creating those relationships in that network. So I appreciate the opportunity to talk about that, so thanks.
Jake: Awesome, Erin. Thank you so much, Matt and Erin. That is appreciated. Really like the networking opportunities that I’ve seen grow into the program. I’ve seen a very concentrated effort on adding more opportunities, both in person and virtual, especially during COVID. So great to see that really starting to get flushed out here. At this point, I want to move into the Q&A section. Before that, for anybody who has to hop off early, really want to encourage you to take a look deeper into this program by having a conversation with an enrollment advisor. We got a whole handful of advisors who are here to really talk to it more individually based on your needs and what you’re hoping to see.
Jake: And then additionally, we got that fall start date coming up here. That’s going to be classes beginning on August 23, 2021 with plenty of time to apply. We got until July 26 of 2021 to put together that application profile. So reach out to us, we’d love to talk through and assist you applying to the program. I’d say if you’re thinking about applying, the sooner you apply, the better. It just makes it much less stressful from the student side for getting ready for courses. But like I said, let’s move into the Q&A. We’ve gotten a ton of great questions from some of our guests on the webinar. So thank you guys for typing those into the chat. Continue to fill them in there, if any additional questions pop up, that you’d like us to cover.
Jake: The first one, I think, is a really good one to bring you, Jeremy, in on. So we got a question, how easy is it for students to get to know one another in the online environment? I want to know what your feedback is. Do you feel like you got a lot of opportunity to connect with classmates while you were in it?
Jeremy: Thanks for that question. I do. I feel like I’ve connected a lot online, and I’ve been doing online programming throughout my military career. Just a little background, I’ve done 16 years in the service, 13 of active, and the majority of that time has been online. I would say through the WSU MBA program alone, I’ve networked, through social media platforms and LinkedIn, with individuals at different companies and organizations and met with them for mentorship in transitioning out of the military or looking for opportunities to have a supplemental income outside of that. So I feel that you get out what you put into it. It’s just like anything. I put a little bit more effort into networking, and I’ve been offered jobs through my classmates with their companies during the program. So I think it’s a good place to network, and again, you get out what you put into it.
Jake: I think that is especially true. If you want to make those connections, if you want to build that professional network, we have the tools, we have the people in the program to do so. I also think it’s nice if maybe the networking piece isn’t the most important to you, you’re not going to be required to travel in all of that. So we try to strike that balance between the both by giving you a ton of optional events. Really appreciate that, Matt. Another one similar to this networking, somebody asked, which we covered a little bit on the last slide, are there opportunities for visiting campus? So the quick answer is, yes. Jeremy, I know you just attended the… was that the commencement that you just attended? Can you tell me a little bit about that, and what that looked like?
Jeremy: Yes, I attended the commencement prior to graduation. Again, it was an early graduation for me, and I connected with my advisor, Nagin, who has been a tremendous help throughout my entire program and transition, and staying on course, and also met with Jamie and a few other of the professors, one being the director, Mr. Chip, who was also… We had breakout sessions during that time. You learn a lot about the professors and everybody who’s helped you along the way and get to know more about them and other opportunities that are out there. So again, it’s a different situation for me. Being an active military person, I can’t really just say, “Hey, I’m turning in my two weeks, I’m leaving.” But it’s good to know that I cannot work and find other opportunities where I can help him get back during those sessions and a session such as this.
Jake: That’s awesome. Thank you so much. Appreciate the insight there, Jeremy. Another question that I can answer myself is around the application specific to GMAT waivers. So one of the attendees asked, do you assess what we may qualify for the GMAT waiver based on application documents submitted, or do we apply for a specific waiver type? So it’s a two-fold answer. So first off, in a introductory conversation with an enrollment advisor like me, I’d really be able to give you a good feel for whether or not the GMAT waiver applies for you. And then the way we’re actually going to be requesting that waiver is through the essay that you write, it’s called the Statement of Purpose. At the very end, let’s say you had an engineering degree. So we wanted to choose that STEM GMAT waiver for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Then at the end of the essay, we’re going to write, basically, I’m requesting the GMAT to be waived due to my 3.1 GPA from an engineering degree.
Jake: What we will then do, at the time of your application, we will review your transcripts, we’ll review your resume or anything that’s relevant to the waiver request you had, and then grant that at the time of admission. If it ended up that you didn’t qualify for one of the GMAT waivers, we’d let you know that GMAT is a requirement. So we’ll keep your application on file, but recommend a GMAT score to be taken. Great question there.
Jake: Another question that did roll in, going into the program, does a student need to know what concentration they want beforehand? So I’m assuming that means that during that application process, do I need to know what concentration I want to target? Maybe you’re split between marketing and finance, because you see relevance in both of them. You don’t need to make that decision while you apply. So it’s not until you’re really taking classes that you need to narrow down which track you’re going to be moving forward with. So during the application, no need to worry about which concentration. An enrollment advisor can help try to narrow down which one is going to be the best fit. But you don’t need to worry about it until classes are starting to be taken.
Jake: Another one related to concentration, looks like we’ve got a few concentration questions here. Does a concentration give you a certificate, or is that separate? So, the concentration that you choose does give you a certificate. So if you chose marketing, you’ll get your MBA degree, you’ll also get a graduate-level certificate in marketing. And then alternatively, you can choose just to take the marketing certificate standalone, rather than the MBA program. So if you just do the concentration, that’s going to be the three courses. Typically, that’ll be spread throughout about a year to complete those three elective classes for that concentration.
Jake: Now, I got a fairly good question for you on the military side. I know you’ve talked a little bit about it throughout this presentation, but I’m wondering if there’s any special services or offerings for military-affiliated students. So can you just give us another quick recap of some of those additional support outside of the reduced tuition rate that we have for military students?
Matt: Sure, yeah. We talked a little bit about that, about some of the workshops we do. I guess, the one thing I might add is that through some generous donations, we’ve been able to secure a personal branding coach, and that person works directly with our military-affiliated students. So she has 15 years experience providing career services. She’s really focused in on personal branding, because a lot of times, folks who, again, are pivoting from military service to something else, you have to rebrand yourself. So I find that that’s been particularly valuable to the students, whether they are spouses who are having a move from place to place and work remotely, or [inaudible 00:56:07] folks who’ve been in the military for any period of time. So I think that’s one thing I will highlight as something that’s been of value to our military students.
Jake: Awesome. Thank you very much, Matt. Yeah, I was excited to see the military branding coach come on. That’s going to be a really cool opportunity, one that we’ve already started building into the program. So that’s excellent. I have another good question, this one that I’ll be able to answer. Are you able to submit a GRE score in place of a GMAT score? Quick answer is, yes. So I do have a handful of students that will use the GRE. Basically, what we’re going to end up doing is converting that to a GMAT score through a tool that the GRE testing organization has put together. I think it’s roughly 155 on the quantitative section, and 155 on the verbal section, would be the equivalent of about a 550 on the GMAT. So I’d say, try to target that 155 on each section. Definitely do contact an enrollment advisor for further clarification based on your full picture with that GPA that you previously had and work experience that you have.
Jake: Excellent. Now, another one that came up about the online sessions that we have, those live sessions, this webinar attendee is looking to know really what time those are offered. So we briefly touched on it in that previous slide. It’s in the window of 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Pacific Time, is when they’re starting. Jeremy, would you say that that’s what you experienced? Is it usually that 6:00 to 9:00 window, Monday through Thursday?
Jeremy: Yes, sir. They’re pretty consistent with 6:00 to 9:00. If anything does happen, the professors are very transparent. If a time does change, they’ll post that in the comments or an announcement on the announcement page within the class. So you’ll know within time, if they’re going to change it. But yeah, typically 6:00 to 9:00.
Jake: Perfect. How long would you say those sessions tend to run? My understanding is they can range from an hour to two hours. Tell me, is that aligning with what you experienced as well?
Jeremy: Yes, sir. They stay about an hour. Typically, most professors will cut it off at an hour. I’ve only had one class that’s gone two hours in terms of their live presentation, but it’s the material that they’re covering, and the questions. Because they do a lot of Q&A with the students during that time, especially if it is the main professor for that class.
Jake: Awesome. Thank you very much. Got time for about one more question. So another one that popped in here, can some courses from previous education transfer over and satisfy MBA credits? So there’s two answers to this. Basically, there’s two ways for courses to come in. So we have the foundation courses that I mentioned. The easiest way to think about that is prerequisites for the program that we’ve baked in at the very beginning, the short five-week courses. So your previous education, whether that be undergraduate or graduate courses, if they have overlapped with our foundations, maybe you took a statistics course and you want to waive our Data Analysis for Managers foundation course, we can use that, and we’ll fill out a waiver form with you throughout the application to do so. So that’s option one, is for those foundation courses.
Jake: And then option two, you can… If you’ve started an MBA at another AACSB-accredited program, you can use that to potentially waive some of our elective courses. So we can bring up to six credits there as elective courses to bring down the credit requirement for students who’ve started an MBA. But with that being said, we are at about an hour, and I don’t want to run over time. So I appreciate everybody with your questions and you guys taking the time to really walk through this MBA with us. Jeremy, huge thank you to you for coming on and telling us about your experience throughout the program. It’s great to see you in the cap and gown. And then Erin and Matt, again, thank you so much for sharing your insights. If you guys are looking to apply, anybody who’s on here wants to apply, we’ve got that August 23 start date. Reach out to the number provided, and we’ll be happy to help. And last but not least, go Cougs.
Matt: Go Cougs.
Jeremy: Go Cougs.
Jake: Awesome. Thanks, everybody.
Jeremy: Thanks, Jake. (silence).