WSU EMBA Fall 2019 Info Session with Program Director

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Jake Moscinski: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Washington State University’s webcast for the executive MBA program. I hope you guys are all having a great day, and thank you for joining us on what’s probably your lunch break. We’re excited to have you guys here, we’re excited to share some more information about the executive MBA, and just help you guys determine if this could be a good program for you. So before we get started I just want to cover a few logistical issues. During the broadcast, in order to minimize any background noise we’ve set the presentation to broadcast only mode. What this means is that you guys can hear me, we cannot hear you. So if you do have any questions, any comments, go ahead and throw them in the Q&A section at the right side of your screen. Additionally, if you’re not able to stay the whole webinar or anything like that, we do have a recording of the session that’s going to be emailed out to you once this wraps up.

Jake Moscinski: Moving on to the agenda of our webcast today. We’re going to cover a few things. First we really want to go into the history, and rankings, and the accreditation of our executive MBA program and Washington State University in general. We’re going to give you nice overview of the executive MBA and what the program has to offer. We’ll dive into that international field study that we have, it’s a really cool opportunity for our students. And then we will also talk about some of our networking opportunities with the Executive MBA Leadership Conference that we hold each year. From there we’ll go into some more specific program information with regards to the structure, what the admission process looks like. And talking about some of the numbers of the program with regards to cost and length. Then we’ll have some frequently asked questions that we’ll make sure to dive into today. Just some of the main concepts that we see a lot of students asking. From there we do have some military information, we have a big military population here for all of our programs. So I want to make sure to give that perspective.

Jake Moscinski: And finally, we will wrap up our section with the student perspective. So we have a student on the line that will be talking about his experience, what he’s seen in the program, and just give you a nice view there. And finally those questions that you are asking throughout the Q&A section we will finish off by addressing those questions, answering those for everyone to hear. And if we don’t get around to your questions, we’ll make sure to follow up with you. But I’m going to go ahead and introduce myself. My name is Jake Moscinski, I am an enrollment advisor here. You can see my lovely picture at the bottom of the screen. I have been working with Washington State University for about a year and a half now. I love helping out with the MBA and executive MBA students, helping you guys through the admissions process, and ultimately seeing you into the program. And we also have Matthew Beer on the line. Matt, you want to take a second to introduce yourself?

Matthew Beer: Sure. Greetings from Pullman, Washington. My name is Matt Beer, I’m the Military and Veteran Affairs Manager. So I work real closely with our active duty military, and veteran students in the EMBA program.

Jake Moscinski: Awesome. Thank you very much, Matt. We also will have Velle Kolde on the line. He’s our director of the Executive MBA. He’s having a few just quick technological issues, just trying to get logged into the audio section. But he should be hopping in in a little bit. Moving on, I do want to talk about the history of Washington State University. Washington State is a land-grant university that was founded in 1890. We’re in Pullman, Washington which is the eastern side of the state. We’re about ten minutes from Idaho, from Moscow, Idaho. So it’s a nice area of the state. A land-grant institution, what that really means is we were founded with the mission of providing affordable education to anybody who is willing and able to pursue it. So really it was our mission to better the state. Started mainly in agriculture but … Sorry, I’m not sure what happened here … Mainly started in agriculture but since then we have expanded our opportunities to a lot of different programs. I mean, any program you’re looking for, we probably have it. So the graduate program for business is what we’ll be talking about.

Jake Moscinski: We have over 125 years of alumni legacy. A lot of different leaders coming from our school, some good people coming out of Washington State University. We’ve had business programs, graduate level business programs for over 60 years. So we have a lot of experience in business. And additionally, we have over 20 years of perfecting our online programs. We entered the distance learning space quite a while back, and have really been able to refine and cater towards our students. For this program we really want to cater towards the working professional. And aside from that we have an international network of corporate and academic alliances. So we have partners both in the US and abroad on both the corporate and educational side that we can leverage to provide our students with more learning opportunities. A nice way that you’re going to see that is that international field study that we will be covering down the line.

Jake Moscinski: And an important thing that I want to make sure to cover, make sure everyone has an understanding, is accreditation. There’s two main accreditations that you want to look for out of a university, and more specifically out of an MBA. So first you want to find the regional accreditation. You want your school to be regionally accredited. Washington State does hold the regional accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges And Universities. So that covers all of our university accreditation. Now aside from that though you have programmatic accreditation. That’s what the AACSB is. So that the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and that’s really the gold standard for business programs. That’s what employers are looking for out of an MBA degree. That’s really going to maker sure that our content is relevant, that our professors are high quality, and that we’re creating good research in the space of business. Again, really the gold standard as far as you’re looking at accreditations. At the bottom of this slide you can see a lot of our different rankings that we have.

Jake Moscinski: U.S. News & World Reports one of the main ranking bodies we see our students going to. And in here we are currently ranked number 13 among the U.S. News & World Report for best online MBA programs. And when specifically looking at the Pacific Northwest, we’re the number one online MBA in the area. So if you are in there, we hold even more weight regionally, but then across the states we’re in that top 5% nationally. So a highly recognized program. We don’t chase those rankings, we want to really focus on our mission of providing quality education. And it’s nice to see that the rankings are sort of following along there as well. You can see a few other rankings. We are as well as just a good ranked MBA program, we are ranked number eight best online MBA for veterans. So we have a lot of veterans support for our program. Matt Beer who introduced himself earlier will be talking about some of the initiatives that we do with regards to veterans support in the program.

Jake Moscinski: Now I want to highlight some of the criteria for our executive MBA and what really we’ve tried to design this program around. And that’s going to be the three pillars that we’ve chosen, which is quality, convenience, and relevance. And then we pair that with support. So with quality, we are a Tier 1 fully accredited MBA with that AACSB I just mentioned. That’s going to make sure that our curriculum is going to line up well, it’s going to be important, and your professors are going to teach it very strong. We have a world class faculty and curriculum. So this executive MBA curriculum really is designed for somebody who is in that senior level leadership position. They are looking to continue their career, maybe move into the C-suites. So we’re going to take the content really from that approach.

Jake Moscinski: We want to make sure that this is going to be relevant to them, and have high quality behind it. And we’re bringing in exceptional students into the program. These are really strong students who have a great background in business and academics. So you’re jumping into a strong pool, a strong network to be connecting with, and growing together. We’ve got a lot of future leaders, we’ve got our current leaders in the industry. You’re going to see a lot of group projects in the program. So these are some great opportunities to network. We’re going to have a lot of current events, discussions, and some other networking opportunities like that international field study, and like that Executive Leadership Conference that we host each year. Now, as far as convenience, most people who are coming in to the executive MBA are going to be really looking for that flexibility.

Jake Moscinski: So we want to cater towards that group, somebody who’s working about 40 hours. So we’re fully online, it’s really learning at any time and anywhere. If you’re traveling, if you’re working at odd hours, this program will still be able to be completed. You don’t need to be in the Pacific Time Zone, you don’t even need to be in the United States. We have a lot of international students coming in. So you’re going to see asynchronous learning platform. We use a system called Blackboard. It’s basically your portal to the class. And that’s the way you’ll be interacting with the program, with the school. So in Blackboard, I will show you all of your assignments. You will have the opportunity to be jumping into live sessions. So these live sessions are an excellent opportunity to connect with those classmates.

Jake Moscinski: But not just that, also be able to ask questions to your professor, hear what other students have questions about, and just overall get that classroom experience. However, convenience is important, we understand that. We want to keep that as a pillar for you. So if you can’t attend these lectures, they’re all going to be recorded, they are all going to be archived for you to watch. Whether for the first time, or you can rewatch it if you wanted to get that material just more ingrained in your brain. Easy access to assignments, easy access to test scores, and online resources. We do have an online library and various reference materials and databases that you’ll be able to utilize, all tailored towards that online student who’s working full time. Now, relevance, another key pillar of our executive MBA. And this is really built around making sure that this content applies to your day to day job.

Jake Moscinski: This is actually going to help you in a practical sense. So at the end of our program we’re going to actually have a Capstone Project that we’ll dive into. I’ll specifically have Aaron who will be covering that. But we are formulating actionable business strategies. So we really start off by looking at the theory, and now we’re going to get practical scenarios to be able to tie it together, to be able to get some actual practical experience there. A lot of data driven analysis. So you will be learning the quantitative methods, but again, it is tailored towards that leadership, towards that executive track. So we’re going to try to give that in more of a decision making aspect. We want you to have the skills not just to do the analysis, but also now make decisions on a large scale. Aside from that though, we want to identify and evaluate global ethical and societal implications. So you’re going to see really a lot of an international component. A lot of our students are working in international organizations.

Jake Moscinski: And just the importance of understanding how important that is. And it’s going to be something that we cover in the program. And then another pillar that we have here is support. We don’t want this to be a program where we are just giving you some online resources, some videos to watch and a book, and then do some assignments. We want you guys to be connected here with Washington State University and feel that support. So starting off, you’re going to have me or one of my colleagues here as an enrollment advisor. We help you learn about the program. We help you through the admissions process, gathering those documents, sharing with the admissions committee, and building that relationship there. And once that process wraps up, now we have a student services advisor. So this is really going to be your primary contact throughout the program. They help you with all things logistics. So they register you for your classes, they show you how to get books, they’ll teach you Blackboard before you get started.

Jake Moscinski: Make sure you’re comfortable with that learning management system. So they basically help you with all things that aren’t specifically related to the classwork. So they’re not going to help you on your homework, but they’ll help you make sure you know how to get into the space and utilize all the resources you have available to you. Of course, you have faculty. You’re going to have your lead professor who’s sort of in charge of the full class, and then we break the classes down into sections. That’s where you’ll have your section instructor. So these will be small class sizes, we keep it right around 20 students per section. So it really gives you some good opportunity to connect with these instructors, ask them specific questions. If you’re struggling in some content, we want to make sure that you are supported and you’re able to learn through it. And then we have some excellent technical support. We have a specific technical support line with Blackboard open available to you 24/7 if you have any issues.

Jake Moscinski: That way if you are at an odd hour, if you are traveling, then you can still get that support. Aside from that though, we have a team here called the Crimson help desk. They will be another really good source for you. I talk to the help desk all the time when I’m having computer problems. I use the same people that you do, and they are excellent at their job. And then you also have the EMBA director. So actually I have word that Velle is here. Velle, do you want to introduce yourself real quick?

Velle Kolde: Sure. Can you hear me okay?

Jake Moscinski: Yes, I can hear you. Sounds excellent.

Velle Kolde: That’s great. Okay. Yeah, my name is Velle Kolde, and I am the director of the Executive MBA program. I’m also a graduate of WSU, actually a double alum. I did my undergrad and graduate here. I also teach in the program. I do teach the innovation course, the Capstone course, and I take the group to China every year. So I’ve got a lot of familiarity, not just as an administrator, but actually more experienced as of a faculty member in the program. And a lot of experience with WSU as an institution. So yes, just to add on about that, talking about support is, it’s not just the MBA director that you have a lot of access to. Because by the way, every student in the program has my email, and my cell phone number. And I encourage them to drop me an email, call me, or text me. Whatever or they have anything that they want to discuss, or they have any questions or concerns. But the same is true for pretty much all the faculty members in the program. They are all very, very accessible and very receptive.

Velle Kolde: I’ve got a daughter right now that’s a freshman in college. And I’m trying to tell her to go in and talk to her faculty about the issues or challenges she’s facing, and she’s going, “Well, I don’t want to bug them.” And I’m going, “No, that’s what they’re paid for.” That’s our job as faculty, we love engaging in students. Because what we teach you is a lot of concepts, principles, frameworks, models, et cetera. But then there’s also the layer of how do you apply that to what you’re doing and your specific situation. And actually it ties back to the relevance bullet on this slide. In the sense that, when we think about relevance, we’re teaching you things that you can learn in a class Monday night, and actually take to your work on Tuesday morning and start applying it right away. So we’re very practical, pragmatic approach to what we’re teaching. We’re teaching you things that you can take advantage of, and apply, and use to further your career, further your organization, further your team’s performance right away. Okay, I’m going to go ahead and move on here.

Velle Kolde: So I’ll talk about the international field study trip. And this is a trip we take each year, it will be the second week in August. And currently we’re planning to go to China. Now, however, if the political situation precludes us from doing that, we may have to choose an alternate location. But our plan is to travel to China. We will be gone for approximately 10 to 11 days. The trip is really interesting, because we do a great mix of business visits. So we visit companies in China, multinational companies in China, like John Deere or Boeing. We’ll visit Chinese companies, Chinese law firms that are doing business with the United States, such as Amazon … Well, not Amazon. I’m sorry, Alibaba. And when we’re not doing business visits, we are doing tourist and cultural activities. So we will visit The Forbidden City, we’ll visit Tiananmen Square, we’ll go to the Great Wall.

Velle Kolde: If we’re in Shanghai, we’ll go to the Yu Gardens. So you get a great appreciation for the history and the culture of China. As well as, what the business environment is like there, what the business climate is for doing business in China, or doing business with Chinese partners, or selling into the Chinese market. And one of the reasons we chose China is because, China being the second largest economy in the world, and on a trajectory to be the largest economy, and also being the largest consumer market in the world, it does has an impact on just about every business out there. Because you’ll either be partnering with the Chinese with outsourcing manufacturing, or you will be competing against Chinese firms, or you’ll be wanting to sell into the Chinese market with your products and services. So they have a tremendous impact. It’s really great to get the perspective to understand more deeply how things are in China, both politically, socially, culturally and as well as the business environment.

Velle Kolde: It is actually pretty amazing, if you actually go on this trip, you spend 10 days in China. You will come back, and you’ll have a much different perspective of what China is like, and how things are going over there. Because the news as it gets reported in the US about China, well I’ll just say it might not agree with your perspectives if you’ve actually been there and spent time there. I’ve been taking groups to China since 2012, so I’ve seen a lot of change. Actually, just even in that short seven-year period, I’ve actually seen a tremendous amount of change in what’s going on in China. The first time I went to China, or the first time I took a group to China in 2012 health care for Westerners was pretty limited in the entire city of Beijing. 20 million plus people, there were only a few hospitals that would treat Westerners. And all the Chinese went to hospitals that use traditional Chinese medicine, also referred to as TCM.

Velle Kolde: And just when I went there two years ago, in Beijing there is the new Peking University Teaching Hospital, which is a huge, just tremendously huge, modern state of the art teaching hospital. And it’s perhaps the most advanced healthcare facility I have ever seen. And the process, you can make appointments using an app on your smart phone, you can check in with your smart phone. Or after you see your doctor, your prescriptions are automatically sent to the pharmacy. You can go pick them up, pay for them with your smartphone. I mean, it is a pretty sophisticated, and definitely it is absolute state-of-the-art system that they have over there. So anyway, it’s a very interesting trip. Also, we do stay at five star hotels, so we’re staying in good hotels. We have a great guide that speaks real English, not Chinglish. And can answer all kinds of cultural questions and questions about day to day life in China. We have our own vehicle and driver that will take us to and from. So we’re not worrying about navigating traffic in Beijing, and Hangzhou, and Shanghai, which is a good thing. And so it is a tremendous trip. And also if you want more information about it … And the other thing I should mention is that, we can tailor the businesses that we visit to the interests of the students. Now, I can’t make any promises or commitments, but we can do a lot. If you tell us what industries or what companies you are interested in visiting while we’re in China, we can do our best to try and accommodate those. For instance, when we’ve had people in the aerospace industry they wanted to visit aerospace companies. So we visited the Boeing R&D center in Beijing, we visited Cessna, we visited a Chinese company that’s the leading manufacturer of black boxes and other safety equipment for companies. So we can tailor it. Also, we’ve had people in the telecom industry. So when we went to China, we visited some of the Chinese telecom companies. To a certain extent, we have the ability to tailor it to what is interesting to you.

Velle Kolde: And then also feel free to type questions into the question box. And also we’ll have a lot more information that we can make available to you about this trip if you would like additional information. We also would do an executive … Whoa! We jumped just a little bit there. Okay. We also do an Executive MBA Leadership Conference every year. And this is an event exclusively for the current students, and the alumni of the executive MBA program. We’ve been hosting it in Seattle. We do host it at a boutique hotel in Seattle. And we will have two days of sessions where we bring in executive coaches and leading researchers and authors to talk about interesting work and conduct workshops that are helpful. In the past we have had for example, the author that wrote the book on Alan Mulally come in and spend a half day talking with us about Alan Mulally’s style. And how he turned around Boeing commercial aircraft, and then later how he turned around Ford, and some of the kind of extraordinary and exceptional things that he did. But also his management values and philosophies and principles that he used to effect those changes. This year we are having the president of the International Coach Foundation for Washington State, Anu Arora come in. And she’ll be doing a workshop on emotional intelligence. But it’s also a very practical one where you’re going to be learning about the things that you learn about in the workshop, you will be able to take and apply immediately to your work. So the workshop is on Monday and Tuesday, and when you go back to work on Wednesday, you’re going to be able to apply it. Also, we’ll have Leah Sheppard. She’s one of my colleagues here at Washington State University. She’s a research professor, and she’s a leading authority on gender studies. And she’s going to bring in some of her research about gender bias in the workplace.

Velle Kolde: How you can identify it, what you can do about it. Again, this will be very insightful also very applicable. And then finally we have Stephen Krempl coming in doing his global executive mindset. And I’ve had Stephen talk to many groups of the MBAs. If I could find a way to do it, I would make his session a required part of the Executive MBA program. Because he comes in and gives you the insights on how to make yourself stand out once you get much higher in the organization. When you’re lower in the organization, it’s pretty, as you are a smart overachiever like all of you are, it’s going to be really … You can move up the ladder. But the higher up the ladder you get, you start getting up to the group manager level, the director level, senior director, corporate VP, the competition gets tougher and tougher. Because all the marginal performers had been weeded out, and now you’re in a group of exclusively high performers.

Velle Kolde: And how do you make yourself stand out in that environment? And Stephen has a lot of experience. He was with YUM Brands, PepsiCo, he’s Chief Learning Officer at Starbucks. He knows how to do this, and he’s observed it, trained people on it. Like I said, it is one of the best single days that you could ever spend in your life for figuring out how you can continue to keep your career advancing. This year it’s going to be in Seattle at the Alexis Hotel. We’ll have a welcome reception on Sunday night, September 22nd. We’ll have our sessions on Monday and Tuesday the 23rd and 24th. Also in the evening of the 23rd, we will have a networking and social reception so everyone can get together. And in addition to meeting your fellow students in the program, you will meet alumni from the program, as well as a number of faculty members will be there as well. So it’s just a great social networking great engagement session. Those of you who are football fans, the Seahawks do have a home game on Sunday, September 22nd, I’ll be going to it.

Velle Kolde: So if you do want to come in, catch the game, and then go to the welcome reception of the conference, it can be a great weekend. I’ll also mention the Alexis Hotel, which we’re at is a nice boutique hotel in Seattle. It’s centrally located. You can walk to Pioneer Square, and the Pike Place Market. A lot of great restaurants and shopping right in the area. Also, there is no cost to you for the EMBA Leadership Conference. We provide the venue, the catering, and the speakers at no cost to you. If you are going to stay at the hotel, your travel, and hotel are on you, but we take care of everything else. Now a little bit about some of the numbers here on the program. It is an 18-month program. It’s 44 credits. We do have the international field study trip available, and as I mentioned, that’s going to be the second week in April. The standard courses in the program are five weeks long. We run on a carousel model, so you’ll be taking one five week class at a time.

Velle Kolde: When you finish at class, you will start your next class. During the first nine months of the program, you take just the one class per five-week a term. During the second half of the program, in addition to taking your five-week class, you will be enrolled in a sequence of two 15-week Capstone courses. And that’s where you’ll be working on your final project, which I’ll talk about in just a little bit. We limit the section size in the classes to 20 per student. So in addition to your lead faculty, you will have a section instructor available to you and to help you with the course and help you with the assignments. Help you understand the assignments, to review and discuss the assignments. But also one thing I will tell you is that, the caliber of people in this program is such that you will learn as much from the other students in your class as you will from the instructors in the class. Because they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and insights to the class discussions and the group work in the courses.

Velle Kolde: You may have seen some stats on executive MBA programs. Our particular program average age is about 40 years old. But we have everybody, people in here from the mid 30s, all the way up into the 50s. And the average work experience is about 18 to 20 years. So we’ve got a very seasoned cohort of students in this program. For final examination we do use a Capstone Project. And for any advanced degree, you need to have some kind of final examination. And that final examination could take the form of a thesis where you go do a research and go deep on a theory that you’d come up with. And that’s very popular in the academic world, but I don’t think necessarily that applicable for an executive MBA. The second way we could do it is, we could do a big hairy final examination. And a big comprehensive test over everything that you learned. But I don’t think that that’s really a very good measure of your ability to perform in the business world.

Velle Kolde: So what we do here at Washington State University and what we’ve always done is, we will form you into teams of four students, and you will come up with an idea for a new business. You will conduct a feasibility study on that business. You will develop a business model for it, and you will write a complete and comprehensive business plan for that new venture. And that is your Capstone Project. It’s very relevant because it forces you to think through all aspects of the business, operations, marketing, sales, management. You’re learning how to strategize, identify target markets, create value propositions, achieve product market fit. So it is very broad in the sense that, you need to understand not only all the pieces of the business, but how they all interrelate and are connected together. And how to strategize in that context. So somewhat it’s very much a CEO experience. Our admission requirements, typically 10 plus years of work experience, seven plus years of graduate experience. GMAT is usually if you have more than I think it six or seven years of work experience, you qualify for a GMAT Waiver.

Velle Kolde: Virtually everyone in the Executive MBA program qualifies for a GMAT Waiver. We do ask for three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, your resume, a letter of organizational support. And actually, your enrollment advisor will help you and walk you through this entire process. So it’s paperwork that looks all intimidating but it shouldn’t. But rest assured that your enrollment advisor will take you through this step by step, help you make sure that you’ve got everything in order. And help you stay organized and make sure your application is complete. Numbers, everyone wants to know what the numbers are. So tuition straight up is $54,252. Books and fees, these can vary because for some reason a book that’s a textbook is way expensive. I actually prescribe in my courses, a lot of books that are not textbooks but are business books. Things like The Lean Startup by Eric Ries or Zero to One by Peter Thiel, which fortunately sell at a reasonable prices. But also I should mention, that many companies are eligible, they’re part of our business university partnership program. And you may be eligible for a discount. Do talk to your enrollment advisor about that. If you do the optional field study trip to China, that will add probably an additional five to $7,000 depending on what the exchange rates are et cetera. Because the program fee picks up your hotel, almost all your meals, and all our travel in country, as well as transportation to and from the business events, and the cost of our guide. And as I mentioned, we stay in nice hotels. We have a very great high quality guide. And we have a driver in our own van that will take us all the places we need to go. Scholarships and financial aid are available. There’s also programs for veterans and active duty military. I’m going to let Matt talk about that a little bit more. But also within our financial aid group, we do have a veterans coordinator over there that understands all the aspects of the various programs. And will help make sure that you as a veteran or active duty military are able to take advantage of all the benefits that are available to you.

Velle Kolde: Some frequently asked questions, how often do you have live sessions with the faculty? Well, typically in most classes it’s about, well we have two per week. Usually the lead professor will get their session on Monday at 6:00 PM Pacific Time. And then the sectional instructors will have their sessions scheduled later in the week. That gives you some time to digest what the lead instructor session was about. And then let formulate your questions or understand what challenges you have before the sectional instructor meeting. All those sessions are recorded and are available for viewing after the session. So if there’s a situation where your professional obligations or family obligations keep you from attending one of the live sessions, no problem, you can watch the recording afterwards. It’s also nice to be able to go back and rewatch the recordings. Especially if there’s areas that you’re particularly interested in, or that you just want to refresh yourself on. The time commitment for this program is about 20 hours per week, plus or minus, when you’re taking the five week classes.

VVelle Kolde: It will be more during the second half when you have the Capstone. But of course, as you’ve been in the program for a while, you’ve been in the program for nine months when you start the Capstone, you’re actually much more efficient and much more organized on how you’re getting your school work done. Although there’s more work because you’ve got the Capstone work on top of the regular coursework, you’re also much more efficient at processing it. We say plus or minus because it’s sometimes it depends on your familiarity with the material. If you are a marketing person, and you’re taking the marketing course, you’ll probably breeze through it. Likewise, if you are a finance or accounting person, the finance and accounting courses may go relatively easy for you. Whereas someone that does not have a finance and accounting background, well, then they have to spend a little more time on it. I already talked about the international field study trip. I also talked our Capstone and final examination process.

Velle Kolde: I will mention that when you’re selecting your idea for your Capstone Project, it can be like a completely new business venture, like a new startup. Or it can also be an idea for doing an intrapreneurship, so something within your company. If you work at Amazon or Boeing, if you have an idea for some kind of spin off or internal project, that can be done as well. And actually the gentleman that you saw in the picture earlier standing in front of the John Deere sign he’s a graduate from the program. He did his Capstone Project on bringing in a new product line into India, because he was an expat in India at that time. And as it turned out, in doing that project, he got access to a lot of Caterpillar executives that he would have never had access to otherwise, because he was an engineering person. Yet he was able to schedule meetings with VPs of sales and senior marketing executives to say, “Hey, I’m working on my executive MBA project, could I have some time with you to discuss this idea of introducing this new Caterpillar technology into …” I’m sorry, “John Deere technology into India?” And actually when he had completed his Capstone Project, the management at John Deere looked at it and said, “We really like this, but instead of implementing it in India, we’re going to take it and implement it in China instead.” And there was a few reasons for that. In India, there a large number of small farmers, and in China, there’s a small number of large farmers. And it was a bigger market, so it made it a more efficient, real-world implementation. But anyway, so it was a great experience for him. He got great exposure for it, and it also helped John Deere get new products into the new market of China. And then of course there are course abstracts available up on the website. They’re a little bit vague, I mean, just because they are abstracts.

Velle Kolde: If you do have questions about specific courses or any of the material that’s covered, please feel free to reach out to your enrollment advisor. They’ll get in touch with me, and I’ll be able to answer those questions for you. Or have the professor that teaches a course answer those questions for you. So for military and veteran students, I’m going to go ahead and turn it over to my colleague Matt Beer because he is our veterans coordinator, and he knows so much more about this than I do. Matt.

Matthew Beer: Yeah. Thanks, Velle. So just real quick, again, my name is Matt Beer. I’m a retired lieutenant colonel from the air force, and I manage our military and veteran programs. So between 10 and 15% of the cohort that you’ll be going through the program with will be either active duty military or veterans. We have both in our programs. And again, those folks are either at senior levels in the military, or there’s a reason for those kind of more executive positions out in the corporate environment as well. So what we provide to those students in addition to kind of helping them navigate the benefits and making sure that they get all of those things taken care of, is provide some programs and some interactions with some folks to maybe help them do that transition process. So if you are a veteran, and you want more information, then please reach out to me. And if you’re not, just be aware that they’re there, and they are going to have some unique experiences, and some perspectives that you’ll be able to benefit from as well. So I think that’s it for me, Velle. Thanks.

Velle Kolde: Okay. All right. And now you’ve heard from Jake and me and Matt, but we work in the program as faculty and as administrators in the program. But to give you a perspective from the student’s perspective, I’d like to turn it over to a recent graduate of our program, Aaron Leatherman. Aaron just completed the executive MBA program, just participated in the Commencement Ceremony earlier this month. And he’s here to give you his perspective of what it was like, what he got out of it. And he’s also a great resource for any questions from a student’s perspective of what the program experience is all about. So with that, I’ll turn it over to Aaron.

Aaron L.: All right. Thanks, Velle. And I certainly appreciate the whole process that I went through as graduating earlier this month. That was an awesome chance to get a look at the actual campus. I’d never been to Pullman before, so that was great. But in general, why did I choose an executive MBA? And specifically why WSU’s program worked for me? Was that I was certainly looking they’re an accredited university first and foremost. And then the online aspect just due to me being in a remote location. And then just I wanted to add a formal education piece to my actual real world experience. Which in my experience was that I actually wrote a business plan out of college, was able to get an angel investor in that first round of a investment, it was about half a million dollars. Fast forward three years later, and multiple rounds of capital raised. We had an IPO on the Nasdaq ready to go, our S-1 filed in 2008. And we’re going to raise about $345 million to take our bio-refinery technology public, and build multiple bio-refineries around the world. We actually ended up building one in Washington state. So I’m located in Grays Harbor County. Or for those of you that know the area, I work in Hoquiam, live in Montesano, but in general rural Washington. So no universities in the area that I could actually attend and go to a physical class at. So the WSU program being in state, in Washington, was very appealing to me. Being that I’ve spent my entire life in Washington state, I wanted to keep those dollars in the state. But the program itself, I can’t speak highly enough of it as it already was spoken to. The quality, the convenience, and the relevance is just it’s all there. From the two sessions that you have per week per class with the course instructor. And then the section instructor gives you the time necessary to front-load and do the readings and the work.

Aaron L.: If that works for you, do that early, get into the classes, and have some good discussions. Not only with the instructors but with your course mates. I really heard that when Velle said it, and I agree with it. There’s so many times I was nodding my head on quite a few things that he said. But you really do learn a lot from your cohorts. There’s a lot of information out there that’s specific to you, whether it’s what you actually do. Like I’m a plant manager of a chemical refinery, so operations management, I mean that class was no problem at all. There were certainly some tidbits that I took out of it that were very relevant and informative. But it was things like IT governance that I don’t have direct oversight on, that I was able to take the information from the coursework. And directly go to my IT director, executive director of IT, and have a good conversation about how I can help influence the team and push the agenda forward for the whole company. So that was very, very positive.

Aaron L.: Also management of innovation, I felt was very helpful. Just the progress of innovation, how that actually takes place, how to establish KPIs, the key performance indicators, and establish business metrics. So again, very, very positive there. The most important, I think what I take away from the experience of the degree in general was the study abroad trip. I think that was just a fantastic experience. I’d never been to Asia before. I’ve traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States. But to be able to go and see their culture, and understand at a different level with my own eyes, go meet people, talk to them, have meaningful conversations and contacts that I can reach out to in the future, was very, very positive and eye-opening to say the least. So to understand the business climate over there, as Velle already described is paramount to all businesses moving forward in the 21st century.

Aaron L.: So again, we went to a few different cities than were mentioned. But Beijing, Shiyan, and Chengdu are the three cities we went to, our group. And again having everything lined out, the hotels were great. The transportation was awesome. People tell you where to eat, what to eat. You’re not having to worry about the details planning the trip. It literally is just, sit on the double … Well, not double-decker bus, but sit on the comfortable bus, and somebody is telling you where to go pretty much at all times. And every single place that we stopped at was beneficial, either from a business or a cultural learning standpoint. I mean, again, just phenomenal trip over there over that 12 to 13 days. And then lastly, just the leadership conference itself, that was a very good couple of days. We had Drew Bledsoe show up, he talked about his wine operation. Had a great, I think a three or four-hour session on negotiation I believe with Tom Tripp, I believe. And just the socializing and the networking aspects of spending time with other classmates outside of the classroom or Blackboard.

Aaron L.: Again, just adds to the relationships that you form throughout the 18 months plus timeframe that it took. And I did get through this program in the 18 months. I was able to get … I didn’t take any time off. I basically took the five-week courses back to back to back. And certainly that first year is very positive, it lays the base, and then the second year certainly additional work compared to the first year. But I wouldn’t have traded that for anything. That 18-month time frame was great. I was able to get through it, and now I’m a acclimating back with my family, which is a great place to be as well.

Jake Moscinski: Awesome. Thank you so much, Aaron. This is Jake back on the line. I want to thank everybody all the attendees for this. I want to thank Velle and Matt and Aaron. At this point we are going to be jumping into that question answer section. We have about eight to 10 minutes that we can be answering a few, and have some good ones that have rolled through. As a quick reminder, if you’re not sticking around for the Q&A section, we do have an upcoming fall start date for the August 19th term. And that application deadline is going to be July 22nd. So plenty of time to apply. I urge you to get in touch with an enrollment advisor here. You can schedule an appointment in that resources tab on the right of the screen, or you can use the contact us page. But perfect, let’s start rolling into some questions. So Velle, I have a really good one I think for you.

Jake Moscinski: So what is the key distinguishing feature of an executive MBA versus a regular MBA? When we’re looking at curriculum, you’re seeing some of the same classes, and we see an international trip in both of them, but what separates the programs, Velle?

Velle Kolde: Yeah. What really separates the programs is the career stage of the students that are in the program. And then of course, the program is designed for that particular career stage. Now, most MBA programs, the normal MBAs, and our normal online MBA program is designed for people with little to no business experience. So you may have somebody who is an engineer or a scientist, has no business experience, needs to get some business experience because they’re starting to get into management. And they’re a good fit for an MBA program. However, if you’ve been in business, and been in management positions, and have experience as a manager in business, then you would be a little bit bored in a class that was filled with a lot of people with let’s say zero to five years business experience. So if you have 10 or more years of business experience, you will probably get a lot more out of an executive MBA program.

Velle Kolde: And specifically, we already talked about the fact that the other students in your class will also be experienced, successful, mid-career professionals like yourself. So you’ll learn a lot from them. But then also how we teach the subject. And this is where when you read the abstract of the courses, it might be hard to pull this out when you compare an MBA course versus an executive MBA course. But at the executive MBA course, we are just looking at the material through the lens of someone that’s higher up in the organization. We are concerned, any of the substitutes that we teach, we’re also teaching the leadership perspective, the strategy perspective, the innovation perspective. Because just to put it in context, when you first start off in a job … I started off at a semiconductor company in Silicon Valley when I was right out of B school, and I was a financial analyst.

Velle Kolde: Now, and I was doing my financial analysis work and everything was great. But nobody was expecting me to be leading the organization or leading teams within the organization. No one was expecting me to come up with strategy. Nobody was expecting me to come up with new innovations. Now fast forward 10 years, when I’m at Oracle and I’m the treasurer, guess what, I am leading a very large group, a very substantial team. I am responsible for the strategy of that team and its contribution to the overall strategy of the company. And I am tasked with coming up with new and innovative ways to make us more competitive, more relevant, and deliver more value to customers. During that 10-year period, the things that I had to worry about changed quite dramatically. And so this is geared toward the person that is at that point in the organization, or at that point of career where just being an expert in their discipline, like being the finance expert or being the IT expert, isn’t enough anymore. Because as you move to higher levels in the organization, you’re not just expected to be an expert on IT. You’ll be expected to be an expert on how IT can integrate throughout the organization. And how it can be used to build strategic and competitive advantage for the organization, and keep the organization on the leading edge of its industry. Anyway, so I could go on, but I’ll stop there. I think I covered it.

Jake Moscinski: Excellent. Thank you very much, Velle. I think that was a good summary there for sure. I have another question here, more of an admissions question. What percentage of students receive a GMAT Waiver. For those who don’t get the GMAT Waiver, what’s the average score? So I can answer that one. I work with students as they’re applying for our executive MBA. We have a GMAT Waiver, and that’s going to be based around a student who has a 3.0 GPA, and five or more years of management experience. Now we do have that five year managerial requirement for the executive MBA, so just about everybody coming into the program is getting that waiver, say approximately 90%. The times that I do see students needing to take the exam, is maybe if they had a lower GPA, they went to school a while back, weren’t as successful in their undergraduate as they are now.

Jake Moscinski: And so now they’re going to use that GMAT to sort of bolster their profile. Get a stronger chance for admittance and show those quantitative and verbal skills that they have now that they’ve been in the workplace for a while. So that’s really the only case. I would recommend getting in touch with that advisor, that enrollment advisor to narrow down what your admissions packet would look like. And most of the time, the GMAT Waiver is going to be applicable for students who are qualified for that executive MBA. I have another question here real quick. I have one, there’s a student who is an IT engineer with 11 years of work experience. They are looking to know what seven years of management experience means. Can you explain with a little bit more detail? So yeah, Velle, for the sake of time, I just want to answer this one real quick since we are coming up onto the hour. But can you just define seven years of management?

Velle Kolde: Okay. Well, so the seven years of management, it’s a guideline. And when you’re in a position where you are actually supervising other employees, and responsible for giving them direction, and doing performance reviews on them, managing their activities, prioritizing their activities for them. But however, the seven years is a guideline. So I actually really encourage you to talk directly with an enrollment advisor about your specific situation, because it’s not the only thing that we look at. We are looking at people that are … We want to get people into the right program for them. And like I said before, if you’re pretty light on business experience, you probably would be better served by taking a regular MBA program. If you have pretty solid business experience, you would probably be better served in an executive MBA program. So I don’t want to get … And I don’t want anyone that’s considering the program to get too hung up on one piece of criteria, or another and just say, “Oh, well, that’s not going to come in.” We’re actually much more … I’m trying to think of the right word. Conscientious about our admission process. And we’re looking at the entirety of the applicant, and not just specific criteria.

Jake Moscinski: Excellent. I appreciate that. Thank you very much, Velle. Aaron, thank you as well. For the sake of time, I’m going to wrap this up. Any questions that have not been answered, we will be following up individually with you guys. Fall start date again, is August 19th, really popular start date. The application deadline is going to be July 22nd. You can get in touch with an admissions advisor. We do have a PDF that walks through that application process. It’s pretty streamlined. We work with you throughout it to make it as easy as possible. And if you’re looking for more military specific information, we have an upcoming webinar tomorrow with Matt. He will be hosting that, going a little bit more in depth on some of our opportunities here for military members. And that will be at the same time, 12:00 PM Pacific. You can sign up in that resources tab on the right of your screen. Again though, I want to thank everybody for attending. I hope you guys got some good information here about the executive MBA. I want to thank Matt, Aaron, and Velle all for joining us. And, yeah, we hope to talk to you guys soon.