WSU EMBA Summer 2018 Program Director and Graduate Webinar
Hello and good afternoon everyone. I do want to thank you for joining us today for our summer semester online executive MBA webinar, with the program director and alumni student guest speakers.Before we get started today I do just want to go over some really quick housekeeping items. In order to minimize all background noise the presentation is in broadcast only mode, you can hear us but we cannot hear you, you do have the option to ask questions at any time using our Q&A feature to the bottom of your screen, I do encourage you to use that throughout the presentation and recording of this presentation will be emailed to all of you after the webinar.
Today I do want to go over some introductions here in minute, we will also be going over the history rankings and accreditations of our program and institution. The executive MBA program overview as well as the admissions requirements. We’ll give you some insight to some of the networking and career resources as well as our international field study. We do have the pleasure of having a live student experience in the presentation as well followed by a twenty minute roughly questions and answer section.
Without further ado I would like to introduce you to our first speaker Velle Kolde, he is the 2017 faculty of the year winner also your program director for the executive MBA program. With us we also have myself I will be moderating the presentation for you today. I am an enrollment advisor for our online MBA and executive MBA programs. We do have the pleasure of having Victoria Burke with us, she is an alumni student of our executive MBA program and I did have the pleasure of personally enrolling her into the program.
Without further ado I would like to turn it over to Velle, Velle would you mind sharing with us about the history of WSU?
Okay, well welcome and thank you all for taking the time to have an interest in our program. Hopefully we can make this a very valuable session for you. We’ll be going over a number of the… a bit of the history and the fundamentals of the programs specifics. Also, I am a faculty member I do teach in the program as well as being the program director. Also, with us as Jason said, one of our graduates Victoria, and so you can get both the faculty members perspective and administrators perspective and a students’ perspective on any questions or thoughts that you may have.
First off lets talk about Washington State University a little bit. Founded in 1889 it was a land grant, or actually 1890, it was a land grant university, so the purpose of the university was set up to provide affordable education. Because back in that time in the late 1800’s only the very rich and affluent were being able to afford to go to college and had that type of opportunity. Since then we’ve been serving the academic community and force here in the northwest and that’s our only programs we serve it globally.
We’ve been doing an MBA program for over 55 years and we’ve been doing online, or actually distance degree programs for over 30 years. So we’re actually doing distance learning before the internet and online era started. Then we segued right into online degree programs, probably that was.. we started distance learning in the late 80’s and were moved to the internet in the mid 90’s. Then we also have an international network of corporate and academic alliances. So we’re affiliated with universities and corporations, both here in the pacific northwest and around the world. We have particularly very strong academic partnerships with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and we have a very robust study abroad program.
Also one thing I will mention, the dean that hired me into the school here was a young professor back in… when online learning was first coming out and he as a young professor was very much against it. He was a very vocal opponent of online learning and he was just saying it just can’t be done to the same quality level that it can be done with a face to face program. Well the person that was advocating for the online program at the time was pretty smart and did a little jujitsu move and used him momentum against him. He said, “You know Eric, you’re probably right, this online stuff is not for… it’ll never work. But how about this, why don’t you teach one online course for us and then you can document first hand everything that’s wrong with it.”
Well after Eric taught his first online course he saw that, wow, there is a lot of merit to this, there is a lot that can be… a lot of advantages to this model. He became… he went from being one of the most fierce opponents to one of the most enthusiastic supporters of online education. He’s been a great support for the development of the programs here in the business school and now his successor Chip Hunter is also a very very strong opponent.
Another important thing to notice here about Washington State University, we are a land grant university, and as I said our mission is to provide a high quality education at affordable prices. Therefore we don’t charge, relative to a lot of other executive MBA programs, our price point is very very competitive and it has nothing to do with the quality of our program, as I’ll get into in a moment, but it has everything to do with our mission is not to go out and make a lot of money, our mission is to provide affordable education. That’s why the state of Washington created the Washington State University and continues to fund it.
In terms of quality we are AACSB accredited, that’s the highest accreditation a body of business schools out there. I would strongly recommend regardless of where you go to school, even if you don’t go to… if you choose not to go to WSU, do choose a program that is AACSB accredited. There are other accreditation bodies, but they are not as robust and well respected as AACSB. The head hunters and the professional recruiters at leading companies like Amazon and Apple and Starbucks, etc. they know the difference between the accreditations. And if you don’t have a degree from an AACSB accredited school everybody will wonder why not?
Do look for AACSB accreditation in any program that you go into. All the best schools have it. The Stanford’s, the UCLA’s, the Wharton’s of the world are all AACSB accredited as is Washington State. Also, I will note that for… regarding AACSB accreditation, of all the schools that are AACSB accredited, Washington State is among the two percent that are accredited at all levels. We’re accredited undergraduate, graduate, and PHD program, we have AACSB accreditation, and as I said only two percent of all the school who have AACSB accreditation have it at all three levels.
We’ve also been recognized in a lot of the rankings, we’ve scored very very well. But we don’t really chase rankings because actually sometimes when you look into how the rankings are done some of the criteria is somewhat arbitrary but regardless we’re happy that we’ve been recognized. Also, not on this slide but just recently in March 5th I believe, Financial Time’s published their list of the top MBA programs globally and they put us number 20 on the list of global MBA programs. We appreciate that recognition as well.
To sum up our program, when people ask me “What makes… why should I go to this program?” I say quality, convenience, and relevance. Let me hit on those three pillars directly.
Quality, we’re a tier 1 fully accredited, AACSB accredited, MBA program. We have world class faculty, we are a world class research university. We have a small class size, typically 20 people will be in your section for any course. You will find that your class mates and your peers with be exceptional people that you will develop strong relationships from/with. Also, you will learn as much from your colleagues in this program as you will from the professors, because your peers in this program are going to be successful mid career professionals just like yourself and they have a lot of really great experience and knowledge that they share as part of the way that we teach our programs here. We do do group projects, we do have discussions, and we do have plenty of networking opportunities.
Now around convenience, we are designed for a working professional. We know that most of our students, well virtually all of our students have full time jobs. Most of them have families and children. Some of them are even taking care of adult… aging parents. So they’re very very busy with career and family obligations so we actually designed this to… this program knowing that. We also designed it for adult learners, we don’t… not taking something that’s designed for undergraduates and putting it… putting a higher number on it and calling it an advanced course. We’re actually designed for adult learners, we’re designed for working professionals, we’re designed for people that have business and management experience. You are learning new things, not just reinforcing basic level things.
To put that in context, for our online MBA program the average student in that program has about 0-5 years of business experience. In our executive MBA program the average student has 18-20 years business and management experience and the average age is about 42 years old. Range of the ages in the program are from low to mid thirties up to, I think our current oldest student is 58 years old. But on average about 40 years old with about 18-20 years experience.
In terms of relevance, we really are focusing this on coming up with practical, pragmatic, actionable learning that you can take to your workplace right away. That really is one of the core pillars of our valued proposition. It delights me when I hear students that are actually taking what they learning in the classroom one week and applying it at their job the very next week. That’s the way we target our classes, design them so that you have take aways that you can start applying immediately. One of the courses I teach is the innovation course, so we talk about best practices and strategies for innovation and then ways to… methods for keeping innovation on track, frameworks for structuring your innovation processes. I love it when I hear students that haven’t even completed the course yet that have already started to implement some of those processes and best practices at their workplace.
We also give you plenty of opportunity to… in the class assignments to put the assignments in the context of your business interests. So it could be something… your projects, you can select projects that are relevant to your current position in your current employer, or you can pick projects that are just something that you’re very interest in. Maybe you’re thinking about starting your own business, you have some entrepreneurial idea. Whether it’s in the context of your existing employer or in the context of something new and different you get the latitude to kind of pick and choose in many of the projects what type of project and what subject you want to delve into. It will be things that are interesting and relevant to you because you get to select them.
We also do have… like I said we’ve been doing online for quite a long time so we have… we’ve really built out our infrastructure here and our support network. You do have enrollment advisors who you’re working with now and these are people who will help you and hold your hand through the entire application process, make sure all the t’s are crossed I’s are dotted, get you answers to any questions you have about that, about the program.
Also, once you’re in the program the student services advisors kind of pick up the batons and help you with any issues, concerns, questions you have about going ahead in the program or your current courses. Of course you know the faculty, which includes the lead professors and the section instructors, they’re there to help you. I give all my students my cell phone number, they can call me anytime. My background, I was in the tech industry for 30 years so I’m used to operating in the ‘if I’m awake, I’m working’ mode, and I’ve just continued to do that. You can get ahold of your faculty, your professors, and your section instructors, they’re there to help you, they work for you, to get the most out of this program. Regarding technical support, we have 24/7 technical support 7 days a week.
We do have a lot of online programs to kind of get more of a campus or student life feel. We have associated students of WSU online and that’s separate from the on campus version of ASWSU, and it has its own senate and officers and president. If you’re interested in getting involved in something like that, we have had MBA students that have gotten involved, one became a senator in the ASWSU and then went on to, after graduation, join the board of advisors for the business school here.
There’s also CougSync, which is the… that covers everything that is non academic that’s going on in WSU’s online community. That could be special programs, events, performances, etc. anything that’s going on campus-like that is not dealing directly with academics. Basically the social aspect to it.
Our curriculum here, we are 100% online, and one thing when you do look at online courses or programs you do want to understand how much of it is online because depending on who’s definition of online you’re using some of them require as much as 25% of the time to be in residence at the university. Whether it’s you’re showing up at the university every other weekend or you’re showing up for a week every other month. There are varying degrees of online, you do want to understand what you’re getting into.
I’ve already talked a little about the course content and how we make it very current and relevant and pragmatic and practical. We also try as best we can to keep it asynchronous in the sense that you will have live lecture sessions with your professors, however if for any reason you’re unable to attend the lecture all of them are recorded so you can watch them at your convenience, if you’re unable to make it. The idea here is that we know that there’s 168 hours in the week and we know that as a busy working professional with both professional and personal obligations everybody’s going to be a little bit different, everybody’s going to have a bit of a different schedule.
So we try and give you the flexibility during the week to find the hours that you need, whenever you need them to do the work and then… and virtually most of the work will be due at the end of the week. That allows you to, during the week, schedule your time to get your school work and course work done. Depending on… different people do different things, I had one gentleman from Boeing, he would get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and study for two hours before he went into work. I have other people that have.. will put their kids to bed and then study until midnight and others that [inaudible 00:20:09] all day Saturday kind of things as part of their study time.
But in general what you should be thinking about for time commitment for the five week courses it is about 20 hours a week or so, is what we’re targeting on the courses and also later when Victoria is talking you can ask her questions about exactly how much time she spent. That’s kind of what we target, it can vary a little bit because if you’re… if it’s a subject matter that you’re familiar with you may spend a little but less time on it. If it’s something that you’re not very familiar with you may spend a little more time on that course.
We do have networking opportunities, you will have weekly live sessions with your professors and with your section instructors. For a final exam in this program rather than having you write a thesis or taking big hairy comprehensive test, we have you do capstone project where you will work with three or four other students as a team and you’ll come up with a business idea, conduct a feasibility study on it and then write a full business plan. This is a process that you’re working with this team over a 30 week period to complete all of this. This process of doing a complete… taking a business idea from it’s concept through a full blown business plan really touches on every aspect of the business and on how all those different aspects of the business interrelate with each other. When you adjust something over here how does it ripple through the organization? It’s been a… we’ve got a lot of very positive feedback on our capstone process.
We also do an international field study trip, Victoria actually participated in this so she can provide you with her perspectives. I’ve got a slide on that, I’ll talk more about that later. Likewise on our leadership conference, I’ve got a slide on that… and that’s one of our most fun networking opportunities.
If you’re active duty military or a veteran, we have dedicated staff to support you. They will help you navigate through what benefits you may be entitled to and make sure that you can get the most out of it. As well as help you through the process of applying for those benefits and following up on it. We’ve got a dedicated veterans affairs personnel, when we’re just about to hire a second one that is specific for the Carson College of Business, and our executive MBA and online MBA programs. So we’ll even be able to provide a higher level of service and that’s thanks to a generous donation from one of our alums who is also a veteran and wanted to do more for veterans.
Some of the specs here on the program. 18 months is how long it will go if you go straight through. As I mentioned before 100% online, no residency required. Typical class size usually about 20, each section is 20. Our class structure and before I talked about how it was designed for a working professional. In conventional university setting you will take multiple classes over a quarter or a semester, what we do in this program is you’ll only take one class at a time and it’s five weeks, a rather intense five weeks, but its just on one class. So when you’re taking the marketing class, you’re only taking the marketing class. When you’re taking the finance class, you’re only taking the finance class. Same thing for operations, innovation, etc..
Now the one exception to that is during the last half of your program you will also be working on your capstone project with your capstone team. The last nine months of the program you will, in addition to your five week courses, you will also be spending time with your capstone team working on your capstone project, and that’s typically we say about 8-10 hours a week, working on the capstone.
Regarding enrollment requirements, GMAT waiver is available for qualified students and one of the… and just to give you context here the GMAT is a test to asses your aptitude and fitness for going into graduate business education. Now, if you’ve already been working you might have already demonstrated that, so if you have more than 7 years business experience you typically can qualify for a GMAT waiver because you’ve already, by virtue of your work experience and track record professionally, shown that you are competent and ready to pursue graduate education. Virtually everyone that is qualified for the executive MBA program is also qualified for a GMAT waiver.
Tuition, about $52,000 a year. In addition you will probably will spend another $2,500-$3,000 on books and materials. And then if you do the international trip there is some cost to that, there is a program fee associated with that which pays for all of your hotels and transportation in country as well as a number of other things. But I’ll talk about the international trip later and I’ll give you more specifics on it.
These are just some of the requirements here. We ask for a minimum 7 years management experience. Maybe 10 years total business experience, if you’re on a pretty fast trajectory we may look at people with a little bit less of that experience that have shown a very fast professional advancement.
In terms of supporting you I’ve already talked about the support that you’ll get from your enrollment advisors, your student services advisors, tech support, and as well as your instructors and your faculty. Of course everybody in the program gets my phone number and my email, my cell phone number. If there are issues or you have situations that need to be addressed or something comes up out of the ordinary, you’ll have people ready to talk to you and help you work through it.
We do do a lot of… a fair amount of networking. Some people think that if you’re in the online program you don’t connect with your students and think of… I’ll have Victoria talk to this because I know she build a lot of very close relationships in this program. But you will be surprised at how tight you can get with your students here. Graduates from our program routinely during their exit interviews and surveys talk about the great network opportunities and great friendships that they’ve built through this program.
Just to put that in context, I was in the tech industry for 30 years, I spend my last 5 years with Microsoft, well I was at Microsoft for 20 years but the last 5 I was in the automotive group and we were doing a business and technical partnerships with the major auto makers. So my customers were in Tokyo, they were in Seoul, they were in Turin, Italy, they were in Munich, they were in Detroit, and the way that we work, we did… with those customers I was based in Redmond, Washington, 99% of the work that we did with them whether it was marketing, whether it was business development or the actual engineering was done via digital communications and online.
Once in a while we would get together for a press event or at trade shows or to sign a big deal but most of the rest of the time we were working… you know taking advantage of digital communications, sharing documents doing conference calls, doing video conferences, etc.. That’s the way we worked. Quite honestly even within Microsoft people wouldn’t walk down the hall to talk to somebody, they would often send them an email, even if the person was sitting down the hall, because it’s just more efficient. It allows you to write the email when it’s convenient for you to do so, it allows them to read it when its convenient for them to do so, when it fits in their schedule and doesn’t disrupt them, and just lets people be more productive and make more efficient use of their time. I think that’s one of the tremendous benefits of an online program.
Now the international field study trip, this is just a great experience. We’ve been going to China, and sometimes I’ll add a little Vietnam in there as well, but we will spend 10 days in country, we will visit businesses but we’ll also visit cultural and tourist sites to understand more about the culture and about the way they think, about the way they make decisions, about their customs and traditions. We’ll also do modern business visits, we meet with China… Boeing in China, we met with the head of RND Boeing in China and she sat down with us, talked to us about what was going on in China, how it was doing business as part of the multinational in China, how their relationship was with the home offices in the US, how they divided up business priorities and tasks.
That will happen with all the companies we visit, and we’ll visit a multinational companies like a Boeing or Nike, as well as local Chinese companies and we’ll usually visit with a Chinese law firm too that can address a lot of the specific trade and legal issues that are involved in doing business in China or doing business with a Chinese partner, or for Chinese companies that want to sell into the US market. Also this is just very timely because now there’s big discussions about restructuring that as the administration now has been talking about getting tough on tariffs and changing our trade to make it more quote ‘fair’ unquote. So it’s a very very interesting time and it’s kind of very interesting to see how this is playing out.
There’s a lot of moving parts that are going on there because you notice we started… the US started talking tough about trade and about putting on sanctions and so on, and all the sudden North Korea’s willing to talk to us about canceling their nuclear test program. Are those related? I don’t know but it’s certainly within the possibility that China, who’s been kind of a adult supervision for North Korea might have gone to the North Korean’s and just said ‘Hey, you need to cut this out, because we need to build a good relationship and maintain our good relationships with the US.’ So [inaudible 00:33:45] quid pro quo there’s negotiations going on and I don’t know that those are related but I would not be surprised if they were. When you think of how obstinate North Korea has been all this time and now all of a sudden we’re talking about some very tough trade negotiations it’s interesting.
We do do a leadership conference every year, typically this takes place in Seattle. It’s two days we bring in some great speakers, but also in the evening we have some social and networking events. So you get to meet your professors and faculty face to face and spend some time with them socializing as well as your colleagues in the program and alums of the programs are also always invited. You can meet alumni, faculty, as well as your colleagues in the program. We’ll usually bring in some top speakers, most of them are executive coach type speakers.
Last year we had Stephen Krempl who wrote the 5% Zone, and he talks about how to stand out when you’re in a group of really exceptional high performers. Because that’s actually what happens is you move up the ladder of the organization, you get up to a level where everybody is good, everybody is competent, everybody is a high performer, and how do you distinguish yourself in that environment? So Steven is one of my favorite speakers [inaudible 00:35:24] I try to bring him back every year, unfortunately this year he’s going to be in Singapore so we’ll have a different speaker [inaudible 00:35:31] Jenni Flinders who talks about building your personal brand and image. She’s also a tech industry veteran, I think about 30 years in the tech industry, retired as a corporate VP at Microsoft.
Then we have Bryce Hoffman coming and talking about one of his best selling business books. This past year he talked about the red teaming concept based on the red teaming that the military uses to vet their plans. Very interesting, great book, by the way. But in previous years he also wrote the book about Allan Mulally and how Allan Mulally turned around Boeing and Ford. That’s how I actually met Bryce, because Bryce was a journalist handling the automotive area for the Detroit news at the time that I was the product manager for Microsoft’s automotive products. So I was doing PR interviews with him, setting him up with interviews with Marty Fall and Bill Gates and so on and he was writing about it, so we were both there at the same time. Pretty fun.
Anyway, so the leadership conference we’ll stay in a nice boutique hotel in Seattle. For the leadership conference you need to organize your own travel and if you want a hotel room at the hotel that’s on you but everything else, the speaker fee’s and all the catering, are covered by the Carson College.
And with that I am going to turn it over to Victoria to talk about her student experience and she can touch on some of the points that she thought were most important to her and how the program met her expectations or differed from her expectations. So with that I will turn it over to you Victoria.
Great, thank you Velle. Can you guys hear me okay?
Yeah we can hear you good.
Okay, super. Hi everybody, I’m Victoria Burke, I just have one slide to present so I’m going to be talking off of it here for a few minutes.
I’m a recent graduate of the WSU EMBA program as of last month, freshly minted. As Velle spoke about the 18 month time zone I actually went straight through. As you can see I’m an area sales director for Royal Canin US, so that is the pet food company, we are a MARS subsidiary. And I’ve been with MARS for 15 years, this is my third role with Royal Canin over my 15 year career.
My background has always been in the veterinary industry so I have been 20 plus years in the vet industry also working for a pharmaceutical company as well as a distributor. During that time I’ve lead teams of people for about 9 and a half coming up on about 10 of them, years. So I fit that profile for the EMBA program, but when I started looking for an EMBA program I… basically I travel a ton and I work over 50 hours a week and I’m on an airplane a lot so when I started with looking for a program I knew I started with the ‘why’ for meetings, what are the things that I need out of a program in order to make it work for me?
So the first one is that I wanted to find one that was strictly online, when I started my research I found the WSU [inaudible 00:39:18] report and I definitely wanted to find a program that was not just brand new but that had a long standing history and also great accreditation and great accolades in the world of academia. I also needed to find one that I could do on an airplane, plane, train, automobile, basically. So Washington State University was the first one that I came across and as I looked at others none of the other programs that I looked at kind of fit all the same tenets that I was looking for. I wanted that flexibility, I wanted to be able to study on my terms and that’s really how I got started and then I had a one hour call with Jason, who’s on the call moderating for us today, to basically answer all my questions and then eventually got accepted into the program.
One of the things I can say to what Velle had mentioned was right away, I work in sales so I have about 67 people in my own org structure between the regional managers and the sales reps that are in my team but I also go into my corporate office and I’m working cross functionally with our eCommerce team and our marketing team and our national accounts and finance. And I remember in my second class that I took around supply chains, being able to have a completely different conversation with our demands planners and around constrained vs unconstrained capacity and the [inaudible 00:40:56] planning forecast, in that even though yeah maybe I had had some conversation with them I was able to apply some of the things we were discussing in class right away. I thought that that was very neat.
Some professors and section leaders and the academic advisors, all the professors that I’ve had have really been exceptional. A lot of them are alumni of WSU, a lot at PHD level, tons of experience so they’re very practical, its not theoretical. Which to me is what I needed, I need something that I can apply right away.
My section leaders come from all parts of the industry so there were some in pharmaceuticals, there’s a lot of them that are consulting and there’s also some professors additionally teaching.
One thing I could say is again because my travel, my crazy travel, schedule sometimes I could shoot an email to all of them, any of them at any time, and I’d get a very very prompt response and the same thing from the professors. In addition Velle is not kidding I do have Velle’s cell phone number in my phone so at that point I was in my finance class probably one of the toughest classes I was in when my company experienced a cyber attack. I went from having complete connectivity to I needed to hand in and shut down everything, and I was about to take a midterm test and there was no way for me to contact anybody immediately. Thanks to having Velle’s cell phone number I was able to send him a 911 text message and tell him what was going on so he could convey it to my professor. I don’t know how many other programs that would have that level of connectivity and a personal approach.
From a time management and coursework standpoint I will tell you the first time I saw the paperwork that said it’s 20 hours a week commitment I’m thinking about the 60 plus hours a week that I probably work right now with my travel and everything else. The first thing I though was ‘Oh my god I’m never going to sleep for the next 18 months’ but what I did was I found the cadence that worked for me and that was ‘what am I doing when I’m on an airplane?’ I have wifi connectivity most of the time. The other thing I found that works for me is that I can’t lug a bunch of textbooks around with me and I think that every single textbook that we have utilized in this program, with the exception of one, was available in a digital format.
So Kindle became my best friend and now I have all of my course work and all of my textbooks digitally on my Ipad so I could be shluffing around three to ten textbooks at a time but they’re all digital there. Which is great because then I could make notes and I’m just a very digital person anyway. So I was able to make that 20 hours work and yeah there were times that, I’m also a mom of a 13 year old and I’m married and I have a family and there were times when family would go to bed and yes I’d do some work afterwords to get something done and I’d put in some long weekends. But for the most part I found it very manageable.
Then when I started the capstone program where that went up to about 28 hours a week the great part is is that working on a capstone with a team, here I am a sales person, also highly extroverted, and I worked with a finance guy and two engineers. The best part is is that we all brought fantastic pieces from our experiences and our knowledge base to be able to work on the capstone project and these guys are all, have always been great friends of mine.
I live in Denver, Colorado and ironically even though there’s the time difference between myself and the pacific coast for classes, it turns out one of my capstone members actually lived in Colorado. We haven’t even met up yet but he’s on the other side of the state, but we’ll be seeing each other soon.
As far as the group work not every class has group projects, but I would say almost all of them do and the great thing is is that sometimes if I’d be in a group we’d have to do it on one of our companies. So it was fun to try and look at a different aspect of my company, maybe something I didn’t do. We’re a privately held company, not publicly traded so at times my company wasn’t the most appropriate one to be using. The reason I initially joined the program is because I wanted that outside perspective, so I also got to research other peoples companies, and I got to do a project on Pier 1 and I got to work on something else that was like Boeing related or Nordstrom related. That just really enriched my experience.
From the networking opportunities I really took advantage of the full program. You know if I was going to go through this in 18 months I did want to have a connection to my classmates whose names I would see every day online. I did go on the China trip and that was also a big parameter of when I was looking at all of these different EMBA programs. There were a lot of them that had an international business trip and so that was just another highlight that I saw was WSU. I was really excited to go to China I had never been to Asia it was an amazing experience, got to go with Velle and Dread Peterson who is the leadership professor, who is actually the first class I took in this course so that was fantastic. Doesn’t hurt that he’s also fluent in Mandarin. There was a group of about nine of us of the trip and all of those classmates that were on the trip with me are still… we’re constantly in touch with each other via Facebook and we’re meeting up at graduation, so made some great friends there, and really had a great connection.
The other thing I took advantage of was the leadership conference that I went this past September. Turns out that I had to make a trip to Seattle anyway so I kind of combined the two and again got to network with classmates and also to previous classmates who had come back and then also be able to talk to classmates who were just starting the program. Kind of expanding that network and the speakers were great. I really took away just great information from all of them. With that I will turn the [inaudible 00:47:51] over to Jason but I will just leave everyone with this, this is my full email address and I’ve also put my Linkedin profile there at the bottom, so if anyone has any further questions after the webcast or wants to connect with me please feel free to reach out. Thanks so much and good luck!
Thank you so much Victoria and Velle for giving your insight in the program. Very informational and loved your experience that you had Victoria.
At this time I would like to open the floor to any questions. I know we have a few questions already that have come in. If you give me a minute here I’d like to send these questions off and I’ll give you the opportunity to continue to ask these questions from our alumni student Victoria Burke who has a phenomenal student experience that she’d like to share, and our faculty of the year Velle Kolde, your program director for the executive MBA program who would love to give you a faculty perspective.
For our first question I think I will answer that one and if you have anything you’d like to share on it as well Velle but we’re asking about the GPA scale of 3.0-4.0 if that means that you will get the GMAT waived. What I would like to say to that is that the 3.0 GPA is one piece to the GMAT waiver we actually look at GPAs and multiple levels, whether that’s a last 60 credit evaluations or looking into work experience to inflate your GPA, the length, the age of your degree as well is another thing that we’ll look at. What we’re mainly going to focus on for the GMAT waiver, an academic GMAT waiver, would be based on having already obtained a graduate or advanced degree. Otherwise, a professional GMAT waiver is based off of your progressive management experience. As Velle mentioned earlier we typically look for 7 years of progressive management experience but sometimes there is that opportunity if your trajectory in your career or if you’ve advanced throughout your career very quickly that we may take another look, a deeper look into your overall portfolio for that.
Bear with me one minute here as I go through these questions.
This next question here is what is the average experience of students in the executive MBA online program compared to the traditional MBA program. Velle if you don’t mind I’d like to start with your faculty take on the difference between the program and Victoria if you’d like to chime in kind of a little bit more about what you felt that you got out of the executive MBA versus what you would have a traditional MBA. But Velle what is your take on that difference?
Sure, it’s quite a bit actually because in the… as I mentioned in my presentation in our online MBA the people there average like 0-5 years of business experience. So you may be getting people that are from other disciplines whether engineers or medical doctors that have had no business experience and are just learning about business. So it’s kind of geared for someone launching a career into business.
By contrast the people in the executive MBA program, our guideline minimum is 10 years experience but our average student has 20 years business experience. These are people that have business experience that have been successful, they have titles of director, senior director, VP, and some CXO types as well. These are people that have maybe moved up the ranks in their business like I’d say you’re an IT guy and…
Actually a true story about a real one, there was a guy who moved up through the ranks to become… to run the IT organization but then he realized as he was running the IT now he was sitting in on these leadership meetings where he was the only IT guy there and then there’s people from operations, from manufacturing, from marketing, from sales, from finance, and as you get higher in the organization it’s not good enough just to be good at your discipline. Just to be a good IT guy or be a good finance guy you have to understand how your area fits in with the rest of the organization and how it’s integrated in there. Certainly, if you want to move up to general management it becomes very important.
One way we put it is we take a CEO perspective in the way we teach here, and that’s the reason why in the executive MBA we don’t have specialties. You don’t specialize in international or in finance or in marketing because a real executive, a true executive is good at everything and has good comprehension and understanding of all the disciplines of business and how they integrate together.
Velle Kolde: Hopefully that was responsive to the question, I went a little bit long there. But if they ask a followup question Jason please go ahead and let me know if I didn’t respond to the question directly enough.
No, absolutely, thank you very much for that. Victoria did you have anything you wanted to add as far as why you chose an executive versus a tradition MBA?
Well you know it’s so funny, I had a practical thing that actually happened yesterday that might give perspective. I’ve had 20 years experience in my industry, which is the veterinary and animal health industry, and 9 plus years of line management experience. Yesterday I had an introduction to a young woman who is probably 10/12 years younger than me, she’s in her early thirties, and she had a shiny new MBA from Harvard, and she had about 2 years of experience working for a private equity firm. She had just come over to this company that it’s job is doing acquisitions of veterinarians who are looking for retirement plans, in the industry it’s called consolidators. From a financial standpoint we can have the same kind of conversations, which is great because you know a Harvard MBA and a Washington State University MBA prove to me that it’s not where you go but it’s the quality of education.
I will say this the quality of the benefit of the EMBA program is that as I began to talk to her and she was handing me a brochure and she was asking me my opinion about their company, she said, “Do you think that this says enough about our company?” And I said, “If you’re asking me about, do I see what your value proposition is versus the twenty or thirty other companies that you’re competing with, no. It’s not clear on here and I suggest you go around and talk to the other companies.” I think that’s just a really great way of me being able to describe that this is like putting it into practice right away and not just theoretical and how strong our level of education is here.
Thank you so much for that Victoria.
Another question that I have here is- can I pursue an executive MBA if my undergraduate degree comes from a non business background?
One thing that I’ll start off saying is that a business undergraduate degree or a business background is not necessarily required. We actually do have quite a few medical doctors and even judges that pursue the executive MBA program as well. In a traditional MBA where the program is going to be very theory and tactically driven then it may be more of a requirement but within the executive MBA it’s absolutely not a requirement. Velle would you mind giving a little bit of insight as to the reason behind not having foundational courses in an executive MBA and why not having a business background would necessarily be required for an executive MBA degree.
Yeah, happy to. The reason is because people entering this program have real world business experience. For example, we’ve had many medical doctors, dentists, we’ve actually had military officers that with 18 years of service that were getting ready to transition to civilian life, they’ve managed one organization, they’ve managed people, they’ve managed logistics, even though they don’t have any formal business education by the fact that, in the case of the medical doctor who’s now an administrator for a health care organization, they’re doing business every day. They already have a really good… they have the foundation that they need for the executive MBA program and there’s no need to take foundation courses. We’re geared up that way because we understand what people with business experience, what they for the most part have been, where their level is at and we can address it right from the get go in our courses, even if you’re taking even our statistics/quantitative methods course we ramp you up really quickly on that. You probably, if you’re applying for this program, if you’re looking for this program it’s your real world business experience that’s providing you with the foundation for this program.
Thank you so much for that Velle. We probably have time for one more question. All of the questions that we haven’t had an opportunity to answer again I will be reaching out and replying to those questions individually. Please do, feel free to continue asking questions and we’ll make sure that we get them all answered within the next couple days here.
The last question here- I’m not sure that I want to enroll for early in the next year, are there opportunities to enroll throughout the year?
Absolutely, we actually have three start dates per year for the executive MBA program. Our summer semester however is our upcoming semester, that is going to be starting May 7th with a deadline of April 9th and anybody that is looking to possibly enroll into the program even at the end of this year, I recommend applying as… earlier the better. There’s many benefits to it, some benefits wind up being financially or tuition reimbursements, but then from an academic side it’s logistically better because I can defer an application but I can’t always wind up taking that application and allowing you to start sooner if you apply for a later time in the year. I do recommend applying for the earliest possible time, obviously if it’s not a possible time then don’t… I wouldn’t recommend applying for that. The earliest possible date that you’d be looking to potentially start is what I’d recommend applying for.
At this time it looks like we are one minute over our hour for this presentation. I would like to thank everybody for attending our webinar. I would like to personally thank Velle and Victoria Burke for setting the time aside and giving us your insight, it’s absolutely a pleasure to hear from you two personally about the program. Again anybody that does have any additional questions we’ll be reaching out to you personally. Our phone number and contact information is available right here on this slide you can feel free to contact any of the enrollment advisors here at any time. We’ll be more than happy to help you out.
Thank you everybody.
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