WSU Executive MBA Online Fall 2020 Information Session
Find out if the Washington State University Executive MBA Online is for you. This session covers:
- An overview of WSU and the Carson College of Business
- An in-depth look of the Executive MBA Online program
- Admission requirements and support available to students
- The international field study, EMBA Leadership Conference, and other networking opportunities
- A firsthand experience from an Executive MBA alumnus
Jake M.: Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the Executive MBA Online information session for our upcoming fall 2020 start date. We’re excited to have you here on the webinar. I’m excited to share some information about the Carson College of Business, and specifically the Executive MBA program that we have built here. To start off, I want to go over some logistics. We have set this webcast into broadcast only mode. What that means is that you can hear me and the other people on the line, although we can’t hear you. So, if you have any questions, if you have any comments, but go ahead and use the Q&A feature on the right side of the screen. I already see some questions coming in there, so that’s great. Keep them coming. We will be addressing all questions at the end of the broadcast.
Jake M.: Additionally, if you got to hop off for any reason, we do have a recording being sent out, so you’ll get a copy of this webcast for review at a future date, if you’ve got to leave. But as far as what we’re going to be doing today, first things first, we’re going to introduce ourselves so you can have some clarity around who’s on the line. From there, we’re going to dive into the history, the rankings and the accreditation of our program and of the school, then we’ll give you a nice overview of the Executive MBA and how we’ve structured it, how it might fit into your schedule. From there, we’ll dive into the admissions requirements, I’ll go over from what it takes to be admitted, what the application process looks like from start to finish. Then we do also have a student on the line, so we’re going to get a day in the life perspective from him, excited to share more information about really what a student’s experience looks like in the Executive MBA.
Jake M.: Then we’ll be talking about our international field study which is optional, excited to expand on that. And like I mentioned before, we have a live Q&A at the end. So, get those questions rolling in if you have anything you want us to dive deeper into. Starting off with introductions, my name is Jake Moscinski, I am enrollment advisor here for our Online MBA, along with the Online Executive MBA. So really, it’s my job to help people learn about the program, to see if that’s a fit. If you’re determined it was, and you wanted to apply, I would also be able to guide students through the application process. We’ve got a handful of advisors here that are ready to help people with the program. We also have Mitch Swanger on the line. Mitch, you want to introduce yourself?
Mitch S.: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Jake. Welcome everybody. Thanks for taking time out of your day to join us. My name is Mitch Swanger, and I’ve been with the Carson College of Business now for just shy of 10 years. I’m the director of admissions and student services for grad and online programs. Essentially, my team oversees all of the operations from recruitment through graduation.
Jake M.: Awesome. Thanks Mitch. We also have Matt on the line. Matt, want to tell us a bit about yourself?
Matt B.: Hello. Welcome everyone, glad you could join us. I hope you’re well and safe out there. My job as military and veteran affairs manager is to serve and take care of our veteran students [inaudible 00:03:26] this program, and hopefully preparing them for advancement either in their military career or beyond their service. Welcome to the forum, I hope it’s informative for you.
Jake M.: Awesome. Thanks Matt. Happy to have you guys both on the line and then a special thanks to Chad. He is our student speaker today, going to give us some insight. Chad want to take a second to tell us a bit about your background?
Chad H.: Sure. My name is Chad Heese. I originally am from Las Vegas, Nevada and got my undergrad from UNLB. I moved about four years ago to Southern Oregon, and today I work for Rogue Credit Union as the chief lending and strategy officer. So, I have oversight of lending activity, as well as enterprise risk management and data analytics slash … can you not hear me?
Jake M.: Sorry, Chad. We lost you there for a second. I know last I heard was that you work for Rogue Credit Union, and I didn’t catch the position that you have. Can you explain that?
Chad H.: Sure. I’m the chief lending and strategy officer, so I have oversight of all the lending activity, as well as enterprise risk management and data analytics/business intelligence. Like I said, I’ve been here about four years, and so I completed my EMBA with WSU in the 2018/2019, so I finished at the very end of ’19 and was sponsored by my employer to do the program.
Jake M.: Excellent. Thank you again. We’re super excited to have you on the line. You’re going to be answering plenty of questions here, coming down. Again, thank you for joining. Now, Mitch, I know you want to share a little bit more about the history of Washington State and what our origins look like.
Mitch S.: Yes, absolutely. Thanks, Jake. This is going to be a quick high level overview because there’s a lot of content in today’s webinar, so I’m just going to gloss through this somewhat quickly. The Washington State University was founded in 1890 in Pullman, Washington. For those of you who are not familiar with our area or the state of Washington, we are right on the Eastern side of the state. We’re right on the Idaho border. A lot of people are familiar with Seattle, we’re about four and a half hour drive or so from Seattle, and about 80 miles or so south of Spokane, so right on the Idaho border. WSU was founded as Washington State land grant institution. What that means is the university was founded on the mission of providing affordable education to anybody who is willing and able to pursue it. When it was started, it was mainly an agricultural school based on our location. If you’re familiar with the place, there’s rolling wheat fields anywhere and everywhere around us, and then obviously it’s grown into what it is today.
Mitch S.: We do have over 125 years of alumni legacy, and currently have one of the biggest alumni associations. It’s almost called … actually, I’ve noticed that no matter where you’re at in the world, if somebody sees some type of WSU sign or you’re wearing a shirt or something, you’re likely going to get a [inaudible 00:06:58] yelled at you. I truly have never seen anything like it. We’ll talk about that a little bit more later on in the presentation. Regarding the Carson College of Business, we have over 60 years of graduate business education and over 20 years of online degree programs. We offered our first MBA graduate was in 1957. Like I said, we have over 20 years of online education and our Executive MBA went on fully online in the spring of 2011, with the goal to work around the busy working professional. And again, this will come up more later on, but the goal essentially was to work around people who are busy with jobs, families, all of the above.
Mitch S.: And then the last thing I’m going to mention is, we do have an international network of corporate and academic alliances, which allows our students more corporate and learning opportunities. So, if you go on the international study trip, you’ll be able to see some of those opportunities.
Jake M.: Awesome. Thanks, Mitch, appreciate that. I think for students looking to move into the Executive MBA, the big things there, the 20 years of perfecting online degrees is huge. We’ve had a lot of time to refine our approach and make it as flexible as possible, then that international network helps factor into our curriculum and also the study abroad experience, if you choose to go on that. But now, I’m going to take a second to talk about the accreditations and the rankings. Really to preface this part of the conversation, I’d say an important part of choosing an MBA is looking into the accreditation of the school and the college that you’re looking at, and then alongside that, you want to look at the rankings. Typically, it’s a good way of measuring brand recognition of a school. That’s what we’re going to look at now, starting off with the accreditation.
Jake M.: You’ll see at the top there, that AACSB. WSU and the Carson College of Business, we’re among less than 2% of schools worldwide that are accredited at the bachelor master and doctoral level from the AACSB. AACSB is typically thought of as the gold standard for business programs, so it’s really what every school strives for with their business degrees. They want it to be AACSB accredited. What it does, it ensures that curriculum is going to be relevant, that the skills you’re learning from a program are going to be able to be used in your current position and future positions. It also makes sure that the faculty are our top tier and that we’re producing research as a university in the area of business. That again, keeps that curriculum relevant, keeps it cutting edge. And then below the AACSB accreditation, you see the NWCCU. This is a regional accrediting body. That’s another thing that you want to look for out of schools that you are looking at.
Jake M.: There’s two main categories, there’s national, and then there’s regional. Regional is considered the again, the gold standard, what you want to find, and there’s a variety of regional accrediting bodies. We have the NWCCU, but there’s a handful of them, all of them equally as relevant. To recap that section, I would recommend looking for AACSB accredited programs and regionally accredited programs as you research different schools. Then additionally moving on to the ranking section of the conversation, rankings are a good way of looking at brand recognition. You’re going to see us on a variety of different ranking lists as a quick summary, U.S. News & World Report, a very popular ranking institution for a variety of things ranks our Executive MBA or Online MBA … currently, we’re number 18 and 2020. That’s the top 5% nationally. We’ve been top 5% for quite some time now, I think roughly close to 10 years. We don’t chase the ranking, but it’s nice to see that recognition.
Jake M.: Additionally, Poets&Quants is another good resource for students as they research different programs. We recently got ranked there as … looks like number 16 for 2020, for best online MBA programs. Specifically when we’re looking at Executive MBAs, CEO Magazine ranked us number 42 for 2020 for Executive MBAs. And then, we have some veteran rankings as well, U.S. News ranked us number 13 for top MBAs for veterans, and then we’re recognized as a Military Friendly School as well. Moving into that military piece of the conversation, Matt, tell us a little bit about the support that students can expect if they’re coming from a military background into the Executive MBA.
Matt B.: You bet. Thanks again to everyone being here. My name’s Matt Beer, retired [inaudible 00:12:09] from the Air Force. For the last two years, I’ve been working on programs in the Carson College of Business to really increase the experience for our student veterans, which compromise between 10 and 15% of the program, about 20% of those folks are actually in transition from being in service to being out of service. Some of the [inaudible 00:12:29] put in place specifically have that in mind, the experience being [inaudible 00:12:35] procedures that we have, the community trying to make them a part of the professional community. And then the last piece is really the development, so layering on top of the degree, are some experiences to give them some of those professional touches, whether they be resume, profile review and some networking opportunities.
Matt B.: This is really important to this community as it is for everyone in the program, and that’s what we’ve been working on. So, this is you, or you know someone who’s interested in this type of thing, please reach out to me. And in addition, tomorrow we’ll be having a student veteran focused session as well. If that’s of interest to you, feel free to join us.
Jake M.: Awesome. Thanks, Matt. If you want to sign up for that military webinar, if you want to dive deeper into that with Matt and another advisor here, there is the resource tab with a link to that. I think it’s on the right side of your [inaudible 00:13:32] screen. But now moving on to just a general overview of the Executive MBA. We are a 100% Online EMBA, so there is a lot of schools out there that have online components, oftentimes they have residency requirements or travel requirements where you need to meet up X amount of times per year. We don’t have any mandatory travel. What we’ve done is made all travel optional to really fit into that busy schedule that a lot of our students have. Additionally, we’re a pretty quick program. You can complete the Executive MBA in as quick as 18 months. If you follow a standard schedule that we have built out, you’re in and out in about a year and a half to get through.
Jake M.: Additionally, we are considered an asynchronous program. What that means is when you’re working on your assignments and doing things, it really is going to be at your own time. There’s no mandatory times that you need to be attending live, it is considered an asynchronous program to allow again, that flexibility fit into your working schedule, try to be as flexible as possible. That being said though, we do want that interactivity, we want that support, and we want you to have access to … you will have live lectures. Really, they’re less lectures, they’re more discussions where you’re interacting with your professors, you hop into a webinar, you get two of these every week where you’re really able to connect and ask those questions in a live format, learn in a live format and connect with classmates face to face, essentially through the computer.
Jake M.: If you can’t make these live, they are recorded. You get the recorded copy, typically, the next morning is when we’d send it out. So, if you got to hop off early or had a different thing getting in the way of the live session, you are welcome to watch that recorded copy on your own time. All of those reasons lead into the next bullet point, just designing the MBA for the working professional now that flexibility is huge to allow you to really get the most out of a program as possible. Additionally, we do have world class faculty and curriculum. I think the Executive MBA in particular is highly focused on innovation and strategy, and you’re going to see a lot of great concepts, really all taught by top tier professionals, PhD holding professionals who are trying to set you up to move into the C suite of a company. We want to prep you for leading organizations and leading departments and really being knowledgeable when conducting that role.
Jake M.: At the end of our program, we do have a capstone project, so a standard master’s degree has some final deliverable, some programs have a final comprehensive exam, others would have a final paper, a research paper that you would do be doing, a thesis project. Instead, what Washington State has decided to do with the new Executive MBA is to have a capstone project where you are going to develop a business plan from start to finish typically in a team setting. We teach you all this great leadership content throughout the program, and now at the end, you’re going to be applying that into a business plan and ultimately pitching it to some Carson College of Business faculty members who essentially act as investors. We will be diving a bit deeper into that later. I’m going to be asking Chad some questions about his capstone project.
Jake M.: And then again, we have that international field study. I’m not going to spend too much time on that, but it’s a really cool opportunity. It’s optional. We’re going to expand on that in a few slides here with Mitch and Chad as well. And then the last piece there, you’re going to see the EMBA Leadership Conference. This is really an excellent networking event that we’ve put together, both networking and professional development. I’m going to let Mitch talk about that again, a few slides down the line. Now, we’re going to go over just a recap of some of the stuff we’ve talked about, but also a lot of new stuff. Again, 18 months to complete, it is 100% online without any residency required. We’ve got that optional international field study and the optional leadership conference that we’ll talk about in a bit. Aside from that though, we do try to keep our classes small, we got 20 students per class is the average. What that does is it allows you to connect more intimately with your groups, rather than being in a big class, and it also allows us to have more faculty per student.
Jake M.: So, you’re able to connect with your faculty members in a timely manner. They’re able to get back to you and support you better than if we had larger classes. That’s something we definitely try to keep small and the Executive MBA. Another huge thing that … I think this one is a pretty big highlight is going to be the core structure. What we have done pretty uniquely in the Carson College of Business for the EMBA is we’ve restructured it to be a one class at a time program. So, you got 15 classes, but we make those classes into five weeks sections. So, if we’re looking at a standard semester at WSU, we have a fall, a spring and a summer semester, but a standard semester would be comprised of three classes, but you’re only taking one at a time. So, you’re taking a class for the first five weeks of the semester, really learning and mastering that content, that class concludes, now you jump into the next course, the next third of the semester. Again, master that content and jump into a final course the final five weeks of the semester.
Jake M.: So, you’re constantly jumping into new material, you’re really spending a lot of time on that in shorter sections of the five week blocks. At the end of the program, you will be taking a capstone class alongside your regular class where you simultaneously learn the leadership MBA content more applying that to your capstone project. And then at the bottom there, you’re going to see the tuition, always going to be a big factor when making a decision with a school. For us, we are $1,264 per credit hour, that’s not including the cost of books. You’ll have 44 total credits, so that would make the overall tuition, $55,616. The way payments are structured, you’re only paying for the class that you’re enrolled in. So essentially, every five weeks, you pay that one class payments. Funding options that we commonly see, financial aid, that’s available to those who apply and qualify, got a lot of students who are using that to help offset some of the out of pocket costs. And then tuition reimbursement is another very common one through employers, so also I’d recommend looking into any policies that might be available to you.
Jake M.: But moving on the next slide I want to talk about is the admissions requirements, want to give you some understanding of what the application process looks, what we like to see when we’re applying to the EMBA. You’ll have your online application, there’s typically a $75 fee in that for you guys. For everybody who’s attending this live, you can go get a coach to waive that fee, so keep an eye out in your emails for that. But the documents that you’re going to be completing in the EMBA application, first thing, we want to get official transcripts from all schools attended, we’re also going to get an updated resume. I want it to be two pages max, if they really highlight leadership and managerial experience, because we do want to see about five years of management to be admitted into the program. Additionally, we’ll want three letters of recommendation. Ideally, we want at least one of these coming from somebody who’s managing you or has managed you in the past, and then we have a statement of purpose essay that you’re going to be drafting, really just explaining what your background is, what your career plans are and why you’re a good fit for the program.
Jake M.: From there, you got a letter of organizational support form, as well as an organizational summary and a chart along with the final interview. All of these documents that you’ll be working on if you apply, you will get guidance from an advisor. Myself or any of my team members, we’re here to support you and really walk you through that. We can give feedback as necessary and use different documents and give you guidance on the different things. We’ll make it as painless as possible if you are to apply. I had alluded to this earlier, but the experience, we’re looking for five years of management experience, five or more. If you are not sure what that means, definitely have a conversation with an advisor. We can take a look at your resume, see if there’s a good argument for application into the Executive MBA. Otherwise, if you’re maybe a little shy on the five years, we do have a traditional, regular Online MBA that could be open to you as well.
Jake M.: The GPA, we’re looking for a 3.0 or higher. There are exceptions that are made to that rule, so if you don’t hit a 3.0, it doesn’t mean there’s no way of getting admitted. That’s another case where I’d recommend talking to an advisor and we can see if there’s an argument to be admitted with below 3.0 GPA. Here’s a big one, is going to be the GMAT exam. Everybody’s always curious about GMAT waivers or what scores they need. If you are to take the GMAT, we usually want to see a 550 on that test or better for some frame of reference, a 550 would be … around the 50th percentile, a standard score if you are to take that. But I would recommend looking into GMAT waiver options, which is this next slide. We’ve got five main ways to waive the GMAT test. First one, fairly often used is going to be if you already have a graduate or professional degree. If you have another master’s degree or you have a professional degree like a JD or a medical degree, we can use that as evidence to request a GMAT waiver.
Jake M.: Additionally, a very common one that’s used is going to be this next one, having five years or more of progressive work experience paired with a 3.0 GPA or higher being used to waive the GMAT. In that case, we’ll dive into your resume, we’ll look at your quantitative and STEM type classes in your transcripts and make a conclusion there. The third GMAT waiver option that we have is a STEM degree waiver. If you have a bachelor’s in a science technology and engineering and mathematics type degree alongside a 3.0 GPA or higher, we can be requesting a GMAT waiver in that case. If you aren’t sure if your undergrad was a STEM degree or you think maybe there’s an argument for it, share your transcripts with an advisor. We can talk you through that and see what your options might be. Additionally, if you have a business degree, if you have an AACSB accredited business degree, that is option number four, that we also need a 3.0 GPA to request that waiver, but that’s a fairly common one as well, if you’re coming from a business educational background.
Jake M.: And then the final one, this is one for students below that 3.0 mark. If you have a 2.79 GPA or higher, along with 10 or more years of work experience, we can be requesting a GMAT waiver as well. Perfect. Now moving on, I hope that clarified the application and the GMAT waiver process in general, we’re here to help. But I do want to talk a little bit about the support systems that we’ve put in place within the EMBA so that you can get a feel of what that looks like. Starting day one, starting right now, you have access to a team oof enrollment advisor. That’s myself again, we’re here to help answer any questions that you have and help you through that admissions process. From there, as soon as you’re admitted into the program, and if you do end up starting the program, you’ll have a student support advisor. Your student support advisor, their role really is to help guide you through the entirety of the program, so very helpful on the administrative end of things, from registering, from classes and getting books and registering and just getting a schedule.
Jake M.: But they can also be a great point of contact for pointing in the right direction for any situation that you see. If you do need to take a pause in the program, they’re going to be the person you want to contact to walk through your different options. Aside from student support, you have a technical support, so 24/7 technical support for these systems that we use. We also have the Crimson help desk, which is our help team on campus. They’re excellent at solving issues in a timely manner. I use them whenever either myself or any of my students have issues, I talk to them quite frequently. They are great. We also keep those small class sizes so that you have quick access to your instructors, so you get quick support. And then, we break our classes into sections, where you have a section instructor who is able to really help you through any content related questions. So, a lot of layers of support, I think that’s another defining aspect of Washington State and the EMBA.
Jake M.: I think these are part of the reason why we have a very high graduation rate. We see about 90% of our students in the EMBA graduating. I think that’s be because we have great support and great students. But Mitch, tell us a little bit about the international field study that we’ve alluded to. Can you go ahead and go over that?
Mitch S.: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Jake. Though it’s not required, our students do have the opportunity to attend this international field study trip every year, although this year we actually had to cancel it. They’re normally held in April, but due to COVID-19, we had to cancel that unfortunately. Once everything’s up and running again, these trips will continue. The last few years of the trip is then in China, and it’s about 10 or 11 days, depending on where you’re traveling from. But it’s nice be because it’s a nice mix of company visits as well as leisure activities. You’ll be taking that trip with fellow classmates and peers, as well as some of the faculty. [inaudible 00:28:49] who oversees our capstone for the Executive MBA leads that trip, and you’ll get to go with him.
Mitch S.: Over the years, some of the multinational companies decided that they visited our John Deere or Boeing, there’s also Chinese companies that you’ll visit like Alibaba, with China being one of the largest economies in the world, is the reason why [inaudible 00:29:14] likes to take the students to China so that they can really explore what the business environment is, what the climate for doing business in China is like over Chinese partners or being able to sell into the Chinese market. The other nice thing with this trip is it can be somewhat tailored based on the interest of the students. We can’t make promises for everybody, but if [inaudible 00:29:40] gets enough lead time before the trip, he can work on some of the accommodations. Last year’s trip, we had a few students who work in the aerospace field in Boeing, so part of the trip was tailored to go to Boeing or to visit Boeing R&D center in Beijing.
Mitch S.: Some of the tourist activities and cultural activities include things like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall. If you’re in Shanghai, the Yu Garden. So, you get this nice appreciation for the history and culture of China. And actually, I think Chad, you have attended this trip in the past. Do you mind talking about your experience?
Chad H.: Sure. I was there April 2019. It was a fantastic trip, really enjoyed it. There were about, I want to say six students that attended, there might’ve been seven students that attended. It was a solid mix of both the academic side and going and interacting with some of these companies, for example, we went to an attorney’s office and we spent some time talking with these attorneys, which I thought was absolutely fascinating sitting and talking with these attorneys about real estate law in that, none of the … I’m sorry, the government owns all of the underlying land underneath the buildings, and everybody’s got these ground leases, and I was asking questions about what happens when the leases are up and they seem pretty comfortable with saying they don’t know, which for me was fascinating. I mean culturally, for me, that’s not something that works, and I’m a lender by trade. And as a lender, you’re going to loan hundreds of millions of dollars to build a building on land that you don’t own, so it was really interesting.
Chad H.: And then, you coupled that with some of the more recreational things that we did, we went to the Great Wall and we went to the Forbidden City, we had a fantastic time. The experience of being there was fantastic, and then the relationships that were built were also an added benefit. A good chunk of my capstone group was on the trip as well. And so even today, I still keep in regular contact with those guys, even though we’ve not had a need to text, I’m in a WhatsApp group with them, and we all keep in contact be because we forged these really solid bonds, and we’re not in the same industry. I think that really speaks to how valuable that experience was.
Jake M.: That’s awesome, Chad. Thank you for expanding on that. And again, for everybody, this is optional, so if you can’t make it, that’s fine. If you can, you can have a pretty cool experience like Chad. And it’s not necessarily always going to be in China, sometimes it goes to different locations, China has been a fairly consistent one though with the Executive MBA. Perfect. At this point, let’s move on to the Executive MBA Leadership Conference. Mitch, this is another one that you can expand on, and then we’ll probably have Chad chime in as well.
Mitch S.: Yes, thanks Jake. Every year in the fall, we hold what we call the Executive MBA Leadership Conference. This is an opportunity where though we don’t require any residency, this is an opportunity for our EMBA students to meet up with fellow students, with staff, faculty. And like I said, we do hold it every fall in September. You’ll notice here that we have the save the date coming up for September 28th and 29th 2020. As of right now, we do know that there will be something happening, what we don’t know are all of the logistics yet obviously based on COVID-19 and being quarantined and phasing and the travel restrictions and whatnot. If we are fully up and running, this will be an in person event, but there is a chance we may have this be some type of a hybrid event. So, if you are interested in that, just talk to your advisors about it and they can keep you in the loop. But when we do hold the face to face leadership conference, it is an optional three day event exclusive to our current students and alumni, and this is only for the Executive MBA students.
Mitch S.: We hold it in Seattle and we typically hold it at Boutique Hotel. This year, assuming it is a go live, we are talking about having it at the Edgewater in Seattle, if you’re familiar with that hotel. Essentially what it is, is it’s two full days of sessions where we bring in executive coaches and leaders to talk about their work and conduct the workshops. This last fall, September 2019, some of the topics included group stereotypes and biases in the workplace. There was another session on emotional intelligence and how it’s a differentiator in the workplace, and then we had a full day with Stephen [inaudible 00:35:09] on the skills and techniques that stand out as a global executive. Outside of the sessions, there’s also a few opportunities for networking. The first night that we’re there, we do have basically a reception, we call it the dean’s reception and we have the dean of our college, being Chip Hunter come and say a few words to our students and then mingle.
Mitch S.: And then after the first full day of sessions, there is another networking opportunity for the students to just mingle with fellow classmates, staff and faculty. Like I said, it’s up in the air as to what this will look like. We do know there will be an event, we just don’t fully know the logistics yet, hopeful to have something more concrete mid July. But Chad, I believe you’ve also attended this conference a few times. Do you mind sharing your experience?
Chad H.: Yeah, I’ve been twice now, and I found a great deal of value actually both times. Admittedly, I wasn’t going to attend the first time, and a colleague that was going through the program with me that I worked with mentioned the conference and she says, “Oh, we should go.” And then she ended up not going, and I went that first year and then I ended up finding so much value out of it that I plan it each year at this point in time. Honestly, what surprised me about it was … I go to my own industry conferences all the time and I get value out of those, and when I was going to go to this one, I thought, well, you’ve got to find something that is valuable to a broad base of people, that’s going to be difficult to do. But each year, the two years that I’ve been in, it’s been nailed. I mean, I’ve gotten value out of each item. Last year during Steven Krempl’s presentation, my flight was getting ready to leave and I had to leave.
Chad H.: I was sitting feverously taking notes, and then the colleagues that didn’t go the first year went last year with me, and as we left on the same flight and we were driving to the airport, we were both talking about how it would be worthwhile to just book the flights the following day to make sure that we don’t miss the end of the session, because there was so much value in what we were getting out of. It was a pretty neat experience.
Jake M.: That’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing that, Chad. Thank you Mitch for the overview there. I think it’s a great opportunity. I think that’s probably the best and most consistent networking piece that we have, at least in person. And you are invited as an alumni, so once you complete the program … Chad is still invited year over year, as is anybody who completes the degree. So, welcome to have you guys come. Now, the next thing I want to do is just a day in the life breakdown of the program of what you can expect as a student, try to give you some clarity there. Our class week begin on Monday and they end on Sunday. Typically, you’re going to have your assignment due on Sunday at 11:59 PM Pacific time, and it’s really up to you Monday to Sunday to figure out when you’ll be working on that, because it’s an asynchronous program. Chad, as you were a student in the program, what did your weeks typically look like? Did you do most of your homework on certain days? Did you chip away each day? What would that look like?
Chad H.: Yeah. Most of the time, the classes were going to be … there was two sessions during the week, so there was often a Monday or Tuesday class, and then there would be another section instruction that occurred on a Wednesday or Thursday. And so those days, I pretty much just did those classes in the evening, tried to get my reading done through the work week itself, and then Saturday was my big day to sit down and really bang stuff out, and if I needed to, it’s sometimes pushed over into Sunday. But most of the classes, if you’re able to dedicate that time an hour or two each night to school, and then do the heavy lifting on a weekend, that structure worked pretty well for me.
Jake M.: Awesome. It sounds like you would mainly spend the standard weekdays prepping, where you’re attending those live sessions and learning the material, you’re reading your resources and your assignments there, and then on the weekends, you’d spend a bit more time actually knocking out the assignments. That’s awesome. You guys, as students can handle this how you want, you can break it down, probably [inaudible 00:40:05]. Chad, with those live sessions, you’ve got the two different ones, they’re always 6:00 PM Pacific at the earliest start date and are about an hour long. Did you attend to most of those live? Did you ever just watch the recorded copies? What was your strategy throughout the program?
Chad H.: I generally try to attend the live session, that way, if I had any questions, particularly around assignments or those kinds of things, you’ve got the immediate response. It dependent on the class, there were times where admittedly, and maybe I shouldn’t admit to this, but like accounting, for example, I’m good with accounting, I didn’t have any struggles with accounting, and so I really didn’t attend many of those sessions because I had a pretty solid grasp of it ahead of time, so I wasn’t getting much value out of the sessions. But then there were other sessions that I got a lot of value out of, so I tried to make sure that I was a part of those.
Jake M.: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I think I would tackle it the same way. If there’s something I was confident in and I didn’t want to spend the time in the live session, always review the webinar if you need be, but I think I would have done the same thing. The next bullet point that we see there though is about … we can expect 20 hours per week of work going into the program, including those class times, including reading your materials. Does that shame aligned with what you saw? Was there any changes in hours per week? Tell me a little bit about your breakdown there.
Chad H.: Sure. I think 20 hours is a good average, recognizing that like any average, there will be classes that are stronger in terms of time and classes that are going to be a little bit easier in terms of time. I know that I took one class and I just kept thinking, man, this class is burning a lot of time. And when you find yourself in that circumstance, you just started counting down the weeks, okay, this is week two, this is week three, and there was always on the horizon, there was always hoped that this was going to end. And then honestly you got into the next class and the flow would be a little easier. In total, I would say there was probably three classes that the 20 hours would have been a gift, but you were going to use a lot more time. Overall, it wasn’t bad though.
Jake M.: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It’s a rigorous program, there are some of those classes that are more difficult than others that include more work than others. I appreciate you sharing that, giving us a realistic expectation of the program’s work. Now, I know in a lot of the classes there’s group work, so we like to prep students make sure that you’re ready to adapt to remote teamwork where you’re working with students. What types of tools did you use, Chad, when you went through the program and you’re coordinating with groups, how did you guys tackle assignments and stay connected? What was your strategy there?
Chad H.: Yeah. Mostly we used Google docs. There was a lot of Google doc work, Office365 was helpful. We set up WhatsApp groups right off the bat so that everyone was able to correspond. I found it useful generally whenever a new class started to go out and figure out whether or not there was going to be any group work, and if there was, the first thing I did was go out there and publish my email address and phone number. And then in fact, that’s something that I would encourage everyone to do. I can’t tell you how many times someone said, “Hey, I’m available whenever”, and then they didn’t give you a phone number and an email address, and so you’re trying to correspond through the blackboard system, and if you just get that contact information out there that everybody’s a little more accustomed to early, then it’s easy. Our use of Google docs just real quick was really helpful. There were times particularly through some group projects where we’d have four people on a call and everybody’s updating the documents at the same time, and you’re able to see things in real time. It was really helpful.
Jake M.: So you’re able to see the document grow, see the contributions that everybody’s making real time?
Chad H.: Absolutely.
Jake M.: I guess my next question for you, I think is similar to that group work question, is your capstone project. At the end of the program, we got that business plan that you create from start to finish. I’m just curious, what did you and your team members do for your capstone? What was the choice that you guys did?
Chad H.: We came up with a short term lending solution for people that might be having some difficulty. The goal of the project was to be a disruptor to payday loan providers. A lot of payday loan providers have a predatory approach to lending, they’ve got these exorbitant fees and there’s a mechanism to perpetuate a problem. And so, our project really identified a way to disrupt that industry by offering a substantially lower fee amount and try to come up with a mechanism to really help pull people out of the continuous cycle of payday lending.
Jake M.: Gotcha. Okay. That’s super interesting. It’s probably especially interesting for you coming from a financial background. What did your group composition look like? What team members did you have, how did you, I guess, form your team for the capstone?
Chad H.: We had four people on the team, there was myself, there was one of the guys that actually was in the credit union industry as well, was the CEO of a credit union down in Florida, and then there was an engineer that lives in the Reno area and he’s a robotics engineer, so completely different industry. And then, we had a technical project lead that worked for Amazon, who was part of the project as well. And so, it was a good group compliment. We had a lot of different facets to the team and everybody’s brought in a unique skill set.
Jake M.: Excellent. Thank you so much. Those are the main questions I had for you. I appreciate you giving us some insight there. Mitch, real quick. Can you just give us a quick summary of the different networking events outside of the international trip outside of the leadership conference?
Mitch S.: I can, yeah. Thanks Jake. None of these are required as we’ve mentioned numerous times being 100% online, but what we did discover over the last few years is even though we don’t require residency to come to campus, a lot of our students were still looking for chances to meet face to face if they wanted that option. So, on the screen in front of you is a few of the things we currently do each year. I’ve already talked about the international field study, so I’m going to go ahead and skip that. Every year, the Carson College of Business holds what they call a power breakfast. And side note, we typically hold that power breakfast and our EMBA conference within the same week, within the same few days. So, if you are traveling out of town or from out of town, or taking work off, you can lump those together, if you want to. What that is, is it’s an opportunity for … again, we have community members in there, current students, alumni, staff, faculty, join for a breakfast, and then there’s typically a speaker.
Mitch S.: There’s a speaker series that happens during that breakfast. Sometimes it’s one or two speakers, sometimes it’s a panel, and the topics vary year over year. We’ve had representatives from Alaska airlines there and we’ve had authors over the years, so it just depends on … Actually, I think last year we had the WSU men’s basketball coach speak, Kyle Smith, so that’s an option. We also have Cougs [inaudible 00:48:46]. Basically what those are, is various Coug owned business owners, and they get together. It’s similar to a trade show where business owners can work with other business owners. There’s faculty, staff, current students, alumni there as well, that’s held in Seattle as well. Although, we were going to have our first show in Spokane this spring, but that got canceled. Matt does hold military specific student events. If you attend his webinar tomorrow, I’m sure he will dive into that, but those are specific for his group of students. There’s various alumni association events and watch parties specific to football seasons.
Mitch S.: If you go to the alumni association page and you just type in your area, you’ll be able to see who’s holding WSU football viewing parties in, or around your cities, so those are always an option. We do have commencement every December and May. Not required, but we always like to encourage our students who are graduating to come to campus. We hold a reception where you get to meet with various faculty and staff, and then get to walk in commencement in Beasley, in Pullman. We also have what are called Coug Conversations, so just a myriad of networking opportunities. Right now, most of these are specific to the Pacific Northwest, but as we’ve held these, we are working toward expanding some of these nationwide. So, be on the lookout for potential opportunities outside of the Pacific Northwest.
Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you very much, Mitch. Again, I feel like year over year, I’m getting new networking events that are being added, which is always exciting, so cool to see the list grow. Perfect. Well, at this point, we covered the main information we wanted to so we’re going to move into that Q&A section. For anybody who doesn’t have time for that, thank you for joining us. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know. But want to go ahead and start with the Q&A, got some great questions rolling in here. The first one that I saw Mitch is going to be, do you make a distinction in the academic records as to what type of MBA is being earned? I think they’re curious as to what the degree would actually look like, an Executive MBA versus an MBA. Can you tell us a little bit about that, Mitch?
Mitch S.: Yeah, I can. The degree is a master of business administration, and once you … I don’t know if this is still a concern anymore with how many programs have gone online, but I know when we first started, when I first joined 10 years ago, there was a lot of … I don’t know, worry or hesitation about something saying that the degree was online. We do not list that anywhere. So when you graduate with your MBA from Washington State University, your transcript says just that. That you’ve earned a master in business administration from Washington State University, and nowhere, does it say anything about it being an online program. The degree at the end is the general MBA, but the big differentiators here, I would say between both programs and maybe Chad can attest to this, is the demographic and the network of your colleagues and your classmates. With our general MBA, we have students who might just be fresh out of their undergrad, 21, 22, who have maybe little to no work experience, whereas in the Executive MBA, you have medical doctors, people high up in the military, people high up in healthcare and banking, CEOs, CFOs, so the network is a huge piece of that, and our MBA students can get a lot from their classmates.
Mitch S.: This is what I’m doing, we have this topic in our class this week, this is how I’m applying it at my work. Interesting, in healthcare, this is what we’re doing. I think you see way more of that in the Executive MBA than you would in the general MBA. I don’t know, Chad, if you want to speak to the network of the classmates and colleagues and all, but I would say that’s a huge differentiator between the two.
Chad H.: Yeah, absolutely. I would agree. I think the average person probably had 10 years of executive experience, and so at a foundational level, you’re starting at a higher level, so it’s easier to just use terminology and things like that, that you wouldn’t … you would use with someone of that caliber and you just move a little faster. And even from a networking standpoint, I ended up at one point in time, meeting someone through the program that I ended up doing business with later and sold a giant pool of different types of loans to their company. And so, the networking has been great and the people that you meet are great caliber.
Jake M.: Awesome. I appreciate that, Chad, and thanks Mitch for explaining that a little bit. Perfect. I got another question here for depth entry points, just looking as to when they can start the program, what options are available. In the Executive MBA, you’ve got three different start dates that you can pursue, that’s each semester. So, you got your fall start, you got a spring start and then a summer start. The next one immediately coming up here is going to be that August 24th class start date. And then, deadlines are always about a month before the start of classes, so for August, you’re going to be looking at a July 27th application deadline. I’d suggest to get everything in sooner than that, it just gives you a better experience for getting onboarded the earlier you submit your application. But then if you’re looking at spring, there’s a start date in January, that’d be a January 11th start date 2021, application deadline would probably be early December, late November, somewhere around there.
Jake M.: And then, if we’re looking at the summer, May 10th 2021 is the next summer start, that application deadline would be sometime at the beginning of April. Perfect. Another thing to extrapolate on, the application process, I’d say it typically takes somewhere between two to four weeks to complete all of the documents. That’s not you working super hard on documents for two weeks straight, but there is some lag time sometimes with getting transcripts or waiting on letters of recommendation to come in. That’s why the sooner you start, the better, because it gives you a lot more leeway with some of the factors that are outside of your control. Excellent. Now, I am just going back to the question list, want to find another good one here. For the leadership conference, are the speakers or lecturers alumni, or are there special guest speakers involved? Mitch, do you want to chime in on that one a little bit?
Mitch S.: Yeah, I would say both. Sometimes we’ll have alumni come, last year we had a current faculty member that spoke, we had external consultants. A few years ago we had Drew Bledsoe come speak. He owns a myriad of wineries in Washington state, so he spoke. So, it’s a toss up, and so the answer is yes, we have a combination of both. We had a panel where we had former EMBA students who are now alumni come and speak as well to the current students.
Jake M.: Excellent. Thanks, Mitch. Here’s a good one for you, Chad. Do students have an opportunity for a live in person graduation ceremony? I know they do. That’s the quick answer. Chad, did you attend the live ceremony when you you wrapped up your school?
Chad H.: No, my ceremony would have been in … well, I could have graduated in winter, but talking to [inaudible 00:57:42] and some others that was more of a hey, May is really the time to go to Pullman, so my graduation was coveted. [crosstalk 00:57:54]
Jake M.: Well, hopefully, we can get you out for whenever things settled back down. Was there a virtual graduation for you then, was there a different option that took place?
Chad H.: I’m not sure if there was. I disconnected from it. My son graduated from UNR at the same time, and so I was more focused on him.
Mitch S.: Jake, I can actually weigh in on that a second. Chad, I’m sorry, what a time to graduate, huh? The university did hold a virtual commencement in May, but the plan right now is that they will basically have a face to face graduation ceremony, August 8th. People who wanted to walk this May that were not able to, the tentative plan right now is they will be able to do so August 8th. And it will be a full ceremony, just like it was May.
Jake M.: Very cool. Chad, definitely mark that down on your calendar. We want to see you. Perfect. I think we’ve got time for maybe one more question. I’ve got a question for students who aren’t coming in with a business degree, are there any prerequisites? In our Executive MBA, we don’t have any prerequisites that are needed. So, you don’t need to be coming in with a business background, you don’t need to take anything to be able to start, and that is only for the Executive MBA. I think we weigh work experience a bit heavier there and then tailor the curriculum a bit more towards those leadership experiences that our students have had, so prerequisites aren’t going to be needed. We’ll bring you up to speed in the classes that you’ll see. Mitch, would you agree with that statement? Do you feel like that explains the …
Mitch S.: Yeah, Jake. I’d absolutely agree with that statement. Basically, the presumption is that depending on how high you’ve got in your company, you’ve done all of those prereqs within your management and leadership already. So, we’re taking what you already know and applying it that way compared to our general MBA, which we do require prereqs because a lot of those students don’t have that management or leadership experience that the MBA students do have.
Jake M.: Perfect. Thank you very much. That just about wraps it, we’re at about an hour here. Any questions we didn’t get to, we’re going to follow up with you via email. We’ve got a team of advisors that will be going through that. I want to thank everybody for joining. Chad, especially want to thank you for joining us and sharing your experience. Mitch and Matt, thank you as well. If you are looking to start this fall, we got that August 24th start date, reach out to us, July 27th deadline, so plenty of time to knock things out. Again, thank you everybody, and we look forward to talking to you hopefully over the phone and getting you squared away.