WSU MBA Spring 2019 Info Session with Program Director

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Jason Techeira: Hi. Good evening, everyone. Thank you for joining us for our online MBA information session. We’re very excited to give you a little bit of background information on our program.

Jason Techeira: Before we get started, I would love to go through just some housekeeping items here. In order to minimize the background noise, this presentation is in broadcast-only mode. You can hear us. We cannot hear you. What I do ask is that you please do use the Q&A chat box off to the side of the screen at any time. We will have time at the end of the presentation to answer these questions, but that feature will push those questions out to us immediately. Also, a recording of this session will be emailed to you after the webinar. Additionally, we do ask that you fill out the webinar survey at the end of this presentation.

Jason Techeira: What we’ll cover today is we’ll go through some brief introductions, the history of the program, some of the highlights that we have. I’ll love to introduce you to our director of the MBA program, a day in the life of the MBA students that we have here, and we’ll also give you information in our international field study trip. Again, we’ll follow up the presentation with live Q&A.

Jason Techeira: Again, pleasure to be speaking with all of you today. My name is Jason Techeira. I am your moderator. I’m the senior enrollment advisor here with Washington State University’s online MBA program. My role as the senior enrollment advisor is just to help navigate you through the enrollment process and be your point of contact for any information that you need on the program. I would also like to kick it over to Matthew Beer.

Matthew Beer: Oh, hey. Good evening, everybody. My name is Matt Beer, I am the military and veteran affairs manager here at the Carson College of Business taking care of our military and veteran students.

Jason Techeira: Suzanne?

Suzanne L.: Hi. I am Suzanne L’Amoureux. I am the director of the online MBA here at Washington State University. What that means is that I oversee the entire program. I am also faculty in the program, so I teach as well, but I oversee the entire strategic vision and everything that happens here. It also means that our students can always reach out to me for anything that they need. If there are questions, or concerns, or things that they’re not getting, or just want feedback, I’ll … or to give feedback, excuse me, I love to interact with the students and hear from them. I’m actually going to ask one of them to introduce herself now. This is one of our current students.

Lisa Perlet: Hi, Suzanne. Thank you. I’m Lisa Perlet, and I live in Austin, Texas. I am currently a senior sales manager in Office Depot’s corporate inside sales office. I started the program in January of 2017, and I am scheduled to graduate in June of 2019.

Suzanne L.: Great. Thank you, Lisa. I want to give you kind of an overview background of who Washington State is, what our online MBA program is all about, who we are, what we believe in. I know that we have you all on sort of the mute mode, and there’s a Q&A there, so I’m going to pose a question, and I’m hoping that someone can answer it in the Q&A. There is big news happening at Washington State this week. There was a giant, giant announcement made on Saturday. What I would like to know is if anybody actually knows what that announcement was. I’d like to see that go into the Q&A. Does anybody know what happened on Saturday that is a new thing? Thank you, Nicole.

Suzanne L.: For the first time ever, ESPN GameDay is coming to Pullman, Washington, which is where we are. I think it’s pretty big news at any school. It is giant news at WSU. We are super excited. There is some background behind it. For those of you who don’t know, GameDay is every Saturday on ESPN. It is a sort of talk show version, I guess if you want to call it that, of college football. For the past 15 years straight, there has been a Washington State alum or student who has flown the WSU flag at GameDay at every single location that they’ve ever been to hoping that, one day, they would come to Pullman. We are having an excellent year. We are five and one right now, playing Oregon at home on Saturday, so we’re pretty excited that is the news for this week at Wazzu.

Suzanne L.: We are a land-grant university founded in 1890 here in Pullman. What that means is that we have a mission. There’s a land-grant university in every state of the union. We have a mission to provide education to all those who are willing and able to take advantage of that education. Land grants were founded based on that concept. Back in the early days of higher education, really, the people who were able to go to universities were those who already had a certain amount of privilege and could afford to go to a university and could afford to take the time off. Land grants were founded as a way to provide access, and we are still doing that today. We’re very proud of that mission.

Suzanne L.: Clearly, we have more than 125 years of alumni, people who are making a difference worldwide. There are stories that you will hear if you come to Wazzu or if you hear about Wazzu about how, no matter where you go in the world, there will be Cougs, and you will hear them or see them. If you’re ever wearing a WSU shirt or sweatshirt or carrying a flag or, frankly, sometimes you just look like you’re from Wazzu, people will yell, “Go, Cougs,” and the appropriate answer is to say back, “Go, Cougs.”

Suzanne L.: We also have more than 60 years of experience in graduate business education. This is an unusual one, I think, in the world of online. We’ve been doing online degree programs for more than 20 years, so we really are part of that pioneering early steps of people who have gone online and further online in business school. We have a giant network of corporate and academics alliances all over the world. Really, it’s a very robust group of people that work to expand WSU globally.

Suzanne L.: We are accredited by the AACSB. As people are looking for MBA programs, there are a couple things that I tell everyone to look at whether you’re looking at this program or another program. One of them is accreditation. AACSB is a … it’s an alliance of business schools. There are fewer than 2% of the schools in the world who are accredited by the AACSB at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels, and we are one of those schools. Only nonprofit schools are accredited by AACSB, and very, very few of them get to this kind of accreditation, so we are super proud of that.

Suzanne L.: We also have on here our rankings. I will tell you that I think it’s part of the Wazzu ethos, as it were, that we don’t chase rankings. We’re very happy to be recognized as being a quality education, number 12 in online, all of those things that you can see there, but we don’t spend any time, really, chasing after rankings. As you look at what school might be right for you, I would encourage you to look at rankings but also understand what rankings mean and to look at what you’re looking for in a school. If you’re looking for a high-quality education, which I hope people are doing, I would look at something like accreditation before I looked at rankings because rankings don’t actually measure only faculty, teaching, and things like that. I would take a look at everything that you can as you’re looking to make your choice.

Suzanne L.: We are a 100% online MBA program. That is really important for people to understand. It’s interesting. In the world of online MBA programs, and I was just at a conference, there literally is no standard as to what online means. You actually are allowed by accrediting bodies to say you’re an online program if you are 50% online, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but 100% online means to you that you will never be required to come to Pullman or go anyplace else in order to finish your degree. It will be all online.

Suzanne L.: You can complete it in 22 months if you have an undergraduate degree in business. If you have to take any of our foundation courses, it could take as long as 29 months. The foundation courses are for people who don’t have a business undergraduate degree. You may have to take some or all of them. It’s possible to come in and only need one foundation course. It’s possible to take all of the foundation courses. That really just depends on the individual’s background.

Suzanne L.: We offer a general MBA degree, which is a great standard degree. We also offer concentrations if you are interested in doing them. They are not required. For all of our concentrations, you do not have to declare them in advance. You could come in thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to concentrate in international business,” and if, after two months or six months or 20 months, you say, “I don’t really want to,” that is totally fine. Nothing is required there. What it does mean to have a concentration is that you have chosen to focus your elective classes in one of those four areas. If you decide to go into marketing as your concentration, you will do all of your core classes, and then all of your elective classes will be in the marketing area. That’s how you achieve a concentration.

Suzanne L.: The elective courses go across those four areas. If you choose not to concentrate in anything and you do a general MBA, then you choose your elective courses based on what looks, quite honestly, interesting to you at the time and something that you might find useful in your career now or something that you might want to transition into, something that looks super fascinating. We have an international … in 2019, it will be an international marketing course that involves the international field study, and I will come back to that, but that might be a course that people want to take.

Suzanne L.: The way that the curriculum works is that we have asynchronous content, which means that you do that on your own at your own time. We also have live lectures and live classes that are recorded as well. You can come to the live class at, say, 7:00 p.m. All of my times will be in Pacific Time, come to class at 7:00 p.m. If you are unable to attend that live class at 7:00, you are welcome to watch it as a recorded version. That gives you an extraordinary amount of flexibility in terms of your schedule, your time zone. You already heard Lisa say that she is in Texas. I’m in Pullman. It’s 6:12 here. Lisa, it must be 8:12 where you are. We have students all around the world, so we have students who are doing this from Korea as well, so that gives them a lot of flexibility.

Suzanne L.: We do have a capstone project here. This is pretty unusual in the MBA space. What it does is actually gives you the opportunity to work on an ending project that encompasses all of the learning you’ve had so far. What you do in the capstone project is you work in a team of, usually, about five of your … four classmates and yourself, so a team of five. You come up with a business idea, or one of your teammates does and you all agree to it, and you do all of the research that is required to bring that idea to market. You don’t actually have to bring it to market, although we’ve had students do that, but you do everything from a feasibility study to marketing to operations to financing to all of those things. How would you get this to market if you were trying to do that?

Suzanne L.: That’s a great way to really put into play everything that you’ve learned across your classes. It’s also a really good way to work on a team towards the end. Some of our classes are team-based. Some of them are not. This is a great way to get to know your classmates even better. Then there is a final presentation that is a video presentation. You don’t have to come to Pullman for that either, although as many times as I’ll say you don’t have to come, I would strongly encourage you to come to Pullman because it’s fun, and it’s a great way to see where you have been a student. We do have graduation here in person.

Suzanne L.: Anytime someone comes to Pullman, I always encourage them to reach out to me. I’m happy to give tours. I’m happy to show them the campus and talk about what we’ve been doing. I actually have a student who reached out to me perhaps two weeks ago and told me he had tickets to a football game, and would I mind hanging out with him? I said, “No. That sounds great.” It turns out it’s the Oregon game this weekend, so he will actually be here for College GameDay, which should be a lot of fun.

Suzanne L.: The last part I want to address on the curriculum is our international field study. We are going to talk about that a lot tonight. It is also called study abroad. It’s our only in-person opportunity, and it’s in person somewhere in the world with your classmates as part of a course.

Suzanne L.: We do have certificates as well. You will hear me refer to both concentrations and certificates. They are awarded in the same way. If you are a current WSU MBA student and you do a concentration in, for example marketing, at the end of your program, you will get a diploma that says MBA, and you will earn a certificate that says Marketing Certificate. If you are an alum of the program and you came through and either did a general MBA, or let’s say you did marketing and you decide, down the road, “Wow, I really want to learn more about finance,” or, “I’m changing my career,” or, “I’m working in marketing at Fannie Mae. How can I achieve more credibility?” you could actually do a certificate after your program by just doing the three electives in that concentration and earn that certificate. The final way you can do it is, if you’re not ready to do an MBA yet, you might want to just do the certificate in marketing, for example. That can be done as well. We have a variety of ways to achieve your goals here with the program.

Suzanne L.: I’m actually going to ask Matt to walk us through military and veterans.

Matthew Beer: All right, great. Thanks, Suzanne. Yeah, as I said before, my name is Matt Beer. I’m a former Air Force guy, lieutenant colonel, retired. I just want to talk to you a little bit about what’s going on here with our military and veteran students.

Matthew Beer: Historically, about 15%, between 10 and 15% of your cohort will be either active-duty military, so for those of you who don’t have experience with those folks, you’ll probably find that they have a lot of leadership, managerial, and operational experience. This is their chance, really, to delve into the business world to try and leverage that experience with that business credibility that they get from the program.

Matthew Beer: What does veteran-friendly mean, right? A lot of programs have that out there as a bumper sticker. For us, that means, number one, making our policies and procedures easy for you. You might be eligible for a GMAT waiver depending on your managerial experience. We don’t require our military and vets to use an application fee. As Suzanne said before, the program is 100% online, and our team really is poised to help you be successful regardless of what your deployments or your work schedule might bring. We have a really robust veteran services team here to help you process your tuition assistance and benefits. Then, lastly, military and veteran students are also eligible for some discounted tuition rates as well. That’s something that an EA could go into more specifics about.

Matthew Beer: The final thing that we really try to do here is create a professional community among our active students and our alumni and trying to connect those folks together. That’s something that we do that I’m really proud of. Part of that is a program called Backpacks to Boardrooms where we’re trying to provide some tools specifically for our military and veteran students that are either starting that transition from military to corporate life or maybe they’ve already launched and they just need an extra, extra bump and boost. Those are some of the things we’re working on here at the Carson College of Business.

Matthew Beer: If you’re a vet or if you’re a veteran’s spouse, feel free to hit me up either tonight or even afterwards, and I’d be happy to answer your questions and even maybe connect you with a current student or an alumni who might be able to give you their perspective, their experience.

Matthew Beer: Jason, back over to you.

Jason Techeira: I thank you for that, Matt. Yeah, so I’d like to go over just some of the highlights of our MBA program. A few things to keep in mind, the program is roughly between 22 to 29 months. That timeframe is just dependent on whether you need foundation courses or not. Typically, if you majored in a business undergrad program, the program … you would be closer to that 22-month timeframe. Most other majors, you might have taken a few of those foundation courses so, either way, I would always recommend sending your transcripts to your admissions advisor, and we can let you know pretty much where you would be on that timeframe.

Jason Techeira: We do offer GMAT waivers. We have an academic GMAT waiver as well as a professional GMAT waiver. A academic GMAT waiver requires having already completed a master’s degree or a professional degree, and then the professional GMAT waiver will look more at your work experience, typically looking for a minimum of seven years of progressive management experience. As always, send your resume and transcripts over to your admissions advisor for a review, and we can always have that GMAT waiver put through a pre-approval process for that.

Jason Techeira: As Suzanne mentioned, we are a 100% online program. We do not have any residency requirements for our program, and then we have an optional international field study trip that Suzanne will speak about here shortly.

Jason Techeira: Our MBA program is unique in the sense that we do not require a minimum year of work experience. Work experience can be beneficial when you’re looking to apply to the program, but it is not something that we do require.

Jason Techeira: We like to keep our class sizes relatively small, typically around 25 to 30 students.

Jason Techeira: The structure of the classes, you take one course at a time throughout the entire program up until you start your capstone project. Then you’ll be taking your one course, and then you’ll also be taking your capstone. However, we take that capstone and we stretch it out over three full semesters. This way, it keeps the program very flexible, very convenient. Each class that you’re taking at time is going to be roughly seven weeks long. Then, usually, you get about a week break. Then, in the month of December, you get just about that entire month off.

Jason Techeira: Tuition, again, we’re looking at 36 to 52 credits, and you’d be at about 29 to 42,000, roughly, for the entire program.

Jason Techeira: All right, so diving a little bit deeper into some of our admissions requirements, online application, there are several supporting documents that we’ll look for, pretty standard: transcripts, resume, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose. The great thing about your transcripts, we do ask for official transcripts. However, we can review your application with unofficial transcripts as well. I always recommend sending over unofficial so that we can review your application faster and then having your official transcripts ordered so that those will come in, and we can remove any type of hold.

Jason Techeira: GPA, we typically look for a 3.0 GPA. However, with the GMATs or work experience, there can be possible leeway on that as well. Again, working with your admissions advisor, we’d be able to map out the best plan as far as what you would have to do to have a higher likelihood of being admitted into the program. Successful candidates in our program are typically going to score right around a 550 on the GMAT but, again, like I mentioned, having a much higher GPA can offset a lower GMAT score and vice versa.

Jason Techeira: Moving over just to some of the levels of support that you’ll have in our program, obviously, your enrollment advisors will be kind of your first point of contact walking you through the admissions process. From there, we’ll hand you off to a dedicated student support advisor who will be with you all the way through to graduation. They’ll be able to navigate you through the virtual learning space, show you how to order books, register for classes, and really just answer any questions that you have about that learning platform. 24/7 technical support is available as well. Again, with the smaller class sizes that we have, we’re able to have not only your professors in the classroom, but you’ll also have section instructors available to assist you through the program as well. Then our lovely director, Suzanne, typically will give out her contact information and call many of the students if they are having any issues as well.

Jason Techeira: At this time, I would love to just take it back over to Suzanne so she can tell you about a day in the life.

Suzanne L.: Thanks, Jason. Yes, I absolutely am accessible to our students. As Jason was saying, everyone has my information, and I welcome the conversations all of the time.

Suzanne L.: People often ask me what to expect in the online MBA program. If you’ve never done an online program or even if you’ve never done this online program, which none of you have, it can be hard to imagine what your life will look like. I also have an MBA, and this is the third online MBA I’ve worked with, so I think I’m pretty aware of how it will look. It’s important to be prepared. Having said that, everyone, I think, is probably aware that, no matter how much you prepare yourself for something, it’s never quite as you thought it would be. I’m going to walk you through kind of what you can expect it to look like, and I’ll ask Lisa, who is still on the line, our current student, to add in her thoughts about how it looks for her and things I may have missed.

Suzanne L.: All of our programs, all of our classes in the online MBA begin on a Tuesday and end on a Sunday, so that is what the week looks like. That doesn’t mean you have class on Monday or … I’m sorry, begin on Monday and end on Sunday. I’m not sure if that’s what I said. You may not have class on Monday, and you certainly don’t have class on Sunday, but that is how the class week runs. Our live sessions are generally Monday through Thursday between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Pacific. That’s important to remember, again, if you are outside this time zone, meaning the Pacific Time Zone. Everything here is done in Pacific Time, so it’s important to set your calendar for that.

Suzanne L.: You can expect probably 10 to 15 hours per week of work per class. You are only taking one class at a time except for the exception that Jason gave, and that does include your class time, time to attend the class. This does vary, obviously, from person to person. Part of what that varies on is what your background and your experience is. If you are currently working in accounting, I would strongly suspect that your Intro to Accounting class would probably take less time. If you’re in marketing, same idea. It will vary according to your background, what your comfort level is, but that’s probably a pretty accurate estimation.

Suzanne L.: One of the things that you’re going to really want to prepare yourself for is to adapt to remote teamwork. If you are not already working in a field where you work remotely, it’s going to be a change. Now, when you think about that, you don’t have to necessarily be working at home or working outside the country to be working remotely. I work all the time with people who are in different buildings here on campus. That is a kind of remote. If you can’t walk down the hall to talk to them, that’s a remote.

Suzanne L.: I am giving you my pro tip that you will hear if you enroll here, and I continue to tell people this all the time. The best way to set up success for your team, if you’re working remotely, is to start by doing a video conference. It is very, very human to feel more comfortable when you can actually see a person. I am quite aware that this already feels odd that I am a disembodied voice talking to a slide, so you don’t want that to happen with your team, and you don’t want your team to be working only via email. We all know how that works out sometimes. When you’re working on email, someone’s tone strikes you wrong, and the entire project goes south.

Suzanne L.: We also have a carousel schedule here. It is best thought of as literally a carousel if you could imagine yourself at the fair. You can start the program, basically, any time you want, and the time that you will start the program dictates what class you will take when you start. Each class is offered once in the carousel, and then it comes back around. For example, if you started in October, you could be starting the fall two session, and you would start with a marketing class. If you start in April, you might be starting with finance. Once you are on the carousel, you just stay on it until the end, and then it will eventually work its way back around, and you will have completed all of your courses through the carousel.

Suzanne L.: Lisa, I’m going to ask you to talk about what a day in your life actually looks like as a student here.

Lisa Perlet: Okay. Well, I do work full-time, like I mentioned before, so I’m pretty busy, but I try to work on assignments at least a little bit every day even if the first day of the week involves only reading everything that’s on all parts of the course space online. That way, I’m setting myself up for success for the week. It’s so important to read everything because, that way, you don’t miss anything. Then, of course, if you can, I try to attend the live lectures because, that way, I can ask questions in real time, but some weeks I’m not able to, so the recordings are really helpful in those instances.

Lisa Perlet: I also text and call the classmates that I know on a regular basis. Now that I’m in capstone, I just started the first capstone semester this semester, and the communication amongst the group members is practically constant because we always have something that we need to be collecting or analyzing or turning in. We actually have a video conference scheduled for tonight after this call, as a matter of fact. If you work on everything each day, I have found that this helps me avoid stressing out on the weekends from the course load.

Suzanne L.: That’s awesome, Lisa. Thank you. Do you think that everything else here looks pretty realistic, Lisa, in terms of timeframe [crosstalk 00:28:07]-

Lisa Perlet: I absolutely do.

Suzanne L.: Awesome.

Lisa Perlet: I do.

Suzanne L.: That’s great. Lisa actually just mentioned something that made me think of something I think is really critical here at Wazzu is the community that we have going and even more critical, I would argue, in the online MBA program. There are people who think that, if you’re going to do an online program, you’re not going to have any friends and you’re not going to build any community. That is not who we are and not what we are about at all. All around the world, there are WSU events through the alumni association. Carson College of Business is the business school that we are in. There are Carson College events, and then we actually have online MBA events as well that are particularly meant to build community, and for people to get a chance to get to know each other in person, and to meet with me if they like to.

Suzanne L.: I was actually in Seattle at the end of September, and I had an event … I’m sure some of you are on the west side, you’re in Seattle now, but for those of you who know, I had an event at Flatstick Pub, which is a Coug-founded, Coug-owned pub in Seattle, so just a great way for people to get to know each other and come together.

Suzanne L.: This summer, I actually went to Seattle again for an event that’s called Coug’s Day at the Sounders. The Sounders is the Seattle professional soccer team, and there was an event there. I went to that for Coug Day, and we actually had quite a few of our online MBA folks there including Lisa who, believe it or not, flew in from Texas to go to Coug’s Day at the Sounders game. Lisa, I’m going to start an award for most spirit, and I’m going to give it to you. I just decided that right now.

Lisa Perlet: Oh, well, thank you. Thank you.

Suzanne L.: One of the greatest ways to build community is through our international field study which, again, I will also call study abroad because they’re interchangeable. I am a huge proponent of travel as a way to learn and expand your horizons. I studied abroad in high school. I lived abroad right after college. I studied abroad during my MBA. I don’t think you can do any better than study abroad to get yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something completely new.

Suzanne L.: There is an incredible bonding experience that happens when you travel internationally with people. If you think about it, if you’ve been fortunate enough to travel internationally with your family or loved ones, you get to know a person a lot better when you’re in what can be, arguably, a tense situation. You’re tired, jet-lagged. You might not understand the language, all of those things. Now imagine you’re doing that with your classmates, and further imagine it might be the first time that you’ve ever met them because you’re in an online MBA program. It really gives you a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, friends that you will have, I think, forever, and a chance to learn something about a part of the world that you may not have any experience in.

Suzanne L.: The pictures there on this slide are from our trip this year, which was in May, and we went to Chile. We spent about eight days in Chile. The first six were in Santiago, which is the capital of Chile. We had business activities. We visited companies. We had cultural activities and tours, networking opportunities, local guides there. The picture on the right where it looks like a guy is swinging in his office is, in fact, who’s swinging in his office. We went to a communal work space and startup space, and the man that we met who had that office actually started an app that identifies plants and trees, so if you’re touring a botanical garden, you can take a picture of a plant and upload it, and it will tell you what that plant or tree is. Highly fascinating and bizarre.

Suzanne L.: We did this international field study experience in May. At the end of the Santiago part, we spent one night, two nights in a beach area south of there. We went to Vina del Mar in Valparaiso. It was a great chance for everyone to get to know each other. One of the people who was there was Lisa. Now that I’ve given kind of the background from my side, Lisa, can you talk about what it was like in Chile?

Lisa Perlet: Oh, I absolutely can. It was a wonderful experience. They have a rich culture, and they were really welcoming to our group. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all the cultural-related things, all the food, of course, just visiting variety of businesses and going on the tours. Our tour guide was a riot.

Lisa Perlet: It was a lot of fun but, honestly, my favorite thing about the trip, kind of like Suzanne mentioned, was just the relationships that I got to form with other students. There were 13 of us that went, and it was like we gelled instantly. Not only did we go on this trip together and have this experience, we came away from it with friendships that are going to continue far beyond our time in the program. That really has enhanced my entire experience in the program. Two of the people that were on the trip are now in my capstone group, and we’re very familiar with each other. I would say that it is contributing, wholeheartedly, to my success in this program.

Suzanne L.: Thanks, Lisa. I am so glad, and I agree. Actually, that group has a closed Facebook group that is just WSU Chile. Remember, we went in May, so you would think, perhaps, we would shut down the Facebook group. Nope. I would say there’s activity almost every day. It really is following up on what people are doing. We like to learn about each other. It’s a community. It’s a build there. I think the thing that went out over the weekend was actually … I know Lisa won’t tell you this, so I will. Lisa is a singer in Austin, and she was performing at a music festival in Dallas over the weekend, so we all like to see that and see what’s going on. People are still posting information about Chile, about things that we learned, things that we studied.

Suzanne L.: The faculty member who led the trip, and I was there as well, is actually at our WSU Tri-Cities campus, and he teaches in wine and business management. If you know anything about Chile, you know that red wine is one of their gigs, so it is probably one of the things that we did was learn a lot about wine and, certainly, there was a lot of wine to be had while we were there. It was a great experience.

Suzanne L.: While we were there, we actually … I follow almost everything WSU on Twitter, and there was a Twitter challenge to see where someone had heard the phrase, “Go, Cougs,” in the most unusual place, right, like what’s the weirdest place you ever heard somebody yell, “Go, Cougs?” I am hyper-competitive, so I decided that we were going to win this. It wasn’t actually a competition, mind you, but I decided that we should win, so I had everybody there.

Suzanne L.: It happens that we were at the largest cookie factory south of the equator at that moment, and so we had all of our students line up in front of this cookie factory, and I videotaped everyone yelling, “Go, Cougs,” and I uploaded it to Twitter. I still would argue that we were going to win except that Mike Leach posted after I did. If you don’t know who Mike Leach is, he’s the head coach of our football team here. In case it was unclear, we like football, and so Mike Leach could have posted nothing, and I still would have lost, but he posted where he heard people, and so he won that.

Suzanne L.: Next year’s field study has not been announced yet. However, I can tell you that it will be in the summer of 2019. That’s all I’m going to announce, but it should be announced very, very soon. It is the opportunity to go abroad. This particular one will also be about a week. It is housed in an international marketing class. It is during an elective term and, actually, anyone who is registered for any elective will be eligible to go on this study abroad. I’m happy to go into more depth when people are here and are students, but it’s a great chance to go, and it’s no longer going to be limited to one particular course. Anyone who’s a student is more than welcome to come and join us on the international field study, and I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

Suzanne L.: I think we would like to go ahead and ask if folks have questions. I know that there are questions coming through here. There’s a couple that I’m actually going to try to answer as I go, which is making Jason shake his read right now because I’m not supposed to. I’m going to answer the ones that are easy for me to answer that everyone might have questions about.

Suzanne L.: Do classes run through the summer? Absolutely. We are a year-round program. There are almost always classes. There’s generally a week or two at the end of the semester. We are on seven-week terms but, virtually, you are in class all of the time.

Suzanne L.: Next field study location? I’m sure that you typed that before I said I’m not announcing it, but I’m not announcing it, but it will be announced soon. We will have it soon.

Suzanne L.: The opportunity to meet folks in person is up to the students themselves in that I can set up events, WSU sets up events, I invite people to events, but whether or not they go to events I cannot mandate. There are people who will meet their peers in person. There are people who never will. You might only meet people at graduation, which I absolutely think you should do when you come, but I would love to see more people involved.

Suzanne L.: We do not offer a PMP certification. That is something that you would want to pursue on your own.

Suzanne L.: There seem to be a couple of questions about job placement. Sorry, there’s a whole bunch of this. One thing about WSU, we no longer have an in-person residential MBA at any of our campuses, the entire Wazzu system. We only offer an online MBA. Job placement is something that’s done by a … Placement’s an interesting term because that actually is you’re hiring someone to find you a job, so we don’t have job placement. However, the MBA, in general, and our MBA, in particular, people have seen an incredible return on this. They use it to leverage to get their next job or to move into the next thing that they can do. They may want to transition into a different career. They may want to get a promotion within their own company or take what they’re doing and take it to a new company. Absolutely, there is career success involved.

Suzanne L.: Lisa, do you have anything you want to say about that?

Lisa Perlet: Sure. I was recently promoted into my current role. I have been with my company for about four years. I was working just as an inside sales representative. Promotions were extremely competitive and hard to come by. I had interviewed a few times without success. They would tell me that they really liked my interview, but they were going to go with somebody that had more tenure than me or maybe had just done a little bit better. I decided, in the meantime, to start working on the MBA. I’m about eight months from being done at this point, and I was just promoted about a month ago, which is really exciting.

Lisa Perlet: Even though an MBA isn’t required for this position technically, the decision maker, who is now my boss, he’s the sales director in our particular department, he told me that it really helped him connect the dots with me, so to speak. He just really respected that I decided to pursue an MBA. While it wasn’t required, he told me personally that it definitely factored into his decision. I was somewhat underemployed before, and I skipped about three rungs on the ladder to get the title of senior manager and basically doubled my income overnight, so even though it wasn’t required, I would say that this has been an excellent return on investment already for me.

Suzanne L.: Thank you, Lisa. It happens that I knew that story, so I thought that was a great person to speak to it.

Lisa Perlet: Yeah.

Suzanne L.: I do see one question about a transcript or diploma. Your transcript or diploma will just read Washington State University MBA, Master’s of Business Administration. It doesn’t say online versus anything else. That’s all that you will see on there.

Jason Techeira: Perfect. Thank you so much, Suzanne. We are getting quite a few questions here, and more than happy to continue answering them. Please continue to use the Q&A feature. What I’d like to do is just kind of throw some of these questions at Lisa, Suzanne, and Matt as they’re coming in.

Jason Techeira: One question that we’d love to hear your take, Lisa, since you are going through the program, it’s around the testing process with the program. Would you be able to talk to any type of tests that you have and what that experience looks like?

Lisa Perlet: When you say tests, are you referring to the process of actual exams?

Jason Techeira: Correct.

Lisa Perlet: Okay. Well, I had one course that was part of the foundation courses, I think it was probably accounting, where we actually had proctored exams, and that was a little bit awkward. It was timed and proctored, and I had to keep my face within the span of my camera on my computer. That’s the only time I’ve ever had a proctored exam in the program.

Lisa Perlet: Most of what we do I feel like is usually there’s a lot of reading, and then I have to turn in a writing assignment or some sort of report. If there’s an actual exam, I’ll usually log in to my computer, and then it’ll be anywhere from 50 to 75 multiple-choice questions and maybe a couple of free-form answers. It’s timed, and you just take the test from computer. Usually, the professor will specify whether or not you can use your resources if it’s open-book or not. The only time it’s ever been proctored was just that one accounting class.

Jason Techeira: Perfect. Thanks so much, Lisa. Yeah, that question, great question whoever asked it. One of the things that you can do with programs is you can either offer an exam, you can offer projects, written assignments. One thing that WSU does do a lot of is going to be those project-based assignments. That’s really what you’re going to be able to take into your portfolio and bring along with you as you progress throughout your career, so one of the great things about WSU’s MBA program.

Jason Techeira: Another question here that I have I would like to take over to Suzanne. Suzanne, so they’re asking specifically about waiving the GMAT. I touched on the minimum criteria for that GMAT waiver. Could you address anything additionally that you look for specifically when you’re reviewing GMAT waiver letters and just their overall background?

Suzanne L.: Sure. Thanks, Jason. We look for a minimum of seven years of progressive work and leadership experience, so it’s not enough that you just have worked for seven years. It needs to be a progressive growth. I mean it doesn’t have to be the same field, but it has to be growing your career and, preferably, managing or leading a team or a person or a multitude of person and people as you grow and expand. There are jobs that are less likely to have that, and we understand it, so there is some leeway. For example, if you are a software engineer, let’s say, oftentimes, that’s not something where it’s going to have the same managerial or leadership experience as, for example, managing a sales team would have, so it’s going to look a little different.

Suzanne L.: If you are applying for a GMAT waiver, I would strongly advise you to make sure that your resume really reflects any leadership and growth that you’ve had, leadership experience, management experience. When you do the application, which is basically a request to waive, make sure that you highlight that, “This is what I do now. This is how I’ve also done this,” because, quite honestly, you could have that leadership and management experience managing a team of volunteers or something that is outside of exactly how I see your resume written, so I’d strongly advise you to take that under consideration as you go forward and try and get that waiver.

Jason Techeira: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Suzanne. Looking through the questions here, a lot of these questions admissions-based. I would just kind of put a caveat on them. We’ll go ahead and answer as many as we can, but I would encourage you to reach out to your admissions advisor as well. Your admissions advisor will be able to go through specific scenarios for you as it relates to your file and your background, and they’d be able to give you the best recommendation moving forward.

Jason Techeira: That being said, as far as the … if you wanted to defer the program to a later date, that is possible. If you’re accepted into the program and you wanted to defer your admission to a later date, that’s absolutely something we can do. We actually give our students a pretty lenient amount of time to complete their program. Typically, again, it’s only going to take between 22 to 29 months, but we’ll actually give you up to five years to complete the degree. One of the benefits to that is if you’re trying to maximize tuition reimbursement options or life just happens and you need to take breaks, we give you that flexibility into the program. Moving forward from there, again, you can extend that program out up to six years, actually. Again, work with your admissions advisor. Work with your student support advisor. They’ll be able to let you know the best times for taking that break and then coming back into the program.

Jason Techeira: Another question here I would like to address … Sorry, a lot of questions here. I’m just trying to scroll through them and make sure that I’m not answering any of these twice. Geared more specifically here towards Suzanne, what kinds of scholarships and other financial aid options are available for MBA students? Are there any scholarships that you’re aware of on your end, Suzanne?

Suzanne L.: We don’t offer any scholarships. There are some. Matt talked a little bit about how military and veterans have a tuition discount. There are some employers that have an agreement with WSU, for example, Boeing. In general, scholarships are not that readily available for business schools, as a rule, and third-party scholarships are the same. MBAs are not generally a well-scholarshipped program. However, my advice would be, if you’re looking for funding, is to start googling. Forgive me for saying it that way, but that’s the best way to do it because what I’ve found is, when people find funding, it tends to be not the big places that you would look, right? It’s not like here is a place for scholarships. There can be local organizations that offer scholarships. There could be something based on demographics that would have scholarships. I would really start googling by scholarship MBA, but then I would put in your own particular circumstances and see how you can keyword it down.

Suzanne L.: Lisa, I don’t know if she has scholarships or not, she doesn’t need to talk about it, but she could say MBA scholarship and then Austin, Texas and then woman and then … I don’t know what her undergrad is offhand, but let’s say it’s philosophy. Philosophy undergrad, all of those things to try and narrow it down to see if she can find something that would fit her. That would be my best advice, but I would also caution you to know that just they’re not very common.

Jason Techeira: Fantastic. Thank you so much for that, Suzanne.

Jason Techeira: Another thing that I’ll kind of highlight on the scholarships on the admissions side, I would recommend everybody check out On our financial aid page, there’s a link to a third-party national database for all different scholarships on there as well. Scholly is an app that you can also look at. It’s a paid app, but it will be able to direct you to lots of scholarships. The caveat to this is a lot of these scholarships are going to be very heavily saturated, so thousands of people are typically applying to them. Obviously, the more you apply to, the greater chance you have of being able to receive any of those.

Jason Techeira: Another question here geared towards the international field study, how long is the international field study? That trip is typically about 10 days. Suzanne, would you be able to confirm that 10 days for the international field [crosstalk 00:49:48]-

Suzanne L.: It’s not 10 days. It will be about six. It will start on a Sunday night and go until, basically, Saturday morning. The reason that we do it that way is I shortened up the trip myself this year. Lisa can tell that you went longer in Chile. The reason that we have it starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday morning is that I wanted people to not have to take more than one week of vacation from work in order to go, but this gives you the weekend in the event that you want to tour or travel where we are. You have the weekend on either side to be available to you.

Jason Techeira: Perfect. Thank you so much for that explanation.

Jason Techeira: Another question here, does certificate focused course have any requirements? My understanding of this question is, if you are applying to just the certificate, if there are any requirements. In order to be admitted into the certificate program, it is the same requirements as the MBA program, so you would still need to submit your transcripts and possess the GPA, GMAT requirements and the letters of recommendations. The graduate certificate, great tool to complement your MBA degree whether you are looking to, like Suzanne mentioned, pursue the certificate before moving into the MBA or if you’re looking to do your MBA and come back for a grad certificate. They absolutely complement each other, so I would encourage you to look into those options.

Jason Techeira: Another question here, are the foundation courses available online? Absolutely. All foundation courses we do offer as a part of the MBA program, you do not have to complete these courses with us. However, typically, completing them with us is usually a quicker process as our foundation courses are only five weeks long and, again, they’re all going to be 100% online. If you were to do other options, say community college options first, you’d want to make sure that that course is going to apply towards our foundation course so that we will actually waive it, but additionally, it’s typically going to be a 16-week-long class, and then you’re also factoring in your travel time for that course. I do encourage you to do those foundation courses with us. We’ll build them right into your program, and you’ll be able to complete the entire program in roughly 29 months if you need all of those.

Jason Techeira: This question here, I’d like to gear it towards Lisa. As far as your time in the program, what do you usually experience as far as a weekly time commitment?

Lisa Perlet: I would say that, depending on the course, the 10 to 15 hours a week that Suzanne outlined earlier on this call is pretty accurate. It really just depends on the class. There’s a lot of reading and writing, so I try to section off a little bit of each day to do that. You could spend, at the beginning of a course, invest a good couple of hours just even in just reading the course space because there are a lot of … I feel like there are a lot of layers to the course space for each and every class, and everything that is in there is important.

Lisa Perlet: You don’t want to miss anything, whether it’s from your instructor or from the section instructor. You want to make sure that you have a good, solid understanding of what they’re asking for and what the expectations are for the course. A lot of that is outlined in the syllabus, but you just want to make sure that you read everything because they post information that’s important as far as expectations go, and that kind of thing can take up time. I would say that the 10 to 15 hours, on average, is pretty accurate.

Jason Techeira: Perfect. Thank you so much.

Jason Techeira: Another question that I could kick over to you, Lisa and Suzanne … I’d like to have a faculty and student perspective on this one but, Lisa, if you’d take this first, as far as in the business world, is there any favor towards a traditional MBA program versus an online MBA program? As I gear this to you, Lisa, really what I’d like you to kind of answer is if you have seen any type of negative or positive reaction towards being in an online MBA program.

Lisa Perlet: My experience actually has been really positive. First of all, I don’t feel like, in society today, that there’s a negative stigma with doing a degree online. For a lot of people, that’s the way to go. I personally feel like I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t available for me online to do. For me, my experience has been that my story doing the online program through WSU is a little bit different from the people around me because people that I work with, people that I know that are pursuing MBAs right now, a lot of them are doing them through Texas schools that are local to Austin and central Texas. There are four or five big schools in Austin and in the surrounding area, so people will ask me, “Well, why did you choose to do Washington State when you have all these programs around you?” It gives me the opportunity to talk about the value of this particular program and the accelerated format of the classes. It makes me a little bit different.

Lisa Perlet: My boss, who recently promoted me, is actually from the West Coast, so I think that was kind of … that intrigued him a little bit as well. There’s also someone else in my building that I’ve worked with for a couple of years, and I had no idea that he has a degree from WSU, but we connected, at one point, about that. If anything, I feel like it’s made me unique from the people around me, and that’s actually been a really positive thing.

Suzanne L.: That’s great perspective, Lisa. I absolutely appreciate that, and I agree with you. I would say even another benefit to that is, if you do, if you are not … Well, if you do an online program in an area where you are not located, you are very likely to get people who have very different points of view and backgrounds than you have.

Suzanne L.: I did a face-to-face MBA. I did it at the University of Maryland just because I lived in the DC area. I had a great time, nothing wrong with Maryland, go Terps, but I will tell you that 90% of us or something worked in the government space, and so the answers you will get to questions or even the questions that you will hear posed are all from the same background. They’re all from people who are in the government space. One of the best things that you can do is to get diverse backgrounds and opinions in order to have a more robust discussion.

Suzanne L.: In terms of whether or not people value online versus face-to-face, I agree with Lisa 100%. I think the world has changed so much that there is no longer that, quote, stigma, but I did have a student who did the best job I’ve ever heard talking about it. She said that when she would go to interview for a job, before somebody could even say, “Wow, you did it online [inaudible 00:57:48],” she would jump in with why that was so much better. The way that the world is, most companies are international in some way, and certainly the big companies. If you can manage a team, and you can manage weird scheduling and weird time zones, and you can make that work virtually, and you’ve already proven that in an MBA space, you are that much more valuable to your employer because you can do it. If you’ve never done it before, it’s hard to do.

Suzanne L.: Lisa said herself it’s … What is it, 9:00 there now and, after this, she’s going to have a team meeting? That is invaluable because she already knows what she’s doing. That’s the way that you present it best is you sell it to your employer as a benefit rather than something you’re going to apologize for.

Jason Techeira: Awesome. Thank you so much, Suzanne. At this time, to be cognizant of everyone’s time, I will go ahead and field one last question, and then any questions we did not get to, we will make sure that we answer those. I’ll have your admissions advisor reach out to you, and then we’ll also make sure that we’re answering those as quickly as possible. A recording of this, again, will be sent over to you.

Jason Techeira: Last question here that I did receive is, with the carousel schedule, is it possible to start every seven weeks? If not, what are the starting intake dates? We do have start dates. If you don’t need foundation courses, we do have start dates just about every seven weeks, so that’ll be two possible start dates each semester. Our upcoming start date is spring, January 7th. If you needed foundation courses, those again are five weeks long, so those possible start date options depend on which foundation courses you really need.

Jason Techeira: Again, reach out to your admissions advisor. There’s actually a button there on the left to your screen where you can schedule an appointment, so I do ask that you do that. Also, again, the deadline for our spring semester is December 3rd, so I encourage you to get started on your application. You can do that by clicking the link there on your left screen. Classes start again January 7th, so looking forward to speaking with more of you one on one.

Jason Techeira: I do want to thank our presenters Suzanne, Matt, and Lisa for joining us. Any last final thoughts, anybody? Suzanne, Lisa, Matt?

Suzanne L.: I’m good. I hope that everybody got the information that they needed. If you have not gotten your questions answered or you have more questions, please reach out to your enrollment advisor and see how this might fit well within your life. I hope it does. Whatever your decision, I wish everyone the best of luck, and I hope that everyone’s going to be watching the game on Saturday and cheering on the Cougs. Thanks so much, everybody. Have a good night.

Jason Techeira: Thank you. Good night.