WSU Military Student Information Session

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Learn more about the Washington State University Online MBA Programs and the benefits available to military students. This session covers:

  • An overview of the WSU Online MBA and Executive MBA Programs
  • The benefits of joining the Carson College Veterans community
  • Support available to students
  • A firsthand experience from a current active duty Online MBA military student


Jon V.: We’re live. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Washington State University for the Online MBA programs. We hope that you are having a great day, and thank you for joining us on what may be your lunch break. We’re very excited to be here with you. We’re going to talk a little bit more about the MBA program, and in particular some of the benefits that our veterans and active duty military members experience in the program.

Jon V.: Starting off, we want to talk a little bit about logistics. We’re in broadcast-only mode. So that means you can hear me, but I cannot hear you. If you want to ask a question at any time during the webinar, you can use the Q&A feature at the bottom of your screen. In addition, if you do have to hop off mid-webinar, a recording of the session will be emailed to you afterward. We are recording this so that we can distribute it to anyone who wants to review the information or anyone who missed out on being here live.

Jon V.: The agenda for today’s webinar event. There’s a lot to cover, and we’re going to try to move through relatively efficiently. We’ll cover the history of the program, the rankings accreditation with the MBA and the Carson College of Business, and also overview the program. After that, we’ll talk a little bit with both a current MBA student, as well as our military and veteran affairs manager. We will then go into the program admission requirements, career resources, and some international field study-based information. Then at the very end, we will finish up with our live Q&A session. If there is anything that wasn’t covered, we will try to take care of that for you here today.

Jon V.: Some brief introductions. My name is Jon. I’m the senior advisor with the MBA and executive MBA programs here at Washington State. Very excited to be here with you. I am able to handle any questions about admission requirements, program logistics, that kind of thing. Then we have some others here with us today who can perhaps speak a bit more intelligently to the way that the program relates to military and veteran affairs. So right away, I want to kick it over to Matt Beer, who is our military and veteran affairs manager with the Carson College of Business at Washington State University.

Matt B.: Thanks, Jon. Hey, everybody. Welcome to the webinar from wherever you’re tuning in from across the country or around the world. It’s great to be here with you. I’m a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the US Air Force and proud to be back here with Washington State and providing some programs for our student veterans. So glad you could make it.

Jon V.:  Thanks so much, Matt. We also have here with us today, Matt MacKillop, a current MBA student at Washington State University, and also a member of the United States Coast Guard. Matt, would you like to say hello?

Matt M.: Excited to tell everybody about the program. I look forward to the end where I give a little background. Glad everybody could make it.

Jon V.: Fantastic. Thanks again, Matt. We’re glad that you’re here. The next slide that you are seeing is really just the makeup basically of the Online MBA program. At a glance, the program is 100% online. There is no required residency, no required international travel, nothing like that. The content is asynchronous, which means that a lot of what you’re doing in the way of recorded lectures, videos, reading, will be self-paced and on your own time. But there are live sessions at least one per week. So you do have the opportunity to meet directly with your professor, your section instructor, and the other students in your class.

Jon V.: There is a Capstone project and final presentation at the very end of the program. That is basically a design project where you might be designing a business plan. It might be a product idea. But basically from front to back, you’re designing something that is professionally relevant to you that you can hopefully then continue to leverage toward for the end of the MBA program, and then long after as well.

Jon V.: There’s an international field study as part of the program. It is optional. So again, as you can see, it’s not a required part of the program, but a lot of students really do enjoy it. We’ve done trips all over the world. Finland, Estonia, Chile, different locations in China. This is a international immersion that is a highlight for the students who participate. Of course, unfortunately this year’s trips were canceled due to COVID-19-based concerns. But we are planning on resuming the international field study experience next year. You’re going to do some cultural appreciations and sightseeing. But it’s fundamentally a business trip where our professors are leveraging their international business contacts to put together the most informative experience possible for you.

Jon V.: Moving on to the nuts and bolts of the program, we’re looking at a program that can be completed, for the Online MBA 22 to 29 months, the executive MBA a year and a half. The program, again, 100% online. In terms of your typical class sizes, 25 to 30 is typical in the Online MBA program, 20 in the executive MBA program. The course structure, you’re always taking one class at a time. Those classes are five or seven weeks long. But we want to avoid a situation where you’re getting your wires crossed, juggling your professional obligations, your personal life, and then a whole bunch of simultaneous MBA classes at the same time.

Jon V.: In terms of curriculum, in the Online MBA program you’ll see some foundational courses if you are a student who has not done a lot of business education before. If you are coming in with some business coursework or an undergraduate business degree, you might not need those. There are concentrations in the program as well. These relate to different elective classes that you can take, but you do have the option to orient or concentrate your MBA in one of four areas. There are concentrations in finance, marketing, international business, and hospitality and business management. The rationale there is the MBA can be a very broad degree. So if you do opt for one of those concentrations, you have an additional credential, a parallel graduate level certificate that can really, really help you stand out. Then of course, the emphasis in the executive MBA program really centers on leadership.

Jon V.: The tuition of the program then, in the Online MBA program we are at $732 per credit hour. Tuition in the executive MBA program, $1,264 per credit hour. Of course, regardless of which program you apply to, all of our military students are entitled to an application fee waiver.

Jon V.: The GMAT waiver is a popular question that arises. A lot of our students will sit for the GMAT as part of their application. If you are thinking about a GMAT, the average successful candidate, their score is around 550. But GMAT waiver options are available to those exceptionally qualified students. So any student who is coming in with a graduate or professional degree already, if you are a person with five years of work experience and a GPA above 3.0, if you hold an undergraduate STEM degree with a grade point average above 3.0, a business degree above 3.0 from an AACSB-accredited institution, or if you are a student with 10 or more years of work experience and a GPA above 2.79, those are all things that would allow you to qualify to request a GMAT waiver. Those are reviewed individually by our program director. So it is a little bit case-by-case. But if you chat with one of our enrollment advisors here, they can certainly give you some guidance on making the strongest GMAT waiver case possible.

Jon V.: Moving on now to the legacy of the MBA program. I do want to send this now over to Matt Beer, who can share just a little bit more about the legacy of the program as it relates to military and veteran affairs.

Matt B.: Sure. Thanks, Jon. I want to jump into this. If you have any questions on this and the nuts and bolts of the program, please feel free to put those in the question there, and we can answer those as we go or at the very end.

Matt B.: I do want to start with talking about our legacy. Our college namesake for the Carson College of Business is Scott Carson. Both of these are pictures of him. The first one is Scott in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Scott came to Washington State many years ago on the GI Bill. He is passionate about our student veterans, and he’s passionate about Washington State. So this is a big inspiration for us. This is where we draw on our values. I just want to share that with you, because it’s important to know that we stand by Scott’s vision for our student veterans.

Matt B.: A little bit about our student veterans, the population. Our MBA and EMBA cohorts are comprised, again, of students from all over the world. But about 15% are what we call student veterans. That’s active duty guard, reserve, or their spouses. The heat map there on the right, we got to update that a little bit, because it’s a lot more pink and red on there than there was last time we did it. But we have students all over the globe, quite frankly, and we do have a large concentration in Washington and California. But honestly, like I said, there’s people from everywhere. We have students in Germany. We have students out in Japan, and everywhere in between. In the bottom chart there, you’ll see, this is a snapshot of where they are in terms of experience level. Obviously, our EMBA students are going to be farther toward the right end of that in terms of their either military experience or their civilian experience. Then we do have a lot of young junior military officers. We do have some senior enlisted folks, and about 40% of our MBA, I would say, are in that transition period. So they’re plus or minus four or five years from leaving the military, whether that means their junior military officer, or whether that means they’re finishing up their careers. There is a broad range of experience levels, but there is an interesting concentration there right around that departure from service.

Matt B.: Another way to look at our veterans, I want to give you an example. On the left you see our Online MBA. Again, about 15%, four or five years plus or minus from leaving service. About 13% are female. Again, there is a pretty large number here in Washington State. The graduation rate is 71%. I think it’s about four or five points below our civilian population. That’s one of our students there, Heather [Bree 00:00:11:56]. She’s awesome. She’s a junior military officer down in San Diego, currently stationed on USS Zumwalt. On the right side, you’ll see an example of our Executive MBA. About 10%, so a little smaller. About one year is average time plus or minus transition. Smaller number of females. Again, they’re concentrated on the West Coast. The graduation rate for that group is 97, which is significantly higher than their civilian counterparts for some reason. This is Shane Sullivan. He actually just finished his EMBA. He’s living and working up here in Spokane, Washington as an operations manager for a firefighting company up in Spokane, Washington. So that’s a little bit, again, about our cohorts and what they look like.

Matt B.: I did want to talk a little bit about our focus. I mentioned that we were doing work here with student vets in the program, and it’s really divided up into three areas. Experience, community, and career. The first part is experience. What that really comes down to is, is your experience as a student going through the program, making it easy for you to get in and out, and really concentrate on work and your mission in your life. So the first part of that is benefits. We do have a full-time staff here at Washington State dealing with your benefits to try and help you navigate those. We’ll do our best to make things seamless for you. The other part is student support. We’ve done a lot to educate our student support folks on what life is like, what you’re doing out there, either active duty or as a student veteran, so that they get it. That translates into a veteran ready staff that’s ready to work with you. So if you have a deployment coming up, or if you have some problems with your tuition assistance, or [inaudible 00:13:49], they know what you’re talking about.

Matt B.: The second part, which is really near and dear to me, is the community. The Washington State, the Coug community is really strong. I really want that to be something that you, as a student, can tap into. So whether it’s our alumni network, which is all over the world, whether that’s our LinkedIn, our student veteran LinkedIn group that you can tap into. We have an Ol’ Crimson project. That’s where we send our banner around the world and let our students take pictures of that. That’s a really great way for us to share the work you’re doing and help our donors to see what fruits of their donations go to. Then the last piece is the Coug conversations. We do it once a semester. We talk about leadership, culture, and other things that are important to our population.

Matt B.: Something I’m really excited about is career aspect. We’ve invested a lot of resources this last year in developing career resources for our student veterans. What that looks like in real terms is some of the tactical things. Resumes, LinkedIn, interviewing. Then it also is more of the strategic things, whether it be resources to do some career exploration, or whether it’s, again, building that network. We’ve had some workshops in the past. We’ve also encouraged and sponsored up to 10 conferences. Historically, those have been live, but this year, the MBA veterans conferences that’s typically held in Chicago is going to be virtual. I actually think it’s going to be a good opportunity to get more people there. So I’m really excited about that. Then finally, networking. I really think it all comes down to your network. The Coug network is strong. The veteran network is strong, and something that’s important for our student veterans and to expand their current veteran network beyond veterans to improve that civilian population. So that’s something that we’re working really hard on as well.

Matt B.: So again, real briefly, I just want to touch on how the program is laid out, how we think about it. Each student who comes in the program is offered the opportunity to take an individual assessment. That includes a strength-finder assessment, as well as just a personal non-career assessment of where they’re at. Hopefully, that paints a bit of a roadmap for them so they can take advantage of the extracurricular offerings that we’re going to be presenting to them along the next 18 to 24 months that they are involved in this program. Then they could build a reassessment at the end, hopefully to see that there’s been a shift in that mindset and a shift in those skills. As I mentioned before, it is comprised of three primary components. Career design, which is primarily resources and referrals to some outstanding nonprofit organizations that are out there doing great work. It’s the tactical skills that we can actually provide to you at no charge. Then there’s some live events where we try and get you to interact with your peers and with someone online as well.

Matt B.: Then a snapshot of what’s going on over the next six months is what I’ve included on this page, including our Coug conversations. Holly Conley is our personal branding expert, and she hosts some of these events. She going to be on the Leveraging LinkedIn program on the 16th. She also does free resume reviews, and LinkedIn reviews for all of our student veterans. Then again, as I’ve just thrown up a couple of other events that are typically live, but they may be shifting to virtual events here this spring. I know that’s a lot of information, and I wanted to hit the wave tops just to give you an idea of some of the programs and the investments that we’re working on for our student veterans.

Matt B.: With that, I think the last slide, this is a bit of an eye chart. I know these charts and this program is going to be made available to you at the end of the webinar. But I wanted to include a lot of the frequently asked questions that we get from our students. So I don’t want to spend a ton of time on this, but I did want to have this be a place to house the resources for you. So just some quick hits. We deal with tuition assistance, Post 911 GI Bill, and we have some resources for you there, as well as how the benefit’s calculated. There are a lot of questions on that. You will be considered a full-time student if you’re taking this program. So that’s great for you if you’re utilizing those GI benefits. You will be considered in-state. So that’s great as well. BAH, if you are a veteran, you will receive BAH. If you’re active duty, you won’t. If that is you, and you are a veteran, then you’ll get 50% of the national average. It’s updated every August. I think the current rate’s about $894. So that’s something definitely to consider.

Matt B.: Use of your benefits is a very personal thing. I’m happy to talk to you about that if you want to reach out to me, in terms of how do I find this thing? What are some pros or some cons? Obviously, we got a lot of students and alumni who are willing to chat with you about what they’ve experienced as well. Also, no late fees for you going forward. So that’s really nice. We work hard to make your life trouble-free so you can concentrate on the books, and we concentrate on the benefits. So again, that’s the wave tops there. Also, just want to turn this back over to Jon, because we do have student support who are ready to help you and provide you a great learning opportunity. So Jon, I’ll be quiet, and let you take it from here.

Jon V.: All right. Well, Matt, thank you for all of that information regarding the features and benefits as it relates to our military student population. I do want to talk a little bit about the different support mechanisms that we have for students during their admission and enrollment journey, and then during their time in the program as well.

Jon V.: If you are looking to enroll in the program, looking to get yourself admitted, the first step is to reach out to one of the enrollment advisors here on our team. They will guide you through the application process, make sure that all of your application documents are as strong as possible, your resume, your personal statement. They can handle your GMAT waiver questions, that kind of thing. Once admitted, admitted students are paired with a student support advisor. Your student support advisor works with you during your time in the program to help you register for the right classes, get your textbooks and reading materials. If you are, perhaps, facing some difficulty during your time in the program, and you are looking to leverage Washington State University tutoring, library resources, that kind of thing, they can help with that. You have outstanding tech support. That is true both in terms of myWSU and CougTech, which is our information technology team. Very supportive 24/7 tech support access there.

Jon V.: The class sizes are a bit smaller. As we mentioned, we’re looking at 25 to 30 students per class in the Online MBA, and 20 students per class on average in the executive MBA program. The way that that works is that you’re going to have your lead professor in a given class, and they’re really responsible for the top level content, that sort of thing. But there will also be a section instructor, and that person may be working with you directly as part of a smaller team to help facilitate good conversations. It’d also be your first point of contact during your time in the program to make sure that you are positioned to succeed in your class.

Jon V.: Then the final thing that we want to talk about before we move over to our live Q&A is a day in the life. Just give all of you an idea of the program from the perspective of a current student. So I want to kick it back over to Matt, who’s going to tell us a little bit more about his experience in the MBA program thus far.

Matt M.: Thank you, Jon. Hello, everyone. My name’s Matt MacKillop. I’m an active duty lieutenant. I’m an O-3. I came up through the ranks. I’ve got coming up on 21 years in the service. I’m in that soon-to-be transition phase. I’ll know in about the next month if I’m going to be putting my retirement letter in. So I’m in that transition phase as Matt talked about. Just a little background.

Matt M.: You can see it on the slide, but you average 10 to 15 hours per week on the various courses. That varies. Most of the classes have been used using Pearson, which is really, really user-friendly. They have a study guide, a lot of practice questions. I’ve been really impressed that. I’m currently in a job where I’m on the Admiral’s staff. So I started this program because I knew I’d have the flexibility at work to be able to focus on this program. I know there’s people throughout the program, veterans are not there, they’re full-time students, or their full-time employees just like I am. It’s [inaudible 00:23:25]. Some classes are definitely harder than others, and it’s definitely a balance. My bachelor’s was in workforce education. So I’m personally taking all of the foundational courses. I just started last November, and I’m in my fourth foundational class, but the fifth class per se, because you take the first one credit class. So I’m in operations management right now. That has been my favorite so far. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s pretty challenging with the math. It’s definitely had its challenges, but I really enjoy the learning about supply chain management. It’s been really fun. I’m really enjoying the class. I’ve got two weeks left.

Matt M.: The hardest class so far, and I’ve heard it from plenty of other students, is definitely statistics, which is on, it’s called Data Analysis for Managers. That class was my first class. It’s very hard, and it is very time-consuming. My advice is just, it gets better. They balance the classes where you’ll have one tougher class, one not as hard of a workload. The student advisers do a good job at balancing that. Overall, I love the program. I’ve been super impressed with the resources that Matt and his folks have put together. You kind of hit on it, the resume assistance. I’m currently taking advantage of their coaching called BetterUp Coaching. I had my first session last week. So super impressed with the program.

Matt M.: The no GMAT was important to me. I felt like I had established myself with 20-years of military service. The last thing that I’ll hit on is the live sessions with the instructors are really, really impressive. Monday or Tuesday, you’ll do one with the lead professor, and then you’ll have a follow-up one Tuesday or Wednesday that week with your individual section instructor, which is that more individual coaching like they were talking about. They’re super impressive. It makes you feel like you’re a part of the program where you’re not just out on your own. They record them, so if you can’t access them, this operations management one, I’ve not been able to get on the live sessions, because they start a little later for me.

Matt M.: But super impressive. You really feel like you’re engaged with other students and the instructors. I’ve been very, very impressed with that. Part of my bachelor’s was online, and I felt like I was teaching myself. This has not been the case with this program. So I know we’re jamming a lot in today. But my name’s up. I think my name’s up there, but if not, you guys can reach out to me. My name’s Matt MacKillop, and reach out via LinkedIn if you want. If you’re not on LinkedIn, I definitely recommend getting on there. I look forward to potentially seeing you guys in the future classes, or if Q&A, just please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Thanks.

Jon V.: All right. Well, thank you again, Matt, for sharing all of that. I think we’re really lucky to have students in the program like you, and also you’re volunteering your time to join us on the webinar here today.

Jon V.: The final slide before we turn this over to question and answer is just a little bit more information if you are interested in learning more about the program and wanting to move forward with potentially applying. Classes start, the fall semester kicks off at the end of August. Your first day of class is Monday, August 24th. We are still accepting applications for the fall. We will be accepting those applications all the way up until mid-July. That’s when that window closes. So you still have roughly six weeks to complete your application. You’ll want to work with an enrollment advisor, get that application completed sooner rather than later. You typically would receive your admissions decision within a couple of weeks of your adviser informing you that yes, your application is good to go and it’s been submitted.

Jon V.: So we have an application deadline, again, at the end of July. Classes begin toward the end of August. You’ve got all of that contact information there at the bottom of the slide. If you want to give us a call directly here at the admissions office, or if you want to use the admission team’s calendar to schedule a time that works for you so we have some uninterrupted time to talk about the program. That just about wraps things up here. So we can now turn this over to any questions that you all would like answered. It looks like there’s one question here, go ahead.

Matt B.: This is Matt. I just want to answer the one quick obvious question that, or at least it is for me, a lot of people asking what happens if I’m deployed? Or what happens if I get orders? For students who are veterans, what happens if life smacks me over the head? The way that the program runs, we do allow you to take a knee. So there are opportunities for you to take a semester off. The number one thing is communication. So just let your instructor know, let your student advisor know, and we’ll definitely work with you on that to make sure that you’re taken care of.

Jon V.: Perfect. I’m seeing another question here. How long is the process from applying to hearing back with your admissions decision? Again, one to two weeks, once your application is complete, is typical. In terms of compiling the whole application, this process tends to be pretty quick, because your application, we are really only looking at four documents. A copy of your resume, transcripts from your undergraduate degree. There’s a personal statement, but it’s pretty short. One to two pages is typical. Then a letter of recommendation. You’re welcome to include more than one, but one is all that’s required. So a lot of our students are able to get the application itself complete, again, within a week or two. Then once it’s all complete, the enrollment advisor reviews everything to make sure that we’re delivering the strongest application possible. You will usually have an answer back pretty quickly once that application has been submitted.

Matt M.: It was a pretty easy process. When I went through it last November, I’m pretty sure that I had submitted unofficial transcripts first to get a ballpark idea to get everything initially. Then the hardest part was just ordering all my transcripts. But it was a pretty easy process.

Jon V.: That’s exactly right. Folks, if you are sitting on a copy of your unofficial transcripts, just a PDF that you pulled from your university’s website, that kind of thing, we can use that for the application. Then we would just need the official copy sent over to Washington State before you start classes. So that’s the long and the short on the application. We are at right at 30 minutes, the half hour window that we have for our webinar today. So I, again, want to thank Matt Beer from Washington State University and Matt MacKillop from the US Coast Guard, and also the MBA program at Washington State University for joining us here today. Certainly, if you have any other questions that weren’t answered consult with one of our enrollment advisors. Give us a call, put a time on our calendar. We will reach out and we’ll get you all of the information that you need on the program here at Washington State. Thanks for much for joining us everybody.