WSU Online MBA and EMBA Spring 2017 Webinar with the Assistant Dean

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Courtney O’Hehir: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us. We’ll be starting the presentation shortly. Good afternoon and welcome everyone. My name is Courtney and I will be your moderator today. I’d like to start by thanking you all for joining us for the Washington State University online MBA and executive MBA online program webinar.

Before we get started I’d like to cover a few housekeeping items. In order to minimize background noise, the presentation is in broadcast only mode. You can ask a question at any time by using the chat Q&A feature to the right bottom of your screen. Please note that you are in broadcast mode only so you can hear us, but we cannot hear you.

We will do our best to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A session at the end of the webinar. If you are unable to answer all of your questions today, one of our enrollment advisors will follow up with you shortly. Finally, we are recording this webinar and it will be emailed to you after the presentation, as well as posted to our website in the next couple of weeks.

During the webinar, you will have a chance to learn more about the history of Washington State University, our online MBA and EMBA programs, admission requirements, networking and career sources and of course ask questions. The presentation should run about 30-40 minutes with the final 20 minutes being utilized for the live Q&A session, so please stick around.

Our presenters today are Cheryl Oliver:, the assistant dean of online and graduate programs at the Carson College of Business at Washington State University. Another presenter we have today is Carlos Harper, an enrollment advisor for the online MBA and executive MBA online program. And we also have Lori Schrafel your student services support for both programs. Now I would like to hand it over to our assistant dean Cheryl Oliver: to begin the presentation. Cheryl?

Cheryl Oliver:: Thank you very much Courtney. And I think we do have a couple of people mentioning in the comments that they’re still having trouble hearing. So, if we can address that. I’ll just take a brief moment to introduce myself so we can buy them a little bit of time to get situated. My name is Cheryl Oliver:, I’m the assistant dean for graduate and online programs in the Carson College of Business at Washington State University. I oversee our online MBA and executive MBA program operations and I also oversee our undergraduate online degree programs as well here in the Carson College of Business.

I’ve been working for Washington State University now for just over 15 years in a variety of roles. The most exciting one and my favorite by far is the opportunity to work with our online students from all over the world. I joined Washington State University in part because of its mission. Washington State University is a land grant university founded in 1890 in Pullman, Washington. Pullman is in the southeastern corner of the state, just across the border from Moscow, Idaho where we also are neighboring schools and friends with the University of Idaho.

The land grant foundation was signed through the moral act. It was an act that was committed by our president at the time, Abraham Lincoln. And what he did with that act was gave each state real estate so that they could use that to either build a school or sell to invest in a school that provided access through education to the members of that state.

At that time, over 97% of people’s daily lives were immediately impacted by their work in agriculture. So, their livelihood was grounded to agriculture. And so most land grant institutions in North America still have a heavy ag focus. Washington State University still has a very robust agricultural program and is the school that hosts extension education across the state, we also have altered our mission as times have changed. Today, only about 3% of the population’s life is directly impacted through their own work in agriculture.

And so today part of our mission is to ensure that we’re making lives better through the pursuit of other traits and including business education. We have over 125 years of alumni legacy, leaders who are making a difference worldwide who have started their careers here in Pullman or at one of our locations across the state, or through our online programs.

We’ve been offering our MBA program for over 55 years and have kept up with the times and trends. There was a time when people would go to their undergraduate institutions for four or five years and complete their bachelor’s degree and then were obligated to go to work for 3-5 years before being eligible to apply to join an MBA program at that time.

And after that work experience and a rigorous application process, people would then stop their jobs and then move back to a college campus and attend school for up to two, two and a half years before trying to reenter the workforce. And I will tell you, even in my 15 years here at Washington State University, with the development of technology and capabilities for people to stay where they are or to be mobile, to be on multiple assignments across the globe and still maintain their life objectives. An MBA online is certainly one of the way that we’re living out our mission and also adapting so that we can meet the needs of people who don’t want to stop their job, leave behind a mortgage, car payment, family, etc. ask their life partner to change careers and so on so they can go back and pursue schooling.

We’ve been working for over 20 years perfecting online degree programs. Our former dean was one of our first instructors in an online course when we moved from a closed circuit television product to entirely using the internet. And in the years prior to that time, we’d actually been very well respected in the area of correspondence courses. So, we started with sending packets in the mail, there be a chest, then BVD and even USB and even internet capability. And now we have programs that are 100% online, more students getting engaged.

We also have an international network of corporate and academic alliances. It’s very important to us to establish relationships with schools across the globe. And part of that is so that we can continue to challenge our own school of thought here and make sure that we’re current and that we’re serving students who want to be globally competitive business leaders. It’s unfair of us to suspect that living in the town of Pullman, Washington where there are 30,000 people with our student population here, the full-time undergraduate student population and some graduate students, that we are going to have a clear and reasonable picture of what global business looks like if we were to stay here and simply be introspective. So, it’s very, very important to us to have this network of friends and colleagues in the world both at the academic level and within the corporations so that we can best understand how to meet their needs.

We are accredited by the NWCCU, which is regional accreditation. I know that you may be looking at a variety of programs and trying to decide which one is the best one for you. And a number of them will market themselves as accredited. It’s important that you look for that regional accreditation, NWCCU, it’s for the northwest, there are other across North America.

More importantly, it’s also important that you look for the AACSB seal. That’s the blue circle that you see here. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and I apologize for my mispronunciations here today. I am new to wearing braces, so I’m doing my best to annunciate for all of you, so I’m so sorry.

We have worked very, very hard and gone through a rigorous review process to receive and maintain your every year our AACSB accreditation. It’s very important to us. the AACSB accreditation requires that we set rigorous standards for admission, for curriculum, for faculty training, for faculty participation and credentialing and that we have specific ratios of very qualified faculty to our student body. And then they also ask that we look regularly at our classes and our assignments and our assessments and that even in the MBA program when students finish that we look really critically at the final products that the students put out to ensure that we’re offering a sound, intelligent _________. So the AACSB accreditation is one that you can trust on a global scale.

In addition to our accreditation, we have been recognized by some rankings outlets. We have been ranked for the last four years in the top 25 by U.S. News & World Reports. That ranking asks us to answer questions about our selectivity. And I will tell you selectivity at some institutions means that there are 45 seats in a classroom and so they are going to take hundreds of applications and call them down to the best 45 students that fit their brand and fit their brand and fit their institution and fit the expectations they have when they send students into the world to get a job and they think about who their alumni should be.

We also take those things into consideration, who should be a Washington State University Cougar at the time of graduation and be a part of our alumni network. Who is someone that we want to ask to bear our brand? On the other hand, because we have a mission to serve others and to provide access to education for those who are willing and able to do the work, we don’t say well we only have 45 seats. We say we can scale and offer students a one-faculty member to 20 or 30 students experience. But we will continue to add faculty and students as the students say that they want this program. So, our selectivity numbers do show up differently in those rankings.

They also ask us about things like faculty training and how the engagement works for students in the online space. And so we’re really proud of the recognition for the good work that we do. But we also don’t subscribe to the school of thought that the rankings are everything and that we should pursue them over all else. Our mission is what we pursue over everything and then if our mission is recognized by these rankings then that’s something that we can be proud of.

We are also ranked by the Princeton Review as a top 25 online MBA program and we’re also recognized by CEO magazine in their tier one and tier two segments for online MBA and our global executive MBA. We’re also ranked no. 19 by best online MBA programs for veterans and are recognized by both Military Times and Victory Media as military friendly schools. And the reasoning for the military friendly recognition is that (a) we have a hurt for our veterans and again back to our service mission, we definitely want to make sure that we are offering a high quality degree that is very relevant. So, for checking boxes and moving through the military ranks or to transition out and into a civilian position.

One of the things that’s even more important to us is making sure veterans are supported through the course of the program and we have some staff here on campus including myself working remotely to ensure that those measures are in place to ensure our student path support and we’re continuing to work to add additional layers.

I’ll talk momentarily about our MBA curriculum. We have foundation courses for those people who have not had an undergraduate in business. We will ensure that you are properly prepared to go through a rigorous 22-month AACSB accredited online MBA program. So, we give you a little bit of a shot in the arm. We have a series of five week courses that will gear you up and get you ready to be successful.

We also have four concentrations available. So, after taking the foundation courses, the MBA students take core courses which are the minimum requirements of every MBA that we offer in our portfolio. And then we allow you to make choice within the elective series. And so you could then to concentrate in as listed here, marketing, finance, hospitality, business management or international business. Or you can choose to get a general MBA and choose your three electives from one of those areas of interest to you.

The content is asynchronous for most of the time and the way that works is when you log in as a student, your teacher has given you a roadmap. It tells you what things you need to do for the course of the week and what the due dates are. And then as long as you submit them by the due date, you’re in good standing academically.

The faculty also makes themselves available to you to answer your communication within 24 hours to submit their grades and feedback within 72 hours of the assignment due date. And to provide you with some live opportunities to network and talk with your fellow students and learn from your faculty and one of the ways that we do that is through live weekly synchronous sessions. The faculty are required to hold them and they will hold them continuously for all of our students. What they will not do is require that the students attend so that you have flexibility to watch it on video at your own convenience.

We also have section instructors that will provide an additional layer of support there and helping you work through your classes. So, you’ll have small class section and about 20-35 people where you’ll be working in maybe some messaging, you’ll be in a live discussion online, but you can come back and leave it. So, for example, your teacher may post a question prompt and say okay I need everyone to give their input on this. And one student may get started and get some feedback and another student would have an opinion about that and continue and the faculty will interject until a robust conversation is occurring.

If you need to step away from that because you’re going to work or you’re tucking children into bed or you’re making dinner, you can absolutely do that and come back to the conversation on your own time. There is not an expectation that it’s like a live chat and you’re there synchronously with your other colleagues. You’ll find that there may be periods of quiet where your other colleagues are also engaged. And so as you engage with the space, you’ll find it’s very customizable.

The other part of the MBA that’s exciting and important is that there is a capstone requirement. So, in many MBAs or masters program, there’s a requirement that a student complete as final thesis and that’s usually a research project. An MBA program is not a research based program, it’s a practical program, it’s a professional program to enable you to leave business.

And so to that end instead of a thesis, business students work through a capstone cycle where they work on a business plan. That could be as an individual or group. Your business may have a spinoff or spinout that they’d like to pursue. You may have a dream that you’ve always thought, gosh if I could just clear my desk like they do in the movies and switch everything to one side and start over with my business this is what I would do. Great. Those options exist for you to be able to consider what you would like to do down the road. And maybe it’s something that you finish as part of the MBA and you box up and put on the shelf temporarily, or maybe it’s something you pursue right away. We’re here to support you in that effort and give you really great critical feedback to help you prepare even to ask for funds to get that started enterprise and investment cycle.

And lastly, we offer an international field study. It’s an optional opportunity to go abroad with faculty and with other students to explore a part of the world. Our recent trip with students was to Vietnam and to China. We’ve also taken one to South Korea and to China. So, ten day study tour _________ students in business tours. So, even if you travel internationally for business, this is an opportunity for you to also see companies that may be in your area, but not in your specific company. It may also be an opportunity for you to see some contrasting companies to yours and see how some of the solutions they have, they help provide solutions for you.

I think of one specific example where even our students help one another in that same regard. During the economic downturn, we had a student working for a travel company that was a large aggregator online of discount travel prices and a student working for a very large shipping company. And both of them were facing issues with rising labor costs and laying off employees and also having problems with fuel costs. And the two of them wouldn’t usually have thought to call each other to benchmark cost of fuel and employee turnover or laying off the employees and trying to bring them back in another time, but they were able to sell that cross-functionally, and our students who travel in the international program say they also learn things that really help them in their industries or with their specific companies as well. So, I would encourage you to start thinking now, as you’re thinking about getting an MBA about traveling abroad as part of your program. It’s a great experience.

We do offer certificates for those concentrations that I mentioned. And it’s possible for a student to think, you know I sort of wanna do the MBA, but I’m not ready to commit full time right now. I’d like to just take a class here and there and sort of feel my way through. You can certainly just take the three electives and get a certificate to get started. You can also earn the certificate by taking your elective courses through the program so at commencement or at graduation you would then earn your certificate at the end of the program.

And then if you though after the program, gosh I was a generalist and now I’d like to be a specialist and as an alum you wanted to come back, you would have the option to come back and take two additional classes to earn one of those certificates, assuming that one of the classes you’d already taken also applied to the certificate. So, some of the great opportunities there for you to add a credential or continue to retool over time.

I wanna talk now about support and I know most of you are working, working full time, maybe working more than one job. You may have a life partner who is also working. You may be commuting a distance to your work. You may be working from home. You may have small children, you may have teenagers, you may be helping care for some aging parents or family members. Every time I talk to students I am amazed at how much they are balancing and how much is on their plate in life. And equally amazed by how successful they are in the classrooms.

And so knowing that all of those things are important in your life and that your education is also important. I mean the investment that you’re making in yourself is also important, we want to be sure and support you through this process. There’s a lot of static out there when you’re looking for an online MBA or an online program. And we know that there are a lot of problems saying finish in this amount of time for just this amount of money and those considerations are important. What kind of investment do you have to make in terms of your resources, both financially and in terms of your time.

So we have enrollment advisors who will walk you through the entire process, assure you of where you are in the pipeline, ensure that you get a decision in a timely fashion and follow up with you to ensure that you are completing all of the applications on your side to get your application completed as quickly as you possibly can, and as well.

We also have technical support once you enroll in your program that we’ll ensure that you have answers when you can’t quite get something to work in the online space. Is it perfect to another person at another time? It’s not. Is it perfect almost all of the time? Yes, it is. Most of the time, it’s just a small technical situation that can be resolved over the phone and technical support will be able to walk you through that and ensure that you have connectivity.

We do also offer students support advisors. So, once your enrollment advisor helps you find your admissions decision and helps you decide whether you want to commit to Washington State University and the Carson College of Business, then your student support advisor will take over and share with you with courses you need to enroll in, help you secure your books. And they’ll also be checking in on you throughout the program. They’ll call to see how things are going. They’ll be watching to see have you logged in in a couple days? Maybe something’s going on and ensure that everything’s going okay for you. You can call them and let them know hey I’ve been working with this faculty member and I haven’t got a response in this specific period of time but I really need to let them know that I’m going to undergo an urgent medical procedure, so I’m gonna need a little bit of help here. And we’ll work together to support you through the program.

We have small class sizes. You’ll see that you have a lead faculty member who has created the course and is teaching the course, they’re offering the live sections. And we’ve added an additional layer of support so that you are in a small section of 20-30 students with an additional individual who will be doing your grading, answering specific course questions, giving you feedback on your assignments, spurring you through the discussions with your classmates and offering you general support as well.

In the executive MBA program, we do have an executive MBA director who is also the instructor of the capstone course. And you do have access to that individual. In the OMBA, the online MBA, I’m available to the MBA students and also to the faculty in that program and I do hold quarterly townhall meetings to share information and seek feedback from the students. It’s really important to us that you have not only your support advisor, not only your section instructor, not only your lead faculty member, but that you have college leadership dedicated to you to ensure your success in the MBA and your connection to the college and the university.

When we talk about the executive MBA program, this program is specifically for people who have seven or more years of working the experience that has progressed into a leadership role. The average age of students in that program is between 37-42 over the last eight years. We do see that most of those team members have quite a bit of experience leading others or leading their own organization. We do tailor the course content to fit that approach. So, where the MBA really does address people at various walks of life, including those who have reached executive level leadership, in the executive MBA it’s strictly for people that have reached executive level leadership and provides content that looks more holistically at how they may be making decisions or rather than focusing a little bit deeper on some of the issues.

The content like the online MBA is asynchronous but does allow for the synchronous interaction with faculty throughout the week. The networking opportunities in this program are very, very important. It does give you a chance, like I said, to learn from your colleagues in other areas who you may not typically benchmark against when you’re looking at your industry. Or if you have a specific functional area in which you’re working up to learn from others in other functional areas that may be of interest to you or where you would like to learn more so that you can work towards a role over the entire organization.

We do also have a capstone project in that program and it is, again, optional to do it in a group or as an individual as a required project, but you can do it on your own or with others. We also offer an international field study for this program. I think it’s one of the biggest beneficiaries for the executive MBA as regards to their connection to one another. It’s an opportunity for you to meet one another in person and spend time in an environment outside of your own location.

The other important piece on the executive MBA program that’s offered – and we are, for those of you not doing an executive MBA, we are exploring other feasible options for our other student populations right now. The executive MBA students are able to meet in a location one time a year. It’s completely voluntary on the part of the students. They do pay their own way to typically Seattle, Washington where for two nights and three days there’s an opportunity to engage with one another in receptions and meals and then also to hear from executive coaches who talk about overcoming some of the obstacles of being in an executive setting.

For example, selection of the leader. What do you do when everyone is telling you yes, and you suspect that people have some critical feedback, but they aren’t willing to share it with you because there are concerns that you have power over the position and may not receive it well. How do you solicit that feedback so that you’re getting the most out of your team? You have dialog that’s open and can be successful? Or, how is it that maybe you’re in charge of your organization, but you only see the president of the international organization one or two times a year. How do you optimize that time with that executive so that you can be successful in your environment? So, these are really great opportunities for the executive MBA students again to go through the curriculum, to hone their leadership skills and then to engage with one another.

I’ll speak a little bit right now about our active duty military personnel and our veterans before we go into some specifics on program entries. We do have a dedicated military support person here on campus that’s also our certified official and our veteran’s affairs coordinator. We have added staff so that unit on campus. We do have a vet core coordinator. The vet core coordinator is something that’s offered to the Washington State Veterans Administration and through funding from Scott Carson, who happens to also be the namesake of the Carson College of Business.

Scott was in the Air Force and married to his life Linda when they came to Washington State University so that he could attend his undergraduate degree on the GI bill. He attended the Carson College of Business at that time and became very successful through a career working at Boeing for almost his entire career, post baccalaureate. He ended up going there and becoming the CEO of Boeing Marshall and is still a very good friend of the university and the college and has given some funding to veterans affairs office here on campus in support of veterans, both online and on campus.

We are certified to receive the GI and post-9/11 GI bill. We are participant in the yellow ribbon program and also in the service members opportunity college group. We are listed in the Dante’s Catalog. Our university is signed annually for the last five years to be members. It’s important to us to maintain that relationship. And we also have discounted tuition rates for the online MBA and scholarships available in both programs.

We are looking at a variety, I just had a call this morning, we are looking at a variety of options for adding additional layers of support there. I will tell you one of the things I can see when our students have come through a corporate environment is that they’re very adept at writing a resume that fits the next opportunity or a cover letter that cultural competency is very well articulated.

For our service members as they move out of the military and transition into the corporate environment, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that the resumes humbly understate their oversight of millions of dollars and even up to tens of thousands of people. So, we really want to add some layers and are working on that as we speak to ensure that our veterans and active duty military personnel are equipped to take the next step.

At this time what I would like to do is turn it over to Carlos. Carlos is one of our enrollment advisors and he will speak about the difference between the two programs and how you may make a decision about which program is the right fit for you as you decide to get your MBA. And then at the end of the presentation, we will take questions and answers. Carlos, I’ll turn it over to you.

Carlos Harper: All right, thank you Cheryl and thank you to all of you who actually are participating in this webinar and allowing us to share the middle of the day with you. I wanted to talk a little bit about the differences. I wanted to compare and contrast the online MBA program to the executive MBA program as well.

Now, when it comes to the online MBA and executive MBA program, the curriculum isn’t necessarily different, but it’s more of the approach to the curriculum. When I say the approach to the curriculum, the online MBA is more of a theoretical approach. You’re actually graduating from undergrad 22 years old and you go straight into the MBA program, it’s more theoretical approach. With the executive MBA program, it’s more of a strategic approach. That means you actually have a lot of years of experience that could be management experience under your belt. You are upper level management. You have been for a number of years and you’re looking to gain the MBA to put those letters behind your name to actually get you to the next tier of your career.

Now, when it comes to the online MBA program, it’s 22-29 months, depending upon if you have any of those foundational classes to take as opposed to the executive MBA program is actually 18 months. Both programs do require a GMAT exam or a GMAT waiver where applicable. Both programs are 100% online. There’s no residency required at all. And both programs do offer the optional international field study.

With the online MBA program, like I said earlier, there’s no experience necessarily required. You can be 22 years old graduating from undergrad and go straight into the MBA program and that would be perfectly fine. When it comes to the executive MBA program, we’re actually looking for seven plus years of progressive management experience and at least a minimum of 10 years total work experience.

Now, when it comes to the executive MBA program, you actually would rub elbows with people that are along the same path you are along. What that means is people that have a few years of management experience, seven plus years, necessarily they may be executives, directors, vice presidents, so on and so forth. The typical class size of the MBA program is 25-30 students. With the executive program, the typical class size is 20-25. Both programs you’ll actually take one class at a time, plus the capstone for a total of about three terms.

Going into the admissions requirements, both programs you will actually complete and sign to the online application. The documents are, you know, your standard documents for the MBA program: official transcripts, current resume, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, so on and so forth. With the executive MBA program, it’s a little bit more meticulous. We ask for a letter of organizational support, organizational summary and chart. With the organizational chart it’s actually where you are on the chart and who’s above you and who’s under you when it comes to the organizational chart. An executive MBA interview. Then it also requires the three letters of recommendations, statement of purpose, as well as official transcripts as well.

The GPA for both programs, we do look for a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. And successful candidates typically submit a GMAT of 550 points or higher, or a GMAT waiver where applicable. So there is a chance for you all to receive a GMAT waiver. So, thank you for that. I wanted to turn it over to Lori Schrafel, who is actually student services advisor to go a little bit deeper into the academics of the house.

Lori Schrafel: Thank you Carlos, hello everyone. So, I’ll actually be talking about the networking and career resources that you have here at WSU. Within both programs we do have some shared resources, so we’ll have yearly events. Each program does incorporate group work so you can connect with other students that way both programs will also have the international trip abroad option which we’ll talk a little bit about next.

But then there are also some program specific resources and networking opportunities that you guys will have. Specifically in the EMBA program, our executive program, we do have a LinkedIn group that you guys will be able to join and then we also have the leadership conference. I know Cheryl spoke earlier on the leadership conference, but I’ll be going into that a little bit more here at the end of the presentation as well too.

For the traditional online MBA program, we do have a Facebook group you guys could join. And then we also are rolling out a new initiative which is a Bloomberg Business Week, which will actually provide you guys with some career tools. Within both programs though we do have resume review, the alumni association. We definitely recommend students join that as they enter into the program. It’s a great way to connect with other cougs across the country.

So a little bit more on the international trip abroad. So, again for both programs, we do offer a trip abroad experience. I know Cheryl spoke about this a little earlier, but I’ll kind of go into a little bit more details. The trip itself is typically 10 days and there is coursework that’s paid with it. So, in the past, they’ve gone to China, Beijing, Ho Chi Min City. It’s just been a great experience all around. You get to network with other students that go on the trip, you get to go to different businesses. You also get to see some cultural experiences as well. It’s just a fantastic opportunity. I highly recommend it for anybody that’s planning on joining the program. If you guys do have more questions about the trip abroad, we’ll be more than happy to answer those for you. And if that interests you, we’d love to have you go on the trip with us.

All right, the last thing that I’ll be speaking on is the executive MBA leadership conference. So, this is an event that is specific for the executive MBA student. We just had the event this past year in Seattle and it was a huge success. We had over 40 participants there and it is a three-day event. And within those three days, we do have some networking opportunities, but then we also have speakers that come in and talk about different topics throughout the day. You can see we got the three speakers we had last year listed up on the slide there. I was able to go myself and it was just hugely advantageous to go and learn about the different things that Steven or Debra Benton had to talk about. It’s just a great opportunity also to meet your fellow students, meet the program director. Also, there’s those networking events that also take place. So, we will be planning on having this. It’s a yearly event, so hopefully if you guys are looking at the executive MBA program, you can join us in that as well too. So now what I’m gonna do I’m gonna hand it over to Courtney and we’re gonna kind of open the floor for some questions.

Courtney O’Hehir:
Thank you Lori and Cheryl and Carlos for all that information. I’d like to take the time now to point out that our application deadline is December 5 for the spring semester. And as Lori mentioned at this time I’m gonna start moderating some of the questions that you guys have submitted throughout the presentation and please continue to submit these questions because we will try and get to as many as we can in our allotted time. So the first question actually is for Cheryl. Cheryl, is there an orientation that requires the students to come to campus if they
are in the EMBA program?

Cheryl Oliver: Students are not required to come to campus at any time in the program. There is an online student resource space which gives you all the tools that you will need from the program and you will have a welcome call with your student support advisor who will give you a personal orientation for everything that you need to do. For the executive MBA it’s closer to one-to-one. And then for the online MBA students there are some varying levels of support where you can have a 3-1 or 4-1 or even watch the webinar if you aren’t able to connect with your advisor right away. So, you are not required to come to campus.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Cheryl. The next question is for Lori. Lori, we have a student here who was accepted for the spring semester and would like to know how early or throughout the semester when should they choose a concentration?

Lori Schrafel: Yeah, that’s a great question. So, with the concentrations, you don’t have to declare a concentration. It’s all going to be based around the three elective courses that you’re required to take. So, basically you have to take three electives just for the MBA. Now, if you take all three elective courses within a specific topic, so for example finance, and you get a B or better in all three elective classes, then you would be eligible for that concentration certificate. So, we’ll work with you when we put together your schedule to figure out what concentration you’d like and when you would need to register for those courses.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Lori. The next question we have is for Carlos. We have a student here who would like to know is the GMAT required?

Carlos Harper: That’s also a great question. We do require a GMAT of 550 points or higher. However, there is an opportunity to receive a GMAT waiver. And once you actually connect with your particular enrollment advisor, they’ll be able to go into a little bit more depth about the GMAT requirements, as well as the possibility for the GMAT waiver.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Carlos. Our next question is for you again Carlos. The question is since this is an online program, will the degree read online?

Carlos Harper: I get that question a lot. That’s also a really good question. No it would not. The online MBA as well as the executive MBA is housed from Pullman, Washington. So it would actually read your masters of business administration. So, it would not say online at all.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Carlos. The next question is for Lori. Lori, is there a graduation ceremony and if so, when is it?

Lori Schrafel: Sure. So, we actually have two ceremonies a year. One’s in May and the other one is in December. We definitely recommend that our online students go to the graduation ceremonies. It’s a great opportunity to come to campus and meet other students and interact with each other. Usually the one in May is the first weekend in May and then the one in December is about midway through December.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Lori. The next question we have is for Carlos. The student would like to know can they pursue an EMBA if their undergraduate degree does not come from a business background?

Carlos Harper: Yes, you can. We have many students from all walks of life. We just actually require for your degree to be from a regionally accredited university. Then there’s particular situations where we’ll go into specifics again with your enrollment advisor if you would be eligible for the executive MBA or the standard online MBA program. But to answer your question you definitely would be able to pursue one of the two MBA programs, whether you have a business degree or not.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Carlos. We actually have another question for you. The question is for the EMBA requirement for a letter of organizational support, who within an organization do you accept that letter from?

Carlos Harper: Great question. Typically we would like that letter from a superior of yours at your company. And basically it’s just a letter of support from the organization saying yes we do support this student in their pursuit of an MBA degree. Not necessarily financial support, but just we do know their intent to receive their MBA and we do support their decision to move forward to do so.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Carlos. The next question is for Lori. Lori, this potential student would like to know how many classes are you able to take at once?
Lori Schrafel: Sure. So, with the courses between both programs you’re only taking one class at a time. Later on in the program once you start your capstone courses, those are the only ones taking concurrently. But traditionally, you’re just taking the one class at a time because they are the condensed five or seven week long classes.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Lori. The next question is for Cheryl. Cheryl is there any experience required for the MBA program?
Cheryl Oliver:: Experience is not required for the MBA program. In fact, we have a number of students who have come out of undergrad and started working in their first job and didn’t wanna get out of school mode and started right away that summer or fall after graduation. Is it okay Courtney if I go off script here? I know you’re fielding a lot of questions but I’m seeing quite a bit coming through on GMAT and GPN. I just wanna reiterate a couple of things. If you don’t have a 3.0 GPA, we will look at when you got the GPA, we will look at your experience. So, while we’re talking about all of these admission requirements as individual items, sort of to check them off, they actually all go into a holistic file that we review carefully.

So, you may not meet the 550 or you may not meet the 3 point or you may not have exactly the work experience, but we want to see the entire application so that we can see maybe after a 2.9 GPA or a 2.89 GPA you scored 650 on the GMAT or maybe you started your own company and you’ve been really successful. So, as you see this checklist, I’d really like to encourage everyone that’s on the call today to think about the entire portfolio and that we’re looking at the entire portfolio. Yes, we have some obligations to meet specific criteria for our accreditation and etc., but we’re gonna look at you as an individual candidate that has a lot to bring to the table and we’ll wanna talk to you specifically about your case in each case and ensure that this is a good fit for you. Again, we’re a mission centered organization looking at finding those students who are willing and able to do the work and providing you a transformational student experience. So, I hope I’ve addressed a little bit of the concern about some of the checkboxes there. Thanks for letting me go rogue there Courtney.

Courtney O’Hehir: No problem, thank you. The next question is for Lori and it’s regarding the structure of the courses, and in particular are all the classes in live format?

Lori Schrafel: Yes. So, between both programs, the courses there’s no set login times. So, it’s basically kind of come and go as you please, but do you have weekly deliverables. So, sometimes that may be tests and quizzes. Sometimes that may be papers or case studies. It’ll all vary class by class. But like I said, there’s no set log in times. Our instructors do have weekly live sessions. So, with the live sections, they’re kind of like lectures. They typically last about an hour or so. But the great thing with the live sessions, they’re not required and they’re recorded. So, if you guys can’t make the live sessions, you can always go back and listen in. We recommend going to the live sessions if you can. It’s just a great way to interact with the instructor and get your questions answered real time. But again, if you can’t make the live sessions, not a big deal, you can always go back and watch the recording.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Lori. The next question is for Carlos. Carlos, is an application required for both the MBA and EMBA? And can you speak to a little bit about the application process?

Carlos Harper: Not a problem, that’s a great question. One application will be fine. There wouldn’t be a necessity for one for both. Sometimes a student may accidentally apply for the EMBA when they meant to apply for the MBA and vice versa. So, what happens is it’s definitely advantageous to speak with an enrollment advisor so you can uncover which track is best for you. Then, they would actually direct you into the admissions process.

So, basically the admissions process is speaking with an enrollment advisor for them to get a chance to get to know you a little bit better as far as some of your needs and motivations. But most importantly, to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the program. They actually would advise you on which program would be best suitable for you and what you’re looking to obtain throughout your career and they definitely would advise you on the direction to go. And that would just be the online application, the statement of purpose, ordering the transcripts, the resumes, and so on and so forth. So, we as enrollment advisors are definitely here to help and definitely would be with you from day one all the way until it’s time for you to start classes.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Carlos. The next question is for Lori. Lori, one of the students mentioned that life events are sometimes a hindrance in earning their MBA and they are wondering how much flexibility is there when earning the MBA and EMBA with Washingtion State?
Lori Schrafel: Sure. So one of the benefits to doing the online programs and coming to WSU is each of you will get a dedicated student services advisor and we can definitely talk and kind of plan around any trips that you have coming up or any specific events. You know, obviously life does happen and so we wanna make sure we can accommodate and work with your schedule. And so each of you, like I said, will have a dedicated advisor that you can reach out to and we can kind of talk it through with you.

We do have a carousel model. So, we only offer certain classes at certain times throughout the year. But what we could do is talk to you about when the classes are gonna be offered again, what it’s gonna do to your schedule, if it’ll push back your completion dates, things like that. So, we’d be more than happy to kind of work with you on that.

Also too, with the classes being online, we have students who travel a lot for work or we have students who need to take breaks here and there. So, it’s definitely doable. Instructors are pretty flexible as well too regarding deadlines and as long as you let them know in advance if you have something coming up or if you wanna turn in an assignment early, they’ll definitely be willing to work with you in that regard. But, if you have any specific questions or specific dates that you’re gonna be out of pocket, we can definitely work with you on that.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Lori. The next question is for Carlos. Carlos, if an undergraduate GPA is less than the 3.0 are there extra classes required to bump up the GPA prior to applying?

Carlos Harper: That’s a really good question and I just wanna piggy back off of what Cheryl said earlier. We actually look at the admissions packet in a holistic approach. So just because you didn’t meet the 3.0 GPA or the 550 GMAT or the years of management experience, we definitely would look at the admissions package as a whole and see on a case by case basis what a particular student can do to make themselves admissible to the program.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Carlos. The next question is for Cheryl. Cheryl, a student asked about the 72-hour response time of faculty and they were just wondering how are the faculty held to the standard to do so?

Cheryl Oliver:: Yeah, actually when we hire our faculty, we ask them to do this and they commit to that. So, it is one of the program commitments that we ask them to do. We don’t chase them down and monitor them and we really haven’t had trouble with that. If we did come into a position where a student was saying that they weren’t getting timely feedback, we would certainly work with the faculty to see what was going on and ensure that the faculty member was safe and hadn’t encountered a situation that restricted that.

There might be some instances where you are asked to complete a large final paper or something like that. And in that case, the feedback cycle isn’t as urgently important. And so the faculty may negotiate with the class to say okay because these are the final papers, I’m gonna need a little bit of extra time to grade and you’ll get my feedback before grades are submitted for the university level grading.

But certainly on the day to day – if you’ve got your first week of class and you have something due by the first Sunday and then you need to get started on Monday on the next deliverable for the following Sunday, that faculty member is gonna get you that grading by Wednesday morning so that you can go ahead and utilize that feedback in preparation to turn in a grade assignment on the next Sunday. We don’t want you to be turning in work and then finding that you have no feedback and aren’t doing that well midway through the course. So, I hope that that answered the question.

Courtney O’Hehir: Yes it did, thank you Cheryl. The next question is for Carlos. Carlos how does an online MBA compare to an on campus? Why would an online MBA be considered better?
Carlos Harper: That’s a really good question. We have, with us being in the Pacific Northwest, we deal with many different major corporations in the Pacific Northwest as well as military personnel so on and so forth. So, with that, there are a lot of individuals who are looking to advance their career. They may travel a lot for work. A lot of individuals have families and so going to a brick and mortar could be very difficult for them and that’s where the lack of time and things of that nature come into play.

However, a lot of individuals are looking for an online MBA program. So, we here at WSU, we actually cater to the working adult. We actually provide that flexibility of doing your MBA 100% online so you can have an opportunity to go to a school that’s AACSB accredited, very reputable, consistently among the top-25 when it comes to the best online MBA programs and so on and so forth. So, I think that serves to be – the flexibility piece serves to be very, very advantageous to students that really don’t have the time to go to a brick and mortar.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Carlos. The next question is for Lori. Lori, a student would like to know if you get accepted into the program and start to take classes, if the students take any breaks or stops the program for a small period of time, is there a specific timeline before they need to reapply?

Lori Schrafel: Sure. So, again we can work with you regarding your schedule and what that would look like. If you need to take a leave of absence, you can take one for up to a year. If for some reason you don’t come back within that year, you would have to reapply to the program, but we would work with you on the reapplication process and getting you back in.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Lori. The next question is for Cheryl. Cheryl, a student would like to know is it required to attend the international trip? And if not, why would a student partake on this strip?
Cheryl Oliver:: Certainly. It is not a requirement to take the international program, but there are many students for whom that is an interesting and important part of their educational experience. At this very moment, the opportunity to travel abroad is associated with a class and is for class credit. The students that have participated in that fashion over the last six years have told us that they would also do it if it wasn’t for credits and we have had students who have not participated who have said I did not have the capacity to be working on a five or seven week class and go abroad at the same time and try and keep up with my work back home or my family, could you find an alternative?

So, we’re actually exploring and seeking feedback about whether the field trip or the international field program as a course is better than a study abroad program right before the holidays or not, or right between spring – excuse me, I say holiday, December holiday, right, between spring and summer. So, we’re exploring that.

The cost of the trip is also prohibitive when it is associated with the class, because a student is required to pay for all three credits of the class, in addition to the travel abroad opportunity, which including a plane ticket and I’ll go high ball on the plane ticket, people have different ways of paying for them and can get better deals. But let’s say you went for what’s typically the high, high price $2,000 to get there, $5,000 for accommodations and the entire program, plus the cost of your tuition, it can get pretty high. If we can remove that tuition fees from that it may offer a benefit, but it doesn’t offer credit. So, we are exploring with our students. Right now, the layout is that a student would travel abroad during 10 days within that seven week course period. They would earn three credits and it costs about $10,000 for the entire package.

We do offer that program once a year. Right now it is in the summer time, usually around June for both the OMBA and the EMBA. We are investigating moving that back to May a little bit because we found that June in Asia, which is primarily where we’ve been going, is a little bit warm and some families also have family vacations around that time. So moving it back just a little bit seems to make better sense.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Cheryl. The next question is for Carlos. Carlos, in the presentation you mentioned that a student’s undergrad degree should have a regional accreditation. What accreditations are accepted? For example, this particular student undergrad is accredited through the higher learning commission and the accreditation counsel for business schools and programs?

Carlos Harper: That’s a really good question. We do require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school or university. So, you definitely should look into your school’s accreditation to make sure that it is regionally accredited. Now for the HLC, which is the higher learning commission, I do know that that does hold a regional accreditation so that definitely should work fine.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Carlos. The next question is for Lori. Lori, are live sessions for the EMBA in the AM or PM and are they on weekends or weekdays?
Lori Schrafel: Sure, so I’ll talk a little bit about the live sessions for both programs since they’re very similar. The live sessions are traditionally during the week in the evening. They’re all scheduled in Pacific Standard Time, so whether they’re at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 at night. And like I said they usually last for about an hour or so. I’ve never seen them actually occur on the weekends, but if something’s going on and the instructor wants to schedule a live session on the weekends, they can do that. So, it’s really up to the instructor when they wanna hold their live sessions.

What I’ll do is a week before courses start though, I’ll actually send all the students a copy of the syllabus for the class and then I’ll also send a course schedule. And on the course schedule it’ll list out when the live session times are so you can kind of try and plan around it if you did wanna attend the live sessions. But again, they’re not required and they’re recorded. So, if you can’t make one, you can always go back and watch the recording.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thanks Lori. The next question is for Cheryl. Cheryl the question is could you go into a little bit more detail about the MBA certificate?

Lori Schrafel: Sure. The MBA certificates are comprised of three elective courses in the program. We offer electives in international business, marketing, hospitality business management, and finance. And some of those have some crossovers. So, for example, we do offer an international finance course, an international marketing course and an international hospitality course. And so, those three classes would contribute to the international – and we have an international management course also that travels abroad class. So, three of those four classes would contribute to a student earning either certificate.

If a student, instead was looking for a finance certificate, they would still international finance, plus the additional two finance courses for the certificate. If the question is pertaining to how could a person do the certificate instead of immediately starting in the core of the MBA, the certificate courses are not stacked together. So, you wouldn’t take three seven week courses in a row for a 21-week work toward a certificate. They are spaced out a little bit. So, you’d have a seven week course, then a break, then another seven week course then a break before earning a certificate.

For those people that are doing it through the program, you don’t have to declare your certificate until it’s time to apply for graduation. So, if you’re in the MBA and your first class is a foundation course and you get through all of your foundation courses and move into the core, you still don’t have to make a choice. When you start with your first elective, you can make a choice and perhaps you would choose a finance elective, but you don’t have to declare that you’re doing the finance course at that time or the finance certificate.

Then when your next elective comes along, you may also opt for finance or you may opt for marketing. At that point in time you’ve made a choice that you probably aren’t going to try and earn the finance certificate. And then on the third elective, which is closer to graduation, then maybe you would decide you do want a certificate and you’d let us know in the application for degree process. You don’t have to decide until the very end. And then it is awarded with your MBA diploma.

The EMBA program is a degree. We offer one MBA degree from Washington State University. It earns a diploma that says Washington State University masters of business administration. It does not articulate online, it does not articulate a specific campus and the executive MBA program is a degree branch in program. I see questions kind of bubbling up about certificates. It is not a certificate. The certificates are an add on to the online MBA, not the executive MBA, the online MBA degree because there’s a series of electives required in that program, we decided to bundle the electives and give people the option of specializing and getting an additional credential. I hope that answers the question.

Courtney O’Hehir: Perfect, thank you Cheryl. And we are just about at time, so I will take one last question and just as a reminder, we will have an enrollment advisor with anybody who’s has an unanswered question. So, thank you everyone for staying on the line. Cheryl the last question is regarding the cost of the online MBA. The cost is an important factor for students when considering enrolling. So, this student would like to know what makes the online MBA at WSU standout against other universities?

Cheryl Oliver:: Right, as I mentioned before Washington State University is a land grant institution. Our mission is to make lives better through education. There was a time when tuition at a state institution was very low because state taxpayer dollars contributed to the remainder of the cost of instruction for students. Those days, as many of you may be familiar through your undergraduate tuition paying experience or keeping up on your state government news are long over. The state is now only able to support an institution at about 15%.

For the online MBA and executive MBA programs, there is no state support directly provided and that is because MBA degrees are considered to be an opportunity for you to invest in and advance yourself. It is not offering that basic level of education to help somebody get started, so to speak. So, these programs do not have, therefore, in state or out of state tuition differentials. There’s one tuition amount for the cost of instruction per student. And for the online MBA base tuition that would be the 22 months, assuming a person had an undergraduate degree in business, it’s $30,000 almost to the penny. For the executive MBA it’s $50,000. If you are shopping for executive MBA programs right now, you will see that there are programs that cost as much as $250,000. So, you can see that for an AACSB accredited Pac-12 business school with a phenomenal reputation, you’re getting a very great value as you invest in yourself.

For the online MBA, there is a little bit of an additional bump there if you do need the foundation courses, but it’s absolutely worth the investment. Again, looking at average MBA programs, particularly online that are AACSB accredited across the country, you’ll be looking at a price tag of closer to $80,000. The difference is that Washington State University made a commitment when we started these programs under our, now deceased, President Dr. Elton Floyd that we really would be living up to the mission of making life better through education and if this is not an opportunity for us to pay faculty a whole bunch more and so on.

We do charge by the credit, so when you enroll in the program you are able to pay on a per-course basis one class at a time. If you seek financial aid it will cover the entire semester and then give you a deposit for anything that you are awarded in financial aid over and above the cost of tuition fee. There are 44 units in the base MBA program – 44 in the EMBA program and 35 in the OMBA program with additional credits in the foundation courses for those people that would need that preparation and that varies by individual. We do an individual’s needs assessment there and so we would get a closer look.

MBA students can qualify through federal financial aid for $25,000 per year in loans and so there are not subsidized loans or programs or any of those other sources of funds available to MBA students. But that $25,000 per year should put everyone in a reasonable position to be able to secure all of their tuition and fees through a loan process if that’s important to you.

Courtney O’Hehir: Thank you Cheryl. And we’re coming up on time. So, at this point I will close the webinar. I wanna say thank you, again to our presenters Cheryl, Carlos and Lori for being here today. And thank you to everyone for taking the time to join us. We hope you found this webinar both useful and inspiring. As a reminder, we will be sending an email with a link to the recording of this webinar within the next couple of weeks. Thank you, again.

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