WSU Online MBA Spring 2020 Info Session with Program Coordinator

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Jake M.: Hello, everyone, welcome to the Washington State University Online MBA Webcast, we’re super excited to have you all here, so thank you for joining us live, I hope you guys are having a good day, and excited to start sharing some information about the MBA program with you.

Jake M.: Before we really dive in, just want to go over some logistics. In order to minimize background noise, we want to have the presentation in broadcast-only mode, so that means you guys can hear us, but we can’t hear you. If you do have any questions, you have any specific things you want to address on this webcast, there’s a Q&A section that you can be typing in, should be in the top right of your screen, so you can throw any questions that you have right up there, and we will do our best to answer those towards the end of the webcast in the Q&A section. And then we also are going to go into the agenda. Basically, on this webinar, we’re going to be covering the introduction of who’s all on the webinar, myself and other faculty members. We’re going to go over the history and rankings and accreditation of WSU and the business programs here. I’ll give you a nice overview of the MBA program, what to expect as a student.

Jake M.: From there, we will be diving into the admissions requirements, all the things it takes to enter our program. We also have a student on the line with us who’s going to be able to give you their experience, a day in the life of an actual MBA student, as well as talking about international field study. And then like I alluded to earlier, we have a Q&A session towards the end where we will be addressing all of your guys’ questions.

Jake M.: Starting off, we got some introductions. Chelsea, you want to go ahead and introduce yourself?

Chelsea Gese: Yeah, thanks, Jake. Hi, everybody, my name’s Chelsea Gese, I’m the Online Graduate Programs Coordinator, I work closely with Jake, actually, and I do a lot of the admissions and recruitment for the online MBA program. Matt?

Matt Beer: Sure, hello, this is Matt Beer, I’m the Military and Veteran Affairs Program Manager at the Carson College of Business. I’m an alumni of Washington State, and a veteran of 20+ years in the Air Force. Glad to have you with us today.

Jake M.: Awesome, thanks, Matt and Chelsea. And my name’s Jake, you can see my picture there at the bottom, I am an Enrollment Advisor here for our MBA Program and our Executive MBA Program, and really my job is to help you guys learn about what we have to offer and see if it’s going to be the right fit, and then also guide you guys throughout the entire admissions process, so I work with students up until classes would actually begin. And then, like I mentioned earlier, we also have a student on the line, Julie, you want to go ahead and introduce yourself?

Julie E.: Sure. Hi, my name’s Julie Eggebraaten, I’m a recent WSU MBA graduate, or I will be walking in December, I finished my coursework about a month ago, and I am just here to talk a little bit about the international field study a little bit later on, and then also answer your questions, if you have any, about a day in the life in the program.

Jake M.: Awesome, thank you, Julie, I’m excited to have you on the webinar. Chelsea, want to kick it off, just give a little history of about WSU?

Chelsea Gese: Yeah, thanks, Jake. To start things off, I just want to give everyone a little background information on Washington State University, WSU, just so you know who we are, what’s important to us, and why. As you can see, we were founded in 1890, so we are a land-grant research university, which is something that we’re very proud of and we honor as a college and as a university.

Chelsea Gese: A little history behind the land-grant university, basically the federal government granted each state land so it could establish a college that was accessible and affordable to all, so land was granted and WSU was established in 1890 as the land-grant university in the state of Washington. The mission and our mission is to serve the public by providing accessible and affordable education to all, and we continue to make that original land-grant mission to serve an integral part of what we do here at the Carson College of Business, and one way we do that is providing the online MBA.

Chelsea Gese: We have 125 years of alumni legacy, as you can see. We have, I think, over 240,000 alumni, just across the nation and across the world, and leaders making a difference, it’s pretty awesome. Anywhere you travel, anywhere I travel, I always see people wearing Coug gear and you yell, “Go Cougs,” to each other, so tons of alumni, which makes being a Coug alumni pretty fun. Sixty years providing graduate business education, and then we have over 20 years of providing online degree programs, so definitely we are leaders in online education. And then a really big international network of academic and corporate alliances.

Jake M.: Awesome. Yeah, I think the big on there, for our online students, is the 20+ years of experience doing it, we’ve had a lot of time to perfect the skills that we’ve brought into, and it comes out to make the experience a lot better for our students.

Chelsea Gese: Yeah, absolutely.

Jake M.: Now I want to move on, a little bit about accreditation and rankings. We are highly accredited and also highly ranked among online programs. One thing that is very important to our students and also to WSU is that AACSB accreditation. We’re among less than 2% of business schools worldwide that are accredited at, really, all levels, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, with that AACSB accreditation.

Jake M.: A reason that that’s important, the accrediting body, AACSB, makes sure that we have relevant curriculum, makes sure that we have top-tier professors that are teaching this relevant curriculum, and also that employers are seeking out AACSB-accredited programs. I was speaking with one of the executive MBA faculty, and he had previously worked with Microsoft, and they have, actually, a system in place that specifically will filter out non-AACSB-accredited MBA students from the candidate pools that they’re selecting from. So, that’s one thing that you want to look for out of an MBA.

Jake M.: Additionally, we hold the regional accreditation, the NWCCU accredits Washington State University as a whole, another important thing, making sure that your university is going to hold the weight, from employers’ perspectives. Then, towards the bottom, you can see some of those rankings that we have. We don’t chase rankings, we’re not specifically trying to get to be number one, but it’s pretty cool to get some recognition from these bodies, just in sort of recognizing the strong programs that we do offer.

Jake M.: You can see U.S. News & World Report ranked us #13 in 2019, so that’s top 5% nationally. We’ve been consistently towards that top 5% since we’ve done this online MBA. Additionally, we’re ranked #19 from CEO Magazine. And then U.S. News again ranked us well for being a military-friendly MBA, top MBA for veterans, and Matt Beer will be able to speak a little bit more about that down the line. But, yeah, so you can see well recognized, both from an accrediting body standpoint as well as rankings from outside institutions.

Jake M.: Now, Matt, want to go ahead and talk a little bit more about the Military and Veteran Student Program?

Matt Beer: Yeah, sure, absolutely. I’ll make this quick, I know we have a session on Friday at a later date that kind of deep dives, so I’ll just kind of broad-brush this. We have about 15% our students are active duty or veteran students, so they’re going to be with you in class and they’re a great resource for you, and you’re also a great resource for them as well.

Matt Beer: Some of the benefits we provide: reduced tuition, we waive the application fee, and there’s also some other resources that can be had from our Veterans Office here on campus, is the email there. In addition to that, we do offer some extracurricular activities for our student veterans, especially those that are beginning to make the transition from military life to corporate world, those include doing some book studies, we host some speakers, we also host some workshops to talk about some tactical things, like resume-writing, networking, and things like that. So, if you are a veteran, or if you know somebody who might be interested in those kind of things, then feel free to have them contact me, or an enrollment advisor can have them get in touch with me as well. So, appreciate the time, go Cougs.

Jake M.: Awesome, thanks, Matt, go Cougs. Additionally, for anybody who does want to attend that military session, at the bottom left of your screen, you should see a Resource List; in there, we’ve listed the Military Info Session registration, so if that’s something you want to dive deeper into, go ahead and register for that as well.

Jake M.: But moving forward, we want to talk a little bit about the MBA curriculum. We are a 100% online program, and we can knock this program out in as few as 22-29 months, and that’s going to be depending on your educational background. So, that 22 months, if you’re coming from a business background, if you’ve taken business courses, have a business undergraduate, likely you’ll be right around that 22 month mark. If you don’t, maybe you’re an engineer, maybe you have a biology major, you just didn’t have too much exposure to business courses, we’ll be starting you off with some of those foundational courses to build up that knowledge and really set you up for success throughout the program; in that case, you’re looking more around that 29-month length mark.

Jake M.: Within the MBA, we have four different concentrations that you can be choosing, as well as a general option. So, if you are trying to target or grow a career within a specific area, we’re trying to dive deeper into that content, you can see we have Marketing, we have Finance, Hospitality Business Management, and International Business, so basically these concentrations are made up of the elective courses that you have, a pretty good way for our students to continue their growth path and really tailor the MBA to their careers. If none of those line up particularly, we have the general option, where you can pick and pull classes from any of those, maybe one marketing class, a finance class, and an international business class, you can mix it however you really see best fit.

Jake M.: Additionally, we have asynchronous content, so we don’t require you to be logging on at any mandatory times; big value for our students who travel a lot, big value for our students who maybe aren’t in the Pacific Time Zone. But we also want to be able to give you guys some time to connect live, that’s a big value to not only meet with the professors, but also meet with your classmates, so we do have what we call Life Info Sessions. Each week, you can be hopping on the line with your professor, as well as other students, be able to learn the material that we’re going over, be able to ask questions to your professor and, again, also network with those classmates; we got a lot of good students in this program, we want to give you guys pretty good access to each other.

Jake M.: We end our MBA with a capstone project, and really this is a unique thing that we do; instead of ending with maybe a thesis paper or some large tests, we prefer to do a more hands-on approach. So, this capstone project, you’ll create a full business plan from start to finish, we’ll be in a group setting, so you guys are really fleshing out this large business plan and ultimately presenting it to some of our faculty members, and they sort of act as investors, they won’t actually fund the project, but they will give you the feedback required to see if this might be something you want to take once you finish up the MBA.

Jake M.: WSU, we don’t own the rights to those projects, if you guys come up with a great business plan and you feel like you want to move forward with it, it is entirely yours, we’ve had students actually do that. Actually, we had a student go on Shark Tank and get funded from Mark Cuban, so these are some awesome projects, a really good way for us to tie all that content that you’ve learned throughout the program into one final deliverable.

Jake M.: And then we also have an international field study that you can go on. Again, this is optional, our flexibility is one of our main points that we’re trying to provide our students, but this is another way for you to connect even more in depth with your classmates and faculty members; again, that’s something Julie’s going to be talking about more in depth later in this presentation.

Jake M.: Hopping back to those concentrations, we also offer them as certificates. You can see here we have three different bullet points there. You have Current Washington State University MBA students; if you chose a concentration, you end up actually graduating the program with your MBA degree and a graduate-level certificate in Finance, or whatever concentration you ended up choosing.

Jake M.: The second bullet point there is the Washington State University MBA alumni, we have had lots of students come back to add another certificate, you can take these standalone; so, maybe you’ve went through the program with the Finance concentration the first time around, but now you’re getting more into some international business subjects, so now you can add another credential, learn more about that content and add it to the resume, be even more competitive to different roles that you’re applying to down the line. And then we can offer them standalone for students who maybe aren’t ready for a full MBA yet, they sort of want to test the waters or want to just specifically learn the marketing content, and you can hop into a Marketing concentration and knock out those three courses there. So, we think that’s a pretty big value-add for our students, we’ve heard good feedback from our students there.

Jake M.: And then a few highlights, some stuff we’ve already covered. That 22-29 months, again, that’s due to foundation courses; if you need them all, it’s going to be seven classes, looking at roughly 29 months; if you’re coming from a business background and you request a waiver for those, you’re looking at 22 months. Again, 100% online, we don’t have any residency required, a lot of online MBAs will have maybe a time at the beginning that you need to come out to campus, maybe a time at the end that you need to come out, we’re not going to have that, we keep those types of things optional, like with the international field study.

Jake M.: We also want to keep our class sizes small, you’ll see 25-30 students in our classes, this gives us a lot more hands-on time with your professors, allows us to have quick response times with any questions that you have, and allows you guys to connect pretty closely with those people in your courses.

Jake M.: And then you’ll see course structure, one class at a time, plus the capstone. So, this is a huge value-add for our students, this one-class-at-a-time approach makes the program a lot more doable because most of you guys are going to be working a 40+ hour job and you’re out looking to do this on the side, having the one class to be taken, instead of a traditional program where you might be taking two or three at the same time, makes it a lot easier, you’re able to just focus on one subject, connect with one professor, and work with those same classmates. The only exception to this rule is going to be towards the end, when you work on your capstone, you’d be taking both a core class as well as your capstone class, so you might be learning some marketing content while also starting to development that business plan with your capstone group.

Jake M.: Additionally, you’ll see the tuition at the bottom there, it’s going to be $834 per credit hour, there’s a range of 36-52 credits, depending on your business educational background, so if you are coming in with a business degree and you get waivers for those foundations, about $30,024 for the cost of tuition; if you didn’t and you needed all of those foundations, you’re looking at $43,368.

Jake M.: Now, one thing that’s important to note, these foundational courses are waived on a class-by-class basis. So, there’s the seven classes, for instance, one of them is economics, if you took economics in your undergraduate, even though you weren’t a business undergrad, you can request a waiver for that one, so that can save you some time, save you some money there as well.

Jake M.: Moving on, we’re going to talk about the admission requirements, so what the application looks like, what you need to get into the program. You’ll fill out an online application, that’s a completed and signed application. The documents within there, you’re going to have your official transcripts, you’ll also be putting a current resume; we would need one letter of recommendation, ideally coming from an immediate manager or supervisor, somebody who can speak towards your working skills; and then we have an essay called the “Statement of Purpose,” really a pretty simple document detailing your background, detailing what you’re looking to do, what your future goals are in your career, and then tying it together, why are you a good fit for the program, based off of your background, and why is the program a good fit for you, based off of the future path that you see.

Jake M.: We don’t have any mandatory work experience to join the MBA, some programs will have two years minimum full-time working experience, we don’t have this, we see a handful of students coming straight from their undergraduate into our program, and see a lot of success with those, a good way to jumpstart their careers. Additionally, we have a GPA requirement, minute is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, that’s not a hard requirement, we do make exceptions to that rule, we have students that are admitted under a 3.0, there’s just some ways that we would look to boost your profile, given the under 3.0 GPA.

Jake M.: And then the GMAT, we do have waivers that are available. If you did need to take the exam, usually we’re trying to target a 550 or better, so that’s right around the 50th percentile, but, again, we do have multiple waiver options. Speaking of those GMAT waivers, here they are here, so really there’s five different ones that you can be requesting. If you previously have earned a graduate or professional degree, you could be eligible for a GMAT waiver; so, if you have a master’s degree in something else, if you have a Ph.D in something else, we can use that as evidence to bypass the GMAT requirement.

Jake M.: We also have another one, this one’s really popular with a lot of the students I work with, that’s going to be 5+ years of progressive work experience, along with a 3.0 GPA or higher. So, maybe you’re coming in with a, let’s say, psychology degree and you have five years where you’ve been working full-time, postgraduate, and you can use those skills to bypass the GMAT, potentially. We also have the STEM degree waiver, so that’s going to be the third one down, so if you’re coming in with a STEM degree, something that’s heavy in quantitative work, like engineering, like computer science, we can use those to, again, request a GMAT waiver, we would need a 3.0 GPA in that case, though.

Jake M.: Additionally, you’ll see the AACSB business degree with 3.0 GPA or higher, that’s another good way to be requesting the GMAT waiver, I have a lot of students coming in with that one as well. And then towards the bottom, for some of our students that are under that 3.0 mark, we have one for having 10+ years of progressive work experience, alongside a 2.79 GPA or higher, so that’s just another way that we really take into work experience during these admissions decisions process.

Jake M.: I know that’s a lot of information for the student, there’s a lot to go over with the admissions requirements and waivers, but, again, that’s what my role is to help you with; as an enrollment advisor, if you reach out to me or any of our other advisors, we’d be able to walk you through that, we can go over what your options are, we can guide you to put together the strongest admissions process possible. And then just hopping back to GMAT waivers, we do see a lot of our students getting them, I don’t have a specific percentage, but probably a majority of the students I work with are going to be attempting to get a GMAT waiver and oftentimes being successful in that. So, if you are looking to potentially get started, you can see, again, in the bottom left, in that Resource List, you can schedule an appointment, so that will route you to our calendar, that’ll get you in touch with either myself or one of our other advisors, and we can walk you through what potential ways we have to get admitted.

Jake M.: Now, moving on, aside from GMAT, aside from admission requirements, we have a lot of student support here for you. One of the huge things that we pride ourselves on is having a high graduate rate, we see roughly 80% of our students are coming into the program and graduating, and the student support that you have is a big reason why we have that rate. Starting off, right off the bat, you have enrollment advisors, so you have myself and my team, that help you through the admissions process. From there, starting day one of class, you’re going to be assigned to a student support advisor. So, these are really your go-to throughout the program, they help you with just about every scenario that you can see, from scheduling your courses, to registering for classes, buying textbooks, navigating some problems that you’ll see, they’re sort of the first line that you’d reach out to, and they can provide you guidance at navigating any scenario. Also have a good tech support team, the Washington State University Coug Techs, they are awesome, very quick to help with any issues with any systems that you’re using. And then we also have 24/7 support for Blackboard, the learning management system that we use, so if you’re running into any system issues, you have a line to be reaching out to.

Jake M.: Additionally, we have those small class sizes that I had mentioned earlier, 25-30 students. And then we break our classes up with section instructors, so you have two lines of contact that can help with content. You have your lead instructor, the person who’s really creating the curriculum, creating that syllabi, but you also have section instructors who are content experts and can help you with your homework, help you with any topics you might be struggling with.

Jake M.: Moving on, we have the international field study. Chelsea, do you want to hop in on this one?

Chelsea Gese: Yeah, thanks, Jake. So, did you want to just go into that, Julie, and talk about that? That might be best.

Julie E.: No, it’s okay, if you want to introduce, you can, either way. Yeah, I guess I can. I actually …

Chelsea Gese: I was just going to …

Julie E.: Sorry. I don’t know if we might have a time lag or something.

Chelsea Gese: You go, Julie.

Julie E.: Okay, so sorry. Yeah, I went on both the Chile field study in 2018 and then the Finland-Estonia field study this past summer. For the first field study, it was very shortly after I started the program that I found out about it, and I always wanted to go to Chile, and it seemed like a great opportunity to meet other students and whatnot, That trip ended up just being so incredible and I learned so much and met such amazing people that I wanted to do it again when another opportunity came up. So, they were very different in a lot of ways, but just great opportunities to apply what we had been learning in our courses, and meet other students, and form those connections that maybe are a little bit harder to form when you’re in an online program, not that you can’t do it, but it just kind of made it more well-rounded for me, personally, that I got to me and interact with other students.

Julie E.: I don’t know, I think there’s just something about being able to go on the trip and visit companies and learn about doing business in other countries while applying things that you’ve been learning in class. Each field study, like I said, is a little bit different, so the one in Chile was a little bit more about, I think it was an international business management course, and then the one in Finland, it was a marketing instructor that was taking the students on the field study, so we had a little bit more of a marketing perspective and learning more about cultural differences in doing business in Finland and Estonia versus the United States. Both were amazing experiences, I think if anybody on the call decides to join the program, it looks like there’s another one in Prague next summer, which sounds amazing. So, I think if you can swing it, it’s great, it’s not necessarily something that you have to do to make your program successful, but I think it really enhanced my experience with the MBA program. Yeah, I don’t know, was there anything else you wanted me to touch on with the international field study?

Jake M.: No, I think that was a great recap of it. With your most recent one, can you tell a little bit about any business partners that you met up, sort of what that actually looks like?

Julie E.: Yeah, sure, no problem. The one in Finland and Estonia, we visited several different companies that were a lot different, in terms of industry and whatnot. We visited Nokia, which was really interesting to me because I didn’t know they did anything but cell phones, and it turns out they do a lot with network, and that’s really more what they do, like providing internet service to countries all around the world. That was actually a really cool one, and they had lots of really amazing demos they could do with robots and stuff that was awesome, to demonstrate the difference between 4G and 5G, for example. We also visited Rovio Games, which that’s the company that makes Angry Birds, so that was really interesting to learn about gaming in Finland because that’s kind of a big industry there. We also visited a couple smaller local companies, so one of them was a place right on the harbor in Helsinki, it’s called Allas Sea Pool, so you got to learn about … it’s a small business, but it’s kind of a cool place because they have saltwater pools right on the harbor, but they also have a sauna, which is really popular in Finland, and a store, and then they also hold concerts on their little grassy area right on the harbor, so it was pretty interesting to learn from a small business perspective. And then a couple other small businesses in Estonia, we visited a company called Lingvist, which has a language learning app that’s made specifically for business people who travel and who may already have a baseline understanding of a certain language, so that was really interesting to me because I speak Spanish and I like learning anything about languages, I thought that was really cool. But it was nice because there was just a lot of different things.

Julie E.: And then on the Chile trip, we went and visited some wineries because the wine industry is big in Chile, but we also learned about artificial intelligence from a company called Cognitiva, which is a partner with IBM. So, a lot about entrepreneurship in Chile and just about how Chile, as a country, and the government is trying to encourage people to become entrepreneurs and invest in Chile to grow their economy.

Julie E.: I had learned a ton from both trips, and it was also a ton of fun, and I made some great friends. In fact, I’m going to Oktoberfest this weekend with a bunch of people from both of those programs. So, it was just a really great experience, I would highly recommend.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you, Julie, I appreciate that.

Julie E.: No problem.

Jake M.: We also have some good questions that are tied to the international trip coming through. One of them is how long the international field study is? If I recall correctly, it’s usually six days, is that right, Julie?

Julie E.: Yeah, I think that they shortened it a little bit. The Chile one, you got in on a Saturday morning and it went through that whole week, and then through the following weekend, so it ended up being like nine days. And then the Finland one started on a Sunday evening and then ended on a Friday evening or Saturday morning, just to give people who could only maybe take a week off the chance to go and not have to take more than those five working days off. And a lot of people who came on that trip ended up going earlier, staying a few days after, if they wanted to travel more, but it made it so that that wasn’t a requirement that they take more than one week off. So, I’m not sure what the next one is, but for me, personally, I liked it to be longer, but I think for people who maybe don’t have enough vacation time or whatnot, it’s nice that you do have that opportunity, and then if you want to stay longer, you can, just on your own.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you for that. I see another one here, “Can you do two different international field studies?” Yes, Julie’s a great example, you went both on the Chile one as well as the Finland one, so most students have that opportunity to be going to multiple ones. And I think, actually, we’ve had students come back, even once they’ve graduated, and hopped back into some of those international field studies, [crosstalk 00:30:53]-

Julie E.: You’re tempting me.

Jake M.: We would love to have you come back. So, if Prague lines up, let me know, we’ll see if we can get you in there.

Julie E.: All right.

Jake M.: Awesome. Let’s see here. “During the international study, what is the experience like in terms of learning and classroom time?” Most of it’s hands-on, Julie, right? Like visiting those partners-

Julie E.: Yeah.

Jake M.: And then also seeing the cultural aspects.

Julie E.: There’s a little bit of both. In Chile, we actually went to a university and attended some “classes” that were kind of tailored for us, so it was more like having guest lecturers come in and give us some background on the wine industry in Chile before we went and visited the wine industry. And then in Finland, we didn’t really have classroom time, per se, but every morning we had a banquet room at our hotel reserved just for us, and each day we would have one or two groups of students present a little short PowerPoint, giving background on the companies we were visiting that day, and so then we could prepare for the visit and talk about what questions we wanted to ask. And the professor, here and there, would give us some more information, as needed, but we had a little bit more free time, I think, on the Finland trip than we did on the Chile trip, which may have been a result of the feedback from the Chile trip, I’m not sure. But I didn’t have a problem with either way, I thought both were great, it was just different. But, yeah, each day, you typically have one to two company visits during the Monday through Friday portion of the trip.

Jake M.: Fantastic. Again, thank you for expanding on that, it’s really cool to have somebody that’s been on multiple of the trips because they do vary a lot-

Julie E.: Yeah, for sure.

Jake M.: We go to a lot of different places. They have so many different [inaudible 00:32:50] across the world, so it’s cool to see somebody who’s been on a couple of them.

Julie E.: Yeah.

Jake M.: And, yes, I have another question here, “Is there only one international field study opportunity each year? Are they always in summer?” I believe we do try to make them in summer, when people have that most vacation time available, or are planning to go on those. For instance, this one that we’re coming up to, that’s going to be in Prague, and that’s going to go from July 19th through the 26th, and then plenty of time ahead of time to apply to that, the application deadline there is going to be February 1st. But, yeah, a lot of good international questions; if there’s any more, I will make sure to address those via email once we’re done here, we’ll have either myself or another enrollment advisor reach out with the answers there.

Jake M.: But now I want to go more towards the day in the life, again another good opportunity for Julie to talk about. Just a quick overview, the class weeks, they begin on Monday, they end on Sunday, so your deliverables are usually due on Sunday. You have live sessions each week, generally some time between Monday and Thursday, and then the earliest we host them is going to be 6:00 P.M. Pacific Time, try to let you guys get home, sit down, get situated, and then hop on.

Jake M.: Roughly 10-15 hours per week is what we expect, a little bit of an ebb and flow there, depending on courses and just personal students. And then plenty of group work, where we want to make sure you guys are connecting and using video conferencing, using all these different tips. So, Julie, want to chime in on your experience, just sort of starting off with a standard week, what that looks like?

Julie E.: Sure, no problem. Yeah, the nice thing about the program being online and everything kind of being due Sunday evening for the most part is that you can plan out your week based on what else you have going on. So, I would say, for me, especially in the beginning of the program, I probably did more of my homework on the weekend and just dedicated a whole day to it or two days to it if needed.

Julie E.: I think as I got further along, I got better at doing things throughout the week so that I would have a weekend free once in a while, so I think the nice thing is you can tailor it to what works for you, and if you know you have something coming up, you just try to get everything done earlier in the week. I generally didn’t make a lot of the live sessions, just because my commute doesn’t allow me to be home by 6:00 P.M. or 7:00 P.M sometimes, but the nice thing is they’re all recorded and you can go in and listen to them at a later time, and usually they’re available within 12 hours or something of the actual live session. If you can attend live sessions, it’s great, but it’s definitely not required, but it just gives you the opportunity to ask questions with your professor as they’re talking about a particular topic, but definitely not required.

Julie E.: I think a lot of group work, for sure, which I think can be kind of intimidating to people where it’s online and you don’t meet people, but in my experience, I didn’t really have any “bad groups,” I think there were definitely groups that were better than others and sometimes you have people who slack off and people who work extra hard, but I think that’s just the nature of group work in general and work-work.

Julie E.: I had pretty good groups for the most part. We found it useful, in a lot of my groups, to use something other than Blackboard to communicate, so a lot of people would use WhatsApp, my group used Slack, which was great because you can upload documents and things like that; a lot of people do calls, I didn’t have as many calls. For example, my capstone group, we used Slack all the time and we didn’t really actually need to talk on the phone that much because it was so easy to communicate.

Julie E.: So, let’s see. I think, definitely, 10-15 hours per week is probably about right, I think there are classes that are going to challenge you and require more time of you than others, but I think it kind of balances out.

Jake M.: Yeah, absolutely, and thank you for giving all that information. Again, it’s super nice that we can have a student on the line to give some more insight there.

Julie E.: No problem.

Jake M.: Perfect. So, the other thing that I wanted to talk about, I guess we can move towards the Q&A. Was there anything else that you wanted to touch on in that day in the life experience?

Julie E.: I think the only other thing I would say is just that it’s nice, your section instructors are pretty available, usually they’re pretty good about replying to emails, a lot of them will give out their cell phone numbers if you need anything. I never actually needed to use anyone’s cell phone number, but it was nice that that was available. I think, in general, it’s pretty well organized. I never really had any problems with technology or Blackboard too much. Yeah, I mean I had a really great experience, it’s kind of bittersweet that I’m done, like I’m so happy that I don’t have homework, but at the same time, it’s a weird feeling, right, when you’ve been in it for so long. But, yeah, I would definitely highly recommend the program and do the field study if you can.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you for that. Then the other thing that I did want to point out, one thing that’s actually very new, we just started this semester, is we have a new class at the beginning of the program. We heard some feedback from students, you guys do so much different video conferencing, a lot of different group work with your classmates, so we’ve implemented a course called BA599, Introduction to the MBA Program, it’s everybody’s first class that they take.  And it’s really a good way to ease your way into the program, you’re going to learn all the systems that we use so you don’t get any shock hopping in with a standard foundation or core class, and then, also, you get to get a lot of these different tips, we teach you how to be successful in group work so that not only you are skilled at the group work, but also your classmates are going to be skilled at group work, you guys have the tools already in your pocket, you know what to use as you hop into different group projects.

Jake M.: And then the other new one that has entered the program is at the end of the program, we end with BA600, so this is sort of an outro class, this is going to be a class for you to really solidify all the different tools that you learned in the MBA, and talk about how to incorporate those into your careers, as well as the strengths that you personally have and how you can tie those to MBA curriculum that you’ve learned, how you can use it to your best advantage.

Jake M.: So, again, being able to have done this for 20 years, online programs in general, you can see we’re constantly changing, we’re constantly making strides to improve our programs and continue growing the Cougar network within the graduate school.

Jake M.: Awesome, but now, again, everybody, thank you so much for joining us, we’re going to be hopping into a Q&A session, it looks like we got about 19, 20 minutes until the end of the hour, so we will be getting to as many of these questions as we can, and any of them that we don’t answer, we can go ahead and shoot you over an email or give you a call to wrap those up.

Jake M.: But one that I’m seeing here, the student is thanking us for talking about your life experience, Julie, the 22-29 month and weekly expectations, she understands that very well, but also wants to know if there’s breaks between semesters or classes? There are breaks; in the core curriculum, you’ll usually have a week break between your class, so you’ll start the semester, let’s use this upcoming spring semester as an example, you’d start that first class, starting in January, go for seven weeks, and then you’d have about a week break, and then hop into your next class. Julie, that was your experience as well, right? You got a decent amount of week-long breaks, sometimes a little longer?

Julie E.: Yeah. I think, in my experience, the only thing that was different is at the end of spring semester, there was a two-week break, and then between your first summer class and your second summer class, there was no break, so you would end on a Sunday and start on a Monday, but everything else had a week between it and then you have around a month off at Christmastime, or in December.

Jake M.: Awesome. Yeah, thank you for that. And another question that applies to this, “How are classes organized by timeline?” I can answer this one. At the beginning of the program, if you need foundational classes, these classes are five-weeks long, so you’d end up taking three classes in those foundational course semesters. So, that’d be one class for the first five weeks, another class for the second five weeks of the semester, and a final class for the third five weeks. But then throughout the core of the program, similar to the last answer, you have seven week-long classes, so one class for the first half, one class for the second half there.

Jake M.: Awesome. And pardon some silences, just as we go through these questions, I want to make sure I’m answering the ones that are going to be most applicable to the most students. Here’s a good one, “How many classes do we take per year/semester?” Per year, you’ll usually end up taking right around six to nine classes, somewhere in that range; every schedule is custom, so if you needed breaks, for instance, we’ve had students that have very heavy times of the year, accountants can get pretty busy during a particular semester, so we’ve had them take that semester off and then hop back in when it’s maybe not as crazy of a time of the year. So, that’s an opportunity to you, but, for the most part, we’re seeing right between that six to nine classes per year, usually two to three classes per semester.

Jake M.: Let’s see here. Julie, this might be a good one for you, “What’s it like for the very first class you take, considering you might not have had direct background in that class/subject?” So, given your background, what was a class that maybe you didn’t have any experience in, and what’d you think hopping into it?

Julie E.: Yeah, I definitely had a few classes where I was like, “Oh, man,” because I didn’t have to take any of the foundation courses because I have my bachelor’s in business. So, for example, I hadn’t taken statistics in like 16 years or something, so, for example, the data analytics class, in the beginning, I was like, “They’re throwing out all these math terms and I don’t know what this means. And what does “beta” stand for?” And so it was a little bit challenging for me, but the nice thing about that class is that I was in a group with other people, and so we were able to work with each other to help figure stuff out, and I mean, in the end, I got an A, so it wasn’t that awful. I think sometimes you have to do some googling, or maybe ask your team mates for help if you have something that you’re unsure about, but that’s the nice thing about the group work is that usually you end up having somebody who’s stronger at certain things than others.

Jake M.: Absolutely. No, that’s awesome, I appreciate that.

Julie E.: Yeah, I think other than that, I mean I think just in the very, very beginning, kind of getting used to Blackboard and where to find things was a little bit challenging, but it didn’t take me more than a few days to figure it out. Yeah, I think that was the main one that I got hung up on was the data analytics, but I think everything else is pretty easy to jump in, and as long as you’re doing the reading and participating in discussions and whatnot, you’ll be fine.

Jake M.: Absolutely. And another thing that ties to that, most of our students, on average, have been out of school roughly five years, it’s not mandatory, but that’s usually where we see people hopping back in, so it’s normal to be almost a little intimidated to go back to school, go back to a graduate program. But, again, we have that student support in place to navigate those issues.

Jake M.: Like Julie said, asking your professor a quick question, using Google to find different answers, we also have a library that you have access to, and the different resources that professors will give out, and, of course, connecting with your classmates, that can help a lot. And then that intro class, BA5999, that is newer to the program, that’s a really good way to start giving you access and building those foundations of what systems to use, what structures of support can you utilize.

Jake M.: Another good question here, “Would assignments or exams have specific times for people on the East Coast?” So, there’s sort of two answers to that. You have your assignments, typically those are due 11:59 Pacific Time, and that would be on Sunday night, so, for you, that’d be, what, 3:00 Eastern Time on Monday morning, so that’s when your main deliverable would be due.

Jake M.: As far as exams go, it is mostly a case study-heavy program, you will still have exams, but any time there’s a proctored exam, we use a scheduling system, so you would actually be choosing the time that you want to take. We have students across the entire globe, not just within the U.S., so a lot of different time zones to account for, so we need to make sure to be pretty flexible there. Julie, did you have any proctored exams throughout the program?

Julie E.: I did not, actually, I was definitely a little worried about that, but I never ended up having one. And most of the exams are open-book/open-note, there is a couple where you weren’t supposed to use anything, but I think, for the most part, they know that it’s a lot of information that you’re learning in a fairly short period of time. And I think the intent is more to get you to really nail it down and not to test if you can memorize 800 things, you know? So, I didn’t have any problem with the majority of the exams.

Jake M.: Awesome, thanks for giving your insight there. Perfect, I think that answers that question pretty well. We also have another good one here, we’re getting a lot of questions in so it keeps jumping my screen around, sorry about that. But we got “Is an online MBA going to be viewed differently or lesser than an in-person MBA from potential employers?”

Jake M.: So, are you guys going to have any issues overcoming an online program, and I don’t think there are. We use the same faculty members, so these are all going to be faculty out of our main campus in Pullman, so top-tier faculty members. It holds the same accreditation and the same requirements as our on-campus program, we actually don’t have the on-campus one anymore, but when we did, it was the same exact curriculum.

Jake M.: So, I think if you do have somebody that’s concerned about an online MBA, you have plenty of speaking points. I’d say the stigma is going away very fast, most programs are moving to an online component, even on-campus programs have an online component there. So, we really haven’t seen too much pushback on that front. And I’m sure Julie, actually she already has spoken to the rigor of it, that it is an intense program, so you’re really learning this material, and it’s not just printing off a degree and paying the money for it, we want to provide a lot of resources and a lot of value for our students.

Jake M.: Another good question we have, “Are scholarships available and financial aid? Can I get more information on that?” There are scholarships for our MBA program, I usually point my students in three different main directions, the first one being Washington State University’s scholarships, we have our own database, I’ve seen some students have some success there. There’s also a few third-party websites, there’s one called, there’s another app that you can get on your phone called Scholly, those are other databases of scholarships. Mostly, these are going to be smaller in amount, usually we see roughly $500, $1,000 coming in each semester, and not something that you should bank on, but definitely something you should pursue.

Jake M.: As far as financial aid, that is available at the graduate level, it’s available to those who apply and qualify. It’s a pretty common source of funding for a lot of our students, so if you were looking for more info on that, we’d get you in touch with the right people to help you through that process. Chelsea, do you see any good questions on there that you want to bring up?

Chelsea Gese: Let’s see here. I’m not on mute, am I? I’m looking through, I’m trying to answer the ones that I can answer to students. I think we already went over one, “Do teams change for every class?” Let’s see, I think Julie kind of answered that. It sounds like teams did change for every class, is that correct?

Julie E.: Yeah, definitely, you have a lot of the same people in your classes at times, but you aren’t necessarily in the same team, like I don’t think I ever had a repeat team member in any class, it was always different people, except for capstone, which you stay with the same team for capstone A and B.

Chelsea Gese: Okay, thank you. Here’s another one, “I have a Bachelor of Arts, not a Bachelor of Science, how will that affect me when getting an MBA?” These kind of questions about, I see a few about the types of undergrad degree you have for an MBA, that’s something that I think you’ll want to talk with your enrollment advisor about, just because regarding the GMAT waiver and the admissions requirement, your undergrad degree doesn’t really affect you getting into the MBA, your GPA can affect that, but the actual degree doesn’t, it just might affect how many of those foundation courses that you have to take. Is there anything you would like to say about that, Jake?

Jake M.: No, I think that answered it pretty well. Yeah, no, I think you are good on that front. Another good question here, I have one of our attendees asking about the waiver codes for the application fee. Normally, the application’s going to be $75; if you guys are interested in applying, we’re going to be sending out that code within the next 24 hours, after this wraps up, so if you, for some reason, don’t get it, reach out to an enrollment advisor, we’ll be able to provide you with that code and where to be putting that into the application to make sure that we get that answered. And then we have another-

Chelsea Gese: Another important … You go, sorry.

Jake M.: Sorry about that. No, I have another good one, “What’s the typical spread of educational backgrounds like?” And I can tell you it’s extremely diverse, we talk to a ton of different students coming from a ton of different backgrounds, I think the MBA is one of the most versatile degrees. So, we have people coming from engineering who are looking to build some business skills to maybe move into management, we have people coming from business backgrounds who are looking to further their growth, maybe moving towards a management degree.

Jake M.: But I have students not only coming from a diverse educational background, I’ve probably talked to a student with just about any undergraduate degree you can have, but also work backgrounds. We talk to students from a ton of different industries, from health care, to law enforcement, to standard business operations. We have a very diverse group, which brings a lot of value into the actual content that you’re learning; when you’re working with these groups, you’re working on a group assignment, you’re going to have a lot of different perspective coming in that can add some value there and let you benchmark and do things maybe a little differently than you had thought.

Jake M.: Another question, just a pretty simple one about books, “How does that work? Do you get e-books, do you get physical books, is it all online?” You can really do it however you like. I know I’m typically a person who wants to have a hard copy of a book, so I would choose the hard copy. But then we also have students who want to be able to take these things on the go without putting that in their bag or whatever, so you can order an e-book, too.

Jake M.: When you start the program, we have a bookstore called The Bookie, and that is a place where you can be ordering all your textbooks from, but you can also be ordering them from third-party systems, we have students getting them on Amazon, we’ve had students renting them from Chegg, and the form is up to you, most books are going to have the option of either an e-book or a physical textbook. Julie, did you use any e-books or textbooks? Tell me what you prefer.

Julie E.: Yeah, I also prefer hardback books because I just don’t like not being able to flip back to something easily. I would say, personally, I recommend doing the hardback, or sometimes you can get the loose leafs that you put in a binder. I did have one e-book that had a nicer format, where it was easier to go between pages, but I think they’re going more towards e-books, it seems like, but I think you always have the option of ordering a hard copy if that’s your preference.

Jake M.: Awesome, thank you for that. Yeah, and then going forward, I have a good question here, “Have you had individuals who are doing the program for career changes, and how successful have they been finding job opportunities after the program?” Yes, we have a lot of students that are using this program as sort of a pivot point to move careers, or maybe even just move within departments within their organization. One really good way, if the career that you’re looking to do lines up with these certificates, this is a way to be even more competitive. Let’s say you’re looking to make a transition towards marketing, getting that marketing concentration, and ultimately graduating with your MBA and a graduate-level certificate in marketing, is one way to really bolster your resume that’s probably lacking marketing experience, if you’re looking to make that jump.

Jake M.: So, we have seen success, alumni network here in WSU is extremely expansive, we actually have the largest and most active alumni in the nation right now. So, that has provided opportunity as well, connecting with your peers in the program can give you not only insight into making a jump towards that career, but also maybe even potential job opportunities, we’ve seen that throughout the program.

Jake M.: Perfect. Let’s see here. Chelsea, Matt, if anybody sees any good questions that you want to bring up, definitely go for that, I am just scrolling through here, trying to find ones that haven’t been answered just yet.

Matt Beer: Sure, one of the students asked Julie what her hardest class was.

Julie E.: Oh, man, I’m going to say strategy, I think if you ask me or any of my classmates that I’m friends with, that was a beast, but I also learned a ton from it and I was really proud of myself when I turned the final paper. It was not so much difficult, there were a lot of deliverables every week, so you really had to stay on top of your time management, but it wasn’t that the subject matter was challenging, it was just a lot of things that were due, but I definitely learned a lot from it.

Jake M.: Awesome, thank you for that. Another good one, we are approaching the end of the hour, so I’m going to answer one or two more, “Does the diploma show online when you graduate?” No, it doesn’t, it’s just going to be an MBA degree from the Carson College of Business, so in no way is it going to distinct online, it would just be as if you got it on campus. And then, with that, we’re going to wrap this up. We do have the upcoming January 13th start date coming here, there’s still plenty of time to apply, the application deadline is going to be December 9th, so if this is something of interest to you, I would highly suggest reaching out to an enrollment advisor, you can use that Schedule an Appointment resource at the bottom left of your screen, and we’d love to see if this is a good fit for you.

Jake M.: We really appreciate you guys taking the time to come on here, learn more about Washington State, see if it is something you’re looking into, and we would love to further connect. But if you have any followup questions that weren’t answered, we’ll be answering those, and, until then, again, appreciate everybody. Thanks Matt, thanks Julie, thanks Chelsea all for joining.

Julie E.: Thank you.

Matt Beer: Go Cougs.

Jake M.: Go Cougs.

Julie E.: Go Cougs.

Chelsea Gese: Go Cougs.