WSU MBA Summer 2019 Info Session with Program Director

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Jason: Hi, good afternoon everybody. Thank you for joining us for our online MBA Information Session. We’re going to go ahead and begin here. Just before we get started, I do want to go over a couple of things. In order to minimize background noise, this presentation is in broadcast only mode. You can hear us, we can’t hear you. I do ask that you utilize the Q&A feature to the bottom of your screen to ask any questions. Please use that throughout the presentation. We will try to answer as many questions as possible. And then at the end of this presentation, we’ll also have a Q&A session to make sure we’re answering, again, as many questions as possible.

Jason: Just real quickly, what we would like to cover today, we do want to go through some brief introductions, some history about our program as well as our accreditations, rankings, really what sets us a part from other programs and institutions out there. I do also want to introduce you to our director of the MBA program, the overview of the program, a day in the life, admissions requirements, GMAT, waiver options that we have as well, and also we’ll talk about our international field study, which I know you’re all going to love. Followed by a live Q&A session.

Jason: So I’d like to take this time to introduce myself. I am your moderator today. My name is Jason Techeira. I am the Senior Enrollment Advisor here for our online MBA program. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with all of you.

Matthew: Hi everybody. My name is Matt Beer. I’m the Military and Veteran Affairs Manager here at Carson College of Business. Welcome to the discussion.

Suzanne: Hello. My name is Suzanne L’Amoureux. I am the Director of the online MBA here at Washington State at the Carson College, and I am really excited to be with you here today. We will be talking about a lot of things to do with the program, about the school, and what you can expect. And I actually also am happy that we have a student here with us. And I’m going to ask her to introduce herself.

Julie: Hi everyone. My name’s Julie Eggebraaten. I’m a current student in the program. I’m about a year, a little over a year into the program. So a little bit later in the presentation, I’ll be able to give you a little bit more information about kind of a day in the life and also about my experience on the international field studies.

Suzanne: Great. Thanks so much, Julie.

Suzanne: I want to be able to give everyone kind of a background and get us all on the same page of who we are here at Washington State University and what we’re about. We are in Pullman, Washington for those of you who don’t know. That is a far eastern part of Washington State. We are about seven miles from the Idaho border. We actually had a fair amount of snow over the weekend, and we had a snow day yesterday. So we are part of that exciting Washington weather.

Suzanne: We are a land grant university. Founded in 1890 in Pullman. If you’re not familiar with a land grant university, the land grants were given to public universities in every state in the union in order to make education more affordable and more accessible for people who are willing and able to take advantage of that education, particularly happens a lot in rural areas. We are very proud of that legacy and it’s a cause and a mission that we are pursuing today is to be able to provide education to those willing and able to take advantage of that education.

Suzanne: We have then over 125 years of alumni legacy. There are Cougs everywhere in the world. It is kind of lure and stories that people tell about where they have seen a Coug or met a Coug or heard from a Coug. For those of you who are on the West side, it’s pretty common. If you’re in the Seattle area, if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, but certainly all over the world.

Suzanne: The Carson College of Business has been in operation for 60 years in graduate business education under different names, and we are a pioneer in online degree program. We have more than 20 years of working in the online education space that is very, very unusual for any universities really to have that much time and ability and background in it. And we have an international network of people, alliances who have corporate and academic of alumni of people around the world who are looking forward to meeting new Cougs and working with people.

Suzanne: We are accredited by the AACSB. When you are looking for any MBA program, and I do mean any program, whether you’re looking here or anywhere else, something that’s really important to look at is the accreditation. I would say even more so than the rankings. The AACSB is the association that accredits business schools, and fewer than 2% of business schools in the world are accredited at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, and Washington State is one of those schools. We actually just received re-accreditation for the next five years. Five years doesn’t mean we won’t be in five years. It just means that that’s how the program works, and we were just recently re-accredited.

Suzanne: So when you’re thinking about your education, you really want to go to a school that is known and recognized by its peers as providing quality education in any sort of program, and that’s the kind of thing that accreditation does for you. The accreditations are done by other deans of business schools, tenured professors through visits and exploration of who we are and what we do. So that’s something that you really want to look at.

Suzanne: I will talk about rankings. I will tell you that we don’t chase rankings. It’s certainly always nice to be recognized by rankings. But when you are looking at any program, I would not use only that. In the latest U.S. News and World Reports, we are ranked 13th in online MBA program, which is great. It’s the top 5%. We are ranked number eight in friendliness to veterans. You can see the rest of our rankings. As I said, we don’t chase them. We are happy when we see them, but we believe that there is more to the school than just what the ranking is.

Suzanne: I understand that people are having a hard time hearing. So I’m going to ask Jason to send out something to make sure that people can hear what’s happening because it looks like maybe we’re not hearing anything. If somebody can hear me, can you please comment in that you can hear me in the chat box?

Jason: I just want to step in here for a second. It seems as though there is a flash player option that many of you may need to enable on your computer. Typically, this is located at the bottom of your screen. All computers do vary, but I am answering the questions here manually, the Q&A feature. So please do continue to reach out if you’re having issues and I’ll try to help each of you out individually.

Jason: Thank you, Suzanne.

Suzanne: Thank you so much, Jason. And it looks like a lot of people can hear. So hopefully we will clear up those who cannot.

Suzanne: This is being recorded. So if you need to, you can always watch the recording.

Suzanne: I did mention our ranking in military and veteran friendliness. I’m actually going to ask Matt Beer to come back in and talk to us more about what that means here.

Matthew: Great. Thanks, Suzanne.

Matthew: So yeah, my name’s Matt Beer. I’m a retired lieutenant colonel in Air Force, and I’m here as the Military and Veteran Affairs Manager for the Carson College of Business. And the reason why we do that is because approximately 15% and sometimes a little more of our students are active duty military, veteran. Pretty much any flavor you can image. And all over the world, from Japan, Germany, and all across the United States. So we really feel an obligation and a duty to make sure that those students are taken care of and they have some opportunities that they might have in other programs. So that includes some tuition discounts, sometimes there’s some fee waivers that you can talk to an enrollment advisor about. And then we also have a veteran affairs department here on campus that helps you walk through all of your submitting all of your tuition assistance and any kind of VA benefits. And that’s their email address right there in that third bullet.

Matthew: And the last thing I’d like to mention is we are starting to generate some programs here specifically designed for our veteran students. So this month actually we’re starting off a Coug conversations. We’re going to talk about a book basically. We have some civilian students and some military students. We’re going to get some crosstalk going on between those folks. We also invite in some speakers. We had an alumni panel last semester, and then actually this evening we’re having one of our first workshops. It’s going to be a strength finder workshop followed with some career coaching that’s available to those students.

Matthew: So we’re really working hard to make sure that our veteran students, especially those that maybe transitioning from active duty military into the corporate world, are prepared and ready to go. So if you may be some flavor, variety of a veteran or military student, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, and welcome to you all.

Suzanne: Thank you so much, Matt.

Suzanne: I am going to talk through the next several slides, and I know I saw in the Q&A that some people can’t see the slides. So forgive me if it seems like I’m repeating them. I’m not going to read them. But I’m going to talk about what the online MBA looks like. Our program is 100% online. There are no required in-person events ever at all. So that is a differentiation when you’re looking at programs. If that’s something that interests you, that is absolutely a question you should ask. The program can be completed in 22-29 months. The reason that there’s a difference there is that if you have an undergraduate business degree, you do not have to take what we refer to as foundation courses, and those are sort of the intro to finance, intro to accounting, stats, those kinds of classes. So if you’ve already taken those in a business program, you don’t have to take those in our foundations. If you have to take all of the foundation classes, it takes 29 months. And there are people who waive some of those foundations. Maybe you had a different undergrad major but you’ve already taken stats so it’s possible to waive out of that.

Suzanne: We offer a general MBA program. We also offer four different concentrations. Those are in marketing, finance, hospitality and business management, and international business. The way that you choose a concentration and that you designate it is only by choosing your elective courses. During the program, you will have three chances to choose your electives, and if you choose electives only in marketing, for example, you would end up with a marketing concentration. You do not need to declare a concentration in advance. This is not like undergrad. This is a different kind of thing. So if you end up taking all your electives in international business, you have a concentration. If not, it’s totally fine. You could choose to take your elective courses across programs, for example, one in finance, one in marketing, one in international business, or any combination and you never have to tell us in advance.

Suzanne: For each class that you take, there will be both live lectures or live classes and asynchronous content. What that means for you in practicality is let’s say that you’re taking a class now, on Monday night at seven o’clock, for example, you have a live lecture with your lead faculty member. You can login and attend that lecture live online, much like you are doing now. You are live here with me. Or every class is recorded. So if you are listening to this later, that is how that works. You can watch it and participate in it later, and then you will have work to do outside of that hour of course. We use the system Blackboard. So you will have posts, you will have assignments, you will have interactions with your team members, all of those are outside of that one hour of recorded lecture. So if you are traveling, if you have a busy schedule as most of our students have, all of those things work out well because most of it is not done at a particular time.

Suzanne: We do also have a Capstone project that is your final three courses, which involves a presentation and then the optional field study, which you will hear plenty about.

Suzanne: We refer to the concentrations as a certificate as well. I apologize. I find that confusing. We should not do that. However, we do. So if you have a concentration in marketing, for example, the certificate means that when you get your diploma, you will also get a literal certificate, a piece of paper that says you have done a concentration in marketing.

Suzanne: Should you finish your MBA and decide that later you really want to increase your knowledge in a field you haven’t studied, for example, hospitality. You can actually come back and do three elective courses in hospitality and get your certificate later. So it’s possible to do one during your program or none and then after you finish your MBA, do another one.

Suzanne: This slide, if you’re looking at it, has mostly the same information we just talked about. Kind of the overview. Again, 22-29 months. 100% online. We do not require a minimum number of years of work experience. So you could be straight out of undergrad. You could have 20 years of experience. Either one of those things is okay. Classes are limited to 30 people maximum in your section. So you have a lead faculty member who has a lot more students, and then you also have a section faculty and you would interact mostly with your section.

Suzanne: We do have a GMAT waiver available for qualified applicants. I’m going to go over that in detail because that is probably the most common question that we get. And the course structure, you take one class at a time until you reach the Capstone, and then you’re taking two classes at a time.

Suzanne: The admissions requirements are here on this slide. The paperwork requirements are that you have to do an application. You have to have official transcripts, a resume, one letter of recommendation, minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and for those who take the GMAT, generally people get a 550 or better on the GMATs.

Suzanne: I see a couple of questions that have come up. So I’m going to answer those as we go. We do not have any in-person options. This program is 100% online and only online. Washington State University does not offer an in-person MBA at any of our campuses.

Suzanne: Because the concentrations are done by choosing your electives and you are only allowed three electives, you cannot do two concentrations at once. You can only do one concentration because you have to do all of your electives in that course.

Suzanne: To waive foundation courses, you have to have gotten a 3.0 or better, and there … I see a couple of people asking things is only one class at a time. That is true. We only offer one class at a time. Our classes are seven weeks long. Foundation classes are five weeks. So generally one does not do more than one class at a time. I’m not going to say it’s impossible. It is highly, highly improbable. So if someone is trying to finish this in less than 22 months, it is probably not a good fit for you this program.

Suzanne: I’m going to talk through the GMAT waiver because people always ask this question, and so I want you to both be able to see it on this slide and also hear it from me. There are different ways to qualify for a GMAT waiver. These are the only ways to qualify. If you already have earned a graduate or professional degree, meaning a degree beyond undergraduate, you have an automatic GMAT waiver. If you have five or more years of progressive work experience and a 3.0 or higher in your undergrad, you qualify for a GMAT waiver. If you have a STEM degree, meaning science, technology, engineering or math with a 3.0 or higher, that is another GMAT waiver possibility. If you have a business degree undergrad from an AACSB accredited school with a 3.0 or higher, that qualifies you for a waiver. And if you have 10 or more years of progressive work experience and a 2.79 or higher, that will qualify you.

Suzanne: I always get the question about progressive work experience. It doesn’t matter what your background field is, progressive means that you are moving forward in your field. So whatever your field maybe, you have moved up and forward in your field, that is progressive work experience. It is not specific to one field. I see several questions on that. So I think I probably just answered that.

Suzanne: If someone has below a 3.0 GPA, it is possible to be admitted as an exception. That is something that is addressed in the application process, but closer one is to a 3.0, the better off one is. WSU does not round a GPA. So there is a question about a 2.95 GPA, that does not round to a 3.0. However, in this particular person’s question, it is, “I have a 2.9 undergrad and 15 years of work experience.” If you’re looking at the slide, if you have more than 10 years of work experience and a 2.79 or better, that actually qualifies for a GMAT waiver. If a person is below a 3.0 GPA, they are not going to qualify for a GMAT waiver except this last qualification.

Suzanne: And if you have questions in the admissions process, you would want to talk to your admissions advisor and see if your particular case is a little bit different. We do accept a GRE in lieu of a GMAT. That is totally possible.

Suzanne: Progressive work experience does not include volunteering in any field. It does not include volunteering.

Suzanne: Mostly there is a question about scholarships. MBAs as a concept and as a degree program are very, very rarely scholar shipped. We don’t generally offer scholarships. Those that we have are very, very rare. So I would not count on that, and I would look at some external funding sources if you have them.

Suzanne: There is a question about the GRE score. Generally a 3.0 and a 550 is what someone gets admitted at. The GRE to GMAT qualifier if you will is not something that I can do in my head, but your admissions advisor would be able to kind of equate a GRE to a GMAT.

Suzanne: A 29 month timeline is based on taking courses back to back. Almost all of our courses are seven weeks, excluding the Capstone. So yes, if one can continues, if one enrolls and goes continuously through all of their courses, it will take 22-29 months.

Suzanne: I’m going to actually ask Jason to now talk about some other things that are operative support concerning the program. We will keep looking at the Q&A as we go.

Jason: Perfect. Thank you so much, Suzanne. So as far as the various levels of support that you have within our program, from the moment that you start here, have showing interest in our program, you’re going to have an admissions advisor. That admissions advisor is there to really just be your subject matter expert, give you all the information you need about the program, make sure that they’re answering your questions, and then really helping you with that admissions process. Identifying what documents that you need for your application and then really assisting you in acquiring those documents and being a partner with you through that process.

Jason: From there, we’ll actually hand you off to a student support advisor. We try to keep the same student support advisor with you all the way through to graduation. Obviously that can’t always be done, but we do have a team of student support advisors that are here to assist you throughout the entire … all the way through to graduation.

Jason: So right there, again, multiple levers. Your student support advisors there to give you more insight to the online classroom, the virtual campus, and you’ll also have your professors within all your classrooms. On top of your professors, you have lead instructors that are there to assist you. We do keep smaller class sizes to make sure that we’re ensuring that one on one time with all of our students. Technical support is available, of course, 24/7. And then our director, Suzanne, she is typically available if you have questions. She is more than happy to work with any of our students, even before being admitted into the program.

Jason: So I encourage you, do know that you have many layers of support to assist you through this program. We want to make sure that we are admitting graduated into our program, and that we’re giving you all the tools that you need to be successful. That in mind, as you’re in the classroom, you’ll find that Cougars help Cougars. You learn just as much from the network that you build in the classroom from your peers in the classroom, the other professionals, as you do from the professors. So absolutely use them, rely on them, and I know that once we have our student here, Julie, speak with you here in a bit, she’ll tell you a little bit more about what her classroom experience was. And I’m sure she’ll be able to piggyback on that.

Jason: And at this time, I would actually like to hand it over to Julie so she can just go over the-

Julie: Hi everyone. My name is Julie. I introduced myself a little bit earlier. I would like to say, just to go off of the last topic, I think before applying for this program or in the beginning, I was a little bit apprehensive about the whole thing and what it mean and the online format. But the enrollment advisor that I spoke to was extremely helpful and very responsive to questions, and so I would definitely encourage you guys to schedule a call if you do have other questions. I think also section instructors are great about getting back to you as well as your student advisor. So just definitely know that going in.

Julie: I chose to do this program because the online format works better for me just with work and not having to go to an actual class after work. For me, I tend to format my week. I do a little bit of homework during the week, but I tend to do the bulk of it on the weekends just because I tend to get home late, and I think it depends on the student. But most things are due on the weekend by Sunday evening. I think occasionally you’ll have a discussion board post or something like that due mid-week or maybe by Friday. But it’s pretty manageable. I think that was my other apprehension going in, as I just wasn’t sure about like the workload and how that would fit into my life and in my job.

Julie: I think for the most part, it’s been very manageable. I think it’s more just about managing your time and planning out your week and not leaving everything until Sunday. But I think all the classes have been pretty well structured to where you can get it done. I think a lot of people are apprehensive about doing online classes just because you don’t get that in-person interaction with your professors and fellow students. But I think it’s been great. I think there’s a lot of ways to build those networks within the classes.

Julie: Groups that I’ve been in, we’ve used different platforms to communicate, Skype, group calls, websites like Slack where you can communicate on the web or WhatsApp. I think it’s definitely doable. Yeah, you have to get used to interacting with people that way and maybe not knowing these people in real life. But I think it works really well as long as you put the effort in.

Julie: And let’s see, what else?

Julie: I’m about a year into my program, as I said. I think I’ll be finishing up in October of this year, which is crazy because it’s gone by really fast. And I’ve just started my Capstone classes. So I now have the two classes at once, which I was also a little bit kind of worried about how much work that would be. The balance with the rest of my life, but so far so good. I think one piece of advice, which someone else gave me and one of my group members in my Capstone, is just to get your group together early. You’ll be working on a project together for about six months. So one of the people in my group, we actually went on LinkedIn and kind of stalked everyone in our class, and decided who we wanted to recruit. So I would definitely recommend if you join the program to make sure that you get a good group together because you’ll be working together for quite a while.

Julie: What else?

Julie: I think that’s it. I mean, I think one of the other things for me that’s made the program really amazing is that I did go on the international field study to Chile last May, which was just really amazing because not only did I get to meet and interact with other students who ended up being in a lot of my classes, but I also got to learn so much about Chile and its economy and things that just kind of brought to life the curriculum. So I think there’s nothing-

Julie: Sorry, I was getting another call.

Julie: There’s nothing quite like being able to go to another country and learn about that country and get to add-on to it like classroom time and company visits and learning about how their economy is different than ours and things like that. It really was a very impactful experience for me. So I would definitely encourage people to consider trying to go on a field study during your program because I think it really just made my experience even better than it already was.

Julie: What else?

Julie: I actually had such a great time on the field study that I’m doing another one this summer. So I think I would encourage you guys to think about that. There’s not a lot of times in your adult life that you get to kind of be away from your day to day work and job and school and get to go and have an experience like that with your colleagues that you’re taking classes with and learn so much from each other and from the professors and I thought it was great. And Suzanne was wonderful. That’s where I met her, and she’s very responsive as well as Jason was saying.

Julie: So I think that’s about it unless you guys have any questions or Suzanne, if I forgot anything.

Suzanne: Julie, I already know the answer to this because I know you because I was on Chile. But can you talk a little bit about what that has meant in terms of community built and if you’ve kept in touch with anybody, if you feel like you know anybody more than you did before.

Julie: Yeah. For sure. Yes, definitely. I think going into that trip I was like really excited about Chile just because I’ve always wanted to go there and just excited for the learning experience. But I was definitely kind of like, “Oh, who are these people going to be that I’m meeting up with here, and are they going to be fun?” And all these things. But it actually ended up being such an amazing group of people. So many different backgrounds and ages and professional jobs and things like that. But we had got along so well and learned so much from each other, and I actually still very frequently, sometimes daily communicate with a lot of them. We ended up being in a lot of the same classes. So it’s been nice to be able to collaborate with people that I’ve spent time in Chile and even one of the people that I went to Chile with were in our Capstone group together. That’s the one who was Facebook and LinkedIn stalking every one to try to recruit people.

Julie: So it’s been really amazing just kind of build that network of fellow students that we can kind of lean on each other when we have like questions or frustrations about assignments and things like that. That’s another reason I think … Not that the program isn’t great without having that experience, but I think it’s definitely awesome to meet people who are in your same classes and you can kind of work through things together sometimes and also make friends. Like I feel like some of the people I’ll probably be friends with for life. So I think it was a really amazing experience.

Suzanne: That’s great. Thank you, Julie.

Suzanne: I am going to go through some of the questions because we’re getting a lot of questions about field study, as we would, and I knew we would. There is one other thing or a couple things that I want to talk about that I have been put into place since Julie started. She was not a part of this when we started or I wasn’t I guess really. One other thing that we do is build community because when you’re looking at any MBA program, really one of the key things that you want is community and support, colleagues, networking.

Suzanne: One thing that we do is the week before classes start for all incoming students at any term, I hold what we call admitted students meet and greets, which are held online in a Zoom platform. It is the only time that I require every one to be on camera, and I vehemently require that. And it’s a chance for people to get to know each other. Me, but honestly I’m the least important part of that story. Someone in admissions, but really each other. It’s a chance to start that networking and build that community and meet each other and have someone that you can say to, “Oh my god. I’m feeling stressed.”

Suzanne: Like Julie did not have this. Two weeks in, and I guarantee you two weeks into your MBA program, almost everyone thinks, “This is a stupid idea. I made a huge mistake. This is way too much work.” I have an MBA and I’m the same way. We build community in order so that people don’t feel that way, and what a lot of people have done is taken that as the opportunity to setup a study group, meet in person if they want to meet in person, if they are in a place where there’s a lot of in person folks. I will say that we lean heavily toward the West Coast, which should probably surprise no one. Most of our students are in the State of Washington, and then followed by California, Oregon, oddly Colorado, not that there’s anything wrong with Colorado, but I think it’s odd that we have so many. And we’re increasing numbers in Texas too, which I find fascinating.

Suzanne: So that’s the international field study.

Suzanne: We do it for approximately a week. This year it is in July, and we are going to Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia. And the way that I have done it, we did it for a week intentionally so that we begin the program on Sunday night in Helsinki, and we end the program Saturday morning in Tallinn, Estonia, which gives you a chance to either travel internationally, which you don’t have a choice, you have to do that. But also to add on the weekends, if you would like to, it gives you a chance to travel before and after. I happen to know that Julie traveled after Chile because I was there with her. But by shortening the trip, it allows people to have that opportunity to travel wherever they might like to.

Suzanne: I don’t know what … Well, I have a strong suspicion I know where we’re going in 2020, but I can’t tell you. So we will be announcing that probably in the summer. The international field study is not part of your concentration. So we have opened it up so the only requirement to go on the international field study this year is to be taking any elective in the program. We went to Chile last year. We’re going to Helsinki this year. I don’t know what we’ll be doing next year, but it will not be either of those places. I like to change it so that people have the opportunity to experience a different part of the world or if you’re like Julie, she went to Chile last year, she’s going to Helsinki this year. So it gives her a chance to do both of them.

Suzanne: I am trying to work through the questions as we go. So I may … We are actually at I believe the question portion. Let me make sure. We are. So I’m going to open it up to questions, but I see that no one’s really having a hard time being shy.

Suzanne: Julie, I’m going to ask you some of these questions if you don’t mind. I’m going to answer some of the technical questions. We are a year round program. We go just about year round. It is possible to take a break if someone wants to take a break. You’re not required to do a class every term, but it is in order to finish in 22-29 months, you would have to do a class every term.

Suzanne: There was a question about FAFSA eligibility. You can use federal financial aid for this program. Our semester links is 16 weeks for a full-time and this is really a financial aid term taking two classes in one semester, which is our standard seven weeks and then seven weeks. That is eligible for FAFSA financial aid.

Suzanne: We do not have any internship opportunities. This is a program for working professionals that is 100% online. So we don’t have any sort of internships. Most of our students are actually working full-time.

Suzanne: I see a question in here about tuition waivers for international students, and I don’t understand what that is. We don’t waive tuition for someone. So the tuition is what the tuition is. If that person wants to send in another question to be more specific, I’m happy to answer it. I see another question saying, “What about international students?” I don’t know what that means. We do have students all around the world who are in the program. If you are in another … All of our classes are held in the Pacific time zone. If you’re international, you might have to take your classes in the middle of the night. I recently had an admitted student meet and greet. One of the students was in Germany, one was in South Korea, and one was in Kenya, and they were all logged in at an interesting time.

Suzanne: Julie, I’m going to ask you this because someone has asked what is your experience with networking and the ability to connect with students in the online program. And I would add in there accepting the field study. So aside from the field study, what is your experience?

Julie: Of course. I think for me because I did have the field study fairly early on, I didn’t attempt to network like in terms of in-person networking events prior to that. But I did attend a networking event with Suzanne a few months ago with a few other students from the field study, and there were a lot of, there were some students there that were maybe just new to the program and wanted to meet other people in the program. So I think what Suzanne said about how in the beginning when you first start, they have networking events set up. I would definitely encourage people to go to those.

Julie: I think too, depending on where you’re at and if you find that there are other students in your area that you have classes with … Like, for me, I live in the Seattle area, it would definitely be not difficult to meet up with fellow students that maybe I’m in a group with and things like that in person. It definitely depends on where you’re at, but I think with the online program, I think one of the ways that a lot of groups kind of do tend to get to know each other better and on a networking level is just when they have like Skype meetings and where you can actually see each other’s faces and talk about your homework and your projects and kind of that way.

Julie: But I definitely know that they do post networking events like Suzanne said on the West Cost mostly. So if you like in California or Washington or Texas. I’m not sure where else you guys go, Suzanne, but I know you do have them periodically. So I definitely encourage people to attend those.

Suzanne: Great. Thank you.

Suzanne: I will actually go almost anywhere someone wants me to go. So Boulder has been like making a strong push for me to go to Boulder. So I think that’s next. But right now I’m going to LA, Orange County, and San Diego in two weeks. I will be announcing an event in Seattle that Julie doesn’t even know about because I haven’t even announced it yet. But we’ll be doing that in March. We do have a lot of things going on.

Suzanne: I’m going to keep answering questions as they come in. So I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible. One of the ones that I’ve seen several times is about the executive MBA. We are not going to talk about the executive MBA at all. There is a session this week, and I think it’s tomorrow. I don’t know if you know that, Jason. But there definitely is a similar … Is that right?

Jason: It’ll be on Thursday.

Suzanne: Okay. Thank you, sorry. So if you’re interested in the executive MBA, that would be the time to learn about that program.

Suzanne: The maximum amount of time that you can take in order to finish the MBA is six years. So several people have asked about what happens if I need to take a break, that’s totally fine. You can take up to six years. It’s just important to know that with one class at a time, every class is not every time. So just because someone wants to take finance this term, for example, doesn’t mean they can take finance this term.

Suzanne: Jason, do you know what time the E-MBA session is on Thursday?

Jason: Yes, it’ll be at the same time as this one. What we’re going to be doing is more than likely sending out the registration link to anybody that is interested in it. So continue to ask questions. We can get that out to you. But we do want to keep this presentation focused on our online MBA program.

Suzanne: Great. Thank you.

Suzanne: I’ve gotten several questions about partnerships with employers like Boeing. We do have discounts with partners, in particular we have Boeing. That’s the question I’ve seen. It’s not that we only have Boeing. But I would advise you to talk to your enrollment advisor. We have something like 100, and I can’t answer every one of them because that would take forever.

Suzanne: There is no difference in tuition between instate and out-of-state. We just have the tuition rate.

Suzanne: I have put the slide up again of the online MBA highlights that shows you how much it will cost, how long it lasts, all of those things. So you can see that there. So I’m not going to answer those questions.

Suzanne: I see a question about a different kind of accreditation. The only accreditation that gets you a waiver for an undergrad business degree is AACSB. If it is not those particular letters, and they do accredit business schools around the world by the way, that is not what happens. So it has to be that one. So if not AACSB, it does not count. And somebody just asked how that affects it. So if it’s AACSB, then it’s undergrad and you have a 3.0, the GMAT is waived. Period.

Jason: Can I just step in there really quick, Suzanne?

Suzanne: Please.

Jason:   Thank you. So one other thing that I’d like to add about the AACSB accreditation, that accreditation, again, the gold standard is the AACSB. So what we will do, any student that don’t have that accreditation for their undergraduate degree, we just need you to provide us course descriptions for any of those foundation courses that you’ve already taken. What we’ll do is we’ll just make sure that the content, the curriculum all aligns with our foundation courses. And nine out of 10 times, it does, and we can go ahead and waive those courses for you. Again, your admissions advisor will be able to assist you throughout that whole process. Any questions you have, I highly encourage you to reach out to them. It’s not something that’s uncommon that we’ve run across. So don’t feel overwhelmed by it by any means. But there’s just one form that typically takes a few minutes to fill out. Again, the course descriptions that we can usually get most of those foundation courses waived.

Jason: Thank you, Suzanne.

Suzanne: Thanks, Jason.

Suzanne: I just want to make something clear though, I was answering questions about GMAT waivers. So no other accreditation waives the GMAT besides the AACSB. That is the GMAT waiver. You’re absolutely correct about foundations.

Jason: Thank you.

Suzanne: There’s a question about diplomas. The diploma at WSU just reads Master’s in Business Administration. It does not say online versus not online, etc.

Suzanne: Julie, are you in the Capstone yet? Have you started?

Julie: Yes. I started this semester.

Suzanne: Okay. Awesome. So we’ve got a lot of people asking what the Capstone is or what it looks like. Can you talk about it a little bit?

Julie: Sure. So essentially you form a group with five or six other students in your section. The first semester is primarily kind of coming up with a business idea and researching and interviewing, surveying people to see if this is a viable business idea, and kind of coming up with all of that information. So my group is actually doing a business idea called The Tipsy Teacher, which is a wine company, and we’re only a month and a little bit into this. But a wine company where we’ll donate some of the proceeds to help education and/or teachers. So we’re still kind of working through some of the logistics of that, which is kind of the first semester. I think the net step is to send out surveys maybe on Facebook or on other social media to get feedback from other people about whether or not this is a good idea and if it’ll work and if there’s a demand for it.

Julie: And then my understanding is next semester for Capstone B, it’ll be writing a business plan with the same group of people, and then Capstone C is on your own. So at that point, you record a presentation basically like you’re presenting to investors to try to get investors to invest in your company.

Julie: So, so far, so good. I think it’s actually been a really interesting subject matter. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I think in the beginning, we watch a lot of Ted Talks and things like that, and what makes a great entrepreneur. I’ve actually found it to be really interesting. But like I said earlier, really important to get a good group.

Julie: Other than that, are there any specific questions?

Suzanne: No. Thank you very much. Most of them are just what’s a Capstone, what’s it like. I want to echo the good group, but I would also tell people to remember that a good group means that you’re a good part of the group too. It’s hard to schedule team work, it just is. You all have jobs. People have families. People have whatever they have, and inevitably, somehow my schedule always seems more important than your schedule. MBAs as a degree are heavily team oriented, heavily, and online is no different. So I would just encourage people to remember that that it will be an exciting opportunity to be in a team. Let me put it that way.

Julie: I agree. If I could jump in too and say just my experience with teams across the whole program, not just for my Capstone, but I’ve never had a team that was like a bad team. I think it always depends on the class and how many people are on the team and things like that. But usually people don’t want to seem like the slacker. So people tend to be like, “Oh, no. I’ll work on that,” or, “I’ll do this part.” I think you’re always going to occasionally end up with somebody who maybe you don’t like connect with specifically in terms of how you think about things, but I haven’t had any bad experience with any teams, and I’ve had them in almost every class. So just wanted to call that out.

Suzanne: Thank you. That’s awesome.

Suzanne: Somebody asked what the learning platform is. We use Blackboard. That’s for all of our classes.

Suzanne: The point of the Capstone is to both try to create a viable business plan but the question I’m getting is why can’t we do it individually. Because, quite frankly, it’s almost impossible to work individually in business. The purpose of this is to be a business kind of opportunity. You’re going to be working with people, whether you like them or not, in your company like, no matter what you do for a living.

Suzanne: Julie, I’m super glad to hear that you didn’t have any slackers on teams. I did an MBA. I think you’re always going to have a slacker on some team during the program because that’s just how it goes or a person you might think would be a slacker. We all get busy, we all have things going on.

Suzanne: We’re not able to recommend a GMAT prep book. I would just suggest that you do some practice tests, and then find a book or a system that works for you.

Suzanne: There is question about whether or not employers frown on online MBAs. So I think no. I also think employers are getting smarter, and one of the best things I ever had a student tell me is that when she interviews, she leads with the idea that she did it or the disclosure that she did an online MBA, and this is why. Most of us are going to work at some points with people who are in a different building or a different time zone or a different country or something. We’re going to have to work virtually, right? That’s just the way it is. We’re on this call right now and I’m not in the room with any of the other people on this call. So working through a working professional online MBA program where you all have something else going on makes you a lot better at working with virtual teams than other people are. And she sells it that way and she’s gotten a lot of great offers, and I love it. I think that was amazing.

Suzanne: There are schedules of classes. It’s 4/20/19. What happens is if you apply the program and you’re admitted, you start meeting with, virtually of course, a student support advisor. Jason talked about that. And that person would work with you at the very beginning of your program to plan out your entire scheduled program knowing that of course if you need to change your schedule and take a term off. That’s fine. But you would know in advance what classes you would take for the next two-ish years in order to make that work.

Suzanne: Application deadlines, it depends on when a person is applying for. So, Jason, I don’t know if you want to walk through deadlines or you just want to say to a person, each person should talk to their enrollment advisor. Either way is fine with me.

Jason: Yeah. So the application deadlines are typically going to be four weeks before the start of classes. So I would keep that in mind. We do put stress on getting your application in as soon as possible because we are rolling admissions, and as sooner that you complete your application, the sooner we can actually give you a decision and get you acclimated to the virtual campus. Again, your admissions advisor is the best person to speak to to see what options you have specifically for starting. The foundations courses kind of make that a little determinant as far as which foundation courses you need, that’s going to determine what start dates you have available.

Jason: So I would say work with your admissions advisor, but for a general rule of thumb, you’re looking at four weeks before the start of class.

Suzanne: Thanks, Jason.

Suzanne: There’s a question about the diversity of industry where students work. We have students doing everything. We have students at Amazon, at Boeing, Julie’s in healthcare. I have a student who … We have a lot of people in sales across business lines if you will. I’ve seen an uptick in teachers. We have doctors and other medical professionals. Kind of have everything everywhere, and even if a person in your particular sections, even if you don’t have all those, we definitely have those across the program and Cougs in general. We have Cougs at every company I’ve ever seen.

Suzanne: There’s a question about workload. I’m going to try to get to questions that are more general and address something that multiple people have asked or that most of you can relate to. If you have specific questions about your own circumstances, the best thing to do is to talk to your enrollment advisor. They are able to answer specifics about you and how things work.

Suzanne: There’s a question about workload content. Each week, you will have a live session that is also recorded, again, with your lead faculty and your section faculty, and then there will be assignments. The question is specifically about essays. So every class is different. Business schools tend to have a lot of case assignments where you read a case and write up about the case. If you’re in a quantitative course, like a statistics or finance or an accounting, you’re much more likely to have something that’s Excel based, where you’re doing equations to figure out the present value of money, etc., etc. There definitely are midterms and finals. Essays I’d say are probably less likely. It just depends on the course as to what you’re assignments might look like. There’s almost always … I should just say always because I think there are. Always Blackboard based assignments, meaning that you have to post on articles or post on things that are happening on Blackboard and interact there.

Suzanne: There is a quest- How do I know who my admissions advisor is? I assume that you got this information from a person at WSU. Jason, wouldn’t that person be the person who sent it out?

Jason: Yes. That would typically come directly from their admissions advisor, and they can always just reply to that email and their admissions advisor should be contacting them regularly.

Suzanne: Great. So Jason, maybe you can pop in and find this persona and make sure they get directed the right way. I’m not going to-

Suzanne: Somebody asked about whether or not you have to go to testing centers for exams. No. Everything is 100% online and doable from your house or your job or wherever you want to do it from. Your exams can be conducted in different ways. It could be that you print out and then scan back your answers. It could be entirely online. It will depend on the particular class that you’re in.

Suzanne: In terms of the application, when you’re applying, the letter of recommendation can be from anyone. I would strongly advise, and this is how to be successful in that, it be from either an immediate supervisor or someone else who can work to your work and capabilities in an MBA program. So it can be a professor, it can be an immediate supervisor now, it can be a past supervisor. When you’re thinking about any MBA program and any online MBA program, I would really advise that you talk to the people in your life, your work people, your boss, your home people, your spouses, whoever it is about what this is going to look like, about the workload. You’re going to be busy for the next two years. You will be busy. And so it doesn’t really help you to not tell your employers, etc. I’ve seen people say like, “Oh, I don’t really want to tell them.” Probably not going to help you be successful.

Suzanne: There’s another question about fields people are in. We definitely have people in healthcare. The kinds of positions they hold depends a lot on their background, who they are, what they do, that’s a little bit more personal.

Suzanne: The program, I’m getting a lot of questions again about taking multiple classes at a time. The program is set up to be one class at a time. That is how the program is designed. There are definitely semesters when the core classes are offered. It is the only class that is offered. The only time multiple classes are offered is when there’s an elective term and that is to allow you the choice of elective. You can choose your electives at any time. You do not have to declare a concentration in advance. When it comes to an elective term, then you get to choose your electives. It is not designed to double up the work. Our classes are about half the length of a regular semester, so they’re already double time if you will in terms of work, and so we don’t want people to try to triple their time and make it even harder on them by overloading classes.

Suzanne: I think that I’ve gotten almost everything answered, Jason, unless you see another really general question I can answer here.

Suzanne: [crosstalk 00:56:18] There’s a question about acceptance that I can answer.

Suzanne: I don’t actually track acceptance rates. I don’t have to. Part of the beauty of an online program is that you’re really not competing with other people in that term. So if you’re applying to a sit down, face to face program, there are X number of seats on the ground, right? There are 100 seats or whatever in the room, and you have to fight the other guy to get one of those 100. If we have 120 great students, we can admit them, and if we only have 50 great students, I only admit them. So you’re really just competing against yourself in terms of making an excellent application package.

Suzanne: What I’m looking for in terms of admissions is people who are willing and able to do the work that I think will be successful in the program. And by the way, the able is demonstrated by your history, by test scores, by your academic background, by your work background, all of those things is how we looked at it in order to admit people.

Suzanne: I think I’m actually going to wrap here because I know that we are at one o’clock, and I want to be sensitive to people’s time. This is being recorded. It will be available afterwards. Jason, I believe you will just automatically send it to everyone. Am I correct?

Jason: That’s correct. Yes. The recording for this will be sent out to everybody within 24 hours.

Suzanne: So we’re getting a lot of people who omits things, etc., etc. You will be able to see this. You’ll get it and you’ll be able to go through all of the experiences there. I do see a great question there at the end. We actually are missing something, and we will update that slide. I apologize. You absolutely need a statement of purpose for your application. That is not written on this slide. This slide is incorrect, and I apologize.

Suzanne: You need these items plus a statement of purpose. And feel free to talk through that with your advisor.

Suzanne: So I’m going to wrap up now. Thank you everyone so much for coming. Thanks for bringing great questions.

Suzanne: Julie, thanks for taking time out of your busy day to be with us. I really appreciate it.

Julie: No problem.

Suzanne: I look forward to seeing you in Seattle next month.

Suzanne: Thank you, everyone. Have a great- [crosstalk 00:58:31] And go Cougs.

Julie: Go Cougs.

Jason: Go Cougs. Thank you, Suzanne. Thank you everybody.