WSU Spring 2020 Military Info Session with Military and Veterans Affairs Manager

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

Jon V.: So starting off, we want to talk a little bit about logistics, just cover a few items here. In order to minimize background noise, what you are going to want to do is… We’re basically in broadcast only mode so you can hear me, but I can’t hear you. If you do want to ask a question at any time, you can use the Q and A feature to the right or it’s at the bottom of your screen. In addition, if you do have to hop off here in mid webinar, a recording of this session will be emailed to you afterward. So we are recording this so that we can distribute it to anyone who wants to review the information or anyone who missed the opportunity to be here live.

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

Jon V.: Starting off then with introductions. So middle picture on your screen. My name is Jon, I’m the senior advisor with the MBA and executive MBA programs here at Washington State. Very excited to be here with you. I’m able to handle any questions about the admission requirements, logistics of the program. And then we have some others with us that can perhaps speak a little bit more intelligently to the way that the program relates to military and veteran affairs. So right away I want to kick it over to Matt Beer, the military and veteran affairs manager at Washington State University.

Matt Beer: Great, thanks Jon. Hey everybody. As Jon said, my name’s Matt Beer. I’m the program manager here at the Carson College of Business. I’m a air force veteran, 22 some years and back here at my alma mater, Washington State. Looking forward to building programs and policies that are beneficial, make sure that our student, military affiliated students can really get a good return on investment in our program. So welcome.

Jon V.: Thanks so much, Matt, glad to have you with us. We also have Kevin Beasley, he’s a current MBA student at Washington State University. He’s a army veteran. Kevin, would you like to say hello?
Kevin Beasley: Hello, I’m Kevin Beasley. As you hear, I’m a current MBA student in my middle between my first and second year and currently an international buyer at one of the ad replacement corporations here in Kansas. I’ll be chatting with you again later.

Jon V.: Thanks again, Kevin. So glad to have you with us here. Next slide that you’re seeing here really has to do with the legacy, not just of the MBA program here, but our very special relationship with military and veteran students. Matt, if you’d like to share a little bit more on that front.

Matt Beer: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, we’re a land-grant college who’ve been around for many years and we have a pretty rich past when it comes to taking care of our student veterans. But what’s especially cool about the Carson College of Business is our namesake, Mr. Scott Carson, who’s a veteran himself. He came to Washington State on the GI bill back in ’66 after serving with the air force in Vietnam. He was actually part of air commando squadron. So this is the A-26 Skyraider that he was a munitions loader on during his time there. He was a huge supporter of the work we’re trying to do and he’s a pretty inspirational guy too. So we’re real proud of our history and legacy of serving students. So again, just want to welcome you all here and kick this off the right way. Back to you Jon.

Jon V. : Very good. Thanks Matt. Moving on then. The first thing that I want to cover here is just the curriculum of the program and the way that everything works, give you a true idea of what this program looks like as a student. First and foremost, the program is 100% online, so a lot of our students will come out to campus to walk at their graduation and of course you’re always welcome, but it’s never required that you come out to Pullman. There’s no residency requirement, no immersion, nothing like that.

Jon V. : In terms of program length, we’re talking about a general range of 22 to 29 months. So right around two years, no matter how you slice it. The low end of that range is going to be for students who have completed a lot of business coursework already from a academic perspective. The 29 month figure, the top end of that range would be if you’re coming into the program with perhaps an undergraduate degree that isn’t in business and frankly a lot of students fall somewhere in the middle of that range where you’ve done some business coursework but maybe not a lot of it. The reason for that has to do with foundation courses that we have at the beginning of the program. If you are entering an MBA program without an undergraduate business degree, it can feel a little bit intimidating. And so what we do is at the very beginning of the program, we make sure to run through your basics of business, your financial and managerial accounting, business statistics, finance, business law, macro and micro economics just to give you enough so that you can still keep your head above water later on in the program when things become a bit more challenging.

Jon V. : We also have concentrations associated with our MBA. We specialize in marketing, finance, international business, and then hospitality business management. The way that that works is all students will have some elective courses during their time in the program. You’re welcome to take electives in a lot of different areas, but a lot of our students will choose to do all of their electives in one area, one of those four that I already mentioned. If you do it that way and you do well in your elective classes, you then complete the program not just with your MBA but a parallel graduate level certification in marketing or finance or whatever the case may be and so right there you have a little bit of a differentiator alongside of your MBA.

Jon V. : Content delivery is something that a lot of our students would like to talk through because frankly every MBA program does it differently. A good deal of our content is going to be fully self paced and on your own time. So a lecture would be recorded and you can watch that on your own time. If it’s something like an assignment or a required reading that too, there’s not a required login time as part of the program. Having said that, there are going to be live sessions associated with your class every week. They are optional so if you can’t make it, they get recorded, they get uploaded and archived and you are able to watch them on your own time. Having said that, I think there is a big benefit to being present for the live sessions because it’s very interactive, it’s discussion based and so you are able to chime in, ask questions, contribute to the class as well as network with other students by being there live.

Jon V. : There’s a capstone project and a final presentation at the very end of the MBA. This is oftentimes building out your own business plan or your own product idea. It’s fundamentally a design project where you take your first attempt at designing something, business plan, product idea, whatever the case may be, you then make changes to that capstone idea based off of feedback from your professors and ultimately you’ll present the best version of that project. There’s a small written component to that presentation as well as an oral component where you would record yourself, you would be telling the faculty of the Carson College of Business about the project you worked on and why it’s viable and what it can contribute to the business community.

Jon V. : Finally, I want to talk about the international field study. You can see on your screen that it is optional and so it’s important to know that international travel is not a required part of the program. A lot of students like it though. We’ve done trips all over the world. We’ve been to Finland and Estonia, Chile, different locations in China. In 2020 we’re headed to Prague. This is a international immersion that is certainly a highlight for the students who participate. We even had another one of these webinars the other day and a question that came up was “can I attend the international trip after I graduate?” Which of course is allowed and encouraged. People really enjoy this international trip. You’re going to do some cultural appreciation and sightseeing, but it’s fundamentally a business trip where professionals within the Carson College as well as our professors are leveraging their international business contacts to put together the most informative possible experience for you.

Jon V. : Moving on then to, again, just some of the more nuts and bolts and nitty gritty details. Again, we’re looking at a program that can be completed between 22 and 29 months, assuming that you start the program and finish the program without any breaks in your schedule. I will add though that if something comes up where you do need to take a break mid-program, perhaps a promotion at work, family event, life event, anything like that, you are able to take breaks in the program. You would work with your student support advisor. Basically you’d complete one class and then you would have a gap of time, whatever the case may be before you start your next class to really enhance that flexibility further. As we discussed a hundred percent online, there’s not a residency requirement. The international field study is recommended, encouraged, it’s a big asset but also non-mandatory.

Jon V. : Class sizes. We’re typically seeing 25 to 30 students in our classes. There can be some variance here depending upon really the class in question. So if you’re talking about a class that everybody is going to take, whether it’s a foundation course or a core course, there might be more students there around that 30 number. Some of those elective classes, it’s going to ebb and flow depending upon the semester and the interest of the student population. But generally speaking, even your most crowded, your biggest class, it is still going to be very, very personal where you feel like you have a good idea of who everybody is.

Jon V. : In terms of the way courses are structured. This is unique with our program. We’re basically doing one class at a time all the way through. We don’t want you all getting your wires crossed between your professional situations, your personal life, and then the MBA program on top of that, and so you’re doing one class at a time. Foundation courses are five weeks. Core courses are seven weeks. Your capstone project is actually extended over two terms. But really the rationale there is we want to allow you to do a deep dive into the content of whatever the curriculum of the class may be, you knock it out and then you move on. And that way you’re just not having to prioritize one class above the other, you don’t have any of those competing deadlines or due dates.

Jon V.: Finally, tuition. The slide in front of you is going to say $834 per credit hour, not including your books, and that’s accurate for most students. But I do want to note that the cost per credit hour for a military student, whether you are active duty or you are a veteran, we’re looking at $732 per credit hour as Washington State is a very military friendly university. That brings down the overall cost of the program substantially, but again, what you would want to do if you’re looking into an exact figure is connect with one of the enrollment advisors at Washington State to figure out exactly how many credit hours would be required for you to complete the program. Again though that cost per credit is $732 for military students.

Jon V.: Moving on to our admissions requirements. The application is basically four big documents. Nothing crazy. I think it’s pretty much what you would expect. There’s an online application where you will upload copies of your official transcripts from all universities attended. We’re going to want a copy of your resume, a letter of recommendation, you’re welcome to include more than one but one is the floor, and then a statement of purpose. Nothing in the way of a novel here either. We’re basically looking for a one page document where… The resume is going to tell us what you’ve done, so the statement of purpose should really be focused on what you are hoping to do, how the MBA plays into that, why Washington State is a good program for you and you’re a good fit with us, that kind of thing. There’s no work experience requirement.

Jon V.: Grade point average, we are typically seeing the average of a 3.0 cumulative GPA. That said, if you have questions about your grade point average, like maybe the beginning of your collegiate experience was really tough but things got better toward the end or you’ve been out of school for a long time, you should talk to an enrollment advisor about that because there are some different things that we look at.

Jon V.: Finally, entrance exam, the the GMAT, the graduate management admission test. A lot of students are curious about GMAT waivers and we’ll talk about those in a minute. If you are a candidate who is pursuing entry by taking the GMAT, there is no minimum or maximum score that we look for, but typically a successful candidates would have a GMAT score of 550 or higher, which would be the 50th percentile or better.

Jon V.: Moving on to the aforementioned GMAT waiver, we have some different options here. So if you are a student with five years of progressive work experience and strong academics, we might be able to pursue a GMAT waiver request. The same is true if you have a STEM degree, again with outstanding academics. If you hold an undergraduate business degree from an AACSB-accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA or above, so that’s the gold standard within business schools, AACSB-accreditation. If you hold an undergraduate business degree plus 3.0 or above GPA, GMAT waiver request may make sense. And then the same would be true if you have 10 or more years of work experience and a GPA above 2.79. Again, the difference there being you’ve worked a little bit longer so the GPA may not need to be as strong. So those are the different options that we look at for students who are looking to enter the program but are looking not to take the GMAT test.

Jon V.: Moving now to our student veterans. I want to kick this slide over to Matt Beer who’s going to tell you just a little bit more about the makeup of our program at the MBA and executive levels as it relates to student veterans. Matt?

Matt Beer: Yeah, cool. Thanks Jon. So just real quick, just want to show some numbers about how veterans are positioned here in our program. As you can see for the Online MBA program, it makes up about 15% of the total cohort. And we’ve got students that are anywhere from six years in the military to guys and gals who’ve been out for 10 years and are off starting their own businesses. But the average, probably the biggest concentration is plus or minus four years of transition. We got a pretty respectable number of female students, about 13%. Yeah, the majority of our students are tied somehow to Washington State. But really we have students all over the world and all over the country in fact.

Matt Beer: And the graduation rates for both our Online MBA and our executive MBA are on par with or better than our civilian counterparts so. We expect nothing less, right. But really similar numbers for our Executive Online MBA program. So military veteran affiliated students are very well represented and we’re working real hard to make sure we have some good programs lined up. Jon, you want to go and advance to the next slide for me?

Jon V.: I can take care of that.

Matt Beer: Awesome. So one of the big things that I’ve been working on and we’ve been working on in our program is just the network. Like I said this heat map shows where our students are. I didn’t get the overseas piece but we’re really everywhere and we’ve been reaching out, creating some LinkedIn connections between our students. The list down the right is just a quick smattering of the industries people are in. Really anything you can think of, we have veteran students who are doing that and we have civilian counterparts who are doing that. So the Cougar network is powerful. You can go anywhere in the country quite honestly and if you’re wearing Cougar gear and you say go Cougs to somebody, they’re going to say it back to you. We’re trying to tap into that as well as the veteran network to really create a really meaningful return on investment for the students who enter this program.

Matt Beer: Let’s see. I’ll go to the next slide here. Oops. There was a benefit slide. There we go. So in terms of benefits, we do have a veteran certifying official here on campus and that office, there’s the contact information up there, but they’re the ones who are going to be processing your benefits. I work closely with them as a squeaky wheel to make sure that our students get to the front of the queue if they have any questions or comments. So they’re very familiar with tuition assistance, all aspects of the post 9/11 GI Bill. This chart is a bit of an eye chart, but if you need to come back to it, that’s good. Or you can actually access if you just Google Washington State University veterans, it’ll come right up to their page and they’re very receptive in terms of answering questions about what benefits you may have. So we know that that’s typically the number one priority. So we work really hard to make sure that you’re receiving your benefits in a timely manner.

Matt Beer: And one thing I will add, the university has removed any type of late fees for any veteran students. Which just makes sense, right? Because sometimes you’re waiting on tuition assistance or you’re waiting on the VA to process the money and we’re not going to penalize any students for that. So I think that’s a good move and that’s just the right thing to do for our students there. Back to you, Jon.

Jon V.: All right, well thank you Matt for sharing all of those different features and benefits as it relates to students who are in the military or have served. I want to talk a little bit as well about the support mechanisms that we have in place really for all of our students who are pursuing their MBAs, whether it’s the Online MBA, the online executive MBA.

Jon V.: Number one, as you are looking to enroll in the program, looking to get yourself admitted, the first step is to reach out and touch base with one of the enrollment advisors here on our team. What we do is work with you to really meet you where you’re at. We want to hear about where you are in your career, where you’re hoping to go and ultimately our goal is to be a resource to you, make sure that you have the strongest possible application toward the program. We’re also going to go through your past professional experience, your academic experience, make sure that if there are classes that you’ve taken that matter for what we’re trying to do here in the program in the way of eliminating redundant coursework, that kind of thing. That’s our role.

Jon V.: Admitted students are paired with a student support advisor. So enrollment advisors work with all students through the admissions process, right. We’re here to get you into the program. A student support advisor, they handle you and help you, they are a resource to you during your time in the program. So when admitted they will work with you to register for the correct classes, order necessary textbooks and reading materials. If you are perhaps struggling in a class and you are looking to leverage Washington State University tutoring and library resources, that kind of thing, they are able to help with that. And also it’s worth mentioning here that if you are needing to take a break, make an amendment to your degree plan or your schedule, they are the people that help with that. They give you that 360 degree view of if we do take a break during the program here, this is what it would mean for your classes moving forward, this is what it would mean for your intended graduation date, that kind of thing. You have robust tech support at Washington State University. That is true both in terms of myWSU and CoughTech, which is our information technology team as well as all of the technical parts go into an online learning program. We are very supportive, 24/7 tech support there.

Jon V.: Class sizes tend to be a little bit smaller. Again, as we mentioned, we’re looking at 25 to 30 students per class. And really the way that that works is you’re going to have your lead professor in a given class and they’re responsible for top level content, they would draft syllabus, they would determine due dates and things like that. But you are then also paired with a section instructor and that person would be the one to work with you as part of a smaller team. That helps to facilitate a lot of good conversations and networking too because you’re part of a smaller group. And they are also your first point of contact then if you have questions, if you need some clarity about content, anything like that. So you really do feel like there’s somebody that you are paired with every step of the way that knows you and is looking out for you.

Jon V.: Moving on here to some of the extracurricular opportunities for military and veteran students in particular. I want to again, send this slide over to Matt Beer.

Matt Beer: Okay [inaudible 00:25:09]. Thanks Jon. So yeah, so one of the big areas we’re trying to work on is just doing some extracurricular opportunities again for our military and veteran students and primarily again for those folks who are looking to formulate their off ramp from the military on to the corporate world. So we do a large number of things. We have a conversation piece where I basically send out some top shelf business books and we talk about those. We do career workshops throughout the year so we’ll bring in industry experts on networking or resume writing, the tactical level stuff. But then we’ll also bring in some alumni, which has been really impactful. A couple of weeks ago we brought in a former Marine, Brian Lewis, who is a manager at a Cisco and he was able to share his great transition story about just how he was able to build his network, how he was able to get on a team that he really fit in with. And he actually just recently hired another one of our graduates in the program so that’s really awesome. So those workshops are great. The networking is really neat.

Matt Beer: We have a couple of conferences that we have each year. The EMBA Leadership Conference is in Seattle, and that’s an opportunity for those folks getting their executive EMBA to meet and greet face to face. The MBA Veterans Conference is a national organization and I’m going to let Kevin talk to that because this year was the first year we actually were able to send anybody. So he was one of our guinea pigs. I know they learned a ton of stuff and next year we’re going to be bringing it strong. So that’s pretty exciting and we also have operation Ol’ Crimson where we send out Ol’ Crimson to folks who are doing interesting things because by sharing your story we’re really proud of the work you guys and gals are doing out there and I really find it meaningful to share your story with our partners on campus because they just have no idea how hard you work, so. Those are some of the things we’re doing. It’s constantly growing and building and I look forward to having conversations with you if any of that stuff is of interest to you.

Jon V.: Thanks again, Matt. I now want to kick it over to Kevin Beasley who is one of our current MBA students. Kevin’s just going to share with you a little bit more “A Day in the Life” basically. What you can expect based on his experience.

Kevin Beasley: Yeah, just like everybody was talking about, my name is Kevin Beasley. I spent 13 years in the US army as a cav officer. I was actually a GMAT waiver as well. Just then they were talking about the enrollment advisors walked me through the process, helped me through it, helps me get all the documentation that I needed, that was required and I mean it was a really seamless transition for me. As a non-business degree, coming into the MBA program I was one of the foundation classes as well. And I can say that just the level of visibility and the help, the assistance, how the instructors are really pacing the courses is one of the top things about this program. One course at a time is just a, it’s a phenomenal way to be able to focus on that course and really learn and incorporate those techniques before moving on to the next one.

Kevin Beasley: I have a lot of friends that are also in other graduate programs, other MBA programs, all veterans. And when I talk to them about we’re doing one course at a time or that there’s no late fees for Washington State University and all the assistance and the help that we’re getting, I can honestly say they’re very jealous. They struggle through a lot of it, they don’t have a lot of help from some of the programs that they’re going through. But with Washington State, the help is just phenomenal.

Kevin Beasley: As far as the scheduling, the video conferencing and the video lectures are the best part. They really schedule them for your evenings, sometimes a little bit later for me because I’m in a Central Time Zone, they’re in a Pacific Time Zone. So they’ll start about six o’clock in the Pacific, so about eight o’clock for me. That allows me at least to get home, get done with my day of work, sit down and eat dinner with my kids, get ready, get things together and then be able to go to my video conference. I’m not trying to take a break during lunch and go to a video conference or I’m not trying to take a break in the afternoon and find a video conference. The professors really work around your time schedule, really work with you.

Kevin Beasley: And just what Matt was talking about with the Veterans Conference, I just got back from it from Chicago and this was 71 of the top 75 business schools in the nation were represented. Washington State [inaudible 00:29:44] Carson College of Business is one of those, 523 veterans, 66 corporations. I mean just a phenomenal opportunity for us to be able to go to and just to realize and know that if I was going to a different college of business, I wouldn’t have that opportunity, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. So as a veteran, I don’t think there’s any better program. I know I’m biased because I’m in the program. But just from the overall rating that I’ve seen, from the overall capabilities of this program, from the help from the very beginning of application through your coursework, through your foundation work and into your final your final progression, I would recommend this MBA program to any of my veteran friends and I always do. And if you ever have any questions please reach out to me. They’ll have my email address, you can get it with Matt and I’d be happy to chat with you one on one.

Jon V.: Thanks so much for sharing all of that, Kevin. Super lucky to have students like you in the program. Final slide before we turn it over to the question and answer period is just a little bit more information about if you are interested in learning more about the program wanting to move forward. The next time to start classes is early January of the new year. That would be our spring semester. We are currently accepting applications for that term. We are accepting those applications all the way until mid December of 2019 so you still have about two months, maybe a little bit less, to work with an enrollment advisor, complete that application, get it all over to the program director, get your admissions decision, hopefully a good one and prepare to start classes.

Jon V.: The first step in that process, there is a toll free number, (877) 348-8154. You can also use our online scheduling tool, vCita, which just puts you in contact with our outreach team here. You would then be assigned to an enrollment advisor, you would schedule a time to chat on the phone for 15 or 20 minutes and again get moving with an application there.

Jon V.: I know that we are a little bit over that 30 minute window, but I do want to take some time for question and answer. So if any of our webinar attendees present today have questions about the program, questions about your particular situation, do feel free to enter those into the chat box. If it’s something very specific, we’ll answer it as a one off thing with you. If it’s something that is better shared for the group, we’ll talk about it as a group. So please questions if you have them…

Jon V.: Okay, well it looks like we don’t have any questions to address as a group and that’s fine. It’s a smaller crew here today and I do think that there’s a lot of information in the webinars so it’s possible that questions may have been answered. If a question comes up, something that you think of later that you didn’t have front of mind here today, again, do feel free to reach out to the enrollment team here at Washington State. We’re very happy to answer those questions with you. If we’re not sure of the answer to your question, we will put you in contact with the people who are. But all of that not withstanding, going to go ahead and wrap this webinar up. Want to again thank Matt Beer at Washington State, Kevin Beasley who’s one of our current MBA students for being here, as well as those of you who chose to attend. Really appreciate that. There will be a recorded copy of this webinar sent to you usually within the next 24 hours. It’s a Friday, so maybe Monday after the weekend. But that will include a copy of the webinar as well as information about how to waive the application fee given your military service. So keep a look out for that email. Thanks again everybody.

Matt Beer: Thanks. Go Cougs.