Can a student who’s living overseas complete this program and how would it work with the class times? Is it possible to kind of work around those class times living overseas?
You can complete the program if you don’t live in the States. We’ve had a few students that actually work internationally and they complete the program. If you are though and not a resident of the United States, you are going to be required to have a student visa for the one week. So there’s a couple other steps that you have to do when you go through that application process.
As far as the flexibility with the class times, no, it doesn’t matter where you’re living. If the class is at 6:00 PM Pacific, you have to log on at 6:00 PM Pacific. So if that’s 9:00 PM on the Eastern time or if that’s 12:00 AM in another country you’re still required to log in for whatever it would be, 6:00 PM Pacific. So there’s no flexibility with the class times. It’s required that you attend the live session, so just make sure that you kind of factor all that in.
Would you say the online MBA program is as rigorous as the on-campus MBA program?
I would say it is different in nature, but it is absolutely equally rigorous. And as I mentioned at the very beginning of our session, the way that it was designed originally, our curriculum is based on focus groups, interviews, conversations that we had with various stakeholders, including alumni from our existing MBA programs online at Marshall prospective students, prospective employers of our alumni.
And the goal was to determine how do we design a curriculum that is equally rigorous, but that includes only what our student’s need. And our student population is quite different from the full time residential student population. Our students that are at a different point in their careers. They, you typically have more work experience on average than the full time residential program.
So for example, one of the differences that you will see in terms of units is that in the full time residential program, the international experience is a required component of the program and it is connected to a course which adds units to your studies as an MBA student. The programs are different in nature, both equally effective in terms of preparing you to be a leader, but most certainly they are different in nature. And the integrated curriculum is something that is unique to our program and is different from the fulltime residential program, but as far as rigor, absolutely.
Honestly it’s harder in some ways because it really depends on how you define rigorous. So the average full time MBA student is much younger with much less work experience. They may need more kind of like a college type classes where you have like much more class, and you really don’t have that much work experience to draw from. The OMBA program balances both using your work experience to draw from and learning new things. And I would also argue that it’s not only equal in rigor, but it may be more challenging in other ways, and it’s more representative of what you will do as a career professional because you’re balancing competing responsibilities and priorities, your actual life, your school life, your assignments and your work life. And we’re all adults so that stuff doesn’t go away.
As opposed to like, imagine what you would think if you went back to college and you just went to 3 or 4 hours of class a day and then you were free. That’s insane. I wish I was free like that. So the rigor is there, but I think it is just much more representative of being a career professional and what’s nice is you can utilize what you’re using, what you’re learning in school in real time. So for me the value is, because going back to that cost slide, like this was a significant investment for me in myself, in my career and basically in my brain.
So I wanted to be able to use something from every class in real time to make it seem valuable to me. And I was able to do at least one nugget from every class, whether it was digital marketing to finance, to whatever at work and that was really important to me. I think that makes this program pretty unique as opposed to if you were a full time student. And you’re trying to conceptualize how you might use it here, you actually could use it like today.
Can a student take a semester off from the program if needed?
Yes, you can definitely take a semester off. We ask that you complete 501 and 505, so that’s your first year courses. That’s like the residential week and then the first course after that. But once you complete 501 and 505, you can take a semester off. You can take up to four leaves. That’s basically leave of absence and you can take up to four leaves during your time. And when you do come back you can either opt to join your cohort or you can opt to join the cohort followed that follows you or two cohorts that follow you, it depends on how long you take off it. You can definitely take a leave, your academic advisor, everyone’s assigned to academic advisor. Your advisor will kind of work you through that if you needed to.
Is there an option for specialization within the program? Are there any electives for the online MBA program?
Not within our curriculum. It’s just the core curriculum that you saw earlier tonight in the presentation. Now having said that, can you opt as an individual to take electives after completing the program? Absolutely, and some of our students have done that where they have chosen to take electives above and beyond the 51 units that make up our program. Now, I should mention of course that does involve the additional tuition costs.
But let’s say that you want to take two electives in the area of entrepreneurship, for example. So you would take two, three unit electives in entrepreneurship in order to enhance what you have learned through the curriculum in our program. So you are a USC student and thus eligible to take electives, but they are not required. They do not factor into the 51 units in our program and there is therefore no specialization. Ours is a general management MBA degree.
Can a student defer their acceptance if accepted into the program?
You can update your application for up to one term. So if you apply for Fall, you can update your application for Spring. But we’re going to reevaluate your application so your admission doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be guaranteed. I can tell you though, on the five years that we’ve been doing this, if someone updated, they were admitted and updated, typically they don’t get denied because if you got in for one semester, you should get in for the next semester, but just know that it’s not guaranteed.
What is going to be the size for the Fall 2020 cohort?
We’re looking to bring in 100 students. It pretty much matched the Fall cohort that we had in 2019.
At any given point in time, you’re only interacting online with 50 of the hundreds so that we divide the a hundred into two separate sections. And I mentioned that because the dynamic of interacting with 50 students in an online classroom is very manageable and very productive and very doable. The dynamic of interacting with 100 people in an online setting as you can imagine is quite different. So we have made the decision for pedagogical reasons to move to a model where we do let in 100 students, you meet all of them, you mingle during that first week, but you only are in class with 50 of them at a time.
Is financial aid available for the online MBA program?
Yes, you can apply for financial aid. That information is on our website, but we typically will also send you an email about it, once your application is in its final review stage. I will be honest though, financial aid for most graduate students is going to be loans. So they are federal loans, typically the interest rate is much lower or it gets locked in at a certain rate, but that’s typically what students receive. There’s also employer reimbursement. So if your employer offers that, that’s what a lot of our students have. I’d say close to half of our students have some form of employer reimbursement. Then there’s also scholarships that we offer.
We give out merit based scholarships to students. A couple of different factors, we’ll consider your GPA, your test scores, your work experience and then also we’re a Forte member school. Forte I should say is a consortium to kind of increase the numbers of women that are in business and in MBA. So I’m certain women that apply and will be considered for a Forte scholarship.
What’s the expected workload for student per week? What’s about the per hour?
Typically what we tell our students to prepare for is anywhere between 20 and 30 hours per week of additional work, above and beyond your existing responsibilities. So, it is quite a time investment, but generally what you can budget for is about 20 to 30 hours on top of your existing responsibilities.