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USC Online MBA Information Session Q&A – October 2019

USC Online MBA Information Session

October 2019 Info Session Questions and Answers:

What is the anticipated workload per week?

So managing course load, Miriam, I’m not sure if you’re still talking. I think I missed that last part.

Sorry. Chris, the question was how many hours per week is the time investment and I was saying the range that we give to our students is between 20 and 30 hours per week of coursework that includes the live class sessions as well as all the homework that you complete outside of class. But then I said, it’s great to hear from a student who has been through it herself.

Yes, I would say that 20 to 30 hours is pretty accurate. At the time when I began the program, I was like, no, I can’t handle it, a little bit better than that; I can be much more efficient with my time. To some extent, I think if I was able to, I think of it as going to the gym or working out every day. What I did was to put in time on to handle assignments, to do sort of my own leg work, whether that’s reading or whatnot in the mornings, about an hour or two before I had started my day and the nature of my job was that I started a little bit later, so it was feasible. That actually enabled me to, for the most part avoid doing homework on the weekends.

Do you feel that the network that you built is as strong as if you had gone through a full time or part time program on campus?

That’s a great question and one of the main concerns that I had in doing an online program because I knew that all right, I had been told that the major value of an MBA program was the network that you develop out of it. I would say that hands down, I’ve had a really fantastic experience with the online MBA program. I think I was either fortunate and maybe not, it’s less of a game of luck because it seems like the cohorts even after mine have been equally just as close. But as soon as we all met during the residential week we started a WhatsApp chat and we’ve all just been connecting pretty much every day. I think even as of this morning, we were wishing one of our cohort members a happy birthday.

Can you briefly discuss the difference between online versus the executive program?

There are some similarities in that, their average age, demographically is probably mid-thirties. You finished the program in about the same period of time about 21, 22 months. They also use a thematic approach to their course design where you take multiple subjects at the same time that are integrated together.

The significant differences are our curricula are not identical, ours is a much newer curriculum and covers probably a few more topics than our residential executive MBA degree program. And of course the key differences are other than the residential week at the beginning, it’s a hundred percent online. While the executive MBA program. My understanding is you have to meet on campus all day Friday and, or alternating Fridays and Saturdays, you would need to talk to them to get an exact schedule.

As an online student, would we have access to the same campus resources, facilities and career services?

Yes, you do have access to pretty much the same resources. The biggest difference is going to be the career coaching that we offer in comparison to what the residential programs offer. We offer two career consultants that have over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector and their primary goal is to work with our students since we have between eight and 10 years work experience, to figure out how you can rebrand and repackage yourself now that you’re in an MBA program.

What the career coaches don’t offer would be recruiting rounds. In the residential programs, career student works too have recruiting rounds and internship round and full time positions. Rounds where they come in and recruit you, we don’t offer that because our students have a full time positions, 99% of our students work full time, so they’re not looking to necessarily start over in an entry level position. They’re just looking to kind of rebrand and repackage themselves so they can move up at their company or a company similar to where they’re currently working.

Is there a minimum amount of full time professional work experience that you are looking for?

Well, our average is between, of course about eight to 10 years work experience. To get the most out of the program, you probably will have a minimum of about, I’d say between five and seven years to get a lot out of it. Anything under that you can still possibly get admitted if you show that you really can excel in a program like ours.

This design is for the working professional who can contribute from their different professional experiences and it’s similar from one another, that’s why we like to have students who have a little bit more work experience. I’d say, yes, we evaluate all applications that come in regardless of the work experience because you never know who you’re going to meet or find or who’s going to be a good fit.

Yes, we evaluate all our applications. Is there an actual minimum? On the website, I believe we say at least two to three years, but to have the best shot of getting in, you want to have a lot of work experience, you want to have strong scores, you want to have a great GPA, you want to have strong letters of recommendation, that’s what really makes your package or your application looks the best.

Are there any concentrations or specializations within the OMBA program?

There are no concentrations that are part of our curriculum. Our required 51 units to complete the online MBA degree, the curriculum that you would need to complete to earn your MBA through our online program is strictly what you saw at the beginning of the presentation today.

It’s just the residential intensive course, or those course that includes the residential intensive plus an additional five semester long courses that range between nine and a half and 10 units a piece, that is our online best MBA programs and there is no concentration beyond that. Now having said that, after you have completed our curriculum, you do have the option because you are a USC students.

At that point, you’re a USC Marshall student. You do have the option to enroll in elective, a few of which are online, but most of which are residential. You have the option to do that. You of course would incur the additional tuition costs and the additional time investment of course, but that is an option that is available above and beyond our basic curriculum to earn your MBA through 51 units.

Have you experienced any skepticism toward the validity of your online MBA from individuals such as coworkers, colleagues, as the individuals in supervisory position versus those who have finished in their residential MBAs?

That’s a good question in the sense that, I think there might still be some residual taboo against doing an online programs, but the truth is that it doesn’t come up. I don’t necessarily volunteer, oh, I completed my online MBA just because when you get your degree it says it’s an MBA and it’s not like that necessarily comes up often in conversation. Like, did you do your MBA online or versus residential? That said, to the extent that it has come up, I haven’t gotten a whole lot of resistance, especially after you’ve been working for a while.

It just makes sense, the flexibility of having an online MBA versus having done it residentially hasn’t been a big issue. At the end of the day, I think once you’re a couple of years out of the program even just a few months out for me, like, the degree is the degree. I know plenty of co-workers, plenty of other folks who have done their own graduate programs either on a flexible schedule or a hybrid program where it’s partly online or partly in person. I think as these programs become increasingly common, that taboo is going to decrease.

Can GMAT or GRE score requirement be waived?

You can request a waiver for your GMAT, but ideally any F if you do, we’d ask that you take an executive assessment. Just so we can best review you overall as a candidate, especially if you, you know, feel like you’re working experience or academic background may not give us the best view of you overall. So yes, you can request one, but there’s no guarantee that that’s going to be approved and we’d still ask for you to complete an executive assessment as well.

What makes the USC online program unique in comparison to other online MBA programs?

Although I suspect that, we all have a little something to say on this very important question, but there are so many things that make our program unique. I really am just going to scratch the surface with what I’m going to share with you, one of the things that, that I would share is the strength of our alumni network and the fact that on day one of your enrollment in our program, you become eligible to join the Marshall alumni association and to participate actively in their events. You actually become eligible to join it through a website that the Marshall Alumni association maintains. That opens up a world of possibilities as far as events, for example, networking events around the world, not just in LA but around the world.

You’re working with the same world-class faculty that a residential student would meet in the classroom, and you have also these live class sessions that occur two nights per week where you’re live in class with all of your other, all your other classmates, everyone else in your cohort. You have this very unique opportunity to interact with and form bonds with your classmates and actually experienced the same dynamics that occurs in a brick and mortar classroom where you’re asking questions of your faculty, where they’re having you participate in breakout groups during class lines and that’s done via Zoom.

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