Online MBA Webinar - Walsh University
Online MBA Webinar - Walsh University

Online MBA Webinar

Presented: July 11, 2018

MBA Program Director Dr. Michael Petrochuk talks about Walsh University, the DeVille School of Business, and the online MBA degree program, which offers tracks in Marketing, Management, or Healthcare Management. Audience questions on the admissions process, online coursework, and more are answered.

Guest Panelists:

Michael Petrochuk, MBA Program Director
Jon Runge, Enrollment Advisor
Katie Macaluso, Moderator

Full transcript below:

Katie Macaluso: Hello everyone and welcome. Thank you for joining us for today's webinar on the MBA Online Program offered through Walsh University, DeVille School of Business. Before we get started today, I'd like to cover just a few housekeeping items. You are in broadcast-only mode which means you can hear us, but we cannot hear you. So, during the webinar, if you have any questions, please feel free to type them into the question and answer box as you think of them. We reserved some time at the close of the presentation to answer any questions you might have.

All right. So moving on, here are our speakers for today's webinar. I'm Katie Macaluso, and I'll be your moderator. I'm joined by Jon Runge, an Admissions Counselor for the Online Program, whom many of you maybe have already spoken with. And our featured speaker, Dr. Michael Petrochuk, who is a Professor of Healthcare Management and Director of the MBA Program.

Here's a quick look at our agenda for today. We'll share information about Walsh University, some highlights about the MBA Program in the DeVille School of Business. We'll talk through the online learning experience, and then finally touch on the admissions process, and save time for any questions that you might have. So with that, I'm going to go ahead and turn it over to Dr. Petrochuk, to share a little bit about the university.

Michael Petrochuk: Hi everyone. Good afternoon. Glad that you've joined us on this webinar. I just wanted to update a couple of things on Walsh University, and then we'll get right into the MBA Program. Walsh is a small non-profit Catholic university located here in North Canton, Ohio. We've been around for over 50 years. One of the things that we prided ourselves with both in-class but specifically online is our very low student to teacher ratio. You'll see that it's 13:1. And in many of the MBA classes, there will be 8 to 10 students in the section, so that the faculty member is able to provide some real close and personalized instruction and support for you. The faculty that we have here in the school of business, many of them are international faculty, so they bring that perspective. We have folks from Asia and from Europe. We have a lot of faculty that bring a significant amount of "real-world experience" into the classroom. A lot of our full-time faculty, who all have earned doctorates, have worked significant periods of time, be it in Healthcare Management, in Marketing, in Management, in Finance and Accounting, and so we bring all that together.

And I think all of that has resulted in the many, many awards and rankings that we've received throughout the years. And after we've received one, we've continued to receive them annually, which I think speaks to the excellent curriculum, excellent faculty, outstanding students, and our drive to always perform and improve. There's a lot of words there on the program overview, but let me just hit the bottom, and that is, in the end, our goal is to develop leaders here in the DeVille School of Business MBA Program. And we do that through the course work that you take, through the rigor of that. I'll speak later about a special program that we have that really advances and develops leaders. It's really an outstanding program. As I mentioned, our faculty come from many different disciplines, many different backgrounds, different industries, and in the end they're passionate about your success. And so, this isn't kind of a learn-on my-own program. We're not that kind of a program.

We're the kind that, our professors are with you the entire course, they're present, even though physically we're not in the same classroom or space for that, but they're there for you. So, as the course progresses, they're there to answer questions and help you learn and succeed in that course, and then collectively learn and succeed and transform in the MBA Program entirely. Okay, so common questions, I guess there are always probably two and we'll hit the first one first. And that's, what kind of courses am I going to take in this MBA Program? And then later on, I'll turn it over to Jon, and he will talk about, "How do you get admitted? What's the admission's process?" And throughout the next number of slides, if Jon or Katie have any comments, you'll hear their voices as well.

To earn your MBA from Walsh University, you will have to complete a total of 36 credit hours. And I'll talk about the specialties in a second, but there's some commonalities across most of them. And that is, that you'll finish your 18 credit hours or six core courses first, and then you'll embark on your specialty courses, so you'll take the core knowledge that you've learned, and then apply it to some really cool specialty courses. And then finally, you'll end up taking a specialty-specific capstone. All of our courses are three credit hours so in essence you'll take six core classes, five specialty courses, end it with your specialty-specific capstone course, which will culminate in you earning 36 credit hours through 12 courses.

These core classes comprise again six. And we tried to find courses that kind of cover the gamut of what we see that future leaders, whether it's in Marketing or Management or Finance or Healthcare Management or any other discipline under the larger umbrella of business, what do they really need? And the first is, Sustainable Ethical Leadership, and it's not just that altogether we address in that really powerful course sustainability, we also address ethics which are very important to our mission. And finally, you'll hear a common thread, which is leadership. And so, we recover all of those.

Organizational Behavior and Communications, how do organizations function? How do they run? How do you communicate effectively? How do you deliver both good news and bad news? Financial Accounting and Management, we cover a pretty good idea, a pretty good coverage of financial topics and accounting topics, so that when you finish that course, you'll feel comfortable regardless of what your undergraduate major is, whether it's Finance, Accounting, or Management where you might have had those kind of courses before or whether it's Education or Theology or English or Humanities or the Sciences or Engineering. We admit students from all undergraduate majors into our MBA Program and so these core courses are meant to kind of enhance students that walk in with a sound knowledge in one of these six areas, but also to bring other students kind of a really high level of competency.

In Marketing, we cover important topics like branding and communications and marketing research and so forth. Really cool and fun topic there. Information Systems is not programming. So you're not going to learn how to program something or develop a new app, but rather it looks at the strategic perspectives of how does information satisfy our needs for data mining and data analytics and other things. And finally, our last course is Applied Organizational Research and Statistics where we do look at statistics, statistical analysis, research design, and really kind of links with all the other courses so that you can understand if I have an issue that I'd like to explore more fully, what kind of information or data do I need to gather? Where do I get it from?

Now, while we offer these six courses, the only course that you'll take first is Sustainable Ethical Leadership.

Whether you take two courses per eight weeks at a time, or whether you take only one course per eight weeks at a time as well. But you'll start with Sustainable Ethical Leadership, and then you'll move into the other core classes.

We offer three specialty areas: Management, Healthcare Management, and Marketing. And so what I want to do now is to spend a few moments going over each of those three specialties, so you better understand some of the courses that are covered in those to see how that fits with you and your future career and educational goals. Under the Management Track, again there are five courses. You'll take Global Business Conditions which is a global business class, but we also integrate a little bit of financial markets and economics into that. System and Org Design. How are organizations organized and is that the best organization for that industry? We'll look at industry-specific organizational designs, so we can maximize and leverage both communication, as well as productivity.

Managerial Accounting, some call it Cost Accounting, is a really important area that folks will get into. And again, given the fact that you've already taken Financial Accounting and Management, you'll be well prepared to take Managerial Accounting regardless of your undergraduate degree. Quality and Performance Management speaks to the need to always improve and always perform at a very high level. That's a really cool and dynamic class. Those are the four classes, the four core specialty classes that everybody will take in the Management Track, and then they'll end up taking one of these next three classes: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Social Media Marketing, or Non-Profit Accounting. And for that, you can look at which course best positions you for your future goals. And then finally, you'll wrap it up with Strategic Management, a specialty-specific capstone course for Management Track students.

In Healthcare, there are much the same kind of format, legal and policy aspects that healthcare looks at. What are the legal issues related to privacy and confidentiality, negligence, liability? And then some tax and other important issues related to whether physicians can own different businesses and how they cross-refer and things like that, fraud and abuse issues. Healthcare organizations and systems looks at all of the different major organizations and systems within the healthcare field, including hospitals and physicians' offices and long-term care, like nursing homes or assisted living, and independent living, home health, hospice, palliative care, specialty hospitals, it really looks at all those and the interdependencies and the interconnectedness of them all.

Healthcare Finance obviously looks at finance and touches a little bit on healthcare economics so we can understand better supply and demand. Folks in the Healthcare Track will also take the Quality and Performance Improvement class, which is a class that we share between Management and the Healthcare Management folks. And like Management, you'll then end up taking one of three courses: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Services Marketing, or finally Non-profit Accounting and then finish it up with your specialty-specific capstone.

In the Marketing Track, it's just slightly different. There is no elective in that one. Students take these five classes from services marketing that looks at the unique aspects of marketing for services, marketing research, how do we conduct research, what kind of questions do we ask? Integrated Marketing Communications is basically an advertising strategy class. What's the best medium to use, and how do we send effective messages? Social Media Marketing is just what it sounds like. It's leveraging all of the new social media out there to advance an organization's brand and get customers to either stay with that organization or to acquire new customers.

Our newest course, when we modified this track last summer and eliminated the elective, is a new course called Analytics for Business Intelligence which really drills into the Data Mining, Data Analytics perspective. This is an incredibly hot area and we're really pleased to offer this dynamic class within the Marketing Track, and we're working to allow this course to satisfy one of the elective requirements for the other two tracks, Management or Healthcare. So we'll be moving to that. And then finally, students finish up with the Management strategy-specific capstone course.

Well, I mentioned leadership earlier and leadership is foundational across our program, both in the courses as well as a specific leadership program, all students. We also deliver this MBA in-class but every student, in-class and online, completes our leadership program, which links the core courses, you need to have already completed the Sustainable Ethical Leadership course first. And then throughout the next semester or so, you'll receive information and emails about this. You'll complete a leadership simulation. You'll participate in a discussion and a reflection on that. There are two parts to this program, and again we do an excellent job of communicating the specifics of this, but through the leadership program, you'll end up linking with a leadership coach who will meet with you in a virtual environment, maybe Skype or FaceTime or over a conference call.

Then later on as you're finishing up the program, you'll summarize your experiences in your capstone course. And along with your degree, and when you complete all of the degree requirements, you will also then receive a certificate of completion for your leadership program, which you can hang on your wall as well as include on your resume. So when you graduate from Walsh's MBA Program, you're not just graduating with an MBA, you're also graduating with a certificate in leadership based upon the number of activities that you've done before that. So it really, we feel, increases your marketability out in a competitive job market.

Well, lots of folks ask me all the time, and I'm sure John, they ask you as well. What's it like to take a class online and how will all of that work and then what's different on it? Well, we say that the program... You don't have to log in at any specific time. The next slide will talk about classes being asynchronous, and so I might as well describe it right here. Asynchronous means that you don't have to be any one place at any one time when the class is conducted. If you might have taken a class in the past in-class, you had to be there from 08:00 to 09:00, 10:00 in the morning, or from 06:00 to 09:00 at night, or 07:00 to 10:00. That was when the class was held. But with our Walsh MBA, it's asynchronous, there's no set log-in times.

Now, there are some deadlines when you have to have either completed an assignment, uploaded something, responded, completed a quiz or an exam, or uploaded a reflection paper or a paper or a major assignment. There are those, but there's no specific time where you have to be there, so it allows you, first of all, to do it at your leisure. And second of all, it allows you to do it in the evenings, in the early mornings. If you have a break at work if you have a day off during the week, on the weekends, really to fit your schedule, which is perfect. And while you're doing that, you're going to see one-on-one attention from our Faculty Members, as well as from our Student Success Coach too.

So how do these classes work? Well, they're eight weeks in duration. Each class is eight weeks. Again, they meet asynchronously, meaning there's no one specific time where everybody has to be online. Now that said, one of the features that we found that students really appreciate and enjoy are the live chat and online virtual office hours, where we'll have the ability like a webinar almost, like we're doing right now, where students can log on and be present. So the instructor is there, as well, and you can have almost a conference call relationship with your instructor or if you don't have that feature, you can use the team chat off to the right-hand side as we're doing for this webinar.

We do that every week. It's never required but we found that it improves communication between the students and the professor by providing any support, any answers to questions. Our course syllabi are extraordinarily specific, but questions always arise after reading one of those. And so, these online chat and online virtual office hours are a time where professors can be there to answer and support any student, kind of getting back to an earlier slide where I said that professors are really here to help and support you within each class and then along the way.

I mentioned already, even though we're asynchronous, there are times when you'll have to have things uploaded, and so you'll need to complete that as well. Okay, how long does it take to complete the program? You can complete the program if everything falls into place in as little as one year by taking two courses every eight weeks. We have three semesters, let's say fall, spring, and summer. And so, if you took two courses every eight weeks, you could take four courses every semester. There are only 12 courses to complete and so you could complete those in as little as 12 months or one year.

And that's outside of the MBA Pathway Courses that we'll talk about in a few minutes. Once you are accepted into the MBA, you can complete it in as little as a year. We have an MBA Program coordinator who can help you manage and plan your curriculum. So maybe there are some times where you want to take courses and you want to finish in a year, and I will say that that's pretty rigorous, but we have students that do it. But they have to be in kind of a unique situation, not have a maybe a 12-hour job or lots of outside commitments. Focus on your MBA for one year and you can complete it.

Probably about 70% to 80% of our students take longer than one year, and that's fine, too. We're very flexible in terms of how you schedule your courses. We're not a lockstep or a cohort program where you have to take courses in a specific order, and they're only offered once a year, and if you happen to step away because of a job or a family issue or just like a vacation or a break, it sets you back. That's not the Walsh MBA. We're very flexible. And again, we have our MBA Program coordinator here at Walsh, who can help you with advising and counseling in terms of, how do you structure your curriculum? She's there to help and I do it as well. And so, we want to again make sure that our students succeed. The bottom line is you have to finish in six years. Everybody does and every now and then if something happens that really needs to pull you away from the program, we have internal processes in place, if you tell us, we can work with you and make sure that you can have the time that you need.

I mentioned that the program runs on eight-week sessions, we have two of those, Session One and Session Two. (It took us a long time how to name those two!) The spring semester starts in January and classes in the first eight-week session run from beginning of January until maybe the first week of March. The second eight-week starts the very next week, there's no break, and it runs from that maybe second week of March until the end of April. The first week of May starts the second eight-week session. There's no break between the spring and the summer sessions and that first summer session runs until about maybe the third or fourth week, maybe the third week of June. Then the second summer session picks up and runs until about the third week of August. There is a break, a small break between the summer session in the fall semester, which starts the last week of August through the first week of October, and then the second eight-week in the fall runs from about the second week of October or third week until about the first or second week of December. There is about a two and a half or three-week break then between the fall semester and the spring semester.

So some of them just kind of just keep wrapping around. Others have breaks in between. You're going to have that whenever you have as many eight-week sessions as we have, six of those throughout the year, 48 weeks in a year, and you only have 52 weeks in a complete calendar year. So we don't have breaks all the time, but enough to kind of refresh for that. But again, if you'd like to take a break here or there during your MBA studies, you're more than welcome to do that.

Well, I talked earlier about the MBA Pathway Courses, and I also talked about the fact that we accept students from any undergraduate major and Jon in a few moments is going to go over the admission requirements and next steps for you applying to and then becoming ultimately accepted into our DeVille School of Business MBA Program. But for non-business majors and for a couple of business majors as well, we offer these two pathway courses. They're again offered in an eight-week session. They're both three credit hours. The tuition is greatly reduced compared to what our normal tuition is, which is very reasonable anyway. There are two courses: One is Business 511, it's Concepts in Accounting and Economic Principles. And the second is Business 512, Concepts in Accounting and Financial Principles.

Now, Jon will mention this, but we go through a rigorous review of your transcripts and your resume and your work experience, and your background to see if one or both of these courses are required for you. Lots of folks oftentimes say, "Well, I've already taken a course that sounds like that at the undergraduate level," and that's wonderful. But these courses are not at the undergraduate level, they're really at the post-bac level; they're not MBA courses. You can tell that by the prefix BUS and not MBA, but they're not exactly undergraduate courses either. And they are meant for non-business majors to allow them the opportunity and the time to kind of gain their business knowledge and to be at the same level or nearing the same level as students that have completed an undergraduate business degree.

Well, that kind of completes from my perspective, the MBA Program at Walsh. We talked about the faculty and the courses and the different specialties, and how they're delivered. I'd like to turn it over to Jon, who will pick up the microphone, if you will, and talk about admissions and next steps. Jon?

Jon Runge: Yes, thanks, doctor. So my job as the Admissions Counselor is to work with you guys and getting your files completed. My part of that one-on-one attention is to help you get documents in, making sure everything is in order, following up with you and getting you more familiar with Walsh. As far as upcoming terms and deadlines, we have a start date coming up August 27th. For those who are interested, there's plenty of time to get everything together. The application requirements are pretty easy. We need you to fill out the application--it only takes about five to 10 minutes, current work resume, and then all official transcripts from any schools you've attended after high school.

As far as the requirements outside of that, we look for a 3.0 GPA or higher in your undergrad work, anything less than that, we definitely encourage you to apply. We will take everything into consideration as far as work experience and then obviously your undergrad work like I mentioned. One part of this is to also have a phone discussion with me, talk to me about the program a little bit, what you're looking to achieve, what you're looking for, why Walsh is one of your choices and then why online? Why would you like to take online courses? As far as questions, you guys can always reach out to me via email, give me a phone call. No big deal there. I'm definitely around and will definitely be able to help you up.

Katie Macaluso: Alright, thank you, Jon. Now it's time for our Q&A session. So, this is your chance to ask any question you might have thought of while listening to the presentation, or anything that you already brought with you today. To the side of the presentation side is a box for submitting your questions. We'll do our best to get through as many as we can today. I want to take a look and see. If we have any, just yet. Let's see. Alright, our first question is an application question for Jon. How long does it take to get a decision on an application?

Jon Runge: Great, great, first question. So once we get your file completed, I'll notify you that all your documents are in and everything like that. Usually, the turnaround time is no longer than a week. It's kind of nice and that you'll get your decision, you'll know what's coming up, what's ahead, and then you'd be able to get going. Plenty of time.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, easy enough, perfect. Let's see, our next question is, what should I expect in terms of exams and other homework assignments in the online program? For example, do exam still occur at a specific time?

Michael Petrochuk: I'll answer that one. Not every course has an exam or even two. Some courses don't have any. I think one of the interesting comparisons between a traditional undergraduate degree, and then the MBA is that the MBA is focused on application. As an undergraduate, you probably learned theories and concepts and models and lots of terms and stuff like that. And that was great as that's what we all have to do. But at the MBA level, it's more about applying it. And so many of our courses don't have exams, they just have more in-depth papers or a series of written assignments, or so forth, so that students have the opportunity to apply that. I know a couple of courses that have exams and they're more multiple choice and true and false kind of traditional exams.

I know other courses, a couple that I teach might have a take-home exam where well you're already home, so you have to take it any place but you don't have to sit down and do it from 6 to 9 o'clock at night, on a specific night. You kind of just answer some questions and apply the knowledge that you've learned. And in fact, even those courses, those very few that might have what we would consider to be more traditional exams. Even those, you don't have to complete the exam, at a specific time, so to take time off of work or time away from your family, you just have to complete it by let's say 11:59 on Saturday night, you can take it any time. But again, I wouldn't say that exams predominate the courses in the MBA Program.

Katie Macaluso: Okay. Oh, that's helpful to know. Alright, so then our next question is, when do I need to decide which concentration or track to follow if I'm between two?

Michael Petrochuk: Jon... I'll start this and if you want to finish up on it please do. I think you can do it at any time. I think there are some applicants that know coming in what course, what specialty, they want to pursue, and they do that. They walk in and say, "I'd like to be a Healthcare Management student." I think other students might decide later on. And you'll have the support of Jon and his team to talk about that.

You have to decide before you begin to take specialty courses, which means you have to decide before you end all of your MBA core classes and start specialty courses. As you probably saw in the slides, to proceed, there are very few courses that are cross-listed so if you decided to change your specialty, you have to take new courses. So that's why we work with students to make sure that first of all, they're progressing. I want to make sure that they're successful in that. And as Jon mentioned, and I did too, we have a Student Success Coach that helps you along, along with the faculty, obviously too. But deciding before you begin all your specialty courses is the way to go. Jon, any more insights you'd like to offer too?

Jon Runge: Yeah. As part of the discussion, when we talk over the phone, I'll ask some questions, dig a little bit deeper as far as what you're looking for, what you're currently doing for work, long-term goals, stuff like that. This way, if you're undecided, I'll be able to help you at least come to a conclusion. I know that your Student Success Coach will also be talking to you, asking you a lot of questions. Part of the one-on-one thing is to get to know one another and to make sure that you know you're supported throughout. And if we can help you come to a conclusion and an answer as far as the long term, we're happy to help.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, thank you, both. Our next question is, how much group work should I expect there to be in the program?

Michael Petrochuk: That's a great question. I know in many undergraduate programs and especially many in-class or on-ground programs at the graduate level, there's group work and the reality is, in business there is group work. I might work in one division, and Katie in another, and Jon in the third. And I get to work with all of them and sometimes I work with... And those two folks were great, wonderful people. Other times, I might work with one or two other people in another division or office that I really can't stand but I have to work with them.

In the MBA Program, what we offered online, we also have group work. It's probably, honestly, not at the same level as it would be if you were taking a class in-class but nonetheless we still have some. But the reality is today, with the connectivity of smartphones and other devices and Skype and FaceTime and other chat functions, it's really easy to do some group work, but it's not in every class and it's not in every assignment. And so I know a lot of times people, because of their work demands or personal life or other things that are tugging at them, they just can't do a lot of group work. This is not a group work MBA, so you're not going to find that in every class or in every assignment, but we also want to mirror the reality of the workforce and have group assignments where appropriate and where we think it really adds to the learning.

Katie Macaluso: Sure, thank you Dr. Petrochuk. I think we have time for one last question. This question is, how are students able to network in an online community versus a more traditional on-campus setting?

Michael Petrochuk: Yeah, that's a good one. Jon, I will start and please feel free to fill in the gaps that I'll probably have in the answer. You know, awhile back, we had a function here on the campus and some students that had taken classes online were actually here physically and they met each other, and I realized that they have developed a relationship online. Oftentimes, you'll run into the same students in different classes, and since every class always opens up with, please tell me a little bit about yourself, then they know each other a little bit, albeit kind of through discussion forums and emails and things, oftentimes then as students and I mentioned about group work in the previous answer if there is an opportunity for that, sometimes these folks will end up wanting to be on the same team.

And so as our society and as business is kind of transitioning into more of a virtual business environment and platform where networking continues to be extraordinarily important, it mirrors the way we've designed, uniquely designed, our MBA Program for the same, so that students can walk out with good networking. Sure, sitting next to somebody physically is totally different than communicating online, but by the same token, there are some really strong opportunities to connect with people.

Jon Runge: I think that’s a great way to get things done. You'd be surprised, I think, if you are in for say, Healthcare Management, you'd be surprised as to where your other classmates work. I think you'll meet people, you'll have the same background, you'd be able to open up discussions, be a discussion board, you can reach out via LinkedIn, obviously a great way. Not so much the group stuff, but I believe you should be proactive in it. Use your professors as a way to network. If they have a Q&A or something, mention where you work, stuff like that. I think it can go a long way long-term for you in your career.

Michael Petrochuk: I agree, Jon. And just to kind of put it in a cap on that, which you said, that's excellent. The reality is we're taking classes online, but you might be taking classes from somebody right around the corner from you. Folks take online, not because they live hundreds of miles away, although that's a great reason. Folks also take classes online because of their work or personal life demands, and they don't want to be tied to coming into a classroom, a physical space for three or four hours a week. And so oftentimes, you'll, as Jon said, through your introductions, find out that this person lives in the same city as you or one city over, and so maybe you develop a friendship, a networking relationship with them for that. Katie, I saw a question come up about whether graduates can graduate here in person? Or Jon, did you put that one up there?

Katie Macaluso: Yes, I think I saw that one as well.

Jon Runge: Yes, I did.

Michael Petrochuk: Okay. Absolutely, regardless of whether you are in your MBA degree in-class or online, when you've completed all your assignments, you are welcome to come to campus. And I can't tell you how many students will walk up to me and say, "Hi, Dr. P, I am so and so. I took all my classes online and I just flew in last night, or drove down, or drove up, or drove over." So, absolutely, you are welcome. We don't offer MBA online, we offer an MBA. And so, you are welcome to come. That would be a time of great celebration when you finish your degree, to welcome you here in person to receive it in person.

Katie Macaluso: Great question. Alright, I think that wraps up our question and answer session for today. We want to thank you again for joining us on our webinar. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact Jon or send an email at the email address on the screen. An on-demand recording of this session will be available tomorrow and can be accessed using the same link that was sent to you earlier. So, this concludes our webinar for today. Thanks again for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. Bye, bye.

Michael Petrochuk: Bye, everyone.