Online MBA

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Graduates Spotlight with Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa, Stephen Galgay and Brad Roubitchek

This webinar features in-depth explanations of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, the Online MBA program, and the impact of earning an Online MBA on the careers of three graduates.

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Angela LaGamba: Welcome to Northeastern University’s Online MBA student graduate spotlight webinar. My name is Angela, and I will be your moderator for today. Before we begin, I’d like to go over some logistics for the presentation and address some commonly asked questions. For today’s presentation, you are in listen-only mode. We’re asking that our audience members dial in through their phone or listen through their computer speakers. If you’re dialing in through your phone, just remember to press *6, so that you’re muted. Don’t press the mute button on your phone, since that may cause some background music, and it will be hard to hear our panelists.

The next point is for our questions, feel free to send it through the chat box located on the lower right-hand side of the screen. We’ll be taking questions throughout the session, and we also have a dedicated Q&A at the end. For the recording, we will be recording the session, so you can listen to it again in the future, and you can also share it with your colleagues and friends, as well. Let’s move into our introductions. We have a full panel today, and I’m very excited to introduce them to you. Your panelists today are Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa, we have Stephen Galgay, Brad Roubitchek, Kira Nguyen, and Hayden Jones. Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa has a PhD in computer science bioinformatics and 17 years of experience in research and development in pharmaceutical industry.

She decided to pursue her MBA in healthcare management at Northeastern University in order to further her career and position drug development within the context of overall healthcare in changing pharmaceutical business models. She is currently an independent consultant, specializing in life sciences research and development and healthcare informatics. Stephen is a veteran of the U.S. Navy who has received his Bachelors of Science from Northeastern in 1990 and medical imaging degree from MGH Institute of Healthcare Professions in 2011. He owned two small business with his wife of 16 years, and most recently is on the staff as a radiological technologist for the South Boston Community Health Center.

Brad is currently the vice president and treasurer at Bank, just outside of Chicago. He has ten years of experience in trading interest rates in foreign exchange derivatives on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Brad is currently completing his dual MBA/MSF. Kira and Hayden are enrollment advisors for Northeastern University’s online MBA. Their role today is to help perspective students throughout the applications and admissions process. Let’s get started. I’m going to hand it off to Kira to talk a little about the School of Business. Go ahead, Kira.

Kira Nguyen: Thank you, Angela. Good afternoon, everyone, my name is Kira, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to join us today. A brief overview about the university and the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. If you’re ever in town for a visit, I highly recommend a trip to our main campus, which lies within Boston’s cultural district and includes neighboring greats, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and Symphony Hall. The D’Amore-McKim School of Business was founded in 1922 and built on Northeastern’s long-standing reputation for experiential-based learning, scholarly research, teaching excellence, and innovative curricula.
We are accredited by the AACSB or Association to Advance College Schools of Business, which is the hallmark of excellence in business education. We take pride in our professors who, first and foremost, are prominent business leaders within their respective fields and are also acclaimed PhD-level scholars and educators who provide students with essential tools for achieving success in today’s ever-evolving business world. Our graduates will gain global access to Northeastern’s alumni network that expands over 200,000 members and a network of 40,000 business school alumni from different disciplines.

There are also active alumni chapters in major cities around the world to provide even more opportunities to network with business professionals, not only in your region, as well as those from around the world. Today’s competitive business world requires leaders not only to have a solid grasp in core functioning areas, such as finance and marketing, but also to have in-depth specialized knowledge in a given area. Our curriculum enables students to select from a wide array of elective courses to graduate with either a general MBA, or an MBA with a single or dual specialization. Selections of specializations include healthcare management, finance, marketing, innovation entrepreneurship, sustainability, supply chain management, high-tech management, and international management.

Students will move through the program by enrolling in one course at a time and still be on track to complete the program within 24 to 27 months. If breaks are required, students may have up to five years to complete the degree. Now, the small group structure consisting of 16 students per cohort promotes effective classroom interaction, as well as enable greater student support by dedicated instructors who are assigned to each cohort. Our instructions all have real-world international business experience and work closely with professors and students to achieve learning objectives. The entire program is delivered online, allowing students maximum flexibility, as they’re able to access the course content at their own time and space.
Students have full control of their schedules and are able to use their time effectively, as they work to accomplish learning objectives and deadlines. While the program can be conducted entirely online, and residencies are not required, students may choose to attend optional residencies that are available yearly, either on campus or overseas, through the international field study program. As mentioned earlier, one of the core strengths of Northeastern’s MBA program is the breadth and scope of our course offerings, which include 13 core courses and an extensive list of elective courses for students to choose from when deciding their specialization tracks.

You may achieve a specialization by taking three courses in a defined subject area. Since there are five elective courses to complete for the program, you may choose a different area for the remaining two courses. There are also many opportunities to achieve a dual specialization, by taking only five elective courses, if one of the elective courses qualifies towards two subject areas. For example, if you’re looking at a dual specialization in marketing and international management, a course that’s common to both of those specializations would be the international marketing. Now, for students currently in the finance industry and those wishing to enter the industry, a dual MBA/MSF degree may be an option to consider.

Online MBA students who are close to completing their studies may be able to take on four to seven additional courses to earn the MSF as a dual degree, provided they maintain good academic standing. The number of additional courses required for the MSF component of the dual MBA/MSF, or the Master of Science in Finance program, is dependent on whether a student elects to specialize in finance within his or her MBA. If that is the case, then only four additional courses are required. If not, up to seven courses would be required. Now back to Angela. I believe you have some poll questionnaires for us.

Angela LaGamba: Yes, I do. Thank you very much, Kira. I would like to get our audience involved in today’s presentation. What we’re asking our audience to fill in is a poll asking what are your concerns about starting an online program? We have a couple of options you can choose from. Is it the unknowns of the online classroom? Perhaps it’s that time balance between school and your other obligations. Maybe it’s having what it takes to succeed, or it might even be around the financial aid. If none of those answers suit your particular situation, feel free to fill in the other category and just provide an explanation. We’ll be providing more of a response during our Q&A session.

I’m going to move into our student graduate roundtable session right now. Feel free to continue filling in the poll located on the lower right-hand side of the screen. I’m going to be bringing in Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa, Stephen Galgay, and Brad Roubitchek onto the line to talk to us about their experience in the program. One of the first questions that we usually get is around the career and educational background of students in the program, usually around if they’re a good candidate, and also what kind of career or educational background they need to fit into the program. I’m going to bring Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa onto the line to talk a little bit about her experience in the program around the career and educational background. Go ahead.

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: In my case, I started as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry. That’s my educational background. But over years at my company, I got into increasingly more and more into management positions. In that sense, I really wanted to expand my background to cover business aspects or management aspect. In that sense, this program, MBA program, seemed to really offer really good additional education, expanding my horizons, and it turned out to be really a good experience for my career interests, and also educational background, in terms of really expanding it and giving really a solid background for management positions. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Hitomi. I’m going to hand it over to Stephen now to talk a little bit about his experience in the program and his background. Go ahead, Stephen.

Stephen Galgay: Hi. My educational background is liberal arts. I actually graduated from Northeastern with a history degree way back when, and then have since moved into more of a medical degree background. To answer the first question, who’s a good candidate for this program, I really don’t think you need to pigeonhole yourself with your educational background. I think it depends on the person. The prime candidate for this program is a self-starter, someone who can be given a tremendous amount of leeway to get a project done and get it done. That’s how I look at it. As to the second question, I think because of my background, my work background in management, I’ve been able to really drive myself through this program. That’s about it.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Stephen. I’m going to hand it off to Brad now to talk a little bit about his background, as well. Go ahead, Brad.

Brad Roubitchek: Great. I think a person that would fit really well into this program is really, like Stephen said, anybody that is able to manage workload on their own and motivate themselves. I’ve been in classes – I’ve been fortunate to have a little bit of a business background coming into the program, which has helped me out quite a bit in classes, like finance and accounting, but I’ve had classmates and people within our groups that have had zero background in those types of fields, and they’ve done just as well. The more important, really, feature, is that they’re able to keep up with the coursework and be able to follow through, motivating themselves, not relying on a brick-and-mortar setting to keep them at pace.

I think that going back, looking at my career, what’s put me in a good position is having the ability to maintain relationships through a remote setting. A lot of the positions I’ve been in in the past, we’ve done a lot of remote conferencing and project management, not in person, but really, over the Internet or over phone calls and things like that. A lot of that has been transferrable into the program so far.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Brad. The next section that we have for our panel today is to talk a little bit about the program and the curriculum. A lot of times, we get asked by perspective students what makes this program different from other business programs, and also what makes it stand out when they’re looking to make a decision around their MBA. Another question that we get asked quite frequently for Northeastern University’s online MBA, are the specializations, so what options you have to choose from and how you make that decision. I’m going to hand it off to Stephen to talk a little bit about the program and curriculum and how he experienced that in the classroom. Go ahead.

Stephen Galgay: When I decided to pursue an MBA, I was actually looking, originally, at getting a degree in healthcare administration, but found – I’m from the Boston area, in case you can’t tell by my accent. I found that all the colleges and universities that were offering that degree were all – you had to attend class. That doesn’t work with my lifestyle. I have a wife; I have a children; and I work a tremendously long day. Actually attending class really was not in the cards for me. Then someone suggested that I look at Northeastern – which was kind of funny; I was at a Northeastern hockey game when someone told me this – and it’s all online. That’s what really made me stand out for me because it is self-paced. I can work a long day. I can come home. I can sit in my office and do my coursework. I’m not tied down to attending class at 7:00 at night, like a lot of peers do in Boston.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Stephen. I’m going to hand it off to Hitomi, now, to talk about her experience in the program, as well. Go ahead.

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: I think for me, also, online format was basically, practically the only option, due to my busy schedule professionally, and also in a private sort of environment, too. I did look up different online MBA programs. What really set this program at Northeastern apart is that first of all, I knew Northeastern University. I’m based in, actually, East Coast, but I did my graduate school 20 plus years ago in Boston. I knew Northeastern’s really a good university. The other thing that stood out was flexibility compared to other programs, so I could really tailor when I start a program, based on my work schedule. I think, also, specialization that was described earlier.

I’m in pharma biotech industry, so a specialization in healthcare management to really expand understanding around a medication drug development was really very attractive. I think the last thing I just will mention is the residency. I actually participated in an on-campus program for one week last year, which was really, really beneficial for me to just have this face-to-face experience. It was good that it’s not required, but to have that as an option was really great. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hitomi. I’m going to hand it off to Brad to talk about his experience in the program. Go ahead.

Brad Roubitchek: There was a couple of things right off the bat that I tried to meet through the Northeastern program. First of all, I’m living in Chicago. Over the course of the last five years or so, it seemed jobs continued to migrate towards the Coasts. For me, in the Midwest, I just felt that it would be really beneficial to develop some East Coast relationships and get to meet some people outside of my natural region, just in case career would take me in that direction, I’d have some contacts. The actual Northeastern program really stood out from the rest for a couple reasons. One was because while you only take one class at a time, you still are taking three classes per semester.

In the past, when I was looking at other schools, based on family and work commitments, I couldn’t commit to more than, really, one class at a time. In a normal school, that’s going to take five years to finish. Where at Northeastern, while you do one class intensively at a time for five to six weeks, over the course of a semester, you’re finishing three classes, which keeps you on track for a normal, I think, 18 to 24-month graduation time. Then, also, the opportunity to pursue a dual degree, for me, has been really beneficial.

One of the worries going into the program was I going to get the MBA degree and then have to go back, at some point, for my field, and do more of a technical degree, or do a CFA or things like that. The ability to do the MBA, as well as the MS in finance, together, really makes me feel like I’ve taken care of both those requirements, and now I’m in a better position for my career going forward. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Brad. Hitomi, you talked a little bit earlier about your decision to specialize in the healthcare area for the online MBA. One of the follow-up questions from our audience was what specializations our other panelists had chosen. Stephen, I was wondering if you could maybe describe a little bit about your process around deciding on the specializations for your program?

Stephen Galgay: I’m also in the healthcare specialization, but I’m pursuing a dual specialization in finance, as well. I’m not sure if I quite understood the question, why I picked it? I picked healthcare because I’m in the healthcare industry now. With all of the changes that are happening inside of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is a leg up on the competition to move forward professionally. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Great, thank you. Let’s move on to the next section for our panel today, where we talk a little bit about time commitment. Some of you have sent in questions around the time, what hours it looks like per week when you’re doing the coursework or you’re interacting with the professors. What I’m going to do is start with Brad. Brad, maybe you could talk a little bit about how you found the time commitment in the program and maybe share some tips or recommendations on how you were able to find that balance with your schoolwork, and also other obligations. Go ahead, Brad.

Brad Roubitchek: Sure. When I was comparing the online option and comparing what it would take time wise for me to get in and out of the city to go to school, I was looking at probably an extra four to five hours a week of commute time. Right off the bat, I feel like I’ve picked up that time that I can immediately add to my studies versus traveling back and forth from school. For each class, it’s different as to the time commitment, I’d say, anywhere as little as ten hours per week up to 15 to 16 hours per week has been pretty average to get all of the coursework done. Most classes combine aspects that you can do live with recordings of those.

There could be a scheduled time to have a discussion with the professor or with the teaching assistant; there’s always a live time to do that, but at the same time, if schedule doesn’t allow it, you’re always able to go back and watch those recordings, and then you can always send questions regarding the material at a later point. I’ve been able to balance the time for myself with the other things I have going on because I can start schoolwork whenever I’m ready to do it. I don’t have to be somewhere at a specific time. If I need to wait until the kids are in bed or I’m home from school or whatever else is going on, there’s the flexibility to do that. While it cuts down on your sleep a little bit, the flexibility is something that isn’t necessarily found in other programs.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Brad. I’m going to hand it off to Hitomi now to talk a little bit about the time commitment. Go ahead.

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: I was also in sort of the same position, having a family and more than full-time sort of a workload at my company. I also find it’s about 10-15 hours a week to commit to actually studying and really working on the program. It’s true that online format really eliminated a need to commute and really to be able to plan study time around other commitment, which was really helpful. I think it was really helpful, also, for me to be able to get an idea of a workload for upcoming classroom or student advisor ahead of time, so that I could customize a schedule around my work schedule. It did help for me to talk to my family and have some plan for the next course.

I actually tried to come up with a weekly plan for studying after I got to know the schedule. It was really helpful to have one class at a time, in that sense, because I could focus on that and come up with a study plan for the coming week. It is a challenge, but for me, what got me going was really this was really interesting sort of a subject. I really wanted to pick up what’s going on in healthcare management, in particular with all the changes that are coming up. It’s a lot related to drug development, medication management. Actually, that helped me manage a time commitment. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hitomi. I’m going to hand it off to Stephen to talk about his experience managing his time in the program. Go ahead.

Stephen Galgay: Thank you. I think that the time commitment, on average – and Hitomi and Brad have spoken to this – is about 15 hours, give or take. It depends on the class. You will find that some classes come much easier to you, so you’ll spend less time on them. Then you’ll get classes that are much harder. Then you’ll obviously have to spend a considerable – more time preparing yourself for those classes. The flexibility of the program – everybody has spoken about it over and over again – allows you to find those hours at your pace. You’re not tied down to attending a class at a certain time. I do a lot of studying in the morning because I tend to work late morning into the late evenings.

Weekends tend to be devoted – at least one day of the weekend tends to be devoted to schoolwork. Having a family, it is tough because there are multiple pulls on your time. That’s where it gets back to being a self-starter and budgeting I need to spend X amount of time in school, so I can spend a day with your family. I’m in a class now where my wife hasn’t really seen me for the last three weeks because I’ve been buried in – trying to get my footing in this class. But it’s one of those things that you will find on your own. You’ll be able to strike the balance because Northeastern’s program allows you the flexibility to find your own balance. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you. We are getting quite a few questions from our audience members. I encourage you to continue sending those in. We almost have 80 people in the audience with us today. We will be addressing those throughout this session, and also the Q&A at the end of the webinar. Moving on, let’s talk a little bit about the online learning environment. I think this is one of the biggest questions that we get around the interaction, the networking with students and faculty, what it’s like to learn online. How do you use that technology to your advantage when you’re in the classroom? What we’ve done here is we’ve grouped these questions together, since they’re around the online learning topic. I’d like to bring Hitomi on the line to get us started, just talking about her experience with the online learning portion. Go ahead, Hitomi.

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa:Compared to my previous graduate program experience 20 plus years ago that was certainly on campus. It was very different from this face-to-face classroom experience. It is, by definition, passive, but technology certainly helped. There’s a really good tool to actually facilitate learning. Typically, both instructor and professor for each class had weekly virtual office hours. Unfortunately, with other commitments I had, I couldn’t often make it, so I had to listen to the recording. Those office hours cover weekly materials with general topics in the domain of that subject matter.

What I found really helpful was whenever I studied and had a question, I send my questions to email the instructors or professors. I think with all the classes I took, they’re very, very responsive and provided what I needed to know or just had interactions, sort of an email exchange. That really helped with studying. Certainly, it is different from a face-to-face classroom experience. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hitomi. Want to hand it off to Brad to talk about his experience in the online classroom. Go ahead, Brad.

Brad Roubitchek: Sure. The technology platform that Northeastern uses is really phenomenal. It’s gotten better each semester. It seems like they’re upgrading the capability and giving us more tools to use to succeed in this platform. Pretty much each class has got an opportunity to have a live discussion with the professor and with the teaching assistant per week, and then also, there’s multiple discussion chat sessions with students that almost each class required on a weekly basis, as well. One of the things I was worried about going into the program was how it was going to handle – how the front end would handle group projects and group work.

For classes that do have a group component to it, they give each group – you get your own separate chat room, a place to log in, a place to post documents. Then utilizing those tools, along with just setting up conference calls through people’s work, it’s worked out really well. I think somebody mentioned before, the online provides a lot of flexibility, but the one thing that it just it just forces you to stay on task and keep to a schedule. It requires you to be a little bit disciplined, but if you have those capabilities within you, all the tools are there to make it definitely doable.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Brad. I’m going to hand it over to Stephen now to talk about his experience with the online learning platform. Go ahead, Stephen.

Stephen Galgay: I’m just going to reiterate two points that were made because I think they were really great. The platform that Northeastern uses really facilitates the online program. I had an experience with online learning, not out of Northeastern, that was not anywhere near the caliber of what is being offered through Northeastern. The live video feeds for the classes that were done by your lead professor or your TA are phenomenal. You’re able to view the recordings. Brad touched on the part where for group projects, there was a dedicated section for your group, which was a big concern of mine because group projects online, you’re thinking how is this ever going to work with everybody spaced either across the country – in one case, I had multiple team members that were global.

One person was in China, and the other person, I want to say, was in London at the time. The thing that Hitomi touched on, and I think it’s really true, is that all of the faculty that you deal with are very responsive to your questions, either during a live session or in an email. I have not had – I’ve not been given a response to one of my email questions that was more than probably 18 hours old. Professors go out of their way to email you a response, get in touch with you to make sure that you really understand the material. It has made all the difference in the world. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Stephen. Let’s move on to the final question for this round table – we do have a dedicated Q&A – around future career goals. How did you find this program – how was it relevant to your career path and goals? Why don’t we start with you, Brad. Go ahead.

Brad Roubitchek: Sure. I’ve recently kind of entered the job market, after getting pretty close to completing the program. It was interesting. People were very interested to know how the program went and how an online program works. It was important to point out how it’s similar, but also the additional skills that you grab from being in this type of atmosphere. I always pointed out that the accreditation is huge. I think if you look at a lot of the online degrees out there, not a lot of them have that AACSB accreditation; whereas, Northeastern does. I think that’s key, and I always point that out as one of the most important things about the program. I’m happy to say that a couple months ago, I actually got a new position. I’m pretty sure that having the degree almost finished definitely helped me out in that search.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Brad. I’m going to hand it off to Stephen now to talk a little bit about his future career goals. Go ahead.

Stephen Galgay: I really think that having the healthcare management finance degree is going to certainly help me moving forward, as I try to move up the ladder in healthcare management. Already, at my work, I’ve been coordinating with other departments about trying to do more, instead of department-specific, health center-specific tasks. I’ve already seen that I’ve been given more and more responsibility because – especially as I get closer to completing my degree. I think that once I do get the degree, it will only help me moving forward. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba:Thanks, Stephen. I’ll hand it off to Hitomi to talk about her career goals, as well. Go ahead.

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: In my case, before even I started MBA, I was thinking about a new career path doing more management consulting, after more than 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Really, in that regard, doing this MBA program really helped really thinking about options in a much more realistic business sense. Actually, I decided to pursue that independent management consulting career really based on a more solid basis, in terms of thinking of business demand, financial aspect, my ability, planning. It is true when I mentioned a scientific background, as well as MBA from Northeastern, it does get really a lot of attention. It does produce opportunities. I’m really appreciative of that – this opportunity to do this program. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hitomi. I encourage our audience to continue sending in questions. We will be getting to more of those during our Q&A. What I’d like to do at this point is bring Hayden on to the line to talk about the admissions guidelines for the Northeastern University online MBA. Go ahead, Hayden.

Hayden Jones: Thanks, Angela. Hello, everyone. Good afternoon to you. Now that you’ve heard from past and current students in the program, what are the admissions requirements that you must satisfy to become a student in the program? They’re pretty straightforward, pretty simple. We require that you have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0, minimum. Now, we also require that English be – you be fluent in English. There’s no GMAT requirement, and we also require that you have five years of full-time professional work experience. Looking at the slide, let me just read this definition, and I’ll get back to it in a second.

Five years of demonstrated professional experience in participation and leadership of work teams, financial and/or budgetary responsibilities, and management of staff in a direct reporting relationship. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Professional work experience – there’s work experience, and there’s professional work experience. Having someone report to you – and that can look many different ways. You can train someone. You can have a structure where you actually have – you are a manager, or you have people reporting directly to you. Also, as long as you’re there to motivate other employees, that also counts as professional work experience.

If you have anywhere between four and five years of full-time professional work experience, I encourage you to speak directly with your enrollment advisor. It doesn’t automatically disqualify you if you have less than five years of work experience. Just like the GPA, depending on – and how many years of work experience you have, as well, just because it’s below the 3.0, it doesn’t automatically disqualify you from being admitted into the program. Now, if you have any other questions in regards to the admissions requirements, of course, reach out to your individual enrollment advisor. Angela.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hayden. What we’re going to do now is get our audience involved again. What we’d like to hear from you is what types of webinars you’d be interested in attending in the future. You can find the poll located on the lower right-hand side of your screen. Feel free to take a few moments to fill that in. While you’re filling in the poll, we are going to move into our question and answer session. I encourage our audience to continue sending in those questions. We will be addressing those now. Starting with our student graduate panel, one of the questions that has come in from our audience is around the dual MBA/MSF programs.

Stephen and Brad, you had mentioned that you’re either currently in the program, or you had completed that dual program. I’m wondering if you can maybe speak a little bit about how you made the decision to pursue that and how you found that experience? Brad, why don’t we start with you?

Brad Roubitchek: I’d mentioned before, my goal in the program was not only getting the MBA to get the management side of business, but also, I wanted to get the more technical math finance master’s degree, as well. That was one of the things that attracted me to Northeastern was the ability to do both of those with a lot of those classes, crossing over between the two. My emphasis in my MBA is in finance, so I did the shorter version that you had discussed earlier. It really only took me four extra classes to get that second degree. Then you still are required to do two other elective courses, and I’ve done those in entrepreneurship, so it still does give you some exposure into one of the other fields, as well.

It’s worked out really well. The finance gets pretty high level, but one of the other good things with this program was the topics in finance that you can go into, there’s quite a few different areas that you can investigate through coursework, I think everything from the healthcare stuff, like we’ve talked about, all the way to you can do a course in investment banking. There’s quite a few things you can look into and get into and really get a feel for a wide range of topics. It’s worked out really well.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Brad. Stephen, how did you find the finance portion of the program, and how did you make the decision to pursue that? Go ahead.

Stephen Galgay: When it was time to pick a specialization, the advisor that you’re given – I think that’s a point that should be driven home to these people. You’re given a person to talk to pretty much on a 24-hour basis with problems in the class. These people will check in on you occasionally to make sure that everything is going well. My advisor who called me had said, “Because you have done well in your prior finance classes, you may want to consider doing a dual specialization with finance.”

It never had even occurred to me, but I thought – when I mulled it over, I thought that it would really broaden the scope in my appeal for employment going forward, and it would also help understanding the nuts and bolts of the healthcare industry because so much of it is driven by finance. As Brad said, the finance classes that you take tend to be very high level. These are the classes that I have really found to be the most challenging because I didn’t have a background in it, so I had to kind of learn it on the fly, but have found them to be amazingly helpful in my career path.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Stephen. The next question that we have is for Kira and Hayden. The question is around financial aid. What type of financial aid is available for prospective students if they are within the United States, but also for international students, as well? Go ahead.

Hayden Jones: Hi, this is Hayden. We have FAFSA, federal financial aid available to the program. That is about the only financial aid that we have, and that’s in the form of student loans. That’s available for residents or citizens of the U.S., nothing for international students. I’ve heard that there are other forms of financial aid out there, not specifically from the institution. We can provide you with a financial aid link. It’s up to the individual to go ahead and use that link to do research and find out if there are any other possible financial aid out there available to them.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hayden. The next question that we have is for our student panel. One of our audience members wanted to know what it’s like networking online with your fellow peers and how you adjusted from going, perhaps, from a face-to-face type program in your undergraduate degree to that online environment. Hitomi, why don’t we start with you?

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: It really depends on the class. I think I have had a really good experience with group projects, group assignments. Somebody mentioned before the technology platform really supports – really provides everything from file sharing to chat on demand within the tool for group projects. I think people in this program I worked with for group project, they’re all motivated and really contributed. I really have to say I haven’t had a problem, actually, with non-participation in that regard. It was very lively interactive discussion to come up with an assignment on time, with a very tight timeline.

I would say I did not really experience a disadvantage of not having a face-to-face with a group project. In general, it is true, you really have to be disciplined, especially since you’re not in a classroom physically, to really keep up with the assignment, keep up with a weekly schedule of a class. Tools are there, professors to help out. I found in all classes I took, classmates are very responsive and interactive in, for example, an online discussion or forum. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hitomi. I’m going to bring Brad onto the line to talk a little bit about his networking experience with his peers. Go ahead.

Brad Roubitchek: Sure. Most of the relationships start out through the course. It’s just important to note everybody that signs up for this program knows what they’re getting into, so everybody is more than willing, from what I’ve seen, to work through an online situation and work through a remote relationship versus actually being face-to-face. I’ve been in a number of groups and one’s worked better than the next. Everything from – maybe some group projects can get done just through email, or others require file collaboration or multiple conference calls or using the tools through the Northeastern front-end program. Everybody that I have worked with has been more than accessible when needed, and it’s worked out really well.

Through the course of however many courses you need to take, you’re going to start to see some of the same people over and over again, just as normally you would in a brick-and-mortar situation. You’ll start to have online conversations with them through groups or through discussions they require through the course, but then you’ll also get in touch with these people. You’ll see them from course to course. It would be almost impossible not to develop some relationships over the course of time. I’ve made contact with a couple people that got – that were working on the dual degree, as well, so we had multiple courses in common. It’s been really interesting, and it’s been helpful, too.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Brad. The next set of questions that we have is for Kira and Hayden. The question is around the tuition for the online MBA and if the tuition differs for the dual MBA/MSF degree. Go ahead, Kira and Hayden.

Kira Nguyen: Thank you, Angela. With regards to tuition, the program itself – now, this is just the MBA program with a specialization – it’s going to comprise 50 credits. There are 18 courses. The current rate per credit hour is $1,385.00, so the total program cost is going to be $69,250.00. Northeastern will bill students on either a course-by-course basis, or if they’re using financial aid, then it will be billed on a term-by-term basis. If you’re going to be using the course-by-course structure, you can expect tuition for the average course to be around $4,155.00. Now, there are no other fees to worry about, except for textbooks, which will range about $150.00 to $200.00, depending on your course.

Nowadays, a lot of publishers will have their textbooks available as e-versions, so you can get textbooks for a lot better price, usually 50 percent at a discount price. But it also depends on your preference if you want to keep your books for future reference. If you would like to have more detailed information regarding tuition and a breakdown, please feel free to reach back to one of your advisors. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Kira. The next set of questions that we have is for our student panel. The question is around the coursework, itself. Many of our audience members were asking what types of work you would expect within the courses? Is it group work some of you mentioned? Are they individual assignments? Do you need to do exams at the end of each course, and how does that typically work? I’m going to bring Stephen on the line to explain a little bit about how that’s worked for him in the courses. Go ahead, Stephen.

Stephen Galgay: Thanks, Angela. It depends on the class, pretty much, just like a brick-and-mortar university. Classes are different. Some classes will require group projects; others will not. Some classes will have final exams, and they vary. One class, my final exam, you opened it up online, on the platform. You had four hours. It was a timed exam. Others, it’s open ended. It’s not timed at all, finish it at your leisure. Some people require you to submit papers or spreadsheet projects. I think about half of the classes that I’ve taken have required group work. Like Brad said – and this is the real world, too – some groups work better than others, and that will be reflected in your grade. That’s pretty much – it depends on your class. You can’t really say that every class will be a final exam and a mid-term in one paper. It depends on the class. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Stephen. The next question that we have is for Kira and Hayden around the resources available to students in the online classroom around career services, and then after graduation, alumni services. I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that. Go ahead, Kira and Hayden.

Kira Nguyen: With regards to the resources available to students, you will be given your student ID, so while you’re a student, as well as alumni. All of you who are alumni, your alumni cards are available. You just have to get in touch with the registrar’s office to obtain them. You would be able to use your alumni card, your student ID. Whenever you’re in town, all of the resources/facilities are available. You also have access to an online world-class library for your research purposes, or just for your own leisure use. As well, career center services are available to second-year students. If there’s any kind of recruitment opportunities, feel free to make yourself available for that.

If you need to have someone take a look at your resume, they’ll be happy to assist you with that, as well, or interviewing techniques, things like that, they will work with you. But again, it is for second-year students. In terms of alumni network mentioned earlier, we have a very strong alumni network, both globally and within the Boston area and Massachusetts. Overall, very active chapters. You can certainly tap into the alumni network and be in touch with people and just expanding your horizon. It does make for very good social, as well as professional networking.

Male Speaker: can I add one thing to that?

Angela LaGamba: Sure, go ahead.

Male Speaker: I just want to let – for the online recruiting and the ability for people outside of the Boston area, I just received an email yesterday, I think it was, that there’s going to be an online event where it’s kind of like a career fair. It gave students not in the area the opportunity to submit their resume with a cover letter and offer that to get placed in the stack. I think they compile a book of potential candidates for these positions. There is opportunity for people outside of the Boston area to be included in these opportunities, which is great.
Hayden Jones: Along with what Kira mentioned, I would just like to also add that within the program, itself, the demographics of student population, it’s very high caliber. While in the program, we do – any of the panelists can respond to this, as well – you have access to business people, business professionals from all across the country. We highly encourage networking while in the program, as well. Remember, you’re going to be doing group projects, discussions, and buddying up with some of these professionals. You have an opportunity to show who you are, bring something to the table, and who knows what or where it would lead to or it can lead to.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hayden. The next set of question that we have are for our student panel. Some of the students were very interested when you mentioned the residency, Hitomi, and your experience of going through that on the Boston campus. One of our audience members was wondering if you could just maybe briefly describe that residency requirement. It is optional, for those listening in, but I’m just wondering if you could describe that a bit more and how you made the decision to attend that residency? Go ahead, Hitomi.

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: In my case, this was something that I was opportunistically interested in when I started the program, but it really depended on my work schedule. Fortunately, when I was looking at the one residency program and the schedule, I was able to actually have time to have sort of a long week in Boston to attend it. This was – the way the residency program was structured, it basically offered two subjects, really concentrated in this one week. You were able to get a credit in a shorter time if you could attend this residency, which was actually a good factor for me, too. I was able to actually meet students that I interacted online for other classes previously.

This was really great to meet those people I knew online before, as well as the professors. You have a chance to interact with faculty members, be on campus. You have a card. You have a student ID card, so you get to the library, study there, just experience programs on campus. If your schedule happen to work out, this is really a great opportunity. Thank you.

Hayden Jones: I would just like to add something additional. Hayden, here. The residency is available to you after you’ve completed a minimum of three courses in the program. It’s not just restricted to the Boston campus. We do have two other satellite campuses in North Carolina and in Seattle, Washington. That opportunity is available at those two locations, as well.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Hayden. The final question that we have for today’s webinar, before we wrap up, is around graduation. Since this is an online program, many were wondering if they could attend graduation. For our graduates, I was wondering if you could maybe talk a little bit about your decision, if you attended graduation, and how you found that experience? I’m going to start off with Brad. Go ahead.

Brad Roubitchek: I’m graduating in May. I’m finishing up my last class right now. I plan on going to the on-site graduation, looking forward to it. I know classmates of mine in the past have gone, as well, and they’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get to the university and see the campus and enjoy getting away for the weekend.

Angela LaGamba: How about you, Stephen?

Stephen Galgay: I have to go, to be honest. My mother has already told me that if I don’t go, she’s going to whack me upside the head, but I’m from the Boston area, so attending the graduation is not really that big of a deal for me. It will be interesting to walk in a cap and gown because back when I graduated from Northeastern, we graduated from the old Boston Garden, so it’s going to be kind of – it’s going to be different to see how we graduate this time around.

Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Stephen. How about you, Hitomi?

Dr. Hitomi Ohkawa: I actually graduated last year, in August. Myself and my family came up from New Jersey to attend the graduation. The fantastic thing about it is there’s no separate graduation just for online students. You are attending graduation for MBA program. It was really fantastic experience cap and gown after 20 plus years was really something else, and then have my family with me there. It was really just great feeling, great experience overall. Thank you.

Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Hitomi. That is all the time that we have for today. We are asking our audience for feedback in the poll. How did you find today’s session? You can give us your feedback. It’s on the lower right-hand side of your screen. I wanted to really thank our panelists today, Brad, Stephen, and Hitomi. Thank you very much for talking about your experience in the program and just giving our audience a lot more to think about as they go through their application process, and also to Kira and Hayden, thank you for sharing what those guidelines are, so it’ll help them through the process.

For those of you that want to listen to this session again, it is being – it has been recorded. It will be available on the website. If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to reach out to your assigned enrollment advisor by phone or email. Again, I wanted to thank you, everyone, for participating in the Northeastern University Online MBA Student Graduate Spotlight webinar. This concludes our session, and have a wonderful day, everyone.