Angela LaGamba: Thank you for joining us for today’s Northeastern University online classroom demonstration webinar. My name is Angela, and I will be your moderator for today. Before we begin, I’d like to go over logistics for this presentation and address some commonly asked questions. As an attendee for today’s webinar, you’re currently in listen only mode. We ask that throughout the presentation that you listen through your computer speakers, or if you would like to call in, ensure that your phone is muted, and also please don’t place your phone on hold, as the hold music will interfere with the background noise with our presenters today. Throughout the presentation, you will be hearing from our panelists.
They will be talking about the course demo. If you have questions, we encourage you to send it through the chat box, which is located on the lower right-hand side of your screen. We will be addressing questions throughout the presentation, but we also have a dedicated Q&A that we will have our full panel available for. This session will be recorded, and that recording will be available in the future. Let’s get started. I want to introduce our exciting panel today. You have Christopher Longtin, who has over five years of experience in the area of student support services exclusively with online students. He is currently the associate director of student support services of Northeastern’s online programs and works hard with his team to guide and coach students to academic success.
He enjoys working in an ever-evolving field. We also have our full panel of enrollment advisors who work with prospective students for the Northeastern online MBA, the Master’s in Finance, the Master’s in Taxation, and the graduate certificate in supply management programs. Your advisors today are Michelle Yan, Ashley Bacon, and Rishi Sethi, in addition to myself, Angela. I will be your host and moderator throughout today’s webinar. I am going to hand the presentation over to our enrollment advisor, Michelle Yan, to talk a little bit about the School of Business. Go ahead, Michelle.
Michelle Yan: Thanks, Angela, very much for the introduction. I hope everyone can hear me properly. The D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University, was established in 1922 and has a rich history, a strong reputation for scholarly research and teaching excellence. We are accredited by the AACSB international. It’s one of the highest business accreditations worldwide. The main campus is located in Boston, Massachusetts, but we also have satellite campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington on the West Coast.
Building on high academic achievements, wide-ranging work and consulting experience, rich diversity, and our extensive corporate ties, the D’Amore-McKim School of Business faculty members are leaders in their fields and regularly receive worldwide recognition and awards for their contributions to theory and the practice of management. We do have a global network of over 200,000 Northeastern alumni, spanning more than 15 countries, like China, Canada, India, England, Russia, and even Australia, to name a few. Almost 90 percent of our students pursuing graduate business degrees do have work experience, so our programs are very accommodating and flexible to working professionals.
The D’Amore-McKim School of Business does offer the following programs, amongst others. We do have the online Master of Business Administration. This program is approximately two years, and there are 50 credits. We also do offer the online Master of Science in Finance program, as well as the Master of Science in Taxation. Both these programs are 30 credits, and you can complete them in a span of 16 months. We also do offer the graduate certificate of supply chain management. This is four courses, 12 credits, and it can be completed within about eight months or so.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Michelle. What we’re going to do now is encourage our audience to participate in a poll that we have for today. The question that we’re asking is what concerns you most about starting an online program? Some people are concerned about the unknowns of the online classroom environment and technology. Sometimes it’s finding the time or balancing school with other obligations. Maybe it’s just having what it takes to succeed, or perhaps it’s around affording or qualifying for financial aid. Feel free to fill in that poll. It’s located on the lower right-hand side of the screen.
If there’s other reasons, you can also feel free to submit that, as well. While we’re waiting for your responses to come in – we’ll discuss that in a bit – I’m going to hand it back to Michelle to talk about the benefits of online learning at Northeastern University. Go ahead, Michelle.
Michelle Yan: Thanks, Angela. The benefits of online learning – I know there’s a lot of students who may be a little bit hesitant in terms of jumping back to a program like this. You’ve never done an online program before. But we do have a lot of flexibility. You can access your courses any time during the day or night. Most of the students in our programs are working professionals. They have full-time jobs, family, kids. It does allow you to do your work during the lunch hour and the evenings, or even after you put your kids to bed. We do have small group sizes. Usually, every course, you’re only ranging from anywhere between 12 to 15 students, so it’s a very intimate group.
Your instructors, they give very good feedback. By phone, email, they’re very responsive. Of course, we do have a lot of networking opportunities, as well. We do have working professionals coming from all over the U.S. and outside of the country, as well, with different backgrounds, professions. Many of our students have been in the business for quite some time. It is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate on projects, trade ideas, and also learn from each other. We do have a vast variety of resources available for you to succeed. As I mentioned before, the faculty members within our programs are not only educators, but they’re also practitioners in the field, so they bring in a lot of real-life case studies to help you with your learning.
We also do have optional residencies available. We recently introduced campus-based residencies on all three of our locations in Boston, Charlotte, and Seattle. Of course, we do offer optional international residencies, as well. This past May, we actually had students, they were able to travel to China, India, Russia, and, I believe it’s Brazil, in South America. As I mentioned, like I said, most of the students in our program, like I said, some of them have been out of school for quite some time and not sure about what is available for support. We feel, at Northeastern, that not only is it important to choose a great program, but you also want to know that if you need the support, it is readily available.
For example, we do have very strong levels of support within our programs. Your personal enrollment advisor, they’re the individual that provides you all the information you need to know about the program. They’ll help you compile the application for admissions. We have a fantastic student services department, works with you once you’re in the program, helps to set your schedule, individual schedule. They’ll customize it for you. They’ll help keep you on track. They are available seven days a week. Of course, our tech support team – as we all know, with our computers, sometimes we do get technical difficulty, so they are actually available 24/7 to help you with any type of password.
If you forget a password or login information, they’ll help you reset everything. Of course, with our faculty support, we do get very quick responses. If you have any questions regarding course information, the lectures, you can contact faculty by phone or email. They also do host live chat sessions every week within your courses, so you can communicate to the professor directly. They’ll use a webcam or a headset. I think Chris will go into a little bit more detail once we get into the online course demo section. They do provide you a lot of information on lectures and answer questions you have in conjunction with the rest of your classmates. Rest assured, with Northeastern, we do help you make this transition into online learning very simple and as easy as possible.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Michelle. I think that’s an excellent segue into our next section. I’m going to bring Chris Longtin onto the line to talk about the online virtual campus. He will actually be doing a live demonstration. Chris, I’ve handed presenter controls over to you. While we’re waiting for that to be set up, what I’d like to do is share some of the poll results that have come in. Of those poll results, you will notice that finding the time to balance obligations seems to be the biggest area that students are looking at or concerned about when starting an online program. Michelle, I was wondering, is that a common concern that you hear from prospective students when you’re talking to them about the program, around balancing obligations?
Michelle Yan: It definitely is a concern with a lot of the students I speak with. Like I mentioned before, most of the students have very busy schedules. They work full time. They’re working professionals. They have family; they have kids. It is sometimes very difficult to say am I ready to make that commitment to be able to jump back into a program after this many years that I’ve been out of school? With our programs now, with Chris – I think he’s about ready – he will give you sort of an outline in terms of how it is possible for you to be able to do online learning, as well as commit to all the other obligations in your life. Because we are a very flexible program, and I think Chris will get into that a little bit more, as well.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you very much, Michelle. I’m going to hand it over to Chris now to give us our live classroom demo. Go ahead, Chris.
Chris Longtin: Thank you, Angela. I’m going to walk you through the learning management software and the way the courses are designed. This here is Blackboard Learn. This would be your main login page. You would enter your user name, your password, and be taken right to your main portal. The main portal has a few key areas. You will notice, on the top here, there is “My Announcements.” Any of your course announcements in the past seven days would be listed there for you to see upon entry. You’ll also notice my courses. Courses where you are enrolled will appear here. Today, we’ll be looking at Marketing 6200, which is also the entry point for the Spring 1 students.
Finally, there’s a “My Organization”. Students in the online MBA MSF and MST would have access to the online graduate business student resource center which, A, provides you an overview and orientation to Blackboard, so you’re not expected to jump right into a class. There are a number of modules that will allow you to try out different aspects of the platform and interact with it. Finally, there’s also a networking feature, so students can connect with other students in their state, for example, or maybe states they’re going to for business, and begin those conversations early through that networking center. Let’s go into the course today. The first thing you’ll notice once we enter the course is the announcements page.
Faculty and instructors are encouraged to always post any of their email correspondence to the announcements page, as well as emailing it, so that there’s a record of it, and it’s easily available to you, so that you don’t miss something in your everyday. In this case, we see two announcements. One is about technical support. The program does offer 24/7 technical support. If you’re like me and maybe you wait until the last minute sometimes, it’s very nice to know that if it’s 11:30 at night and you can’t seem to get your assignment submitted, someone’s there to answer the phone, walk you through how to upload, share screens with you, and make sure that you can get it in on time.
There’s also an announcement about deadlines in this course. In this case, the end-of-day deadline refers to 3:00 Eastern time the following morning, which would be midnight Pacific time. Let’s look at three areas of the course. I wanted to look at course materials, so how and what will I learn, assessments, how and what will I be graded on, and communications, how do I interact with my faculty, with my classmates, with my group, perhaps, and how will that shape my day? Students always have access to a course overview one week before their class begins. If you’re beginning class on January 6th with us, you would have access on December 30th.
One of the concerns was time management, and I think that this is a real benefit for you because you’re able to get a head start on your Week 1 reading, at least, one week in advance, and get a sense of what the course is going to offer you. In this case, you’ll see that the overview provides you a list of the goals, the different resources, what textbooks you may need, as well as a schedule, what’s due and when. We know in Week 1, we have a discussion, a number of readings, and you begin to work on your group assignment, as well as some discussions. That helps you plan your time. If one week is heavier – sometimes in a five-week course, Week 3 might be the heaviest.
You’ll know that a week before the course begins, so you might be able to – a lot of students will take a day of vacation every third week, just so they could buckle down and get their work done – as well as a biography of your instructor. When your course begins, all of your material is housed in the course material section. It is organized by week. If you want to know what’s due in Week 1 or what you need to learn for Week 1, you just click on Week 1. Then we have a series of slides that are presented. In this slide, we have a video of our lead faculty introducing us to the course. There’s also a video transcript that you can download. Maybe you are more of a highlighter when you’re learning.
You can highlight the important parts of the video transcript, so that you can retain that information. Then as you move through the slides, you’re really moving through the lessons. Here, we see Week 1 learning activities. One thing I always encourage people to do is print this page out. You can then cross out everything as you do it. If it’s a five-week course, and you have five outlines of what’s due each week, you’ll know how much of your work you’ve completed just by crossing them off. There’s an introduction to the Week 1 discussion board, which we’ll discuss in a moment, an introductions forum.
One thing that’s really neat is when you see another student in the program from maybe the same city or state as you, and another thing that’s also very neat is when you see someone that’s very far away, so maybe in another country, and the idea that you’re all together in that one classroom, learning the same material, across oceans, really, is a unique experience of the program. There’s information about your sign-up, and then it jumps into the lessons. The lesson is presented in this course as a text-based lesson. For some individuals, that is preferable, and in other cases, your instructor will provide a video lecture. They might provide a voice-over or slideshow presentation.
In other ones, they’ve developed interactive slideshows, so you’ll go through and you’ll have to click and do test-your-understanding activities throughout the slideshow as the material is presented. There is a very diverse means of presenting the information, depending upon the faculty member, but this would be the standard way of presenting it. Having talked about the material, let’s briefly touch on assessments. There are a number of ways that you might be assessed. There might be weekly quizzes. In this case, Week 1 of marketing does have a Week 1 quiz at the end of it. This professor has been kind enough to provide a study quiz in advance of the Week 1 quiz.
In this case, you can just drag your terms to connect them to the definitions, and then you would test your understanding and see how well you’ve done. Another way of being assessed is through discussion forums. If we click on discussions on the left-hand side, we will see a number of discussion boards here. In Week 1, there’s a case discussion. You would simply enter that, case discussion. You’ll be presented with a question, and then you would just reply to the question. One interesting thing here is that because of the diversity of students in the class, you’re going to have all different types of responses.
You might have someone that’s really heavily experienced in operations, and they’re going to maybe answer the question thinking about operations or supply chain; whereas, someone else might come from a marketing background, and their solution might not be to optimize the supply chain. Their solution might be to present or sell the product in a different way. That diversity of experience really leads to a healthy discussion, and you’ll find you’re learning just as much from your peers as you are learning from your lead faculty member. Then the final way of being assessed is assignments. We’ll just leave this page. In this case, I have enabled Week 1, Assignment 1.
There is an assignment due in Week 1. The directions for the assignment were in the course material. In this case, we would just upload our assignment. It doesn’t look to be friendly because the course isn’t active yet, but when you are in the course, it will allow you to upload that, just like you would upload something to Dropbox or your email address. Again, if you ever have any challenges, you are able to contact technical support. Having talked about assessments, let’s briefly move to communication. There are a number of ways that you might communicate. With most people used to an undergraduate or a campus-based environment, they are most concerned about communicating with the lead faculty member.
You are able to email your lead faculty member at any time, but they’re also going to hold a weekly live session. They do that using a platform called Blackboard Collaborate. It’s very similar to the platform we’re using right now for this presentation. It allows audio and video, as well as teleconference, so you can interact in that way. There’s a white board, and instructors have the ability to upload slides, as well. What you might find is your instructor will be talking on the video and the audio and have a slide presentation. They might also share their screen. If you’re doing a heavily quantitative course, like statistics, instead of a white board here, you’ll probably have Excel loaded and the instructor walking you through their spreadsheet, sample demo problems, and how they were able to get there.
There are different ways of using this live session, in order to maximize the learning. In some cases, the instructor will email and say, “I think that this would be best used if I answer the questions that are most important to you, so let me know what you want me to focus on, and that’s how I will present my information.” In other cases, they might have taught the course for a number of years and found that there are a few concepts that students are having challenges with, so they will present a formalized presentation, and then ask for questions at the end. Then finally, in some cases, they have invited guest speakers into the classroom.
We had a case where the lead faculty member knew one of the individuals involved in the case study they were working on, and the individual who had actually written the case study, so they asked them to come in to discuss the case and get a response to how students had responded to the case and solved the case, as well as the bigger picture because there’s sometimes only so much you can say in a case, so they provided a little bit more context. Another item that comes up is how do I communicate with my colleagues? Again, the key way to meet your colleagues is through the discussion. In this case, there’s an introductions forum, which will give you a really good sense of who’s in the class with you.
Just so you’re aware, the maximum section size for a class is 20 students. Should you enter a classroom, the maximum number of people that would be involved in this discussion forum would be 20. We tend to be more around the 15 student mark, but the maximum is 20. If you are in a group, you’ll also have a “My Groups” area. You’ll see it here on the bottom left of the page. In this case, there’s a final project that is a group assignment and a Week 4 assignment that is a group assignment. There’s a group discussion board here if you wanted to discuss on the discussion board. You could also send an email. If I press, “Send email,” it’ll email everyone in my group, and everyone will have it.
There are different collaboration tools. One thing that I think is very useful is that you, as a student, also have access to Blackboard Collaborate. There are open rooms that you can go into at any time. If you need to work on something, you can use all the collaboration tools here. You could share your Word document and go through the paper. You can talk to each other, if you don’t have access to a conference line. If someone’s unable to make it into the room because they don’t have voice over Internet, they can just dial in. You can share the dial-in information with them to use the telephone for conference audio. You can really make use of this tool to almost be right there with another.
One last means of communication I wanted to touch on before wrapping up was Blackboard Instant Messenger. All students who have a Blackboard account also have a Blackboard Instant Messenger account. It’s a separate platform that you would download onto your computer, and it allows you to interact with everyone else in the course or the school who has downloaded Blackboard Instant Messenger. You’ll see here, I have my team on my quick contact list. If I go to the classmates tab, all of the courses I’ve ever been enrolled in are available here, and I can expand them and see who’s in the class, how I can contact them, and add them to my quick contact list.
There’s also the school tab. That allows me to get in touch with my student services group. The individual that mans the desk is on lunch right now, so not available, but you would be able to go directly to this, if you wanted to, and ask a question, or your advisor would share, perhaps, their user name, so you could message them right through here. Same with your colleagues. Again, you can use voice, so you can call them for voice over Internet and engage in a collaboration call, a Blackboard Collaborate session, straight from Blackboard Instant Messenger, and have that collaboration in real time. You could do a group chat.
If you wanted to add individuals and have a running commentary, you can also do that. That’s really nice, especially if you’re conscious of what you’re working on and you need a quick answer right away, there’s always someone to message there during business hours. There’s a link here. That’s how you would download it, just straight through the course space. You’d download it from here, then you would have it for the length of the program. That summarizes my presentation. I wanted to go over course material, which we did, course assessments, which we also reviewed, and communication.
It was a high-level overview, so if you do have any questions, I would encourage you to enter them into the chat box, and we will be able to review them as part of the question and answer portion. I’m going to now transfer this back to Angela.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. Thank you for walking us through the live classroom demo. I think in my mind, as well, I’m able to visualize that experience as an incoming student, and it gives me a better understanding of what to expect in the program. What I’m going to do now is we do have another poll for our audience today. We want to hear from you to know what kind of webinars you’d be interested in attending in the future. Maybe you’d like more program information or application process, maybe a spotlight with our student alumni or faculty. We’d love to hear your ideas. We’ve also left an “other” section, so go ahead and take a few minutes to fill that in.
While you’re doing that, we’re going to move directly into our question and answer session. I can see, through the chat box, that we have quite a few questions from our audience. I encourage you to continue sending those in, and our panelists will be more than happy to answer that. The first question that we have is for our admissions team. The question is what is the average age of the students currently studying in the online graduate programs? Go ahead.
Ashley Bacon: Hi, Angela, thank you. It’s Ashley, here. The average age is between 35 and 45. Although we only require five years of full-time professional work experience, we find that most of the students that come into the online MBA program do have around the ten-year mark.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Ashley. The next question that we have is for Chris. The question is when are assignments typically due in an online course?
Chris Longtin: One of the nice things about the online course is that you’re provided with almost all of your materials right up front, so you have access to what’s due when right from Day 1. Your assignments will vary, depending on the course. In some cases, you will likely see your initial discussion post due maybe on a Thursday, and then a response to a colleague due on a Sunday, so there’s that back and forth. Then your assignments and exams are most often completed by end of Day 7, which would be end of day on Sunday, but that does vary course by course, depending on what the learning objectives of the lead faculty are.
In some cases, the lead faculty will think if I make a highly structured course – if I have clear deadlines for all of my assignments, I am helping the student out because I am telling them, “You don’t have to manage your time; you just have to meet these deadlines.” That will sort of push them along and keep them on track. Whereas, other faculty members might take an approach that the student knows best, so I am going to make all of the deadlines on Sunday, and I trust that he or she will be able to manage their time and not push those deadlines right to the last minute. It varies, but it is spread out throughout the week, with a heavy emphasis on the end of the week.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. The next question that we have is for our admissions team. Earlier on in the presentation, we talked a little bit about the optional residencies. One of our audience members wanted to know more about the optional residency or the international field study. I’m wondering if you could just talk a bit more about how that works?
Ashley Bacon: Absolutely, this is Ashley again. For the MBA, some of the optional residencies are on campus; however, the international residency is an eight to ten-day period overseas, depending on the location that you decide to go. It does work towards your credit hours at three credit hours. It also works towards an international business specialization. In regards to the campus-based residencies, they are a week long on campus, as well as working towards your credit hours at three credit hours. Just to reiterate, these are optional residencies and will not hinder your degree if you cannot afford the time to do them. They are just available for individuals who would like to be a little bit more part of the community base on campus.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Ashley. The next question that we have is for Chris. Chris, the question is in general, what is the average amount of time, so hours per week, that is customary for a student to study to be successful in the program? Go ahead, Chris.
Chris Longtin: This will depend upon your background. If you have a strong finance background, you’re not going to spend as much time in the finance course as someone who might be new to finance. It is another one of those questions that’s really difficult to give an actual amount. I would ensure that you have 15 to 20 hours a week that you can dedicate to your studies. Again, that’s something that will fluctuate through all five weeks. You might find Week 1 is a little bit lighter, and Week 2 goes up. The content, again, might change that. If I was considering a program, I would look at my schedule and say, “Do I have 15 to 20 hours a week that I could dedicate towards this, and how can I fit that in?”
It seems a little bit overwhelming, but there are ways to do it. We have students that have said, “I didn’t know how to do it, but what I ended up doing was ensuring that I take my lunches alone and doing all of my readings on lunch, so I have five hours of reading that I get done on my lunch every week that I otherwise would have spent socializing in the lunchroom.” We have other students that when their son or daughter sits down at the kitchen table to do their homework, they take advantage of that time and sit down and do that, as well. There’s a large number of students that have changed their commute.
They’ve moved from being the driver to being the passenger, so that they can do work on the road, or commuting through transit, so they can get that reading done. There are other students who, they’ll wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later, in order to work it in. It’s an MBA program. It’s not easy. There will likely be a few sacrifices over the two-year period, but we’ve found that students have been creative and have been able to find that time.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. The next question from our audience is for the admissions team. They would like to know how long the graduate programs are from start to finish, and if the courses are done in a continuous block or if breaks are available throughout? Go ahead.
Rishi Sethi: The MBA program is about two years in length, and the MSF and MST programs are about 14 to 16 months, in total, depending on when you start. It’s important to note that you’re only taking one class at a time. Most of the classes are about five weeks, and there are a few shorter ones. There is a lot of flexibility. They are 100 percent online, as we’ve explained. I just missed the second part of the question, there.
Angela LaGamba: Sure, the question was – for the first part, it was how long are the courses, typically, from beginning to end. Then the second part from our audience member was are the courses usually offered in one continuous block, or do you usually get breaks in between courses?
Rishi Sethi: That’s right. The courses are, like I said, one class at a time, and then you typically get a one-week break in between. You can do the MBA, for example, in two years, but if you need additional time, you can spread it out over a little bit longer period of time. You do have up to five years to complete the degree. The same goes for MSF and MST.
Michelle Yan: I do want to speak regarding some of the students that are considering the MS Tax program. I know that there are a lot of students who go through different busy seasons throughout the year. We certainly do accommodate for that because, like I said, we do understand students, their busy seasons and so forth. If students do need breaks, perhaps, during the tax season, we can certainly accommodate for that, as well.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you both, Michelle and Rishi. The next question that we have is for Chris. Chris, you’re getting quite a few questions from our audience, and they’re very good. I encourage our audience to continue sending those in. Chris, the question is for the Blackboard system, does that run on a tablet, for example, an iPad or an Android system?
Chris Longtin: Blackboard does have a mobile app, which you can download, and the Blackboard Collaborate also has a mobile app, which you can download. I actually argue that I like the Blackboard Collaborate app on the iPad better than the desktop version. I feel like it’s simpler. It uses a little bit less bandwidth. It’s not as feature heavy, so everything just seems to move faster. If I have a weak Internet connection, I find a better experience. So yes, you are able to access the platform from your mobile device. That does not mean that you can get away with not having a computer. You will need a computer in order to upload your assignments and draft them, and it’s always recommended that when you are completing a test or an exam that you do so from an actual computer, just to ensure your best setup for success.
One other thing to note is that a large portion of the course materials, so your textbooks, are available on digital providers, so you can download them and take them with you, as well as course packs, which are a collection of articles, are available for download – are all electronic, all course packs, so you would have access to those from your – whether you download the course pack app or just download the PDF file and open it on your device. So your reading, you can take almost all – a large amount of your reading you can take with you. There are some courses that do use hard copy books, but the majority are offering both options.
Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Chris. The next question that we have is for the admissions team. It’s specifically around the online MBA. The question is there a distinction on the diploma that says that you’ve completed the online MBA versus the traditional on-campus MBA? Go ahead.
Ashley Bacon: There’s no distinction. The degree, itself, is 100 percent the same that you’d obtain on campus. So upon completion, you’re actual degree does not state online MBA. We actually encourage our online students, if possible in their schedules, to come and walk with our graduating class.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Ashley. The next question is a follow up for our admissions team. The question is around all three online graduate programs. The question is what is the tuition and other costs for the program? Go ahead.
Rishi Sethi: Tuition is currently $1,385.00 per credit. As I said, the MBA program requires 50 credits, MS Finance and MST require 30 credits each. That’s it.
Angela LaGamba: The next question that we have for Chris from our audience is are the Blackboard platforms Mac compatible? We talked a little bit about tablets, but is Blackboard compatible with a Mac laptop or a Mac desktop? Go ahead, Chris.
Chris Longtin: Blackboard is a web-based system, so you are able to access it from your browser, whether you’re on Windows or a Mac. One thing to note is that different browsers play with Blackboard differently, so we do encourage students to have a variety of browsers. Firefox is usually the most Blackboard friendly, but I would encourage you, if you are using a Mac, to have both Firefox and Chrome, just because some pages do render differently.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. The next question that we have is around the ranking, specifically for the online MBA program. Ashley or Rishi, this question would be for you. Can you tell me a bit more about how the program is ranked, and also how it’s accredited? Go ahead.
Angela LaGamba: What I’ve also done, as well, through the chat box, is I’ve shared a link with our current rankings and accreditation for the online MBA, so go ahead and click on that link if you would like a detailed listing with both of that information. We do have a follow-up question for our admissions team. The question is does the five-week course program, or does the online graduate business programs, do they qualify as full-time for financial aid? Go ahead.
Chris Longtin: This is Chris. The program is – students need to complete six credits per semester in order to qualify for financial aid. If your schedule is such that you have six credits each semester, and that is the way the program is designed, if you are on the two-year track, you will have the required credit amounts in order to qualify for financial aid.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. The next question is for our admissions team. The question is when does the graduate certificate in supply chain management, so what are the start dates, and what are the entry requirements? Go ahead.
Rishi Sethi: The next start for supply chain management is, I believe, March 24th. If you interested in that, it is kind of a unique offering that we just launched recently online. I would definitely encourage you to speak with your advisor for more information on that. It’s really a great offering, and we’re just excited to launch it this past year. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback on it. I’d be happy to speak with anyone directly or speak with your respective advisor on it.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you. The next question that we have is for Chris. That’s around a group project. One of our audience members wanted to know how do you participate in group projects in the online classroom? Go ahead, Chris.
Chris Longtin: I think that group projects are one of the most exciting elements. One of the ways that I work and learn is best in collaboration, so the ability to meet someone and work with them on a project often fosters a better relationship between me and them than just reading their discussion board posts. The most often, what you’ll see for group work is there will usually always be someone that is very motivated and sort of Day 1, Day 2, will reach out and say, “Hi, let’s arrange a call and go over the project requirements and figure out how we’re going to split it up.” Then depending on the project, different people split it up different ways. If it is a two-part project, one person might do the first part, and the second person review it, and then for the second part, someone else would take the lead on the first draft, and then the partner might do the review.
In other cases, if you’re doing a marketing plan, for example, the marketing plan might have multiple parts, so you would divide that up and say Person A will take Part 1, 2, 3, Person B, 3, 4, 5, and then Person C would take whatever was remaining, depending on the length of the project. The smallest group is a partnering of two people, and your largest group would probably be around five people. Then depending on class sizes and the particularities of the class, the average is usually around a group of four. They’re not so large that you can’t coordinate with one another, but they’re not so small that it’s a one-man show. It’s a good opportunity to meet people. As long as you’re organized, you should be all set.
Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Chris. We do have a follow-up question for you. During your demo, you were showing our audience today what assessments and quizzes look like. One of our audience members wanted to know how are those quizzes or tests administered?
Chris Longtin: The way it works – because we’re in a live course, I couldn’t actually launch the quiz for you have a little bit of extra insight into the Spring 1, Quiz 1, but it would, in most cases, appear on your screen, and you would complete it similar to a survey that you might do online. There will be some multiple choice questions, where you select the one that you think is the right answer. There might be some short answer questions, where the quiz will ask you to input in a text box, and then some of your quantitative courses, you might download a problem set, and then upload your Excel file afterwards, within the time period, and you would be marked or reviewed on that.
One thing to note is that the online graduate student resource center has a really good section on quizzes and assessments that takes you through that, so you would be very familiar with what to expect before Day 1 of your course, if you complete the recommended orientation.
Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Chris. The next question that we have is for Ashley. The question is when, for the online MBA, is the next start date after January? Go ahead.
Ashley Bacon: After January is February 17th, which is Spring 2. Because of the holiday season, we do strongly encourage that students that are looking for any of the start dates in spring submit their documents as soon as possible, especially your transcripts. But certainly, if you are looking to begin the process, we have a start date, as mentioned earlier, it’s Spring 1, January 6th, and then the following one is February 17th.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Ashley. The next question that we have is for Michelle around the Masters of Science in Taxation program. The question is how long does the process usually take for this program for admissions? Go ahead, Michelle.
Michelle Yan: The admissions process – like I said, with the MS Tax program, we usually have six start dates throughout the year, so very flexible starts. Again, just like Ashley had mentioned, a lot of times, when you do begin the application process, we do – especially coming up in the January start, with the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Christmas holidays coming up in December, we always do encourage students to submit their documents early, and then the earlier you submit your documents, hopefully you’ll hear back from the admissions committee as well. Usually, we give students – a good time frame to work with is about a month or so.
But like I said, I’ve had students come to me within a week and a half and had their documents, transcripts, recommendations within a week and a half. It can be done if you’re motivated. Like I said, usually, we do give students about a month’s time to put everything together. Again, you do want to make sure you get your documents in early, so that they can be reviewed quickly, as well.
Rishi Sethi: That’s for all programs. It’s not just the MST, just to clarify. A reasonable turnaround time to expect to get your application done would be about a month, but we do have students, from time to time, who’ve come in kind of last minute, and they do – they are able to complete their application in a week. It’s really a pretty straightforward process. There’s five requirements. The application form, it’s an online application form. You create an account, and you’d fill out all your personal, academic, and professional information. You’ll also provide a current resume, a statement of purpose, which is 500 words outlining what you’re doing now, where you’re headed, and why you’re looking to do the degree with Northeastern.
We will need a transcript from every school you’ve gone to after high school. Even if you had transfer credits, we would need those, as well. Then lastly, your recommendations, we need three of them, and they must be professional. Even the recommendations are submitted directly online. In your application account, you just fill out each reference’s information, and they get an automated email with instructions to submit. It is a really straightforward and simple process. We are taking – we’re actually taking applications now, so do feel free to reach out and start the process, if you haven’t already done so.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, both. The next question we have is for Chris, and the question is are all course materials available online, so electronically, or do students need to purchase hard copy textbooks and materials?
Chris Longtin: Different courses engage different materials. All of the course packs are 100 percent electronic, but the textbooks, there are some textbooks, the Statistics course, in particular, has a custom textbook that students find very useful. It’s not in print. It’s only available as a hard copy. The lead faculty member will select the materials that are best suited to achieving the course objectives, and in some cases, they are only available via hard copy, but the majority do have an electronic counterpart.
Angela LaGamba: Thanks, Chris. The next question that we have is for Ashley. Ashley, the question is for the online MBA, is there a requirement to have a business background to enroll in the program? Go ahead.
Ashley Bacon: Not from your undergraduate degree. If there is some concern from some of the attendees about what they studied in their undergraduate, that is not necessarily important. I would employ that – if you are concerned whether it is with your undergraduate, as well as your professional background, that is a more individual topic with your advisor. I would definitely get in touch with them. But if you did study something outside of business, that’s absolutely fine. In regards to your professional background, there should be some level of leadership that has taken place within the minimum of five years that is required.
Whether that leadership is a team lead, a supervisor, or managerial experience, it is important to display that throughout your application. But again, if you have some concern regarding your professional background or your undergraduate degree, it is best to have a one-on-one conversation with your enrollment advisor.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Ashley. Rishi, a follow-up question from our audience is are the courses within the online MBA different from the on-campus program? Go ahead.
Rishi Sethi: With all these programs, they’re rooted in the curriculum from the on-campus programs, so it’s the same professors that have worked with course development for the online program to modify their classes to make them deliverable in this format. Fundamentally, yes, we’re communicating the same things. It’s just the mode of delivery that differs.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Rishi. The next question is for Chris. The question is does the online MBA program work with a specific cohort for group projects throughout the two years?
Chris Longtin: There are a number of ways to complete it. If you being the program and work with a group that you would like to remain with, you can make that request of your student advisor, and they will work with you to identify how you could remain with that cohort. Because of the way the program’s set up where you complete core courses, and then move into electives, you’ll likely find that a lot of – you’ll see a lot of familiar faces in your first few classes, but as people diversify and move into their areas of specialization, you might lose track of some individuals, and then you’ll all come together closer to the end of the program, when you finish off your core courses.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. We do have a follow-up question for you, Chris. You mentioned earlier about live sessions that are offered for some of the courses. How is that handled, given that some students are in different time zones, they have different work schedules? How does that typically work? Go ahead, Chris.
Chris Longtin: That’s an excellent question. All of your live sessions are recorded. If you are unable to attend a session at any time, you’re able to watch the recording of the next day. The sessions are not required. There’s no new material introduced in them. If you’re unable to make it, or it doesn’t meet with your timeline, you’re able to watch the recording the next day.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Chris. The next question that we have is for our admissions team. The question is when was the online MBA program introduced online? Go ahead.
Rishi Sethi: This is actually one of the first accredited programs online. We’ve been around for about seven years now on the marketplace. We have a pretty strong track record and a good reputation for an online business program. Of course, the school, itself, has been around over 100 years. Northeastern’s definitely been around a long time, and we’re certainly not going anywhere any time soon.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Rishi. The next question that we have is for Ashley. The question is what about the GMAT and the GRE examination? Is that a requirement for the online MBA? Go ahead, Ashley.
Ashley Bacon: The GRE is not accepted with Northeastern University. However, you can use a GMAT if your GPA score was a bit low. It does not fill the gap if you do not meet the minimum professional work experience requirement. However, if you do want to take a GMAT, the admissions committee will accept scores of 590 plus. If you’re worried about, again, either your professional or educational background, I would implore you to talk to your enrollment advisor before taking a GMAT to see what options are available, but it is not a requirement.
Angela LaGamba: Thank you, Ashley. The final question that we have for today’s webinar is around the deadline to apply for the January 6, 2014 start date. I’m wondering if you’d like to talk a little bit about the deadlines for each of the online graduate business programs? Go ahead.
Rishi Sethi: We have the same expectation with regards to deadlines for all the programs. We’ve got a start coming up of January 6th. To be realistic, a lot of universities are – they’re reducing staff because of the holidays. If you want to be considered for the Spring 1 start, regardless of program, I highly recommend getting going on your application and submitting it no later than December 1st. The difficulty you come up with sometimes is it’s not so much the application form or your resume or your essay. Those are simple. You can do those in a matter of a few hours.
It’s ordering your transcripts – sometimes people order transcripts and they don’t come in on time, or they don’t come in at all, so they need to request them again. It’s important to give us a little bit of a margin to allow for those kind of things, to make sure that your application gets submitted in time for a review for that start. Of course, recommendations, people are leaving for holidays. Giving people a reasonable amount of time to get those in, as well, is also very important and considerate of them. I would say December 1st latest submission date.
Angela LaGamba: That is all the time that we have for today’s webinar. I do have a couple of closing thoughts before we conclude this session. An enrollment advisor will be following up with you over the next few days to answer any additional questions that you may have about the course demo that was shown today or about any of the online graduate business programs. If you would like to contact an advisor immediately, you can reach them by calling the number on the screen for any of the programs that we’ve talked about today. We’ve also recorded today’s session, and we will be sharing that shortly. If you have any additional feedback on today’s session, you could send it through the chat box on the lower right-hand side of the screen.
But again, I wanted to thank our panel, Christopher Longtin, Michelle Yan, Ashley Bacon, and Rishi Sethi. Thank you for taking the time to walk us through the course demo, and also to talk about the programs, very informative, and also to our audience for being very engaged in sending through all of those questions. This concludes our session, and have a great day, everyone.