How to Prepare for an Online MBA Program

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Tay: Hello everyone, welcome to Northeastern University’s online webinar on the topic of How to Prepare for an Online Program. My name is Tay and I will be your moderator for today and will also participate in the Q&A session. Before we begin, I’d like to go over logistics for this presentation and address some commonly asked questions. All participants are in listen only mode, you can listen to the audio through your computer speakers. To ask questions, type your questions in the Q&A and hit “submit”. We will address some of your questions at the end of the webinar session. This event is being recorded so it can be viewed at a future date.

So your panelist for today; Steve Shakes is the Enrollment Advisor for the Northeastern University’s Online MBA Program. His role is to help perspective students through the application and admissions process. Here are the areas we will be covering today; first, Steve will go over Northeastern University and the D’Amore McKim School of Business, details on the online MBA and then we’ll move into our main focus which will be how to prepare for an online program and then tips for success. From there we will end off with information on tuition and scholarships, admissions requirements and lastly questions and answers. And now I will pass it over to Steve.

Steve: Thank you Tay. Just going through a brief history of Northeastern University. It was established in 1898 and the School of Business was established in 1922. Northeastern University is a global experiential research university and has a reputation for scholarly research, teaching excellence and innovative curricula. The faculty are acclaimed PhD level scholars, educators and leaders in their fields. There is a global network of over 200,000 Northeastern alumni and the School of Business have 40,000 alumni.

The accreditation and ranking of Northeastern is something that we’re very proud of. As of 2016, we were ranked number four for online MBA in the U.S according to The Financial Times. The U.S News and World Report ranks Northeastern University Online MBA at number 42 which is tied in the U.S in the Best Online MBA Programs category for 2017. Now that the D’Amore-McKim School of Business is internationally accredited by the Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business, otherwise known as AACSB and is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Now, we’ll get into the Online MBA Program itself. You can study at a renowned AACSB-accredited business school, tailor your degree by choosing eight in demand concentrations and even graduate in as few as two years and participate in optional domestic and international residency courses and there is no GMAT or GRE required for admission. The Online MBA has a flexibility of offering you eight concentrations that you can choose from; there is finance, healthcare management, high technology management, innovation entrepreneurship, international management, marketing, supply chain management and sustainability. And we offer the flexibility of choosing a general MBA or [earn] a single or dual concentration from our program. Now, the program offers a variety of benefits for students; you can complete the program in as few as 24 months or as many as 60 months which equals five years, learn with instructors who have real world business experience and enjoy a flexible program that is 100% online. The program consists of 18 courses which are 50 credits and 13 core courses 5 elective courses.
Now, how to prepare for an online program such as ours, we are going to address top concerns that students have. We’re going to start with personal obligations. Now, one of the concerns that students have is “I have too many family obligations, such as a newborn or a child starting school.” This is very important because we want students to not underestimate the time that it takes to dedicate to be successful in a program such as ours. You should identify study time and ensure your family and friends understand the time commitment that’s involved in a program such as ours. Create realistic schedules which includes time dedicated to personal obligations.

Another personal obligation of concern that students have is “I have a future personal engagement.” That can be in the form of a wedding in the future or a family vacation planned. That’s also something that, you can consider when in this program, the flexibility of completing the program for any prolonged break you have a total of five years to complete the program. The other benefits you can undertake is review your course schedule and modify your schedule accordingly. So you can plan appropriately for future personal engagements such as these.

Now, professional obligations can be, let’s say “work is too busy, I work long hours.” That can also be a challenge and it’s important to try and communicate with your employer. Ask for employer cooperation and support. It could be an example of study time, maybe dedicating a board room for extra study time if needed or perhaps an extended lunch break may be needed from your employer. These are all important items that can be addressed but if there’s no employer support then prepare tasks in advance to take advantage of breaks and travel time.

Now, one of the other challenges students do face is the mental preparation. What if students have never taken an online course before? “I’m not ready.” Well, there are certain advantages that you can take advantage of in our program which represent the success that you can have by taking advantage of the student services. Student services is there for you from the first day that you’re admitted in the program to graduation. They are your advocate while you’re in the program and they offer an unlimited amount of resource. Also, you have the benefit of meeting with your instructors and professors at least once a week in each five week course. Also, time management is very important. You should follow weekly activity calendar and guidelines and prioritize your daily activities.
Now, we’ll start with the admission requirements. For admission requirements, we’re looking for an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. A GPA of 3.0 or higher and also a minimum work experience of five years full time experience that we’re looking for. Candidates whose undergraduate instruction was not conducted in English, we would need you to contact an Enrollment Advisor like myself to find out if TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE academic scores are needed. Now, the application requirements, we require all official transcripts or prior undergraduate and graduate work reflecting degree confirmed by an accredited institution. International transcripts must be translated and include a WES or CED evaluation. You also need an updated resume, two letters of recommendations, one of the letters of recommendation should be from your current supervisor or manager, and the second can be from a co-worker or colleague. We also need a statement of intent which is the essay component. You should illustrate in at least 500 to 1,000 words why you’re interested in this degree at this particular time in your career. And there’s also a non refundable $100 application fee.

Now, the tuition and scholarships, Northeastern is very proud to have a program that offers you a total of 50 credit hours, the course tuition is $1,513 per credit hour and the total tuition is $75,650. We participate in all military programs such as post 9/11, Yellow Ribbon Program, Montgomery GI Bill and Northeastern Alumni can also participate and are eligible for Double Husky Scholarships. We’re also proud of the Lifetime Learning Membership available to currently enrolled fulltime students and families. Now, we are opening up the session for questions and answers.

Tay: Thank you Steve. Please feel free to type in your questions in the Q&A box to your left if you haven’t already. Okay, so we have our first question here, Steve, maybe you can answer this question; what if my GPA is below 3.0?

Steve: Good question. If the GPA is below 3.0, we understand that – we understand that students bring certain criterias to the program, so first off we have other criterias that we would look at to evaluate your application. So certain criterias such as your work experience, also your progressions through your work such as leadership positions, also if you have taken additional graduate level courses that would also add to your application and can boost your application to The Admissions Committee.

Tay: Thank you. We have another question here; is there a link to the scholarships available on your website or somewhere else? Just to answer that question; yes, there is links to different scholarship opportunities, financial aid as well, and if you are unable to find it on Northeastern’s website, please feel free to reach out to one of our dedicated advisors and they can send that link to you. One question we have; what if I have not held a formal managerial role? So to answer that question, we do understand that it is – it would be beneficial if you are in a managerial role to strengthen your application portfolio should you decide to move forward, however, it is not a requirement. So if you have any type of fulltime professional work experience and a strong undergraduate degree, then you are at least eligible to apply into the program and your Enrollment Advisor will work with you to ensure you put together a strong application portfolio.

Another question; what is the degree name and school name that will appear on the diploma? Does it differ from the fulltime Northeastern program? Steve, would you like to answer that question?

Steve: That’s a good question. The name will not defer from the on-campus, it will say “Northeastern University and D’Amore-McKim School of Business”.

Tay: And just to add to that as well, as an online student, there is no difference from the on-ground student, so when you receive your degree we do recommend that you join us on campus for the ceremony. Question; how long does the application process take? Steve, could you assist with that question please?

Steve: The application process can take – it really depends on how soon students can submit their documents. It can take as little as two to three weeks or maybe a bit longer. Of course, if students have to have evaluations, that might also prolong the application process. So the sooner that you send in your documents, the sooner you can find out if you are accepted to the program.

Tay: Thank you Steve. Okay, here we have another one; I am starting in the summer this year, is it possible to see classes available not only for my first semester but for future sessions? So yes, the answer is you can, you should receive a course outline from your student service advisor which will plan, essentially at least your first year core courses and then give you an idea of what to expect in your second year when it comes to elective courses. So just feel free to reach out to your student service advisor and ask that individual for your course schedule for the fall term and possibly the spring of 2018. Okay, let’s see here … okay, so we have another question; if I have taken my GMAT, should I submit my score anyways? For this program, even though a GMAT score is not required, if you have taken the GMAT feel free to include that score as part of your application but I would recommend that you speak with an enrollment advisor to determine whether or not providing the GMAT score will strengthen your application portfolio. Steve, I have a question for you; to complete the course work in two years, how many courses is this per term? What are the term timelines?

Steve: To complete the course in two years, you’re looking at 18 courses in total for the two years. You’re taking 9 courses per year. We have a tri semester system and each semester has three courses that you are taking per semester.

Tay: Okay, so there’s a question here; I understand you mentioned scholarships for certain groups of candidates, but are there other ways of receiving scholarships, perhaps based on GPA, work experience or GMAT for those who have taken it? Unfortunately, there are no scholarships or grants available. The only types of scholarships per se would be if you are part of a corporate partnership where you may be entitled to a certain percentage of your overall tuition, but typically the only scholarships available would be the ones that were mentioned in the previous slides. How long after I apply will I receive a decision letter? Upon successful completion of your application portfolio, once it is presented to the admissions committee you will typically have an answer between one to three weeks.

So just give me one moment while I go through some more questions here … okay, what do you consider professional experience? I was a dining manager for four years but have now moved into a different position at a different company. Steve, would you like to answer this question?

Steve: Sure. We consider professional experience – it would definitely vary depending on the occupation but fulltime experience is essentially not including either summer work, internships, part time employment. It generally has to be essentially 9-5 working, the position – if you’re a manager for four years it doesn’t depend on the position per se, it does help in terms of boosting your application, but it cannot include part time work, seasonal or internships or any type of intermittent occupation.

Tay: Thank you Steve. Another question we have is in regards to financial aid. So essentially, is financial aid available? Yes, financial aid is available for this program, upon approval you can receive up to $20,500 per fiscal year. Now, just a side note, we are currently accepting applicants for the summer 1 term which is essentially the first course in the last term for the 2016/2017 fiscal year, so I would recommend that if you are planning on applying and utilizing financial aid, to start the summer term to maximize your financial aid. So then the 2017/2018 fiscal year starts in September. Okay, so this is all the time we have for today. If you have any additional questions please contact your dedicated enrollment advisor. You can call, email or schedule an appointment. This information will be noted on your screen. You will be able to access this webinar if you don’t have an opportunity to copy down this information and then here are the upcoming start dates along with the deadlines. Thank you everyone for participating in today’s Northeastern University Online MBA Webinar. This concludes our session. Have a great day.