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Information Sessions and Events

Our information sessions give you an insider’s look into our Online MBA program. By attending, you’ll learn more about our curriculum and admissions process, have opportunities to ask questions about the program and hear directly from our award-winning faculty.

Latest Information Session

Recorded Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Moderated by:

  • Terri Ignoffo, Enrollment Counselor, Online MBA
  • Daniel Truesdale, Enrollment Counselor, Online MBA
  • Tom Sabey, Enrollment Counselor, Online MBA

Presented by:

  • Miriam Burgos, Associate Professor of Clinical Marketing / Academic Director of the Online MBA program
  • Philip Griego, Assistant Dean, Online Learning / Program Director, Online MBA
  • Brittany Hawkins, Assistant Director, Online and Specialized Master’s Programs

October 2019 Info Session Questions and Answers

What is the anticipated workload per week?

I can go ahead and address that. Generally speaking, the range that we give to our students is anywhere between 20 and 30 hours per week of both the live classroom sessions as well as all the work that you’ll actually complete outside of our actual live class sessions. I think it would also be great for Chrystal to offer her perspective on this question as well, seeing as she has experienced this herself and it’s great to see you by the way, Chrystal. The question managing course load.

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

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

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

Although I know some classmates who either had families, kids so, doing it during the day wasn’t feasible, so they packed it in on the weekends. That’s not to say I didn’t do work on the weekends, I definitely had those weekends where my focus was working on the MBA program. That said, it’s all manageable, it all gets done at some point. The hardest part, I think thing that kept me up the latest was trying to arrange group meetings just because of the extensiveness all the group work that’s involved in trying to coordinate people’s schedules. I’ve had to zoom in on group meetings like at 9:00 PM, took calls from classmates up until maybe 11 or midnight, but, it’s all manageable and I would say it’s more of sort of an Olympic event where like you’re passing on the Baton to the next runner as opposed to major marathon, if that’s the best way to describe it.


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

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

We’ve gotten together throughout the year. We did a tailgate for USC homecoming. You’re obviously welcome to the extent that you’re close to campus to attend or participate in campus activities, because I’m based in San Diego that wasn’t impossible, but it wasn’t also the most feasible. That said, I think being an online program, it was not limited to interacting with my classmates exclusively online, but there have been numerous opportunities even across the country. You know, I met up with some online MBA folks on the East coast in New York. I’ve met up with them in Northern California and Southern California. I would say actually that I’ve even gotten closer to people I’ve met in the MBA program than being on campus throughout law school.


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

There are some similarities in that, their average age, demographically is probably mid-thirties. You finished the program in about the same period of time about 21, 22 months. They also use a thematic approach to their course design where you take multiple subjects at the same time that are integrated together. The significant differences are our curricula are not identical, ours is a much newer curriculum and covers probably a few more topics than our residential executive MBA program. And of course the key differences are other than the residential week at the beginning, it’s a hundred percent online. While the executive MBA program. My understanding is you have to meet on campus all day Friday and, or alternating Fridays and Saturdays, you would need to talk to them to get an exact schedule.

To know what the time commitment is plus they have some residential weekends as well. Probably two or three times throughout the program. There are some similarities, but primarily it’s the, how much is online versus where there’s this mostly in person. I think they have a few online elements, but it’s a small percentage, but I don’t know if anyone else has anything else to add. Otherwise I’d say if you have any questions about the e-MBA, I would recommend talking to their admissions folks for the most accurate information.


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

Yes, you do have access to pretty much the same resources. The biggest difference is going to be the career coaching that we offer in comparison to what the residential programs offer. We offer two career consultants that have over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector and their primary goal is to work with our students since we have between eight and 10 years work experience, to figure out how you can rebrand and repackage yourself now that you’re in an MBA program. What the career coaches don’t offer would be recruiting rounds. In the residential programs, career student works too have recruiting rounds and internship round and full time positions. Rounds where they come in and recruit you, we don’t offer that because our students have a full time positions, 99% of our students work full time, so they’re not looking to necessarily start over in an entry level position. They’re just looking to kind of rebrand and repackage themselves so they can move up at their company or a company similar to where they’re currently working. Other resources. Yes, you have access to all of those. Like Chrystal said, if you’re in the LA area, of course you could come to campus as much as you want and if you’re not in the LA area, whenever you do come to LA, you’re more than welcome to come to campus and participate in whatever activities are present. We have some students they get active in the on-campus student works, so there’s definitely options for you.


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

Well, our average is between, of course about eight to 10 years work experience. To get the most out of the program, you probably will have a minimum of about, I’d say between five and seven years to get a lot out of it. Anything under that you can still possibly get admitted if you show that you really can excel in a program like ours. This design is for the working professional who can contribute from their different professional experiences and it’s similar from one another, that’s why we like to have students who have a little bit more work experience. I’d say, yes, we evaluate all applications that come in regardless of the work experience because you never know who you’re going to meet or find or who’s going to be a good fit. Yes, we evaluate all our applications. Is there an actual minimum? On the website, I believe we say at least two to three years, but to have the best shot of getting in, you want to have a lot of work experience, you want to have strong scores, you want to have a great GPA, you want to have strong letters of recommendation, that’s what really makes your package or your application looks the best.


Are there any concentrations or specializations within the OMBA program?

There are no concentrations that are part of our curriculum. Our required 51 units to complete the MBA degree, the curriculum that you would need to complete to earn your MBA through our online program is strictly what you saw at the beginning of the presentation today. It’s just the residential intensive course, or those course that includes the residential intensive plus an additional five semester long courses that range between nine and a half and 10 units a piece, that is our online MBA curriculum and there is no concentration beyond that. Now having said that, after you have completed our curriculum, you do have the option because you are a USC students. At that point, you’re a USC Marshall student. You do have the option to enroll in elective, a few of which are online, but most of which are residential. You have the option to do that. You of course would incur the additional tuition costs and the additional time investment of course, but that is an option that is available above and beyond our basic curriculum to earn your MBA through 51 units.


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

That’s a good question in the sense that, I think there might still be some residual taboo against doing a program online, but the truth is that it doesn’t come up. I don’t necessarily volunteer, oh, I completed my online MBA just because when you get your degree it says it’s an MBA and it’s not like that necessarily comes up often in conversation. Like, did you do your MBA online or versus residential? That said, to the extent that it has come up, I haven’t gotten a whole lot of resistance, especially after you’ve been working for a while. It just makes sense, the flexibility of having an online MBA versus having done it residentially hasn’t been a big issue. At the end of the day, I think once you’re a couple of years out of the program even just a few months out for me, like, the degree is the degree. I know plenty of coworkers, plenty of other folks who have done their own graduate programs either on a flexible schedule or a hybrid program where it’s partly online and partly in person. I think as these programs become increasingly common, that taboo is going to decrease.


Can GMAT or GRE score requirement be waived?

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


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

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

It opens up access to a member directory so that you can really focus your networking efforts perhaps by industry or by geographic area, for example. That’s something that’s very unique about our program and that students always find incredibly valuable. Another unique aspect of our program is the fact that you as an online MBA student are learning from, you’re working with the same faculty who teach in the residential MBA program. So you are not experiencing a whole separate team of faculty. You’re working with the same world-class faculty that a residential student would meet in the classroom, and you have also these live class sessions that occur two nights per week where you’re live in class with all of your other, all your other classmates, everyone else in your cohort. You have this very unique opportunity to interact with and form bonds with your classmates and actually experienced the same dynamics that occurs in a brick and mortar classroom where you’re asking questions of your faculty, where they’re having you participate in breakout groups during class lines and that’s done via Zoom.

All of these things are built into the technological capabilities that we made sure to have as a top ranked online MBA program. I think, the other uniqueness of our program is its flexibility. The fact that you can complete it entirely online with the exception of that one residential week, of course, but it can be completed entirely online from anywhere in the world, and you still emerge with the fundamental knowledge of a top ranked MBA programs. You still emerge with the wonderful alumni network and a very strong network as well with your cohort classmates. All of these things really elevate the experience in our program beyond some other comparable programs that may be out there.

We talked a little bit with other, there are many MBAs of program; online MBA programs out there that partner with third party companies and many of those also will have one faculty member create the course, but they’ll have other faculty teach the live class sessions. We felt it was important to have the same faculty member who created the course also be the one to teach the live sessions. I think as we’ve mentioned earlier, the majority of our faculty are our full time instructors who teach residentially as well. They create the courses for our program and they also teach the life sessions. Now, sometimes, yes, a faculty member might need to take a semester off for sabbatical, or other reasons, so we’ll have someone come in to teach for that semester, but that’s on rare occasions and the majority of the time you’ll have the instructor who created the course, teach the course. I think that’s an important factor, one of the things that we’re proud of about our program.

Somebody had a question as it related to the following term after spring of 2020 so just to clarify, with the deadline of November 1st, that’s for consideration for the spring term. The classes that start on December 16, the following term, the next cohort would be fall of 2020 classes would begin August 10th and you’d be looking at a first round deadline of February 5th.Certainly for more information specifically on those dates, be sure to get in contact with us here in the enrollment office and we could help get you proactively started on a fall application if this spring timeframe didn’t work with your scheduling.

With that said, we will conclude here today and we very much appreciate everybody attending this morning and to this afternoon, and again, as a friendly reminder, this recording will be emailed out to you within the next couple of days. It will also be available on our website probably by early next week and you’ll definitely want a screen grab for any questions. Please feel free to contact us here. I speak with an enrollment coordinator. We’re here to help and answer any questions that you have and be as a strong re resource for you as you go through the application process and start researching the school a little bit further. If we weren’t able to answer your question live, our apology is but definitely get in contact with us, there’s both the phone number and the email provided on this slide here. Thank you to all our presenters at very much for your insight and your time. I hope everyone has a wonderful day, and fight on.


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