UMD Online MBA Information Session

Articles

Find out if the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Online MBA Program is for you.
This session will cover:

  • What makes UMD and the Smith School unique
  • An in-depth overview of the Smith Online MBA
  • The student experience
  • Admission requirements, financial aid and helpful tips

Presenters:

  • Judy Frels, Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean of Online Programs
  • Cory Adams, Online MBA Graduate
  • Karen Tucci, Lead Enrollment Advisor

Originally presented on August 23, 2017.

Transcript

Christina Walsh:
Hello, and welcome to the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business online MBA information session. I’m Christina Walsh and I’ll be your host today. I’d like to thank you for joining us and taking time out of your busy schedule. Before we begin, I’d like to review a few housekeeping items.At the bottom of your console are multiple application widgets you can use. If you have questions during the presentation, please submit your questions using the Q and A widget. Feel free to enter your questions as you think of them and we’ll answer as many as time allows at the end of the session. If you have any technical difficulties, the help widget provides answers to common technical issues. Also, an on demand version of this webcast will be available tomorrow afternoon. A link to the recording will be sent via email tomorrow should you like to view the presentation again or share with others.Joining us today are Judy Frels, Cory Adams, and Karen Tucci. Judy is a clinical professor of marketing at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and also the assistant dean of online programs. In addition to her duties as assistant dean, she teaches the closing residency course in the online program. She also teaches in Smith’s full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs at many of their campuses, including Beijing, and continues to publish in top academic journals.Cory Adams joins us from Atlanta, Georgia. He worked in manufacturing with Nestle for almost 10 years, rising through the ranks in various operations management roles by helping to provide strategic direction in operations for beverage processing and packaging. He earned his MBA online from University of Maryland’s Robert Smith School of Business in June, 2017, and currently works with Wrigley as an operations manager.

Karen Tucci has been in higher education for over seven years and she has worked as a senior enrollment advisor for the past four years, working on various online master’s programs, most recently with University of Maryland’s online MBA. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology, and also holds a Master’s degree in higher education from Evelyn Christian University.

In today’s session, Judy will begin with a short overview of the University of Maryland and the Smith School vision. She’ll highlight key differentiators of the Smith MBA programs, including their impressive network of Smith School alumni and faculty. Next, Judy will talk about the online MBA program, including the specializations offered, the structure of the program, benefits of learning online, and some campus resources available to our online students.

Then she’ll hand things over to Cory, who will speak on why he chose the Smith School and his experience while in the online MBA program. Karen will then review the steps for applying to the Smith online MBA program, including some helpful tips and discuss tuition and the funding options that are available.

Following our speakers, we will have a Q and A session to answer any of your outstanding questions. Now I’d like to turn things over to Judy.

Judy Frels:
Great. Thank you, Christina. I appreciate it, and welcome everyone. We’re glad to have you here and hope that we give you a good overview of what the online MBA is all about.

First, I’d like to tell you a little bit about our benefactor, Robert H. Smith, for whom the school is named. He is an alumnus of the school and in 1998, gave us a 15 million-dollar gift endowment. That is really when the University of Maryland School of Business, it was originally called I think the College of Business and Management, turned around. We really became a research powerhouse at that time. We spent the late 90s and early 2000s transforming what was perhaps a little sleepy place into one of the top research business schools in the world.

Now in concert with that, we have faculty who are creating breakthroughs in business knowledge. You also end up having MBA programs that benefit from having leading-edge thought. I’m going to tell you a little bit more though about Bob Smith while we have a second.

Again, graduated in 1950, he ended up majoring in accounting. He started off as a engineering major. If you’ve been to the DC area and perhaps you’ve landed at Regan National Airport, you might have seen the Pentagon, but if you saw any restaurants, hotels, commerce, that was Robert Smith’s claim to fame. He developed Crystal City. His father was a developer and that was his sort of mark on the region and on the firm.

He donated, over the course of his life, he and his wife donated an additional 30 million to the university, a gift that was shared by the Smith School and the Clay Smith Center for Performing Arts. I want to just say briefly, we try to live up to the legacy that Bob Smith left us and some of those core values, we try to embody. Those include creativity, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Business is all about creating value and we want to do that through creativity and innovation and also creating new companies.

We also want to do that while keeping an eye on integrity and accountability. We say here at Smith, we do the right things the right way. We certainly try to live up to that every day and we also try to take a global perspective on business that embraces diversity. That is some of the legacy from Robert H. Smith that we try to live up to.

Now, why a Smith MBA? We believe that we have a track record for excellence. We’ll show you in a moment our rankings, but we work to produce students that are prepared to be successful in the world of business. We do that through experiential, reality-based learning. As much as possible, we try to weave into your course the core theoretical knowledge that you need to know in order to master that subject area, but we also try to give you the opportunity to apply that, both from perhaps a problem that other companies have faced, but also we’ll talk in a bit about problems that your company may be facing.

Again, we do have a strong entrepreneurial spirit here at Smith. We’ll talk in a moment about the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Our core course, our core curriculum, has an entrepreneurship course because we think it’s important for everyone to understand what it means to start something new. Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, within a company, you may be tasked with thinking about the future revenue streams of that company. How are we going to shift into new markets? We embody that here at Smith.

Then finally, the world class faculty that I mentioned earlier. We have hired some of the best and brightest PhD’s from all over the world and many of them teach in this program. I can name a few. Dave Godes teaches the marketing strategy core course. Hank Lucas teaches the strategic information class. P.K. Kannan teaches a marketing selective. Brent Goldfarb and David Kirsch teach the entrepreneurship class. You may not know these names, but rest assured that it’s people like those who I’ve just named who actually have our faculty ranked as some of the top research faculty with some of the most productive publication outputs of any school in the world.

We also have a strong commitment to community. We’re known actually in the MBA world as having a collaborative form of competition. We are not a cutthroat competitive environment. We are a collaborative competitive environment, so when we all come together at the end to take on a capstone business simulation, sure you’re competing against your teammates, but as I often say in that class, the losers are apt to learn just as much as the winners are. In the end, people graduate with their diploma and you learn the most … Maybe not the most, but you learn as much from the people in the classroom with you as you do from anywhere else.

We have a huge alumni network. We are very focused on diversity, so we are very open to bringing in people from a variety of backgrounds. Sometimes people ask, “Do I need to have an undergraduate in business to get an MBA?” Absolutely not. We have a liaison here on campus that helps military people make the transition into education and private sector worlds because we understand that this is often times a key degree that people get when they want to move into the business world.

We are accredited, both by the International AACSB group and also by our regional accreditation group, which is Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Now, our rankings. We are ranked, we were recently ranked last January as number nine online MBA program. That was a US ranking. There wasn’t a world ranking in that particular publication. That’s from US News and World Report. We’re the number five best online MBA for veterans and number seven in student engagement. What I hope this says to you is that you will get a fantastic MBA and we will be with you there every step of the way. The program, other Smith School rankings, our full-time program is ranked well. Our executive MBA program is ranked very well and you’ll see second from the bottom there, number one in faculty quality from The Economist last year. That is really referencing the research, but also the teaching that our faculty do.

I want to give you a bit of a overview about the courses itself, how the program works. I know many of you, perhaps online learning is new to you. It was new to me a few years ago, but the person you’re seeing here, actually Hank Lucas is probably one of the biggest champions of online learning in our building. He’s one of the faculty members that keeps us on our toes. The program structure is as follows. You will be in 14-week semesters starting in 2018. Over 14 weeks, you’ll start out with two seven-week classes in the first seven weeks. You will finish your exams and start two new classes in the second seven weeks.

Once you’ve gone through six of these 14-week semesters, that will earn you 54 credits and it will take approximately 24 months. We believe that is kind of a proper pace to allow you to A, get the learning you need so that you actually are able to have the time to master and apply the subjects, but also we understand that people are impatient. This is a world where everything moves faster. I think older models where people typically took three years, four years to get through the program are less attractive.

Now I will say this, if you need longer and you want to slow down, you can also do that. Not everyone is required to go through at this pace, but we do think that this is a very achievable, reasonable pace. There is an international business course that is offered, that will be offered in sort of an intensive mini semester in January. We are also piloting, this January, having our online students participate with our part-time, full-time, and executive students in global study courses. Now that is something again that we’re piloting this year and we hope to make it a permanent part of the program.

What is happening during these seven weeks? You will be taking one class that will meet, and I’m going to use the word live. By live I mean slightly more live than what we have right here today. You can hear me, but you can’t see me. I will be able to read your questions, but I won’t be able to see you or hear you. In our live sessions, we all see each other and we all hear each other because we keep them to sections of 25 people or less. Typically, they’re around 18 to 20, 22 students. We will all see each other. We will all hear each other. You will be in that sort of live session for 90 minutes two nights a week, one for each of your seven-week classes. You’ll meet, you will talk, you’ll discuss a case study, you’ll work through programs. There will be a lot of different activities during those 90 minutes. That is the synchronous portion of the work.

Then what we do is we take everything else and we put it in what we call asynchronous content, which means you can do that other work whenever it’s convenient for you. This sort of flexibility, we find, is very attractive to people who are working professionals, which most of our students are, and also people who have family obligations, whether it’s to your spouse, maybe your aging parents, maybe your children, maybe you have volunteer activities you need to use some of your time for. Whatever that is, this allows you to squeeze in this and … I shouldn’t say squeeze because it’s a significant amount of work, but it’ll give you the flexibility to do it in a timeframe that works for you.

The synchronous work is the live session that you will have two nights a week for 90 minutes, one on Monday or Tuesday, one on Wednesday or Thursday, and the asynchronous work is all the other work that you will do the readings, the problem-solving, the discussion boards, that you will do on your own timeframe.

Now, everyone has the opportunity to choose a specialization and we currently offer five specializations, which you see here, as well as a general track. I’ll just talk about them briefly. What these are are in your second year, you’ll take three courses that are your specialization. Those can be in accounting, in finance, in information systems and business analytics, in marketing and supply chains. There’s a lot more detail on this slide. I’m not going to read it for you, but I will say that people come in and they often say, “This is the kind of job I aspire to have when I leave here. What combination of all these specialization courses should I take?” We encourage you to connect with our Office of Career Services to help you pick out the courses that are going to get you where you want to be at the end of your 24 months with us.

In some cases, that might be three marketing courses. There, we have one about consumer behavior. How do we understand how consumers behave? We have one on co-creating customer experiences. The big thing in marketing is that people don’t buy products as much as they used to. They don’t even buy services like we thought they did for many years. As our economy evolves, people more and more spend their money on experiences. We talk about how those experiences can be even more meaningful when companies co-create them with their customers.

Then the third marketing selective is about customer equity. We spend a lot of money to attract and retain customers, businesses do. Once you do that, how do you ensure that you can actually earn back that money and ideally, even more, such that you can invest that money in innovating and creating better experiences, services, products for your customers?

That’s an example of three courses that fit very nicely together to create a specialization. However, given your career aspirations, you may want to take all three of the marketing courses or you might say, “You know what? I actually want to take one marketing course and two courses from the information systems and business analytics.” That is also completely your choice. Our career services folks will help you pick that out. That’s the specialization aspect of the program.

Now, our program, we call it the online MBA, but in fact, it is technically blended. By that, I mean we have the live sessions that I’ve already talked about. That is something that is not entirely online because it is synchronous. You’ll see faculty. They’ll see you. You’ll see your classmates, but the other element that makes it blended is our two campus residencies. We have two on campus residencies that are each three days. One is at the very beginning of the program and one is at the very end.

At the beginning of the program, we ask you to come here to Smith so that we can help you see who we are. What is the family you’re joining? What are our expectations of you? How are we going to ask you to study? What is the investment? You should know the investment pretty well before you sign up for the program, but we make sure at this point you really understand what’s going to be required to get through the program successfully. Most importantly, you meet each other. You get to know each other, you get to know your classmates, you get to understand, you get to kind of meet some, we’ll call them study buddies. [inaudible 00:18:13] This is the beginning of that sort of collaborative competition and with a greater emphasis on collaboration.

We get together, we know each other, and by the way, the most important part … Actually, not the most important part, we give you some fundamentals of business. If you’re like me, you come from a field, I studied computer science as a undergraduate. I had no idea about the language of business. We get your toes in the water, maybe your whole foot in the water, to start to understand the language of business so when you start your first session of classes, you’ve at least kind of been imbued with some of this perspective.

The final closing residency is we give you an opportunity to go back and touch almost every single course again and put that all together to lead a firm in this simulation and compete against your classmates and say, “Okay, it’s me. It’s three other classmates. We’re a team. We’re starting a company and we’re competing in a marketplace with four other teams.” Who’s going to use that knowledge from the MBA program the best, come out with the best outcomes? That’s a very intense three-day experience. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work, but we think it actually kind of solidifies and says, “Okay, don’t just think about those classes you had the last 14 weeks. Reflect back on the whole experience and let’s bring that together and see if you can put it together and take it forward with you out into your career.”

Another class I want to talk about, because I think this really speaks to the heart of who we are at Smith, is the action learning project class. This class is where you apply your MBA knowledge, it’s in the second year, to a problem from your world. You get to do that and you also get to lead a team, at least a subset of our students do. I’ll talk about that more in a moment. Let me tell you about this. Every student proposes a problem that they think needs to be solved. It should be, what we call, a fairly sticky problem, not an easy problem. Those aren’t so interesting. We want a hard problem. That problem can come from the company you work for. It could be a startup you want to create or it could be a nonprofit that you’re currently working with. We spend about seven weeks together proposing ideas, choosing ideas, faculty get involved in choosing the ideas, students vote on choosing ideas, and we choose the ideas, and then we form teams in those first seven weeks. Then we take the next 14 weeks to work on the problem.

Many people come in and they say, “You know, I have a great idea for my company, but I’m actually already in a strong leadership position and what I need to practice is not leading more. I’ve been doing that for five years at my firm. What I need to practice is empowering others to be more successful leaders. I need to practice mentoring people,” and so some people will come into this project and say, “I’ve got a good project, but I’d actually rather step back a little bit and think about how I can use the skills I have to mentor others. That’s where I’m lacking.” When I say not everyone leads a team, in some cases, that is actually their choice. It’s because what they need to learn is how to influence without actual authority.

I’ll talk briefly about the online experience. The first thing I want to say is that this doesn’t apply to too many people anymore, but I think in some cases, people think it might be easier when it’s online because I’m talking about two sessions every week, 90 minutes each. How hard can that be? I assure you, the rigor is not any lighter here in the online program. It is exactly what you would get in our full-time and our part-time program. The advantage is that the format is more accessible to you as a busy professional. You will get to know your classmates. When we say connections, I see people come together at the closing residency. They maybe met in person once, but when they show up, it’s hugs, it’s kisses, it’s, “How have you been?” Everybody knows each other because you see each other twice a week in these online live sessions.

It won’t be you and a computer. It’s going to be you, a computer, and 24 other students, and your faculty members. You are going to get to know. You’re going to make the connections. I think I’ve talked about the convenience quite a bit. We make these live sessions fairly brief, but a lot of the work, you have that capability to do it when it works for you, whether that’s 5 AM, lunch time, midnight. It’s up to you.

Then we do give you a great deal of support. We try to make sure, especially early on, that you’re not falling behind, that you’re able to cope, that you’re keeping up because we realize for many of us, online learning is new. You may not have your rhythm down yet. Going to graduate school, that could be something, or being in school in general, that maybe you haven’t done for a while. We are going to be there with you, especially that first term, every step of the way.

I’ll speak briefly about campus resources. The library that we have here at the University of Maryland, they are focusing on turning that more and more into study space, maker space because so many of the resources there are online. As a online student, you’re really not at a disadvantage. You’re also not at a disadvantage at all when it comes to our Office of Career Services. Our coaches in the career service office are phenomenal with keeping up with our online students. Many of the students in the part-time program that are in our quote unquote, “Face to face or on the ground program,” they’re working remotely. They’re not here on campus very often and so our coaches are well-versed in working by phone, video conferencing, whatever you need. Likewise, our Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, they have an event called Pitch Dingman, where every Friday students can come and pitch business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors. They work with us to make sure that if we have an online student who wants to pitch Dingman and do it virtually, somebody in California, Oregon, wherever, that they are able to do that.
Then finally again, we have a very active military and veterans support. It’s actually a former student of mine who was in our full-time program and then in our part-time program. He is a former Navy officer and he actually, so he knows our programs well and he knows veteran-centered programming very well. I think he’s a great resource for all of us.

I’d love to turn it over now to Cory Adams. Cory just graduated from our program and Cory can probably give you the true lowdown on everything online MBA. Cory, I’m going to turn it over to you.

Cory Adams:
Thank you, Judy. It’s certainly a pleasure to speak with everyone today. As I looked at going back to pursue an MBA, my undergrad is as well in chemical engineering, one of the things that I looked at in the time I was working for Nestle USA and trying to figure out the right university to fit my needs, Nestle offered a consortium of universities that they work with, so Maryland was one of those universities in the consortium. Ironically, I had a colleague who had actually gotten their Master’s from Maryland and as well, one of my mentors from undergrad had gotten her Master’s from Maryland. In speaking with them about the program and really what Maryland offered holistically from an academic standpoint, and as I began to do my research, it became quite clear that Maryland would probably be a great place for me to start my endeavors as I pursued the program.

As I found, some of the things that I liked going through the program, because I was looking for the business to stretch my career, kind of going into my ninth or tenth year in my personal journey, and so really looking at the curriculum that provided really an aspect of business challenge on a global level, working for Nestle and now working for Mars, these are two global organizations, both in the food industry. Really trying to ensure that the knowledge that I was gaining in the academic standpoint, I could reapply in the application on the day to day basis in my job, as well as looking at the professional experiences of the cohort to advance my personal learning. How can I take the learning on a day to day basis from everyone else within the program because looking at the cohort, it’s made up of various individuals from various backgrounds. How do I take their experiences as well and help to support myself and them through the process?

The online platform was definitely convenient. I worked the entire time, full-time. My company sponsored my MBA, so I worked full-time throughout the program. You want to make sure that you’re choosing a program that gives you that flexibility from a class, an academic standpoint, as well as for when professors’ availability if you have concerns or questions. The professors were very committed to supporting my success and the success of my cohort.
Then finally, I would say it’s a networking opportunity. Not only the networking opportunities that occur in the job market, but as well as the networking opportunities with the fellow cohort. There’s so many individuals that I have met through the process and we’re still in contact today. I got a call a couple of weeks ago from someone who graduated from the program, talking about their career aspirations and operations and seeking advice in the food industry and how they could be better successful. We continue to leverage one another in the broader Smith alumni network as well to try to help support as we continue to make different journeys in our personal lives.

When I look at the residencies, the starting residency is definitely critical I think to the success of myself and others in the program because it gave us that kind of an eye opening of what to expect over the program life and really the academic expectations. This was critical really to understanding how I would approach the program and I think that really trying to understand the other students who were a part of the program and building some of those key relationships that would be critical in order to be successful.

Then looking at what made me successful I believe in the program, definitely prepare your family and friends for the time commitment. This is not … Just because it’s an online program does not mean that the same requirements and expectations are going to be there for the curriculum and as far as the time commitment. You really want to prepare people up front. I have a 10 year-old daughter, so making sure that she understood what I was committing to and some little time commitments, as well as additional family and friends, is definitely important.

Making time for yourself in the schedule is just as equally as important, so choosing one or two things, whether it be the gym or a movie night or something that you’re going to do to kind of pour yourself back into reality sometimes is important I believe because you can get so overwhelmed sometimes by the academic requirements and the tests and the exams that you forget about living life and you definitely want to continue to ensure that you maintain balance.

As well as, be prepared. Some of the breaks require some pre-work for the upcoming courses, so ensuring that you understand what you’re getting into as you go throughout the different cohorts and take the breaks because there will be some requirements sometimes, so you want to be careful before planning some huge vacation and maybe have to make vacations for the academic coursework.

Then I think the final key to success lies in the small groups, picking four or five people that you’re really going to try to work with regularly to go through the program. One of the things that my team did in the small group, even though we may have had different classes, different professors, we used to get together on a Monday and someone would submit out what the requirements were for that week, whether it be the studying, the reading, and the exams, just to ensure that we maintain focus and the right pace. I believe that this is so critical as well to ensure that you’re going to be successful. Life is going to be happening fast. Your work and career is going to be happening fast and you want to be able and capable of balancing all of those things. These are some of the things that I believe are critical to the success and really a great program that I’m proud to be a part of and have graduated from in June.

Christina, I’ll turn it back over to you now.

Christina Walsh:
Thank you, Cory. Now I’d like to introduce Karen, who will go through our application process.

Karen Tucci:
Good afternoon, everyone. My name’s Karen Tucci. I’m an enrollment advisor at the University of Maryland, the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Just a little bit about what the enrollment team does is we help you get ready for working on your application and actually get ready for class. There’s a team of us. Most of the people that have registered on the website have an enrollment advisor assigned to them. I’m one of five of us here that will assist you through the application process and get you ready for class.

Thanks again for joining us here. I’d like to discuss on the next slide that has just come up, the online MBA class profile. Currently, we have a profile of 65 percent male, 35 percent female. The average age of our applicants is 32 years old. The average undergrad cumulative grade point average is 3.18. The average GMAT score is 588. The average work experience that the people here have is eight years. We do have 14 percent of our students have a military affiliation. Our students are experienced in various backgrounds, including executives, technical, finance, banking, educators, military, and government entities such as the Department of Defense, which makes for some great classroom discussions.

I can now talk to you a little bit about what your enrollment advisor is going to help you with to ensure that you’re able to complete the application process painlessly. There are a few a few requirements for applying to the online MBA. All of the admissions requirements go through an online program that we will send over to you so you can start the application process. Everything is done through here so that your enrollment advisor can review it with you and we can make sure that we have everything ready for the admissions committee.

We require an online MBA application, we do require official transcripts, Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, and if there are other official transcripts for other institutions that you have attended, we do require all of them, a resume, GRE or GMAT scores. There is a waiver available for qualified candidates. One letter of recommendation, one essay in regards to why you have chosen University of Maryland and your short-term and your long-term goals, there’s also a one-time non-refundable application fee of 75 dollars and we do require a TOEFL score for international students only. Sometimes there’s even an interview at discretion of the admissions committee that you would do via phone. This is all done over the phone. There’s no need to come into the office, okay?

One of the things in regards to the GRE, GMAT waiver that is a huge question we get on a daily basis, most students start their application at the same time that they start studying for the GMAT or the GRE. Your enrollment advisor does have some study tools to help you get started with the GMAT or the GRE preparation as well. Also, we do have a GRE, GMAT waiver, which is available for qualified candidates. You definitely want to speak with your enrollment advisor in regards to the eligibility of the GMAT or the GRE waiver. 88 percent of our students do qualify for this waiver and that was in the summer of 2016, the summer of 2017. The application fee waivers are offered to applicants who are active military or military veterans, alumni or employees of established corporate partnerships with the University of Maryland.

Just so you know, the important dates that are coming up and that we’re currently accepting applications for, we’re currently accepting applications for our spring 2018 term and that application deadline is November 6th. The opening residency is January 18th, 19th, and 20th. We’re also accepting applications for our summer 2018 term. The application deadline for that term is March 5th and the opening residency is May 3rd, 4th, and 5th on site with us.
One of the biggest questions that we get as enrollment advisors is, “How am I going to finance my education?” There’s many different things that we can discuss with you in regards to it. There is no differentiation between in-state and out-of-state tuition. The tuition covers the curriculum, technology platform licensing and support, and room and board accommodations for the two required three-day residency periods. Transportation to and from the Smith School for the residencies, as well as course books and materials is not covered in the tuition or fees. You do all have to understand that tuition and fees are subject to change.

I can go back to this slide a little bit here. The 2018 tuition and fees and then we’ll cover a few other things. There are 54 credit hours. The tuition per credit hour is 1,555. The total tuition does come to 83, 970. There is a 75-dollar application fee and then there is a university mandated technology fee of 152 dollars. That is charged twice a year during the spring and summer, fall semesters. Also, once you have committed to the program, there is a required 1,000-dollar non-refundable enrollment deposit to reserve a space in the class. Enrollment deposits will be applied as a credit toward the first term tuition. If you do have further questions in regards to this, please contact your enrollment advisor. There’s a phone number up there and they’d be happy to discuss that with you.

As I stated, one of the biggest questions that we do get on a daily basis is, “How am I going to finance this education?” University of Maryland and the Smith School offer a variety of scholarships to assist in financing your education. The University of Maryland offers a merit scholarship to our students who have been formally admitted into the online MBA program. Our merit scholarship is based on the applicant’s academic performance, certifications, and professional experience. The merit scholarship can range from 0 dollars to 22,000 dollars. We also have a double Terp scholarship. As of fall of 2016, Smith now offers a double Terp scholarship to alumni of the University of Maryland College Park who are newly admitted into the Smith online MBA program. Be sure to indicate that you are a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park on your application for admission.

University of Maryland also has a veterans scholarship. This is a merit based award available to US military veterans, active members, service members, and National Guard reservists or their family members. We also do have corporate partnerships. The Smith School has partnered with specific organizations to offer a tuition scholarship and no application fee or enrollment deposit for their full-time employees and their immediate families who enroll in the online MBA program. To learn if your employer is part of this program, please contact your enrollment advisor. You also may use FAFSA, federal student aid. If you’re not familiar with that, we’d be more than happy to discuss that with you and put you in contact with our advisor here.

Lastly, some people do use military benefits. For those students who are active military or veterans, Smith offers a number of services to help you on your path to success. UMD accepts the post-9-11 GI bill, offers tuition assistance, and participates in the yellow ribbon program. We understand the challenges military students face in the university system, so we also offer a dedicated military advocate to help advise and answer any questions or concerns military students have. You also may find that you have tuition reimbursement through the company that you work for and lastly, you may use private loans if necessary.

Some of the helpful tips into actually completing a successful application. Your first steps towards applying for the Smith online MBA program is to please contact your enrollment advisor. They will help you put together a timeline that works for your goals and assist you through the application process. The first thing, as I said, you want to contact your enrollment advisor. They will send you the links that you can start your application online. If necessary, you do want to start studying for your GRE or GMAT. You’re going to upload your official transcripts and your resume to the online application. You do need to consider who you would like to ask for a recommendation. Then you’re also going to write your goals essay and upload that into the application. You may need to upload your recommendation to the online application as well and then pay your 75-dollar application fee. I highly recommend that before you pay that 75-dollar application fee that you do discuss with your enrollment advisor the entire application. Make sure that we have everything in there that is necessary for the admissions committee. Thank you.

Christina Walsh:
Thank you, Karen. Now I’d like to open up the Q and A portion of the session today. We’ve already received a good amount of questions so far. Anybody who hasn’t submitted the question, go ahead and do so now and we will get through as many questions as time allows today. This first question, “Is it feasible to do the program in two years if you are working full-time?” Judy, do you want to take that first?

Judy Frels:
Sure. Yes, it is. It is feasible to do the program and work full-time in two years. It would not be feasible to do those two things and do many other things like have a very significant volunteering commitment or … We’ve had people have babies and there are things you can do, but again, what we do advise people is to kind of curtail a lot of other activities, but it is anticipated that people will finish in two years while working full-time.

Christina Walsh:
Great, thank you. Is the tuition cost the same as traditional settings? Judy, do you want to address that as well?

Judy Frels:
Sure. If by traditional settings, you mean our face to face program and our part-time program, I believe there’s a very small difference at this point, with the online MBA being very slightly less expensive. There were a few years when … Typically, tuition goes up every year. There were a few years when the online MBA, we chose not to raise our tuition so we’re slightly behind, but it is pretty minuscule. If you’re asking if there’s a radical difference, absolutely not. Is there a small difference? Yes.

Christina Walsh:
Great, thank you. During the specializations discussion, you mentioned a couple of the marketing courses. Could you go through that again, what are the marketing courses and the specializations if you know them all off the top of your head?

Judy Frels:
Sure. I can mention them briefly, but I think it’d probably be more meaningful if you read about them on our website. There’s a course in consumer behavior, a course in co-creating customer experiences, and then a course in customer equity, but again I think the descriptions that are online would probably be more meaningful than me talking about them.

Christina Walsh:
Sure. The next question, “What if you don’t have experience in management? Can you still apply?”

Judy Frels:
Yes, absolutely. We do like to see some career progression, so it’s not absolutely essential that you’ve managed other people, but it is essential … The degree will be much more valuable and meaningful to you when you have career progression. If you had a promotion or two over time or advanced by changing firms, that is when we see people getting the most dividends. Our target, I think Karen said our average work experience is eight years. Certainly our minimum is three and I think eight is a very nice number to have, but it’s not the minimum.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Can you review again when the online live classes take place, what time of day?

Judy Frels:
Yes. Those are in the evening. We have one section that runs from 7 to 8:30. You can choose that one or you can choose 8:45 to 10:15. Those are the two time frames we offer now.

Christina Walsh:
Those are Eastern time, correct?

Judy Frels:
Yes, sorry, Eastern time.

Christina Walsh:
Great. The next question … I think it’s a question for Cory. “The online MBA from UMD, has it made any difference in your career growth and future opportunities in the job market so far?”

Cory Adams:
Sure, so I think the first way I’ll answer that is one of the reasons why I got the transitional role going from Nestle to Mars was because I was in the MBA program and that was something that my leader was looking for at that time. Since graduating from the program, I would say I probably get two to three job offers per day in different roles and people looking for different things. It definitely is an attractive piece that will help you, depending on what you want to do. I just actually turned down a job offer that I was going to potentially take, so definitely there are opportunities going to be abound for you post the program.

Christina Walsh:
Perfect, thank you. Karen, can you review what the GPA requirement is?

Karen Tucci:
Sure. We definitely like to see someone that has a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 or higher. However, if that’s not the case, I highly recommend talking with your enrollment advisor in regards to that.

Christina Walsh:
Great, and how do you obtain the GRE or your GMAT score waiver? Can you review that again?

Karen Tucci:
Sure. In order to obtain a waiver, we do like to see once again, someone that at least has a 2.8 cumulative grade point average and has been working professionally for at least three years. The waiver is an essay that becomes part of your application. It’s an essay between 250 and 300 words outlining your quantitative and your analytical skills.

Christina Walsh:
Great, and how does that essay differ from the application essay?

Karen Tucci:
The application essay is also between 250 and 300 words. However, it discusses why you have chosen our university, your short-term goals, and your long-term goals.

Christina Walsh:
Next question, “Are you able to have more than one scholarship? For example, if I was a Terp as an undergrad because I get the double Terp as well as the merit based award.” Judy, do you want to take that?

Judy Frels:
The short answer to that is no, although if your merit was such that we thought that the double Terp award was not enough and that we wanted to give you more based on the merit, that in your application, that is possible. Just because you’re a Terp undergraduate doesn’t mean that you’re limited to the double Terp, but we will not give you two scholarships.

Christina Walsh:
Perfect, thank you. Approximately how many hours of studying per week per seven-week class is typically required? Judy?

Judy Frels:
We recommend that you plan for 10 to 12 hours per week per class. That is going to be minimum 20 hours a week. Now, depending on what your background is and what your skills are, that might be very high in some terms. It might be a little low at certain weeks in the term. I mean, Cory, maybe you want to speak to how you organized your life during the program.

Cory Adams:
I believe that definitely free up Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays for studying prep, especially I would say in the first year because you’re getting into some things that maybe are not as familiar to you. The rigor of the program is going to be coming at you very fast, so primarily my team met early Saturday morning into the late Saturday night and then took several hours into the evening for a break and then got back together on Sundays, primarily in the first year, and then meeting you’re going to potentially have group meetings throughout the week, so I think that what I would say is that’s on the light end in my perspective, if you want to have really good academic success in the program.

Christina Walsh:
Great, thank you. Is taking four years to complete the program unusual? This person is concerned with balancing with her home life.

Judy Frels:
I think that’s actually a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I wouldn’t say it’s common in the online program, but I know we see that more in our part-time program. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think it’s frankly wise to be judicious in how much you … Don’t bite off more than you can chew. The university requires that you finish within five years. Four years is absolutely doable and I don’t think you’d be at a disadvantage at all.

Christina Walsh:
Perfect, thank you. Next question, this person has a degree from outside the US and is asking if there’s translation service offered by UMD or a third-party needed for the program.

Judy Frels:
Karen, do you want to take that one? You probably know better than I do.

Karen Tucci:
Yeah. That’s no problem at all. We do not require an evaluation if you are thinking of that. We don’t accept evaluations. What we do require is we require your transcripts to be in the language that you receive them in and then we also require them to be translated into English, not evaluated, translated. We do have people that we can recommend to you that do translation. We can find them on our website. There is cost involved in that, but we do have people that we can recommend to you to have them translated.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Thank you, Karen. “Will my diploma say that I earned the online MBA?”

Karen Tucci:
It will say that you earned an online MBA.

Christina Walsh:
Judy, did you want to add to that?

Judy Frels:
I will just say if you pull unofficial transcripts, they will say online MBA, but official transcripts and diploma, as Karen said, will not say online MBA.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Let’s see. This person … “Is there a list of corporate partnerships that provide tuition assistance?” Karen?

Karen Tucci:
No, there is not. You would need to discuss that with your enrollment advisor. They’d be happy to assist you with that.

Christina Walsh:
“How much access will we have to the Career Services Center and the opportunities available,” Judy?

Judy Frels:
In terms of the career coaches, you have extremely good access. I would say the online students that I’ve worked with, that I talk to about this have been very happy with the coaching they’ve gotten. You have access to Hire Smith, which is where job postings happen. Obviously, if you’re in California, you have less access to events that happen here in the building. We do work every year to try and live stream more of those, but certainly that is a little less available. Now I will also say that to our part-time students who are in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Shady Grove, Maryland, they have similar issues. It’s less of an issue of the online MBA than it is a separation between the full-time students who are here, who have quit their job and come here to totally change their career than it is about online versus face to face.

Christina Walsh:
Great, thank you. This attendee is going to be graduating with her undergrad in December and is wondering if they should apply, considering they don’t have the two or three years’ work experience.

Judy Frels:
I would frankly recommend, just less from an admissions standpoint and more from a personal standpoint, that you work a few years. If I had gone to graduate school directly after my undergraduate, I would’ve come out with an MS in computer science and I would’ve worked for about six months and realized that’s not absolutely not what I wanted. I would recommend you work for a while. I think that A, serves you better and B, makes you get a lot more out of the MBA when you come here. If you haven’t managed people, you might believe that you simply tell them what to do and they do it. I think Cory and I can both say that that’s not true. Taking a course in leadership and teamwork when you’ve actually had that experience is far more meaningful than it is if you haven’t managed people or worked quite a bit. However, we have admitted people with very little work experience if they have exceptional … If there are other elements in their application package that are exceptional.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Thank you, Judy. “What are the career networking opportunities that a UMD MBA provide upon graduating?”

Judy Frels:
We have some … Yeah, Cory maybe do you want to talk about that a bit?

Cory Adams:
I think from my perspective, the things that I’ve seen, is that a lot of us were using the career services as well as LinkedIn primarily. Then I think that there’s a lot of general networking that goes on. For me specifically, a lot of mine was aligned already with my company. I think the key, going back to Judy what you just said, is if you’re working in the environment and doing this program, typically your organizations are going to be helping to support you to go to that next step of wherever that is. I’m having conversations with the vice president in my organization and the human resources arena to say, “What exactly do I want to do post having this degree, and how can I help better utilize that in the organization?” I have MBA’s who work in my team currently and I’m doing the same thing for them and supporting them in their career objectives and such. That’s the way that I’ve seen it work for me.

Judy Frels:
We have also had some online career fairs that I know some of our online students have participated in. Again, more and more, I think the world in general is moving this way. I think that we do try to move quickly that way to accommodate our online students.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Thank you both. This question is, I believe it was related to disabled student services, just kind of a question if this program can accommodate students with disabilities.

Judy Frels:
Yes, we can.

Christina Walsh:
I believe, for more information on that I believe the enrollment advisors can speak to that in more detail, absolutely. To be conscious of everybody’s schedules here, a lot of the remaining questions here have longer answers. Let me see. One person asked about will the slides or the presentation be available afterwards and yes, I can say that it will be available on demand and if you’d like anything else, the enrollment advisors can share and answer any other questions for you.

I’m going to go ahead and wrap this up. Any other questions that weren’t addressed, we will cover up on after this session. On the screen, you will find the contact information for the enrollment office and Judy Frels, if you have additional questions. You will also see … If you are ready to apply for the program or would like to schedule an appointment to speak with your advisor, links to do so can be found within the resources widget on your screen. Additional program links are also available to you there. I’d like to thank our presenters today for their time and willingness to share their expertise and also, thank you to everyone who participated. I’m really glad that you could join us today. I hope the session was helpful to you.

Now I’d like to open up to the panelists for any closing comments. Judy, you want to go first?

Judy Frels:
Sure. I just want to say that I think Cory’s a great example of the kind of people we like to have coming in and the kind of people we like to have going out. He’s just … I hope that many of you can see yourself in him and say, “Here’s somebody who had a very demanding career. He’s got a family and he’s found a way to come in, make real connections with other people, get the learning that he needed, and move on and apply it in his job.” That’s what we hope to do for you and Cory’s a great example of somebody who came in and really took the bull by the horns and got it done.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Cory, do you have anything to add?

Cory Adams:
Thank you, Judy, and I think that this is definitely a great place to be. I’m glad to be a Terp and I think that it’s definitely doing wonders for myself and my career development and as well as the cohort that I’m in touch with. There are a lot of members of the cohort who are getting promotions who are moving forward in their careers. I think that that’s the purpose, as well as working to solve the business problems of today and tomorrow. I think this is the place to do it and hopefully, we’ll see you in one of the cohorts soon.

Christina Walsh:
Okay, Karen?

Karen Tucci:
I want to thank everyone for joining us today and just to let you know, the enrollment here is happy to answer any of your questions and obviously help you through the application process. Thank you.

Christina Walsh:
Great. Thank you again, everyone, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Judy Frels:
Thank you, Christina.