[Webinar] UMD Smith School Online MBA Overview

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This event provides a broad overview of the Smith School, the online MBA program, the Smith online experience and also covers admissions requirements and financial aid. Find out if the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business Online MBA Program is right for you.


  • Judy Frels, Assistant Dean, Online Programs; Clinical Professor
  • Ali Kheshen, Online MBA Enrollment Advisor

Originally recorded on August 30, 2016.


Hello and welcome to the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Online MBA Information Session. I’m Christina Walsh and I will be your host for 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 audience console are multiple application widgets that you can use to customize your view. You may expand your slide area by clicking on the maximize icon on the top right, up right of the slide area, or by dragging the bottom right corner of the slide.If you have questions during the presentation, please submit your questions using the Q&A widget. Feel free to enter questions as you think of them and we’ll answer as many as time allows at the end of the session. Should you have any technical difficulties, that help widget provides answers to common technical issues. If you seem to lose connectivity, the audio cuts out or you don’t see the slides progressing, you can press 5 on a PC or command + R on a Mac to refresh and reconnect the audience console. An on-demand version of the 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 and Ali Kheshen. Judy Frels is a clinical professor of marketing at the 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 action learning project course in the online program. She also teaches in Smith’s full time, part time, in executive MBA programs at many of their campuses, including Beijing, and continues to publish in top academics journals.Ali Kheshen is an enrollment advisor with the University of Maryland’s and has been with the Smith’s online MBA for the past year. He has worked with several different universities over the past 6 years in various roles of their enrollment department. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s degree in international business. Ali speaks three languages, which include French, Arabic and English, and he always is available to his students.In today’s session, Judy will begin will begin with a short overview of University of Maryland’s and the Smith School vision. She’ll highlight key differentiator 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 and the skills students can gain. Then Ali will present the advantages of learning online and provide an overview of what you can expect when you log on. He will then review the steps for applying to the Smith online MBA program, including some helpful tips. We will then wrap up with the Q&A session. Right. Now I’d like to turn things over to Judy. Judy?

Judy:Great. Thank you, Christina. Welcome, everyone. I just want to tell you a little bit about the Smith School of Business. The Smith School of Business is named for alumnus Robert H. Smith, who was the chairman of the Charles E. Smith Company, a large construction and development firm. We named it for him in recognition of a 15 million dollar gift he gave to the school endowment in 1998. Robert Smith graduated from our Business School in 1950 and majored in accounting. He’s best known for developing and building the Crystal City complex in Northern Virginia. If you flown into Washington National Airport, you will have seen a huge development near there. That’s all attributed to Robert Smith.

In addition to the naming gift, he’s given the school over 30 million dollars, both the Business School and the university at large. His family was a large contributor also to the Center for Performing Arts. We build a lot of our core values based on elements that we take away from Robert Smith. Some of those values are first of all creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. We focus a great deal on innovation, both in education, which is our online MBA, I think is an example of that, and also in the research we do. We also have an entrepreneurship center here that we infuse into all of our programs. A second value that we take from Smith is integrity and accountability. A third one would be a global view or global mindset, both from an international perspective and also from an appreciation over diversity perspective.

That’s our founder. Let’s talk a little bit about our network. First of all let’s start with the world-class faculty. I’m sorry, the network is really probably a better name for that. The world-class faculty, we over 150 full time faculty, 60 part time faculty and they’re broken down into six academic departments. We attract faculty from some of the top research institutions in the world, both from as first PhD candidates or graduates and also as advanced faculty members. The school is also noted as one of the top research producers in the world, and particularly in the business school. We also have high caliber students.

The students we admit to the online program, the part time, the full time, have very rigorous criteria that we require for admissions in terms of prior academic performance, career progression and in some cases performance in standardized tests. We also look for a diverse mix of students, so we want people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and with a wide variety of expertise and experiences. Business School has over 50,000 alumni living in the US and 70 other countries. Some of the alumni you might be aware of would be, for instance, Carly Fiorina. She’s in the middle there. She was recently a candidate for president for the Republican Party. Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google. He did a BA in math and computer science, so not from the Smith School but from the University of Maryland.

Kevin Plank studied business here at the Smith School. He is the founder of Under Armour. He’s there on the lower left-hand corner. Some of you may remember Connie Chung. She was a widely recognized television journalist. She graduated from the Journalism School. Probably everybody’s favorite on lower right-hand corner, Jim Henson. He’s the creator of the Muppets. He went here to University of Maryland. Then Larry David, upper left-hand corner. Creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He actually did graduate from the Business School and also got a degree from arts and humanities.

One other thing to mention, we are very well connected to DC Community, which means a federal government … A lot of the non-profits that are here, the NGOs, policy makers of all sorts and as you may know, DC is a very international community and so we do connect to this very vast network of influential contacts both for students and alumni.

Why would you choose Smith over other schools? We talked about the faculty already. I want to talk a little bit more about our track record for excellence. In a few minutes I’ll show you some of the rankings we have. We are highly ranked because we actually prepare students to lead, to innovate, to create, to build and drive the world of business. Again, we have a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, so we are constantly innovating, revising, revamping what we do here. What the experience that you all have as you join us next winter will be different than the experience that a cohort joined us a year ago might have had because we constantly look to have a sense of continuous improvement and innovation.

We also have a commitment to the community that we’re in, both the business and policy leaders, private sector companies, governments at home abroad, non-profits, but especially we want to have a commitment to our community of alumni. If you join us, you may be with us in school for only 21 months, but for us you will be a Smith grad, or as we call you a Terp for the rest of your life. I want to say one more word about our faculty. The faculty you will have when you come to the online MBA program are the same faculty that our students have in the full time program and our part time program and our executive program. We focus greatly on the making sure that the MBAs agree that we offer at the Robert H. Smith School of Business is the same quality, the same rigor and gets the same attention no matter how we deliver that degree.

Of course we’re credited both by AACSB, which is an international accreditation organization and also on more regional accreditations, Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Let me just show you a few of the rankings, our most recent rankings. Financial Times has ranked us, our full time program, number 22. It has ranked our executive MBA number 7 in the US. Students satisfaction ranked number 1 by Businessweek in 2015. The next one down, number 4 faculty. That is primarily focused on the research that our faculty does, as it’s the last one, number 3 in research around the world from the Financial Times. As you can see, we have a wide variety of rankings, meaning that the numbers are high, but they’re related to both student satisfaction, research and our programs overall, and we strive to keep these rankings up.

Let me give you a little bit of an overview of the program. As you’re probably aware, you have five specializations and the option to choose a general track, so let me say what that means. If you choose to specialize in accounting, then in your second year you’ll take three selectives, we call them selectives, you can call them elective, from the area of finance looking at both how firms are valued, we look at what are the best tax structures for firms. If you’re starting a firm or if you’re looking at shifting your firm to a different legal structure, what are the tax implications of that.

We also have a course on fraud taught by a former senior prosecutor for the FCC, so probably one of our most popular selectives. In that same way, in each of these areas we have two to three to four selectives that you take that help you specialize your MBA in an area of your choice. Our most recent selective or specialization is supply chain management, where we’ll talk about global trade logistics, what it takes to do business internationally from a very practical standpoint. We’ll talk about what are the risk implications of how your supply chain is designed. Then we’ll have a course where we talk specifically about how a supply chain is built so that it actually creates the most value for the company.

Now if you choose to take a general track, which many of our students do, the implications of that are that you can pick and choose. You can choose a unique path through all these specializations for yourself. Perhaps you need a little bit of marketing. Perhaps you want something on web analytics, which we have in our information systems selective. Maybe you also need, you feel like you need a stronger foundation in finance and there’s a course there that appeals to you. If you take the general, that is an option that is open to you.

Let me tell you a little bit about the program structure.The program can be completed in 21 months. I will tell you many people do complete it in 21 months and it’s extremely intense. However, having said that, I would argue that our full time, part time and executive tracks are equally intense. It’s a total of 54 credits and those credit are delivered over seven 10 week terms. We don’t technically call them as quarters, but you could think of them as quarters. In a 10 week term you will have one course that runs the entire 10 weeks. That will be a three credit class. It will be on Monday, Tuesday every week for the full 10 weeks. Then in the first five weeks, you’ll be involved in a different class, an additional class that might be something, for instance, like a foundation course in marketing or in supply chain, let’s say. Then on the second five weeks you’ll shift to another two week class. It might be something like an economics class.

At any point in time you’ll taking two courses. One on Monday and Tuesday night. That’s your 10 week class. One on Wednesday or Thursday night. That’s your five week class. Midway through that term, you’ll switch from the first five week class to the second five week class.

Now both in these seven terms are two on-campus residencies. We call them open and closing residency. In the first one we get you ready to study for your MBA and also to grow as a professional. We help you think about your behavior in teams. We have a big session on team work during that work. We help do some self-analysis, what we can some assessments that help you think about how you perform in teams, how you lead teams, and more importantly how other people behave in teams to start to understand the differences both in the workplace and in your school teams.

We also give you some introductory sessions to start to learn the language of business. Something on accounting, on finance, on strategy so that you start to get immersed in the language of the MBA and provide some sort of foundational knowledge. Once you do the opening residency you’ll start your seven terms. When you finish that, you’ll come back to college part, where we put into an integrated business simulation that takes everyone one of those elements that you spent time learning and lets you, in a team environment, run a small business, compete with other colleagues in your cohort to actually be the winner at the end. What it requires is that you have a good understanding of manufacturing, HR, marketing, segmentation, business strategy. All of those things come together in the closing residency at the end.

Another way that people, first of all, further their specialization, but also bring that real world application of your school set to bear is through the action learning project. This is something that you do in your second year of the program. What we do is we have the student, each of you will propose a problem that’s happening right now in your business. It might be in a startup that you’re connected to. Maybe it’s your spouse’s startup, maybe it’s your colleague’s startup, your friend’s startup. Or through a non-profit that you work with. Possibly you might be interested in doing a startup on your own.

Every student proposes a project for you and your teammates to work on. Through a process of elimination we end up selecting about one project for every four or five students in the class. Everybody forms teams. For our 10 week term, we focus on solving that problem. What this does is it allows you to actually take a very problem and say, “What have I put in my toolkit during the first year of the MBA that I can take out now and apply to a problem that my company is having, that my non-profit that I’m involved in is having?” Perhaps you volunteer for a group and they can’t get their strategy straight. This is an opportunity to really see what have you learned that you can apply in the real world.

We also have people during this time work on their own personal development goals. What are the last tweaks you want to put on your professional behavior, as you leave the MBA, and step back into a full professional life, what are one or two things that you think are really going to take you to next level on your career? We have you document those, work on those. You get feedback from your peers on those. That’s what the action learning project is all about. I’ve seen it be really rewarding for some of our students. I think it’s just a great opportunity for people to apply skills they’ve learned and work on a few personal development challenges. Christina, I’m going to turn it back over to you.

Christina:Great. Thank you, Judy. Now I’d like to introduce Ali, who will speak to the online experience and the application process.

Ali:Thank you, Christina. Again, my name is Ali Kheshen and I’m an enrollment advisor here with the University of Maryland online MBA. The best part about the online experience is that you get basically the same quality and the same thing that basically you have on our campus program while still maintaining the flexibility of your own schedule. I would like to discuss, to take a second to talk about Oliver’s quote on the other side. One of the things we pride ourselves on is access to faculty. We’re here as a partner for the students and manage the material that we set out. That’s really true. The professors here are ranked number 4 on the nation for a reason. They’re very open with the online students. The professors are acceptable to their students during their office hours and scheduled one on one appointments when needed. We always encourage you to reach out to your professors.

In addition to the regular interaction online, by attending the campus residencies, you have the opportunity to start building the connections you will rely on throughout your program and your career. You also have the opportunity to meet and interact with the professors and class mates that will help on your journey in your MBA. As always, students have the flexibility in their online program to complete their assignments and tests. As well, they engage with the online discussions and interactive lectures offer during the scheduled lecture time. Always know that support is just a phone call away. Your admissions team, student advisor, tech support and faculty are available to assist you during your graduate studies.

I’d like to take a second and discuss our current class profile for the online MBA. As you guys can see in our statistics here, about 65% male, 35% female. The average age for our online experience is 33 years of age. Our undergrad GPA, you’re looking at around the average of 3.18. A lot of students usually ask for GMAT scores, what’s the average GMAT, so it’s about around 600. The GMAT is based upon the score. The high score that you can have is 800, so you’re looking around 600 is the GMAT score for average. Then our average student has about nine years of average work experience also as well. Our students are experienced in various backgrounds, including executive, technical, finance, banking, educators, military and government entities such as the Department of Defense, which makes for some great classroom discussions.

Now I’m about to take you to a virtual tour. Many students ask about what the online experience is like. What does it look like and how does it work? Well, we are thrilled to be using one of the most innovative learning management systems available today, ELMS, powered by Canvas. ELMS is designed to provide the highest level of student engagement and is enhanced through the use of Adobe Connect, one of the market’s premiere virtual classroom applications. You might ask, “What makes it so good?” It’s simple, intuitive and easy to use. As you can use, the top navigation allows you to view your courses, directly link to your assignments and access your grades all at your fingertips.

From the left navigation you have more useful information to keep you organized, on track as you progress through your class. These systems have easy to use and intuitive features such as collaborative work spaces, web conferences via Adobe Connect, live virtual classrooms with your professor and fellow classmates; integrated multimedia app center, mobile compatibility with your tablets and your phone and it has a built-in video recorded to watch classes again. This slide is basically your home screen view. This is what you see when you click on your classroom. From the home screen, you are automatically directed to your modules. The pictures you see are representative of your week’s modules.

On average you have one module week. To start into your lessons for this week, you simply click on the week’s module and start to navigate through your assignments for the week. This layout keeps your organized and allows you to have easy access to all your materials. From your home screen you can also access your grades, your syllabus and live sessions easily.

Our program has both synchronous and asynchronous component. This is an example of an asynchronous component to your courses. Often times, professors will provide a portion of their lectures for you to watch prior to your synchronous component. There are also multimedia pieces and other interactive components. There recordings can be viewed on your own time and will prepare you for your live class sessions.

Each class will have a synchronous live session to attend at a preset date and time within the Adobe Connect platform. The live lectures are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays rotations. In these live sessions, you and your fellow classmates will meet with your instructor via webcam. You get to discuss key topics from recorded lectures, discuss case studies, ask questions and collaborate with your fellow students, and there’s an open forum, kind of like a group discussion. It’s very interactive and a great way for our students as they engaged in the program and understand the curriculum. I hope that I gave a good idea of what to expect as a student in our online MBA.

Now I’d like to talk about the application process. Each one of you will work with an enrollment advisor as myself that you’ll be able to complete basically an application process painlessly. There are a few requirements though for applying to the online MBA. I’ll go ahead and read through some of the requirements. We start off with an online MBA application. We will need two official transcripts from basically a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You would need your resume. We would need a GRE or a GMAT score. Then we do have waivers available for qualified candidates. I’ll explain to you about that in a second. We need one letter of recommendation. We would need one essay. Then you have an application fee of $75. Of course, people that are international students, we’re looking for TOEFL. There might be an interview at the discretion of the admissions committee.

Going back for the GMAT or GRE waiver, most students start their application at the same time they start studying for the GMAT or GRE. Your enrollment advisor has some study tools to help you to get started with the GMAT or GRE preparation as well. Again, also GMAT waivers available for qualified candidates. Then each enrollment advisor, admissions advisor, will let you know the eligibility for those requirements. We do also have application fee waivers. Those are offered to applicants who are active military or military veterans, alumni or employees of established corporations, partnerships with the University of Maryland’s.

The University of Maryland and the Smith School of Business offer a variety of scholarships to assist in your financing your education. I’m going to go through some of the financing and the scholarships that we have as you guys could see on the slide. The University of Maryland offers a merit scholarship to our students who have been formally admitted into our online program. Our merit scholarship is based upon the applicant’s academic performance, certifications, any professional experience. The merit scholarship can range anywhere from zero dollars to $21,000. We also have a Double Terp Scholarship. As of fall 2016, Smith now offers a Double Terp Scholarship to alumni of the University of Maryland, College Park, who are newly admitted into the Smith’s online MBA program. Be sure to indicate that you’re a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park on your application for admission.

University of Maryland, also we have the Veteran Scholarship. This is a merit based award to US military veterans, active members, service members and national guard reserves, their family members. We also have corporate partnerships. The Smith School has partnered with specific organizations to offer tuition scholarship and no application fee or enrollment deposit for their full time employees and their immediate family members who enroll in the online MBA program. To learn if your employer is part of this program, please contact your enrollment advisor.

Part of the financing also we offer here is federal student loans or what we call as FAFSA. Some students might have used FAFSA before. Definitely talk to your enrollment advisor and they will give you the website to apply for financial aid. They will advise you where to go from there in regards to the FAFSA. Also, the military benefits. We also have students who are active military or veterans. Smith offers a number of services to help you on your path to success. The University of Maryland accepts the Post-9/11 GI Bill, offers tuition assistance and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. We understand the challenges of military students face in the university systems, so we also offer a dedicated military advocate to help advise and answer any questions or concerns that military students have.

We also talk with the student in regards to tuition reimbursement. In regards to tuition reimbursement, those are something you would need to discuss with your enrollment advisor and you would need to talk your HR also as well to see what type of tuition reimbursement that you will have. Is it going to be direct billing or is it going to be reimbursed after you take your classes and a certain grade average is maintained? Last but definitely not least is private loan. In regards to private loans, that also you can discuss with your enrollment advisor and you’d be able, as a student, to see exactly where you’d be able to get your private loan from. It is either from your bank or another place that you would be financing from. Definitely that’s something that you can talk over with your enrollment advisor and see what they will be able to help out in regards to that as well.

I would definitely like to discuss some helpful tips. In regards to start your first steps, please contact your enrollment advisor. That’s first and foremost. They will help you put together a timeline that works for your goals and assist you through the application process. I’m going to ahead and go over some of these helpful tips with you. For the first steps, again as I would reiterate, contact your enrollment advisor. Once you contact your enrollment advisor, you want to start your application online. I always encourage also to start studying for your GRE, GMAT or request scores. As long as they’re five years or before, we can definitely use your GRE or GMAT scores. Upload your official transcript and resume to your online application. Some students say, “Ali, can I just go ahead and get the unofficials?”

We over here at the Smith School of Business definitely need the officials. You can either request them through your e-transcript and you can upload them or you can get them through the mail and have them sent to you, not to the school. Have them sent to you. Then you can open them and then upload them. Some students will say, “Well, if open them, they become unofficial” but it’s okay. Definitely we want them to be open and then once admitted into the program, then you will request another copy and have them mailed. You’ll be having instructions in regards to that.

Then think about who you’ll ask to provide your recommendation. For a letter of recommendation we get a lot of questions, as advisors. “Who would do my letter of recommendation?” Of course, we’re not looking for any family or friend. We definitely recommend an immediate supervisor. It could be somebody that you’ve worked with for a long time. It could be either before past employment or current employment also as well. That makes for a good letter of recommendation.

The next steps, you would write or upload your goal essay. For a goal essay, it’s 250 to 500 words. Some students go over. It’s okay. We’re looking for why an MBA. What are your short term goals? What are your long term goals? That’s very important also as well. You will want to upload your recommendation to your online application. Once you’ve put the person’s name in your application for your letter, who you need to be recommended, there’s a button on there that you click. They will receive it. They’ll receive either four questions, your letter recommender will see four questions to fill out, or they can write their own letter of recommendation. At the bottom of that link, there’s another link where they’ll click on it and they’ll come straight to your application, so it would be out of your hands by then.

Last but not least you would want to pay your $75 application fee. Then you’d be able to speak with your enrollment advisor before you click the submit button. Then it’ll be submitted and then you’ll be good to go and we’ll wait from there. That’s all I have for now, Christina.

Christina:Great. Thank you, Ali.

Ali:Thank you.

Christina:All right. We reached the end of the presentation portion of today’s webinar. Now I’d like to open up our Q&A portion of our session. We’ve already received some great questions, so I will kick that off. Please continue to enter your questions into the Q&A box and we’ll answer as many as time allows today. The first question is, “21 months the shortest time to complete the program, but what is the longest in the average time?”

Judy:I’ll take that one. 21 months is in fact, yes, the shortest time. We really don’t recommend people go any faster than that. You just can’t absorb all the information that quickly and it’s difficult to schedule classes to go any faster. I would say most of our people do finish in 21 months. We have a few people who stop out for military deployment. We’ve had people stop out because they were going to get married, they wanted more time to focus on that for a while. Sometimes people get promoted in the middle of program. They take a term off for that. We have a few people taking longer than 21 months, but for people that don’t have any major lifetime milestones happening, 21 months is pretty normal.

Christina:Great. Thank you. Are any of the residencies offered in D.C.?

Judy:They’re not. They’re in College Park, Maryland, which is just outside D.C. I think we’re essentially 11 miles from the center of D.C. Just a few miles outside D.C., so it’s very close to being in D.C. For instance, I live in D.C. I come here every day, but it is not in D.C. proper.

Christina:Great. Next question. “Do you accept GRE scores and if what’s the average score?” Ali, do you mind getting that one?

Ali:Yes, we do. Definitely we accept GMAT or GRE. In regards to your question, we do accept GRE scores. The average score we’re looking for is around 305.

Christina:Question. Yes. This person is asking about a copy of the slide deck. We will actually send a copy of … I can make the slides available, but the presentation links will be available tomorrow and received as well. If you’re like a copy of the slide deck, let your advisor know and we can make that available to you. The next question, “How do you know who your enrollment advisor is?” That’s a great question.

Ali:Good question. What happens is, once you as a student inquire, we automatically get the name and your student advisor is automatically assigned. They will reach out to you via the phone and via email also as well, or you’re more than welcome to dial our phone number. Our phone number, if you would like to write it down, it’s 301-623-3193. Then you could just ask for any advisor. They can look you up and see who your enrollment advisor is.

Christina: That number, we have a different number on the screen that is obviously the toll-free number. Then we have the campus number that Ali gave. The next question, “When do you have to submit your GRE and GMAT scores?”

Ali:Good question. Your GMAT or GRE scores definitely before the deadline, they have to be submitted. It depends if you’re going for winter, which is so that the deadline would be November 1st, so definitely any time before November 1st the GMAT or GRE scores have to be submitted.

Christina:Great. This question is more information on the GRE or GMAT waiver. How do you qualify for that?

Ali: For a GMAT/GRE scores waiver, as a student, you would need to have at least 3 or plus years of professional work experience. We’re looking for at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. That’s a request that we send to the committee off with your application. Again, an essay that you would have to write. We submit that along with your application. Again, it’s only a request that goes to the committee.

Christina: Great. For Judy, “How much time is between the 10 week modules?”

Judy: About two weeks. Approximately two weeks. I saw another question about when do classes start, what time do classes start. We typically have classes in the evening that start at 7:00 PM and another set of the same course that start at 8:45 PM. So trying to make it a little more agreeable to folks on the West Coast or people who work a little later in the day.

Ali: I did see a question in regards to, “Can you submit your GMAT scores after the deadline? If so, how long?” Unfortunately, no. We would have to submit the GMAT or GRE scores, have to be submitted prior to the deadline along with your application.

Christina: Okay. The next question is, “If someone wants to take longer than the 21 months, is there anything against doing this?” Judy?

Judy: No, absolutely not. If people need to slow it down, we absolutely encourage that. The graduate school at the University of Maryland will give you up to five years to finish the program.

Christina: Great. This is a question about graduate courses being transferred from UMUC. They’re asking if anything can be transferred. I know the answer to that. No.

Judy: Yeah. Unfortunately, no. We do not transfer courses from any other institutions, no.

Christina: “For those of us who are physicians, what is the recommended track if we are interested in hospital leadership or administration?” Judy, what do you think?

Judy: Gene, I would probably set you up. One other thing we didn’t talk about in the webinar is we do offer career services to our online MBA students. What I would do is have you talk to your career specialist because what they can understand … They can look at what you’ve done in the past, what your work experience is, your educational experience and then really craft a path forward for you by talking to you a little bit. I don’t think we would give you a generic answer, but I’d like to set you up with one of our career coaches for that.

Christina: Great. Thank you. Another question.

Ali: Well, this one we can talk … We were talking about the average score. The average score, kind of what I talked about in the slide, you’re looking our average scores anywhere …

Christina: For GMAT.

Ali: Yeah, for the GMAT is about 600 or above. That’s what the average student that we have and that’s the average score that a lot of students have been having.

Christina: The likelihood of someone being considered accepted without GRE scores or a GRE … scores.

Ali: Of course students that are eligible for the GMAT or GRE waiver, of course we’re not going to say, “Oh, that looks bad” that a student take GMAT or GRE. We just have to submit GMAT or GRE waiver with your application, so we’ve had students accepted into the program without a GMAT or GRE, but they met the conditions to have a waiver.

Christina: Ali, can you repeat the average total program cost?

Ali: It’s $79,974 for the total program.

Christina: Let’s see. “Will the online MBA diploma at the end of the MBA program be any different from a full time MBA?” Judy?

Judy: No, it will not. All of our degrees, the diploma says MBA. Your official transcript will say MBA. If you pull an unofficial transcript off of our systems, it will mention the online MBA, but your official transcript and your diploma will just say MBA.

Christina: Great. Thank you. How is tuition paid for the semester or for the entire program in advance? Judy? Judy do you know the answer?

Judy: It’s paid term by term and so you pay it based on the number of credits that you take each term. That’s typically seven credits, but in some cases there’s an additional two credits for the opening and closing residency. In some cases there’s an extra credit for the ALP course. We let you pay it term by term.

Christina: Great. There’s a question on if we can also take campus classes as part of the program or if it’s only online.

Judy: At this moment you can only take courses from the online program. We have occasionally had students transfer from the part time to this one. In special circumstances we do allow students to transfer to the part time program, but at this point in time we don’t have students mix and match classes from the two. It’s not guarantee. If you get into the part time, it’s not guarantee that you can transfer to the online or vice-versa.

Christina: Great. The next question. Once our applications are completed, how long will it take for us to know if we are accepted? Ali?

Ali: We’re looking at an average around two weeks, sometimes prior, but we definitely let our students know it’s an average of two weeks.

Christina:Great. How many students are there in each class? Judy?

Judy: Our goal is around 22. In your live sessions there should be around 22 students. By live session I mean the face to face Adobe Connect computer mediated live session that you attend twice a week, so around 22. Sometimes it’s as few as 17. It rarely goes above 25.

Christina: Great. Let’s see. Can letters of recommendation be sent directly to you or do they need to be uploaded to our online application?

Ali: Good question. The letter of recommendation has to be uploaded through the application. Once you put that person’s name in your application, you would click Notify. They would receive an email stating that they need to fill out a letter of recommendation. As stated prior, they can either fill out the four questions that they were assigned to the them in the questionnaire or they can do their own letter of recommendation. At the bottom there is a link where they would click on and it would come straight to your application.

Christina: Great. Thank you. A question on the number of classes and the amount of classwork per work. On average sounds like we will be taking a maximum of four 90 minute classes per week, but as little as two 90 minutes classes. Does she have it right, Judy?

Judy: Almost, Anna. I can see your question here. Every week you will sit in two, just two, 90 minute sessions. One for your 10-week class and one for your five week class. There’s another question I saw earlier up that talks about how much work overall is going on per week. Quite a bit. We like to be really upfront about this. This is a top degree program, so it’s not going to come easily. For each course that you’re in, and normally that number is two, you should count on doing 10 to 12 hours of work. Does that include the 90 minutes? Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, but essentially you should be planning to work most evenings and a good chunk of the weekend in order to complete the work, be prepared for the live sessions and excel in the program. There’s two live sessions every week plus an additional, let’s say, 10 hours for each course.

Christina: Great. This next question is, “If you don’t have a business or business related undergrad degree, will that be a negative when applying?”

Ali: Actually will not. We’ve had a lot of students that come from various backgrounds. As Judy stated before, we have people coming in from computer science, people that are coming from the IT field, people that are coming from the medical field, and that are looking for that business background, so absolutely not, that will not have a negative impact.

Christina: Great. “Are we able to utilize the career services prior to being admitted to get a better sense of the right specialization for a desired task?” Judy?

Judy: No. Unfortunately there’s a lot of demand for the career services even amongst our current students, so we can’t allow that, but as soon as you are admitted and come to opening residency, they actually come in during that very first encounter with us and give you a presentation. You can connect there with them. You don’t start your specializations until the second year and so that gives you plenty of time to get your feet on the ground and figure out which specialization is going to be right for you.

Christina: Great. Thanks, Judy. Next question is about a GMAT prep workshop. Do you have any currently available or do you recommend any? Ali?

Judy: Yeah. Ali, maybe you should take that

Ali: Okay, great. In regards to the GMAT prep workshops, a lot of our students ask us, “What will I do? Where do I go?” Definitely we have different websites that once we speak with our students, once they’re ready to go ahead and apply, we go ahead and send them links, so definitely there’s different classes that we will recommend for them to take or different books to study for, so definitely. Once you go ahead and speak to your enrollment advisor and once you’re ready, they will definitely put you on the right path in regards to that.

Christina: Great. “Is there a general goal to increase female enrollment in the School of Business MBA program?”

Judy: Yes. We actually had an initiative. We have an initiative called 50/50 by 2020. Mainly we want to have 50% female candidates by the year of 2020. That is a tough goal. It’s tough for us. It’s tough for most MBA programs. They continue to be male dominated for better or worse, but yes, we are actually looking to increase the number of female candidates. Actually online is one way that we think we can reach a broader audience because people that have young children often cannot be away from home for the whole evening to attend our part-time class, but they can find a babysitter for 90 minutes two nights a week, while they do their online sessions. Then they finish up their homework while baby is sleeping and before baby gets up.

Christina: Great. Thank you for that. Next question. “How long will it take to find out from the committee if the GRE waiver has been accepted?”

Ali: Good question. A lot of our students ask that as well. In regards to that, you will find out as a student at the same time that if you are accepted or not accepted into the program. Basically, again, an average of two weeks, so it’s not like you’ll be getting that decision before your decision if you’re accepted or not, accepted into the program. It comes all at one time.

Christina: Thank you, Ali. Judy, this question is probably for you. “As a CPA, please elaborate how the accounting track would enhance knowledge and value” for him, for her.

Judy: Yeah. It really depends on what your goal is. If you come in as a CPA, you may want to take the accounting track, but you actually might want to take a different track to borrow on your knowledge. It really is going to depend on what your goals are. In the accounting track there’s a course on corporate evaluation. I suspect that somebody with a CPA would probably know most of that material pretty well. There is a track on fraud, which you might not know as well. There’s another course on impact of taxation on different business entities. It really depends on your career goals, what courses you’ve taken in the past and what your area of expertise is, so it’s going to be a unique question to you that I probably can’t answer in such a general sense. We would encourage you to get connected with one of our … To look at one of our other tracks, if you think the accounting track isn’t for you, and to talk to our career coach once you join the program.

Christina: Thanks, Judy. This person would like us to repeat the total cost of the MBA again.

Ali: Sure. You’re looking per credit hour, it’s $1,481 per credit hour, so you’re looking on average $79,974.

Christina: Thanks, Judy. This person would like us to repeat the total cost of the MBA again.

Ali: Sure. You’re looking per credit hour, it’s $1,481 per credit hour, so you’re looking on average $79,974.

Christina: Great. The next question, “How do you permanent residence fare with getting a job or promotion after completing the MBA program?”

Judy: I don’t think I can give you an answer in terms of permanent residents specifically. We see many of our students getting promotions during the MBA program. The way we know that is because we’re involved with them, we’re talking to them, or I have them in class and we hear about their promotions. Many students stick with their same company and get a promotion after the program, but we have less good data on that because we’re not in touch with them as much as we would probably like to be. People have found it a career booster, but I can’t give you specific stats in terms of permanent residents.

Christina: Great. Thank you. The next question, “What is the amount of the Double Terp Scholarship?”

Ali: Sure. The amount of the Double Terp Scholarship is $14,000.

Christina: The next question. I have a question. “Is there a mechanism for and have you had any students transition from an MBA to a PhD?” Judy? As you said, in finance, for example. If so what does that entail?

Judy: Yeah. We have not had students do this. It’s not that it’s impossible, but they’re two very, very different degrees. For instance, an MBA isn’t a prerequisite to join a PhD program in any discipline. They’re actually quite different degrees. Whereas an MBA is very applied, a PhD is very theoretical, so if you were interested in a PhD in finance, I would encourage you to pursue that in parallel with investigating the MBA because you don’t need to start with the MBA to move into that. They’re just very, very different degrees.

Christina: Great. Thank you. This question, “If you take one class term what would be the overall length of the course?”

Judy: I have not ever matched that out.

Ali: Judy, I think we have discussed it. I think it was, if you took one class per term, it would be past the five years, so it would definitely not fit in.

Judy: Right. For the person who asked that, I think you don’t mean exactly just one class per term, but maybe one class at a time, which means some terms you take one 10 week class and other times you take two five week classes. Somebody could map that out for you, but I can’t do this on the spur of the moment without giving you the wrong answer, I’m sure.

Christina: Great. This person, sounds like they live close to campus. Do they have to stay overnight at the campus for the three day residency or can they commute daily?

Judy: Ali, do you know?

Ali: Yes, definitely. I will answer that question. In regards to that, people that live close to the campus, even though they live to the campus, we encourage our students to still come to the residency because your hotel, your lodging and your food accommodations will be taken care of due to the fact that you’ll be up probably around 6:00, 6:30 for breakfast at the hotel and then you will be, 8:00 to 5:30, you will be in classroom settings. For our opening residency, you will be in Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We definitely encourage our students to come even though they live close to be in the hotel because after kind of like a Thursday night you’ll have a dance reception.

There will be many things going on, so we would encourage you to stay there. I would say that we haven’t had anybody commute back and forth yet. However, that’s why we encourage this day, so you can interact with the rest of the students and the rest of the cohort that you will be with as well as the professors that will be there. Current online MBA students will be there also as well. The same person, I think asked, “What happens if I can’t make it to the campus residency? Unfortunately, you have to come to campus residency. That’s one of the program requirements. As Judy stated, we do have an open residency as well as your closing residence or your capstone, so those are requirements of the University Maryland’s Smith School of Business.

Christina: Great. Thank you. Looks like we’re narrowing in on the hour here. We have a few more questions that have been submitted, so we’ll work through as many as we can the next three minutes. “If one does not have a business background, will there be a sharper learning curve for the Smith MBA program as compared to programs that require business foundational courses prior to the MBA courses?”

Judy: This is Judy. Certainly, if you have a background in business a lot of the MBA is review, and actually looking at the things from more of a managerial perspective. I will say the MBA though is built for people who do not have a business background, who have a background in the liberal arts, in the sciences and engineering. Every course starts from ground zero, assuming you know nothing about finance, accounting, supply chain, any of that. Therefore, we do not require any foundational courses prior to the MBA. We require a certain level of expertise with NAS and a certain degree of verbal capabilities, but no, we don’t require any of that. Most MBAs don’t because they’re bringing in people from other disciplines. Is there going to be a steeper learning curve? Sure. If you have a degree in finance, finance courses are going to be a lot easier for you, but it’s not required at all.

Christina: Okay, thanks. Question, “Are all books and reading material available online with each online course or must they be purchased separately?” Ali?

Judy: They must be purchased separately.

Ali: Separately, yes. That was what I was going to say, definitely. We have a student that asked about the 79,000 out of state. Is that considered out of state? For online, we don’t have no in state or out of state tuition. It’s all one tuition, so correct.

Christina: It looks like this is probably going to be our last question. Can you go over a little bit about the international student requirements?

Ali: Yes. One of the students is asking for a TOEFL. Yes, we do require TOEFL for international students. We do have some students who have studied abroad that we do have a TOEFL exemption. Definitely ask one of your enrollment advisors. I would strongly ask you to contact them and then they will tell you which other countries that we can go ahead and do a waiver for that also as well.

Christina: Great. All right, so I’d like to thank everyone for their great participation today. On the screen you will find the contact information for our enrollment office and Judy Frels, should you have any additional questions. If you’re ready to apply to the program or would like to schedule an appointment to speak with your advisors, there are links to do so in the resources widget on your screen. Additional program information links are also available to you there. I’d like to thank Judy and Ali for their time and willingness to share their expertise today. Also thank you, again, to everybody who participated. We’re really glad that you could join us and hope that the session that was helpful for you. I’d like to open it up to the panelists for any closing comments. Judy, you want to go first?

Judy: Sure. I just want to say, great questions. We do have a very rigorous, but I think a very rewarding and interesting program. People get a lot out of it. We see a lot of career advancement. If you’re ready to buckle down for 21 months, we would love to have you.


Ali: Definitely, again, I would take you back on that. The questions were wonderful. Again, any other further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your enrollment advisor either via email or phone call. We’re just one phone call or email away. Definitely we will help you throughout any questions or concerns that you have to get you through the program. We will always be here for you guys.

Christina: Great. Also, any questions that we were not able to get to today, they will be forwarded to your advisor for follow up directly. Thank you again today to everybody. I’d like to close everything and say have a nice day.

Judy:Thank you. Bye bye.

Ali:Bye bye.