Suffolk University MBA Online Student Experience Webinar

Suffolk University MBA Online Student Experience Webinar

In this webinar, we share an overview of the MBA online program, then dive into the online experience including personalized support by the Student Success Advisor that helps keep you on track through graduation. Learn about available student resources, career services, and also get a preview of the online learning platform. We also welcome an MBA online student to share his experience, how the program has helped him so far and some tips for success. 

Presenters:

  • Alexander Merkushin - Suffolk MBA Online Student
  • Jennifer Bellin - Student Success Advisor @Suffolk University Online
  • Tom Nunes - Enrollment Advisor @Suffolk University Online

 

Originally presented November 17, 2021

Transcription:

Christina Walsh

All right. There's still a few people joining, but we'll go ahead and get started here.

Again, hello and welcome, everyone. My name is Christina, and I'd like to thank you for joining us for today's webinar about the MBA online student experience at Suffolk University.

Christina Walsh

Before we get started, I'd like to cover a few housekeeping items. First, all attendees are muted. During the webinar, please feel free to type your questions into the Q& A box located near the bottom of your screen as you think of them. We reserved some time at the end of this presentation to answer your questions.

Christina Walsh

Our speakers for today include the following people.

As I just mentioned, I'm Christina Walsh and I'll be your moderator today. I'm joined by Jennifer Bellin, student success advisor, and Thomas Nunes, enrollment advisor involved with the Suffolk online MBA program. We are excited to welcome current student, Alexander Merkushin, as well.

Alex originates from Moscow and moved to the States over 11 years ago and currently lives in Boston. He earned his undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2016 and worked the next few years as an application specialist at MEDITECH, supporting hospitals across the country. He began his MBA at Suffolk University in 2020 and will complete the program this coming summer.

Christina Walsh

All right.

So here's our agenda for today. First, Thomas will share some information about Suffolk University and the Sawyer Business School. He'll provide an overview of the MBA online program and its structure. Then, Jennifer will speak to the student experience, including typical coursework, the online platform, and available student resources. We'll then hear from Alex, who will share his experience in the program and how he was able to balance the coursework with his personal and work commitments, and also share some tips for success. Thomas will then return and review tuition and available financial aid options and finish with information on the admissions process.

And then we will conclude the webinar with our Q& A session to answer any outstanding questions you might have. All right. So, with that, I will turn it over to Thomas to share a little bit about Suffolk University.

Thomas Nunes

Thank you so much, Christina, and thank you everybody for joining us here today. So, a little bit about Suffolk University, it was founded in 1906, located right in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, and it is a private not-for-profit university. We are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, and we do have over 80,000 alumni across the globe. I'm sure we'll continue to talk about the impact that the alumni network does make for current online MBA students.

However, one thing to highlight is, as an online student, you will have full access to this vast alumni network, which is an excellent resource for our students. Core values incorporated into the program is that it is a very student-centered program. Student engagement and the student experience is at the heart of our program here at Suffolk, and we do want to ensure that students feel supported during their entire time in the program with us and have access to all the resources they need to be successful. Scholarly and professional experience, this is most evident in our professors who do all possess the formal education in their fields with around 83% of our faculty currently having a PhD in place, as well as the practical work experience in their fields as well.

Community engagement, so whether that's the community within the classroom, within Suffolk University, or within Boston, the program is structured to provide vast networking opportunities and many opportunities to connect with and interact with your fellow peers, professors, as well as industry leaders. The online MBA program here at Suffolk University is housed in the Sawyer Business School. The online MBA program was established in 1999.

So, students can be confident they are pursuing a program that does have an over 20 + year history of success. We are accredited programmatically by the AACSB International Accreditation, which only about 5% of the world's business programs globally do possess, so very important aspect and part of the program here with us to have that in place. We do have over 27, 000 alumni worldwide, and this gives students the opportunity to not just interact with a network of students locally, but also nationally, as well as globally.

Access to our world-class faculty, these online MBA faculty members do also teach on campus as well, and they are very interactive components of the program. They assist in mentoring students for the realities of business today, as well as assisting and facilitating your growth as a complete professional. Some strategic objectives that are covered within the online MBA program and the Sawyer Business School is a focus on global business, the opportunity to look at business from a global perspective as the business world and the world in general continues to evolve.

Career success, the ability to not only set you up to succeed within the program here at Suffolk but also upon graduation, to succeed in whatever career or industry path you've chosen as well. We do, as mentioned, provide access to our worldwide network of more than 80, 000 alumni who open the doors of opportunity at leading employers and can serve as mentors for fellow alumni. We do also provide our online students with the expertise of our Career Development Center, which is staffed by professionals who offer job search consulting and resources for the length of a career.

Faculty excellence, which I touched on previously as well, and then program relevance, we want to ensure that this program is applicable to utilize the skills that you're going to be gaining within the real world. Throughout the program, you'll participate in live, interactive learning sessions with guest professionals and leaders from premier companies in Boston and around the world. You'll experience firsthand what it's like to collaborate, communicate, and create actionable solutions to real challenges from top-ranked organizations. As a student in Suffolk University's online MBA degree program, you'll benefit from our location and connection to Boston's world-renowned finance, biotech, technology, startup, and healthcare industries.

This is a big part of what does allow us to create a one-of-a-kind experiential learning opportunity throughout the program. The online MBA program here at Suffolk also comes to life through these highly interactive and collaborative sessions that, again, uses and focuses on current issues and real challenges from a variety of companies in the Boston area and around the world. You'll build practical business and leadership skills that you could put to use immediately during these sessions. It really is a distinct blend of advanced business competencies and communication skills that really is very unique when you do compare it to other online MBA degree programs.

So, a little bit of an overview about the online MBA program here with us at Suffolk. This MBA program is a leadership development MBA program designed to develop you as a leader in your industry with a focus on building the intangible skillsets of communication skills, team-building skills, presentation skills, time-management skills, et cetera. You can complete this program in as few as two years, and it is 100% online. The time to complete will vary for students, depending on if they do have a business major, or if they do come from a major outside of the business realm.

However, the good news is this program is accessible to all students, regardless of their current undergraduate degree. We offer three starts per year, so fall, spring, and summer. That being said, the next upcoming term would be our spring 2022 term that would be starting in mid-January. At the conclusion of this presentation, if you do feel that you would like to pursue that start term as an option, we'll provide you with various ways that you can reach out to us to begin a conversation and ultimately see if the program does align with your current goals.

There are a total of 36 to 49 and a half total credits in the program. That 13 and a half-credit window is a focus on our core courses. These core courses are established so that students who do come from a non-business background are able to begin the program and really gain those initial and entry-level competencies and business verbiage that would be necessary to succeed in the program at a high level. We want to ensure that students as well, who may be out of a program for quite some time, they don't feel like they're behind or having to play catch-up as well.

The way that these courses would work would vary differently from student to student, and there are potential opportunities for course waivers. Again, that would be something that I would highly encourage connecting with myself, as an enrollment advisor, to really discuss what that process would look like. You'll be taking one to three classes at a time every seven weeks. This is a part-time program that is established for full-time working professionals. So occasionally, what you'll experience in the program is outside of the normal setup, which is one three-credit class every eight weeks.

There are opportunities in the program where we do incorporate one-credit-hour classes alongside those courses. These one-credit-hour classes are shorter than your normal courses, and we have identified specific courses these do pair alongside. So that way, the program is not extended from a length perspective, but also, we can be confident that we're not putting too much on a student's plate in terms of course requirements, homework assignments, et cetera. This program is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous coursework.

I tell my students that, jokingly, online students really do have the best of both worlds. They have the asynchronous portion for the majority of the program, which does give them the flexibility to structure when they're logging on, when they're submitting assignments, when they're participating in the day-to-day of the class around their specific work schedule. We also do incorporate, for those live client sessions that I touched on previously in our presentation, that synchronous element, giving students an additional layer of being able to engage their fellow classmates, connect with their professor, and really kind of get an opportunity to network throughout the program here as well.

We also do offer immersion experiences. So, while the live client sessions will involve business leaders coming into the classroom here with us at Suffolk, these immersion experiences give students the opportunity to go out into the business world. These courses provide an opportunity for students to link their program work to hands-on experiences and visits to real-life global companies. The highly experiential intensive course combines classroom learning with a direct business and cultural experience.

Students will work in teams directly for a client or several clients, solving real challenges using their analytical skills, knowledge, and experience to develop feasible solutions. One thing that's great, too, is students do have the opportunity to do these locally, or there is a travel seminar that is offered as well. Of course, with COVID, that was something that we did have to pause. But with things opening back up, we are looking to present this as an option in the future. One thing that we did offer during COVID when travel just was unable to take place is we still did offer these sessions, but in a virtual setting, so over Zoom calls.

So you still did have that opportunity to connect with global business leaders. Some examples of locations that we've used in the past have been China, Brazil, the UK, Ireland, Germany, as well as both Silicon Valley and Las Vegas. There are six concentrations that are available, accounting principles, business intelligence, which is very similar to data analytics or business analytics, corporate accounting and finance, forensic accounting, general finance, health sector management, or students do have the option to choose our general track.

A lot of times when I speak to students, the general track can be a great option for students who really don't align with one of our available concentrations or perhaps may find themselves between two concentrations that both do sound attractive. The general option does give students the ability to select elective courses across all of our available elective offerings and really customize what the elective portion of the program would look like. There also in the program is no capstone or thesis that is required, as the final course would be project-focused and would really tie together all of the integral components, skills, and concepts a student has learned throughout their time in the program.

In regard to the learning outcomes that are incorporated into our online MBA program here in Suffolk, the first one is lead and manage change. This allows students to develop a strategic agility and improve as an agile thinker, unlocking your ability to think critically and strategically about real issues that affect business and management. This program allows you to grow your ability to collaborate. There is a strong focus on collaboration, engagement, innovation, and really immersive learning across the program, positioning you for success across top industries.

There is a real-world business focus. So, as I mentioned in regards to these live client sessions, you are utilizing real-world, real-life scenarios to be able to apply the skills and, really, the tools that you're learning within the program. This gives you the ability to learn to adapt, to make changes, and ultimately see the results of your work and ideation in a real-time, real-world scenario. This program also does have a focus on your ability to employ analytical reasoning. Students will learn to effectively apply analytical and critical reasoning skills to examine information, discern patterns, draw conclusions, and solve organizational challenges at the highest level.

Finally, this allows students to evolve as an informed decision-maker, allowing a student to use evidence and analysis, to think on their feet, gain clarity, and respond with confidence in an ever-changing business environment. With that being said, I will hand it over to my colleague, Jennifer Bellin, to discuss the online MBA student experience.

Jennifer Bellin

All right. Thank you, Thomas. Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. So, what to expect once you have been fully admitted and are an actual student here at Suffolk in our MBA online program. So, in a typical semester, you are looking to spend around 15 to 20 hours per week, and this will be dedicated throughout assignments, your discussion boards, your group projects, and et cetera.

Each of our classes will always have a live session built into that. Our live sessions will always happen after 5:00 PM Eastern. Some classes, it is mandatory and then other classes it is optional. This is something that your instructor will let you know upon starting the course. Our live client sessions, they do engage in real-time with a business leader and classmates to consult on a specific business issue or challenges they're facing.

This is a part of the program the students really enjoy. They love working with outside clients. They love being able to build that within their portfolio and just being able to notate that they have worked with a specific client. As you go through the program, what support will you have access to? So, I would be working with you from the start of the program through program completion. I always tell my students, for any and all questions, always reach out to me, initially.

If I don't know the answer, I always know who to direct you to. You'll always have access to your professors. Granted, it'll be during their office hours and message boards, but I can never stress enough to always use your professors for any and all questions you have throughout the class. And then another support is you will want to use your classmates. You are all going through the same program.

Most of you will be in the same classes. So, it's always great to build that connection with your classmates from early on. Okay. So here at Suffolk, our learning management system is through Blackboard. As you can see, we have a couple of sample snapshots for what a class would look like once you're in Blackboard. Blackboard is designed to support fully- online courses or provide a space for face-to-face course supplementation.

Faculty and students can access Blackboard courses at any time from anywhere, through any browser. Blackboard supports various media for accessing engaging content, such as audio and video, for example, YouTube videos and Panopto for enriched lectures, discussion and journaling, interactive tools, which allow students to engage with the content. Blackboard also does have an app.

It is designed especially for students to view content and participate in courses while on the go. The app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices, and the app provides an intuitive way to interact with courses and content and can be used throughout a student's Suffolk University enrollment to stay on top of coursework and to plan ahead. Okay.

So, what resources are available to you throughout the program? Suffolk offers a writing center. Many of our students have been out of school for a while, so sometimes getting back into academic writing can be a little bit of a hurdle. We do offer tutors within our writing center. Another great feature is we do have a tutoring center specifically for our MBA students. We do offer tutoring.

It is for mainly for our core MBA classes. Once you're in the program, this is something that I will be able to share more information with you as the time gets closer. Suffolk also offers the following career services. We offer Handshake, which is an all- in- one career management platform for students and alum to search and apply for jobs, sign up for a career or recruiting event, and make meetings with a career advisor.

We also offer Vault, which provides industry-specific career information and resources. Key offerings include profession and company overviews, interviewing tips, and job and internship board with personalized alerts. And then we also offer LinkedIn Learning where students can improve their professional value by developing business, technology-related, creative, or career-oriented skills. LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that provides over 9000 expert-led course videos in these topics.

We also offer IT Support. IT Support, they're wonderful. They are extremely responsive. Typically, when I have a student reach out to the IT help desk, they typically get a response back within minutes. They do have limited office hours. Currently, they're open from 7: 00 AM to 7: 00 PM Eastern time. And then we also offer 24/ 7 library access.

This is available to you virtually. What this means is that you will have access to books, databases, e-journals, and research guides at the tip of your fingers without having to worry to come to campus and to find resources for your schoolwork. In addition to this, you will have the support of our library staff Monday through Friday through chat, email, or phone to support you in your research. Okay.

So, making connections throughout your program, a big component of pursuing an MBA is making those connections and building your network. Being in an online program, we want to make sure you feel connected and a part of campus. We do have multiple ways of doing that. Obviously, you'll have opportunities during your coursework and consulting experiences to build connections with your cohort and faculty. Some examples would be when you're doing consulting with a specific client.

Network with that client in addition to your classmates. A lot of times students might have a specific interest in a company that maybe your classmate is currently working at. Network with them to find out if that is something you really might be interested in, in the future. Our career services department provides students with access to workshops, job boards, alumni network, and more. Suffolk also has a strong presence on social media.

If you'd like to join us now, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, where we have multiple videos posted to allow you to learn more about Suffolk and the Sawyer Business School. Now I will pass it over to our current student in the program, Alexander.

Alexander Merkushin

Thank you so much, Jennifer. Thank you, everyone, for setting aside some time to join us for this webinar. I'm Alex. I'm a current MBA student. I anticipate to graduate in 2022. I'm super excited to share my experience with this program. The primary reason for me to look for online MBA program in Suffolk is that it's 100% online. I don't have to be present on campus and, therefore, I can maintain my full-time job, which is critically an essential. Another benefit is that the program is built in a way that even non-business or non-finance major can take the program.

My original degree in pharmaceutical sciences has zero to nothing when it comes to business education. So, this was a really, really heavy plus for me when I was searching for the program. Also, one of my friends highly recommended the program. So, these pushed me to file application, have a couple of phone calls with advisors to discover more about the program, and I eventually made my decision to go to Suffolk online MBA program.

The key tip, the key secret to balance work, school, and personal life is time management. The benefit of asynchronous classes is that you can manage your time the way it's comfortable for you. You have enough flexibility, but sometimes if you do not set aside enough time, it might be tough. But again, throughout the so many courses I took already, I didn't have issues with that. I also do not know a lot of people who run into the same trouble, so I'm pretty sure it's manageable.

When it comes to resources, I can name three primary resources. It's library, the Suffolk provides a lot of information in it, professors for each course, and my classmates. One of the benefits of the online program is that most of my classmates are professionals in their fields, and they're looking to get an MBA diploma to boost their careers, maybe to expand new fields. But the primary benefit is that they already have experience needed, so they can share the information with you.

They're usually very open-minded about it. Since for each class you have a group of three to four people for seven weeks, it's enough time you to bond, to exchange your opinions, your experiences. I met a few people who are now my friends during this session, so that worked perfectly for me. When it comes to applying the knowledge and skills in the program, I have two good examples. The first example is that I managed to find an internship in a consulting firm.

So, I'm applying all my managing skills, all my financial skills over there. The cases we have been working through during the program actually helped me a lot because I see similarities when I work with the clients in that consulting company. Another example is related to leadership skills. The MBA program offers a few classes on that topic. After taking them, I saw an opportunity to start my own chapter here at Suffolk.

I went with it. I was working with the administration and with the National Society of Leadership and Success to establish a chapter. Now it's a running chapter, functioning, almost 200 people. That's something I would probably never even think of probably two or three years ago. So, I see this as a direct benefit from the program. Again, when it comes to tips, again, time management is critical because it might be easy to just set everything aside on Sunday and then maybe not have enough time to work through the material.

But other than that, you're not alone. All of my peers are willing to help and to share. So, I would say as long as you can maintain the time management, everything else is doable. Thank you.

Thomas Nunes

Thank you so much. I'm going to jump back in here to really look at financing your education. So, tuition is $1, 231 per credit hour, and there is a $ 200 per semester technology fee. In regards to financing, I do work with students to typically use a variety of options in regards to financing the program here with us. So, in regards to financial aid or FAFSA, as it is more commonly known, you would have the ability to be connected directly to an assigned financial aid counselor to really assist you throughout that process.

Other options students have used are out-of-pocket expenses, private loans or grants, or students that do have access to tuition reimbursement benefits. For these students, we will connect you directly to someone in the bursar's office prior to classes getting started to make sure the payment plans, the payment arrangements are effectively in place. In regards to tuition discounts, so we do offer an alumni discount for students that have previously attended Suffolk and are looking to come back for their graduate degree.

For students that are members of our EdAssist program, it's an employer discount program, I highly encourage students to reach out to their manager, supervisors, potentially HR departments, to see if they may be included as part of that EdAssist program. I have had students, in my previous conversations, kind of self-identify that to me initially when we're starting our conversation. If you do have any questions regarding whether or not your company may be a part of that program, that's another thing during our initial conversation that I would be more than happy to speak about.

We do have a Suffolk University partner scholarship program. This program offers employees and members of these partner organizations reduced tuition to our online MBA program. I highly encourage students to go to our website at Suffolk.edu. There is a section that will detail our current partners. Again, if you do feel that your employer may be a partner of our program, I highly encourage you to connect with myself as an enrollment advisor. This is absolutely something that we'd be able to discuss during our initial conversation.

And then in regards to any military tuition or military benefits, such as the Yellow Ribbon Program, post- 9/ 11 GI Bill, et cetera, we are able to utilize these options for you as well. We will be sure to connect you with someone on campus that can really assist in that process accordingly. Our next item will be admissions requirements. This is really what I talk with students about in our initial conversations. Once a student has identified that they feel that the program is a good fit, that it really does align with their personal and professional goals, aligns with their anticipated career trajectory, the admission process is the next item that we'll discuss during that conversation.

The nice thing about this process is that a lot of it can be done electronically, so it can move fairly quickly. The first item we would need would be a submitted application form and attached resumé. In regards to a goal statement, really what you want to focus on here in your goal statement is why you've chosen Suffolk, why you've chosen an MBA, what is your five- year, your 10- year career trajectory look like, and, of course, being able to highlight ultimately why you think you'd be a good fit for the program and a great addition to the program as well.

There is also a two-minute video essay that will kind of go hand in hand with your goal statement. Generally speaking, this two-minute video essay, I have students do this as almost their last step in the process because students will really pull bullet points or talking points for this essay directly from their goal statement. Generally speaking, this video essay will focus on kind of similar items as your goal statement previously touched on, your career trajectory, why an MBA, and why Suffolk.

One additional caveat regarding the video essay that I did want to add is that for students whose GPAs potentially fall below a 3.0 level, I highly encourage students to utilize this video essay as potentially one of the most important parts of the application process. This is a direct opportunity for you to speak to our admissions committee and highlight why you do feel you'd be a good fit, your passion for the degree, and ultimately, again, what your plan is upon graduation. This can go a long way into letting the admissions committee really get to know you and your motivations, and ultimately making you kind of a more attainable student, really making you a more desirable student is probably even a better way to put that.

In regards to letters of recommendation as well, for students that do have a 3. 0 GPA or higher, we would only require one letter of recommendation. For students whose GPAs do fall below that 3.0 level, as an enrollment advisor, I would encourage you to pursue two to three letters for your application file. These letters, you'll want to have come professionally from someone that is in a managerial capacity to you, a supervisor role, a director role, leadership capacity, really anything that looks like that.

We also do accept academic references as well, if available. In regards to the letter of recommendation process, we do make it very easy on the people that you've selected to write these letters for you, as you'll enter their information directly to your application and an email will go out to these recommenders, walking them through the next steps on how to complete their letter and, most importantly, where to submit once completed. And then transcripts, so we do require official transcripts from any degree-granting or certificate-granting institution that you have attended.

So, for students that potentially took a handful of courses at a local community college but did not earn a degree, in those cases, we are able to accept unofficial transcripts. However, again, for any school or university that did grant you a degree or a certificate, we would require the official transcripts as well. The nice thing here is that nowadays regarding transcripts, a lot of schools have moved to an electronic delivery process. These can be processed within about a 24 to 48- hour turnaround.

So that really does go a long way in kind of making the process move very quickly and kind of expediting that process accordingly. And then finally, there would be a $ 50 application fee. Kind of similar to the tuition discount portion of our webinar here today, this fee would be waived for military personnel, alumni, as well as EdAssist students as well. So this would be something that we would connect with during our initial conversations to see if you would qualify to have that application fee waived.

In regards to the application process as a whole, the nice thing is the process should take around two weeks as kind of an average in terms of an expectation. But again, with everything really being so electronic to complete nowadays, I have seen students be able to work through this process in as little as two to three business days. So once we kind of get that process started, part of my role will be working with students to identify a good game plan, kind of working to continuously keep you updated for what's still outstanding and what things have been received and, ultimately, support and assist you as a main point of contact throughout that process.

So, as a next step to connect with your enrollment advisor, which would most likely be me, there's a lot of different ways that we can get in contact. You can reach out to that number directly for us to speak. You can access our website at online.suffolk.edu to schedule a time for us to connect. We also do have a live chat feature that you can connect with me directly on as well. We do have something that's called a vCita Appointment Scheduler. This is great, as the majority of students that I do work with generally are full-time working professionals and don't necessarily have specific times daily that work out to connect.

Using this appointment scheduler, this will allow you direct access to my calendar to be able to select a time for us to speak that does best fit your availability throughout the week. We are available Monday through Friday from about 9: 00 AM till 6: 00 PM Eastern time, as well as evening hours available. So again, if you have additional questions, if you think the program is a great fit and want to learn a little bit more in-depth or, ultimately, if you think that, hey, I would like to take the next steps in the application process, I do highly encourage you to connect with me.

I look forward to speaking with you and really supporting you as best as I can through your next steps.

Christina Walsh

All right. Thank you, Thomas. And thank you, everyone, for that great presentation. We're going to move on to our question and answer portion of today. We'll go ahead and turn on our videos now since we're not progressing through the slides. If you haven't already submitted your question, go ahead and do so using the Q& A box that's in the Zoom panel that you have there. The first question that we received is asking for more information about the synchronous and asynchronous courses.

How many are within the program and if you could just talk a little bit it more about how they work?

Thomas Nunes

I'll jump in. And then I'm sure Jennifer has probably got some things she'd like to add as well. The vast majority of the program will be asynchronous, so you do have that flexibility to log on, really utilize that free time weekly, daily, et cetera, to your advantage. The synchronous components, as Jennifer mentioned, would be those optional live classroom sessions, which certain professors do have as being a mandatory, as well as those live client sessions. So those would be the sessions where the business leaders come into the classroom, and you're working in groups to really solve a business issue or challenge.

These would come with scheduled dates and times, but what's really great is these dates and times would be outlined on your syllabus ahead of time. So, you do have the opportunity to plan ahead accordingly and make any accommodations you might need. Jennifer, I'm sure you probably have something to add as well.

Jennifer Bellin

Yeah. So, for those synchronous classes, you will always... As soon as you would be registered for your classes, you'll already have access to the day and time of those sessions. Those sessions, if they are mandatory, they do only happen once a week. So, it's not like you would be required to meet multiple times during the week. If it is mandatory, it will just be once a week.

Christina Walsh

Great. Thank you both. Next question here, if I'm an international student, what do I need to submit?

Thomas Nunes

It's a great question. That's one thing I do want to highlight is that we do work with students that not only have attended programs globally, but also do live internationally as well. So, in regards to the process for international students, the first thing that you would want to have in place is you'd want to have a course-by-course evaluation that has been done by a NACES-accredited approved organization. Two examples of those that are widely used by students would be WES, which is World Education Services, or ECE is another very popular one.

I can absolutely provide links and additional information regarding that process. But once that evaluation is in place, and essentially what that evaluation will really tell us is does your international degree line up with a bachelor's degree in the United States? Is it transferable? It'll also identify what your GPA is once it's converted to the United States grading system as well. Outside of your international transcripts, there potentially might be a TOEFL requirement. This can vary from student to student, depending on if your program was taught in English.

Are you a permanent resident, US citizen, and things like that? Have you attended programs in the United States recently? So, those would all be an individual basis kind of answer to that question. But kind of like everything else, if you are an international student, I encourage you to reach out to me directly. We can take a look at your background, kind of talk through some things and ultimately decide what the appropriate next steps would be.

Christina Walsh

Great. Thank you. Let's see. This next question for Jennifer, do I have to register myself for classes? You're on mute.

Jennifer Bellin

Thank you. So, no. Registration will always be handled by me. This is something that, so once you're admitted into the program, you'll be a part of either a webinar that I will be hosting or an individual one-on-one welcome call. During that call, we will be able to go through and discuss your registration. We will go through all of the classes that you're scheduled to take. And then the actual registration will be taken care of by me.

Christina Walsh

Perfect. Thank you. Does your program have a waiting list? Tom, do you want to take that?

Thomas Nunes

Yeah, that's a great question. I'm happy to say that we don't have a waiting list, and we don't have a seating capacity. So, I highly encourage students to feel confident that if they do move forward with the program, we have enough open and available seats for really any student that is looking to move forward with their acceptance. But great question.

Christina Walsh

Great. Let's see. Next question here, is the GRE or GMAT required?

Thomas Nunes

Another really good question. No, it is not. I always tell students though, as a caveat, if you have identified a personal or professional reason that you would like to take the GRE or the GMAT, I would, of course, never want to dissuade you from doing so. But as it specifically applies to our application process, it's not a requirement that we do have in place. You would not be looked at negatively in terms of your application file if you had not had that test completed.

Christina Walsh

Great. Let's see. Is there a specific order of how the courses are taken? Jennifer?

Jennifer Bellin

Yes. So your classes will be laid out very specifically. A lot of our courses do build upon one another, and most of the courses do have some sort of prerequisite that is required.

Christina Walsh

Do you help them with the course plan or is there an academic advisor? Or how does that all work?

Jennifer Bellin

Yeah. So upon being admitted into the program, once you and I connect, I will actually email you your entire advising plan from start to finish. So, everything will be mapped out for you. You'll be able to see what class you'll be taking and when you'll be taking it. So, everything will be built out per semester.

Christina Walsh

Let's see. For the platform, the Blackboard, how easy is it to see your assignments or your grades and things like that? If it's helpful, I can go back to the screens if you want. Do you want to talk through that?

Jennifer Bellin

Blackboard is extremely easy to use. It is very user-friendly. During your first week in class, I always encourage students to use that week to review your syllabus, review your assignment due dates, review your deadlines, make note of when your live sessions will take place. I feel like that is so important because you really want to start off with a schedule for yourself.

As Tom mentioned earlier on, that time management, that is something that you will learn throughout the program, but it is so important to have good time management skills. Again, just by using that first week to review your syllabus, assignments, you will be able to access week by week in Blackboard. So you will be able to access assignments, grades, discussion board posts. As you can see in that week one overview snapshot to the left-hand side on that banner, you will have each week broken down for you, in addition to a link for the syllabus.

You'll have a link directly to your instructor. You'll have a link to myself.

Christina Walsh

So very user-friendly.

Jennifer Bellin

Yes, extremely.

Christina Walsh

That's great. So, thanks for talking us through that a little bit. This next question, are the courses offered every semester? What if I need to take a semester off? How would that impact the graduation schedule?

Jennifer Bellin

So, classes are not offered every semester. This is another reason being why your advising plan is laid out very specifically. So, for example, if you need to take a semester off, that could potentially delay program completion by... It could potentially push it out two full semesters, and that's purely based on course progression and when those courses are offered.

Christina Walsh

Great question. Thank you. All right. We're narrowing in on our final questions here, so if you have any further questions, please submit them at this time. Thomas, can you talk a little bit more about the support they'll receive during the application or admissions process?

Thomas Nunes

Yeah, absolutely. So essentially during the process, I'm really a student's main point of contact. We can discuss the program, discuss your goals, discuss your work schedule and how it would align. We can really dive into really any facet of the program that you'd like to have questions answered regarding or you need any information for. Once you do start the application process, really what I tell my students is we work collaboratively together as a team. I'm going to consistently make sure that you're up to date in terms of what's still outstanding, what we have that's been received.

I'll even do things, like I'll review goal statements. I'll review resumés. I'll review your letters of recommendation. I'll watch your video essay. I know nobody likes seeing themselves on video necessarily, but I'll make sure to review their video essay and ultimately make sure that when we do submit your file for review, that it is the best possible, the strongest file, that it really is most representative of who you are as a student, so academically as well as professionally. And then should you receive your decision and get accepted, my role at that point would really kind of change into ultimately supporting you all the way up to your first week of classes, so assisting you in scheduling time with Jennifer to get the registration process started, assisting you in kind of directing you to what financing office on campus is going to be the best one for whatever financing option you're using, making sure that you're aware of all the important dates and deadlines for anything that may be due before getting started and, ultimately, making sure that you know that if you have a question, if there's anything that's not making sense, you're not really sure what's the next step, you always know exactly who you can contact and exactly who's going to be available to you.

Again, Jennifer, during the registration process is another great resource, too. So really, again, it's very much a team effort before you get started. We want to make sure you do feel confident that you have the support that you need and really kind of have those people in your corner helping you every step of the way.

Christina Walsh

Perfect. Thank you. There was another question maybe, Tom or Jennifer, about do students have access, like campus students, to the campus or are they also... Can they go to graduation and those types of things that they...

Jennifer Bellin

so-

Thomas Nunes

Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead, Jennifer.

Jennifer Bellin

So yeah. Even as an online student, you are treated just as if you are a student on campus. So upon being accepted and meeting with me for our initial discussion regarding your advising plan, I will be sending a separate PDF document to where you can actually download a mobile ID card. As soon as you download that mobile ID card you will have full access to campus. I do have quite a few students who do take advantage of the library.

But yes, you will have full access to the campus. You are absolutely welcome to attend commencement. This past May, we actually held commencement at Fenway Park. So that was very exciting. We had students come in from all over the country to attend. So yes, to both of those questions.

Thomas Nunes

I would just add to that. That's a question I get a lot when I initially speak to students and kind of how I mentioned about the asynchronous and synchronous, best of both worlds, that's what's really great about being an online student is you do have that option to be completely remote and not be required to come to campus for any reason. But you also do know that, for our local students, if you do have time that opens up or you do want to come to campus to use the resources, that you do have that option and ability to do so.

Christina Walsh

Perfect. Well, thank you, everyone. It looks like we've worked through all of the questions that we've received, so I'm going to go ahead and wrap up our Q & A session. Let's see. We have the final slide here. So, if you have any additional questions that you think of following the webinar, please reach out to Thomas, your enrollment advisor. He'd be able to answer anything offline for you. I hope today's webinar was helpful to you. If you're interested in learning more or applying to the program, please reach out to your advisor.

Also, as this webinar closes, a very short survey will pop up. We'd certainly appreciate any feedback or comments that you might have. Finally, we've recorded this session and you'll receive an email tomorrow with a link to the recording if you'd like to reference the presentation again or share it with others. Thank you again for joining us. We hope to speak with you soon. Take care, everyone.

Thomas Nunes

Thank you.

Jennifer Bellin, Alexander Merkushin

Thank you. Thank you. Bye-bye.