We recently spoke with C. William Roe, Ph. D, the Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Business Programs with the Neil Griffin College Of Business at Arkansas State University about their Online MBA program. Their program was ranked #6 in the South, and #20 in the nation in the Online MBA Report 2019 rankings.
What type of student typically enrolls in A State’s online MBA program?
Overwhelmingly, the students in our online MBA are working professionals seeking an MBA often because they have been advised by their employer that in order to advance within the company they have to get an MBA, or because they are seeking a career change and know that their opportunities to do so are greatly enhanced by having an MBA.
Are students required to spend time on campus?
Students are not required to spend time on campus, the program is entirely online.
With Arkansas State University’s Online MBA being so highly ranked for Quality and Affordability, how does that benefit your students?
Our rankings for both Quality and Affordability assures our students that they are getting a high quality MBA and one that makes it easier for them to obtain financially. Our tuition is much lower than that of the vast majority of AACSB Accredited Schools of Business without sacrificing quality. From a cost-benefit perspective it is a value proposition, and one that most of the students in the program realize and appreciate.
Do students work as a cohort or in another way?
We do not have a cohort model for our online MBA. Actually, this would be very difficult to do taking into consideration what I mentioned previously about the vast majority of our online students being working professionals. As such, job requirements, travel, sometimes frequently, and other time constraints such as family, and organizational involvement make it necessary for some to interrupt their studies for a semester or two. On average about 5%-7% of the students in the program opt out or re-enter the program every semester. Not having a cohort model allows them the flexibility to do so without jeopardizing their progression through the program.
Given the technology-driven global business world, how does A. State’s online MBA in Supply Chain and Finance prepare students for their careers?
Both Supply Chain Management and Finance are extremely high demand areas in today’s global business environment. The effective management of an organization’s supply chain is a key factor in the competitiveness of organizations, and given the opening of emerging markets and expansion of sourcing opportunities for materials and products organizations can take advantage of these opportunities through more effective and efficient management of their supply chain.
In the same way, Finance has become increasingly important in today’s dynamic business climate. In much the same way that organizations enhance their competitiveness through effective and efficient management of their supply chain, they can do the same through effective financial management. This is one reason attributing to the significant demand for financial planners and managers of the financial resources of an organization.
How do students in the online MBA program interact with faculty?
We stress a high degree of student-faculty, faculty-student, and student-student engagement and interaction throughout our courses. Not only does this help ensure high quality educational experiences for all students, but this keeps us in compliance with AACSB Accreditation Standard 10 on Student-Faculty interactions. We achieve this interaction through discussion boards, chat rooms, faculty feedback on papers, reports, essays, presentations and being responsive to questions in a timely manner. We stress online students working in teams with students in F2F sections of the same courses which further enhances student-student, student-faculty and faculty-student interaction and engagement.
What is unique about the structure of your online MBA program?
There are several things which are unique about our online MBA program. First, unlike many online MBA programs which hire adjunct faculty from all part of the country, we allow only our full-time, graduate qualified faculty to teach in our program. Having only our own resident, graduate qualified faculty teaching in the program assures faculty are vested in our program and our students. Additionally, we operate our online MBA parallel with our F2F MBA. That is, when a course comes up in the rotation to be taught in the online MBA, the same faculty member teaching that course is also teaching the same course F2F. This assures that both online MBA students and F2F students are getting the same content, that both programs are the same and are providing the same educational experiences for students across both delivery formats. These two factors, combined with the training we provide our faculty to teach in the online MBA helps assure high standards, uniformity, and consistency.
Do you offer career services and professional resources to online MBA degree candidates?
We do offer career services and professional resources to online MBA degree candidates just as we do F2F MBA degree candidates.
What advice would you give a prospective candidate for your online MBA program?
I think the most important advice I can give a prospective candidate for our online MBA program is not to overload themselves with too many courses in a semester and to make the sacrifice of time necessary to do well in their courses. I think many students have the perception that an online course/program is fairly easy, when in fact, it is probably more difficult from the standpoint that online students must allocate their time, and juggle time constraints among work, family, organizational involvement and other factors, while attempting to allocate the time required to keep up with the demands of the courses—the homework assignments, reports, exams and group presentations. It seems that online MBA students are eager to get through the coursework as quickly as possible, which is understandable, but I advise them that it is better to take fewer hours to allow them to devote the time necessary and do well rather than overloading themselves which may jeopardize their academic performance, and ability to complete the program.
Thanks to C. William Roe for participating. For more interviews, check out our Online MBA Report Interview Series