We recently spoke with Dr. Ken Johnson, Chair of the Graduate School of Business about Oklahoma Christian University's Online MBA program.
What is the demographic of students who enroll in Oklahoma Christian University’s online MBA program?
Most of our graduate students have full-time jobs and select the online program for convenience and flexibility. The average age of an OC MBA student is 31. This past year, the male/female ratio has shifted a bit to be 55% male and 45% female. OC’s online MBA courses account for two-thirds of the total MBA enrollment. The international graduate students on campus also have the opportunity to take a few online courses while taking their on-campus classes. In a typical year, the MBA will have ten to twelve countries represented at graduation. The largest number of international online MBA students reside in Rwanda where the Graduate School of Business has established a Learning Center in the capital city of Kigali.
Do students work as a cohort or in another way?
OC’s MBA does not use the cohort system but allows students to select the order of their courses based on their individual needs and preferences. When the MBA program was launched in fall 2000, all MBA students were assigned to cohorts to complete their MBA degree in one year. In 2008, the Higher Learning Commission approved the Online MBA and students began self-selecting their courses, determining the pace or speed of completing the degree, and began building their own networks and relationships within the OC community. Throughout the curriculum, which consists of nine core courses and three elective courses, students will work independently and in small teams. In some courses, the professors will assign small groups of students to have class projects or video presentations utilizing the university’s electronic resources.
How do students in the online MBA program interact with faculty?
The OC faculty promotes high-touch communication and responsiveness through emails, phone calls, chat rooms, webinars, Skype sessions, and of course through their course discussion boards. Office hours are posted to assist the student with the best opportunities to visit with their professor. It is common to have the professor post two or three preferences for being available to answer online students’ questions or concerns.
Oklahoma Christian offers a customizable MBA with options to learn 100% online, evenings or combination of both. What is unique about the structure of your online MBA program?
Whether taking classes on our campus or online, our MBA students are in class forty-two out of the fifty-two weeks of the year and are given the choice of finishing their degree in just one year or they can stretch it out over multiple years to fit their schedule and capabilities. Classes are structured to include applicable Biblical standards or truths that fit into the discussion of the course objectives. Ethics is taught as a core course and ethical behavior in business is taught and practiced as a reoccurring theme throughout all of the courses. The MBA at OC has nine areas of concentration or emphasis allowing a wide range of opportunities to pursue various career opportunities. OC uses Blackboard as its online learning management system, and course syllabi are provided in advanced of the courses’ start date to help students be more prepared for their accelerated seven week graduate courses. Faculty will also use Blackboard to share digital devotionals, favorite or thematic scriptures, or words of encouragement to the students. A central site in Blackboard for MBA students is available to note career opportunities, to announce academic notices or events, to make students aware of schedule changes, or to notify students of weather related news. Oklahoma Christian University’s mision is to transform lives. We do that by reminding faculty and staff that for our students, OC is Home, OC is mission, and OC grows. Our online students are made to feel at home while working on their studies. They are our focus in creating a community of lifelong relationships based on the foundation of enduring Christian values. OC purposefully works to grow the student’s professional knowledge and competencies, network of people and resources, and personal integrity.
Tell us about the career services and professional resources that are offered to online MBA degree candidates?
I am very proud of the progress OC has made and the direction we have taken in providing career services for our students and graduates. The redesigned career center is now OC’s Calling and Career Center which provides career services based on the individual’s calling, interests, and purpose. The career center staff is committed to assisting both current students and grads to discover their calling and chart a career path toward a meaningful life’s work.
What advice would you give a prospective candidate for your online MBA program?
Our online MBA is fast-paced, has a challenging curriculum, and focuses equally on quantitative and qualitative decision making skills and competencies. Because our courses are only seven weeks long, time management, communication, and commitment are vital to the student’s success. Self-discipline and initiative are important as well to stay on top of the course requirements. While we expect a lot from our students, the program is designed for the working adult with other full-time responsibilities. Our professors work hard to assist our online students to stay connected and engaged in the learning process. My final advice for prospective MBA candidates is to research several universities to find a graduate program that has the best fit for their goals and values.
Why should a prospective MBA candidate choose Oklahoma Christian University?
Our faculty has real-world experience in business and in academics and teach from that experience. OC is blessed with highly skilled business professionals with hearts for students and treat their students with care and respect. We believe our MBA is a practical educational decision, our staff and faculty are personable, and our program is ran in a professional manner. Designed for the working adult, the degree can be earned in one year. Graduates tell us our top strengths are the faculty, the curriculum, the support staff, the flexibility of the schedule, and the Christian attitude demonstrated by faculty and staff toward students. In addition, our program is fully accredited by the ACBSP, which accredits only high quality business schools.
Thanks to Dr. Ken Johnson for participating. For more interviews, check out our Online MBA Report Interview Series.