Ingrid M. Martin met with Online MBA Report to update us on all the exciting opportunities for prospective students to California State University Long Beach’s Online MBA programs.
What type of student typically enrolls in CSULB's MBA program?
At CSULB we have four MBA Programs and five Masters of Science programs. Our MBA programs are targeted towards different types of students. Our Saturday program (SMBA) is designed for working managers who prefer to focus their in-class time one day a week, work in a cohort, and earn their degree in two years. The Accelerated MBA (AMBA) program is designed for younger students who have little or no career work experience and are currently not working. For our evening MBA program (EMBA), we focus on working managers who want to have a flexible schedule and go through the program at their own pace. The average student goes through our evening program in about 4 years taking two classes per semester. Our newest program is the online MBA (OMBA) which is designed for working students who want the flexibility to attend classes from home, from their workplace, or if traveling, from some place overseas. They are also looking for a program that they can finish in less than two years and still get all the ‘perks’ of going through one of our face-to-face programs.
Congratulations on the impending new MBA programs in Online MBA, Finances and Marketing. Can you share any inside information on what these programs will offer?
The M.S. in Finance is a 30-unit program focused on corporate finance, investments, and analyzing financial issues that are critical to global corporations, financial institutions, and international investors. The curriculum aligns with the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) curriculum needed for CFA certification. The M.S. in Marketing Analytics is a 30-unit STEM designated program designed to provide students with advanced and highly demanded training in Big Data including analytics and digital marketing skills, forecasting, and statistical and analytical skills, and other marketing relevant skills to advance their career prospects in the field of marketing and social /digital analytics. The OMBA program is a 48-unit program that takes the evening MBA program into the virtual environment by offering courses both in synchronous and asynchronous mode. The program is designed for students who need a flexible schedule to fit with their busy careers while earning an MBA in an accelerated mode. Students can gain the managerial knowledge they need to advance in their career while minimizing the impact of pursuing a degree while continuing to work.
Has CSULB offered any part of the MBA programs (accelerated, Saturday, Evening MBA) online in the past or is the Online MBA the first opportunity for Online coursework?
Currently our other three MBA Programs have some courses that are in hybrid format (50% face-to-face and 50% asynchronous). A few elective courses are offered as 100% asynchronous in our EMBA program but these types of courses have been kept to a minimum because the students in these programs really want the face-to-face, on-campus experience offered in our traditional programs.
Can Online MBA students connect with the American Language Institute (ALI) and the Center for International Education (CIE) while in pursuit of their Online MBA?
If an international student is interested in taking English as a Second Language courses they can come to the campus and take these types of courses. Our domestic students do not qualify for ALI. The Center for International Education is strictly for international students which is a hub for all the support and information that international students need to successfully apply and enroll in programs at the university.
CSU Long Beach is known for its community engagement and programs connecting MBA students to the Ports, Aquarium of the Pacific and other areas of CSULB. Can the Online MBA students expect to be part of these innovative programs?
Yes, the OMBA students will be doing the same types of client projects and community engagement as our face-to-face students only in a virtual environment both synchronous and asynchronous. In fact, the true difference between the EMBA program and the OMBA program is the delivery mode. All the courses are the same including the number of required units (48), and the amount of ‘in-class’ time and contact with faculty, staff, and other students. This is what motivated the design of our program – to ensure that whether you are earning an MBA from our accelerated, Saturday, evening, or online programs, that you are getting essentially the same experience and benefits. We believe that to be successful in the global environment, students need to learn how to work in the virtual space as well as face-to-face.
Are students required to spend time on campus?
Given the importance of networking and relationships, we designed the OMBA Program to provide built-in opportunities for these relationships to develop and grow. Students will come together in Long Beach for a week long orientation that will introduce them to the technology used in the OMBA, case discussion and analyses, team building, leadership, and developing a network. At the end of the program, students will meet in a country somewhere around the world to engage in a culminating experience around learning business practices in a global environment. These two residentials help students develop the network needed to maximize their MBA experience.
Do students work as a cohort or in another way?
Students will go through the OMBA program as a cohort with team assignments to facilitate working on team projects and other tasks. The students will meet their assigned teams at the orientation and will go through the first half of the program in this team. Halfway through the program they will be assigned to another set of teams to maximize their relationship building and work on their soft skills.
How do students in the online MBA program interact with faculty?
The way we designed this program was to maximize the contact between faculty, staff, and students through the synchronous mode as well as through the two residentials. In the synchronous mode, you will be in the online classroom (through Zoom) with the faculty engaged in active learning activities such as case discussions, exercises, and other types of interactive tasks. There will be synchronous office hours every week as well as message boards for those who have additional questions. Through the residentials, you will have a weeklong orientation including learning about and using the online technology as well as developing their network. Your international trip will bring your MBA education full circle with students meeting in another country with each other, staff, and faculty. Our goal is to encourage the contact and engagement with everyone to maximize the one benefit that all MBA students want – a strong relational network when you graduate.
What is unique about the structure of your online MBA program?
The unique benefits of the OMBA includes the real time interaction in Synchronous mode for 50% of each course, the two face-to-face residentials, all career services which are synchronous and asynchronous depending on the student’s needs, a focus on integrating soft skills throughout curriculum, and access to our 7000+ alumni.
Do you offer career services and professional resources to online MBA degree candidates?
Yes, our career services will include both webinars as well as online workshops and one-on-one meetings with a career counselor in Zoom. All the resources that are available to our other graduate programs will also be available to the OMBA students.
What advice would you give a prospective candidate for your online MBA program?
The OMBA program is a rigorous program that will require you to be engaged in the learning process and become part of the learning community. This program is not a “passive, one-way transfer of information” but a forum where you need to be motivated to learn even when you are at home, in your living room, without other students and faculty in the same room. With a focus on the final prize, an MBA degree with a strong network, you can be successful and meet your goals.