Maureen Breslin, Assistant Dean of Online Programs, joins us today to discuss their Online MBA program.
Can you tell us about the online MBA program offered at American University and the Kogod School of Business?
The Kogod School of Business believes that business is a force for meaningful change. Our online MBA program enrolls a diverse student population who plan to make an impact in their industry. The program is 48 credits and requires two in-person experiential learning immersions. For students who are coming to business from the liberal arts or other non-business background we offer a Bridge to Business course, which helps augment their quantitative skills and business basics. For students admitted into Bridge to Business the program is 51 credits.
Students can tailor their online MBA education by selecting from a variety of elective courses across pre-designed concentration areas or combining electives to meet their professional and educational aspirations.
Is the GMAT & GRE required for acceptance into the program? Do international students have the same requirement?
Applicants are welcome to submit GMAT or GRE scores, but it is not required for admission. The admissions team relies heavily on the applicant’s essay, professional experience, and prior academic experience to determine if the candidate is likely to be successful in our fast-paced, academically rigorous program. Letters of reference from professionals who know the applicant well also help us assess the applicant holistically.
International students with a first language other than English need to submit a TOEFL score or IELTS. A TOEFL waiver may be available for applicants who completed their undergraduate degree in the United States.
How long does a typical online MBA program take at American University? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?
Students enrolling in two courses in each 10-week module will finish in 24 months. Many students appreciate the flexibility that an online program offers them. With each module, students can accelerate or decelerate their pacing. We’ve had students who have chosen to reduce to one course for a term because they have changed jobs and need to ensure a successful transition to their new workplace. We’ve also had students take a module off to become parents and adjust to that life change. We encourage students to enroll consistently so that they maintain the momentum and motivation to reach their goal.
What do you think makes American University’s online MBA program stand out from other online MBA programs offered by similar schools?
Because we view business as a force for change, we equip our students with the tools they need to innovate in a socially beneficial way both nationally and globally. We encourage all of our students to pursue what they are passionate about. I believe that this encouraging environment is what attracts a diverse student population. While I am proud of the gender balance in the program (45% female) and the representation of traditionally underrepresented minorities (58%) in our business school, I am also very proud that we attract students across diverse industries.
Graduate school is a time to expand your professional connections. Being exposed to all classmates from different industries allows students to learn about issues that are universal and learn about unique challenges that different industries face.
Finally, our immersions are a key differentiator. These three-day in-person experiential learning classes are offered internationally and domestically. The opportunity to visit Salesforce’s HQ in San Francisco, McDonald’s HQ in Chicago, or Real Madrid’s stadium in Madrid allows students to see business in action and learn from leaders in a variety of organizations.
How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online MBA program?
Accreditation is an important assurance for students that they are receiving a quality business education with all the services to make them successful in their professional endeavors. Kogod is proud to be an AACSB accredited institution offering significant quality in its online MBA and preparing students to apply their education across various industry and professional settings.
What are the advantages to earning an online MBA degree in general and where are you seeing employer demand for this degree?
Earning an MBA online makes it more flexible for working professionals. For students who don’t reside right next to a university, or those who live in traffic congested areas, pursuing the degree online allows them the ability to continue their professional and personal lives, while also gaining the skills to advance their career.
Many employers are seeking managers that have the ability to make decisions while contemplating all the aspects of business, be it marketing, financials, or company strategy. An MBA teaches an employee to consider multiple variables when making strategic business decisions.
Does American University offer job placement for students who graduate with an online MBA degree?
The online MBA program’s collaboration with Kogod’s Office of Career Engagement has continued to develop since the program’s launch in 2015. We’ve adopted the Handshake platform to connect students with jobs and alumni. In 2018 we will also implement the use of VMock, so that students can get resume support 24/7. This will enable their time with a career counselor to be more meaningful and less focused on the wording of bullet points. Our counselors will be able to focus on meeting the student at the point in which they need career support during the program.
What type of financial aid packages are available for students in business? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?
While students may utilize federal financial aid by submitting the FAFSA and working with the Office of Financial Aid at American University, we offer scholarships to students during the admission process. Students are also encouraged to consult with their employer for potential tuition benefits.
Do you have any advice for students enrolling in an online MBA program for the first time?
Any student enrolling in an online MBA needs to have clear motivation and a support system to be successful. The academic work is rigorous, and students will need to have a solid plan of how they will carve time out of their personal and professional schedules to dedicate the time to their academics. All the classes in our program include asynchronous and synchronous course content. Students have the flexibility of when to watch (and re-watch) recorded faculty videos to master concepts prior to coming to the live synchronous session during which they will have face to face discussion, present, and do case studies. Being prepared for live sessions is key to getting the most out of the program.
What do you enjoy most about your position at American University?
The opportunity to develop programs that fit the needs of students while maintaining the academic rigor. I first came to AU in 2003 and what has kept me here is AU’s commitment to students. The faculty and staff are focused on the students’ learning and development. American University continues to grow and develop innovative programs to fit the professional needs of students.
That concludes our interview!
Thank you Maureen Breslin for sharing and participating in this piece.