Kerbel is hoping to attract some 220 participants in the first go around. The cost of the program is $1,580 per course, with a minimum of $4,740 for three required classes. If you enroll for all five courses, the cost is $7,900. There’s also an additional $1,367 housing and dining free. Kerbel is slashing the room and board fee in half to $683 for those who register in full by April 15.
THE PROBLEM WITH PRE-TERM AND ORIENTATION SESSIONS FOR NEW MBA ADMITS
Many schools, of course, have either orientation or math camps for newbies, but usually they are fairly cursory. “Pre-term works really well if what you need is a refresher or an intro,” contends Kerbel. “But it doesn’t get you from ‘I-never-heard-of-this-topic’ to ‘I-have-a-facility- for-it.’ Part of the reason is you don’t go to business school for the pre-school. You go for the business school experience itself. Pre-term and orientation programs are something schools have to do and need to do but they are not fundamental to them.”
In contrast, the Practice MBA Summer Forum is meant to be more of a deep dive into the entire business school experience. Participants get an understanding of the basics in accounting, finance, operations and strategy. “The core of the program is a semester’s worth of class time over three weeks covering five course topics. It’s the fundamental things you need to know,” says Kerbel. “When business schools do boot camps they are always incredibly rushed and narrow. They have to be universally applicable to as many students as possible. So if it is math boot camp, you don’t get individualized attention on math that you would get in the Practice MBA.
“The people who are ideal for this are Navy Seals who have been in the military for seven years and who haven’t had any exposure to the lexicon and norms of the business world. It is the same for lawyers, journalists, and non-profit types. They spend all of their time at business school trying to survive. For a tiny percentage of admitted students, we can really move the dial.”
LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL IMMERSION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS COMING TO THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME
An international student, meantime, may have the academic background that doesn’t require him or her to study economics and finance. “But if you are moving from Lima, Peru, to Chicago and you don’t want your first day of business school to be on your third day in the U.S., we will help to introduce you to Western culture education.”
International students would get that in the language and culture orientation sessions just as non-business types would get steeped in the use of software and research skills to gain easy access to key information.
“If my professor says ‘here is your homework, now go and look at the financial reports and do a financial model on the company in Excel,’ you better know how to do that quickly and efficiently,” says Kerbel. “Those who know about Capital IQ and and how to work a Bloomberg terminal will be able to do this in minutes. But for those who don’t, it can take hours and hours. The notion is not to give an intro or refresher here, but to allow you to arrive on an equal footing with classmates who have already had professional training.”
CAREER COACHES FOR EVERY PARTICIPANT
All the participants are immediately assigned career coaches who will work with them on an individual basis, helping them to decide what industries and companies to target for internship possibilities and employment early on. “This is a big accelerator and leap forward in thinking about and understanding the MBA recruiting game,” adds Kerbel.
Participants will arrive in Seattle on July 7, Sunday, for a welcome reception. Then, the action starts immediately the next day. Classes will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at the University of Washington’s Alder Commons and Alder Hall, where participants will also live. Fridays are reserved for professional forum at which MBA graduates in different industries will partake in panel discussions on their jobs and careers. And there will be the obligatory Seattle-based outings which will range from a Seattle Mariners’ baseball game to a closing event at the Museum of History and Industry near Amazon.com’s offices.
(For sample topics in each of the five course modules see the following page)