The OMBA at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business offers students the tools to not only make decisions based on data but the leadership skills to develop and implement strategy around those decisions.
“Our curriculum includes training in advanced analytics with courses like optimization and statistical decision making, as well as several electives that meet our analytical depth requirement to ensure students are prepared to transform data into useful information that drives decisions,” Cindy McCauley, Executive Director of Online Masters Programs at Tepper School of Business, says.
The OMBA curriculum at Tepper is fully identical to the full-time MBA program. It’s designed to train students in analytics and leadership skills.
A typical Tepper OMBA will start out in core courses of business fundamentals such as finance, marketing, and operations. Other core courses include optimization and statistical decision, coupled with managing teams and communication classes.
After the core courses, students customize their education with a concentration in business technology, marketing, finance, operations, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship with numerous elective options during the second half of the program.
Classes take place over a six-week “mini semester” with the entire OMBA taking 32 months to complete.
Opportunities to Connect
While the Tepper OMBA can be completed anywhere, the B-school places a strong emphasis on the in-person learning component of its online program.
That component starts with Access Weekend where students join their peers between each mini-semester for in-person classes and opportunities to connect with faculty, classmates, and alumni.
“Following the weekend, students attend classes twice per week in real-time with the same professor they met over the weekend via an online platform that allows everyone to be seen, heard and called on, just like a campus-based class,” McCauley says.
Additionally, OMBAs have access to various extra-curricular actives such as student clubs, speaker events, and career treks to enrich their education. “The key for online students is being able to access to these events given their off-campus location,” McCauley says.
To do that, Tepper allows its OMBA students to reserve its “Tepperbot 3000,” a remote-controlled robot that moves via Segway with an iPad face, to attend events virtually. Tepper OMBA Students have even used the robot to virtually attend graduation and “walk across the stage” to receive their diploma.
“The online student’s face will show up on the screen and they have the ability to remotely control the device as they attend an on-campus event,” McCauley.
Decision-Making and Analytics
The Tepper education is based around decision-making.
The best example of that is Tepper’s Management Game capstone, an experiential course in which student teams manage a computer-simulated company, making decisions and competing with other teams in the class.
Through the course, teams report directly to a board and deal with real-time issues as senior leaders of their organization.
“In this experience, students must apply all that they have learned in this real-world simulation as they set the strategy for the success of their corporation,” McCauley.
At Tepper, analytics and leadership go hand in hand. Tepper doesn’t just train business leaders. It trains business leaders who can transform data into useful information to drive decisions.
“This combination of both analytics and leadership is a powerful combination that provides the skills and knowledge that today’s MBA need to succeed in a constantly changing, data-driven world,” McCauley says.