At Creighton University, leadership takes holistic personal care very seriously. This is not just because the institute is a Jesuit University, but also because Director Eric Neuman’s leadership of the MBA program is guided by his own personal experience, and his path hasn’t always been clear cut.
Neuman, also an Associate Professor of Management at the Heider College of Business, has been director of the part-time online MBA program for three months. Before going into business, Neuman went to school to study computer science for five years. He even went on to take analyst and programmer jobs before deciding to do his PhD in Management & Organizations at the University of Michigan. Today, he jokes that he no longer writes code because he’s followed his heart.
“My experiences influence my leadership and I want the students to know that the choices they make don’t have to define them forever,” Neuman says. “I’m not saying to go ahead and just do it all the time, rather, do listen to your heart because that’s usually pulling you somewhere. But also listen to your head, get information, and make an informed choice.”
RELATIVELY LOW COST
In line with their Jesuit faith, students in Creighton University Master of Business Administration part-time online MBA program can expect to be guided and cared for holistically. This means that the faculty won’t always be encouraging to take that one extra course. Instead, Neuman says they’ve encouraged students to stick to a manageable class load so they’ll do a great job managing school, work, and family, rather than a mediocre one.
There are currently 104 students enrolled in the online MBA program at Creighton that takes applications five times a year, and the next classes begin in October this year, and next year in January, March, July, and August. Approximately 85% of applicants are accepted to the 2.5 year program, and while students need to submit their GMAT and GRE scores for consideration, students with work experience, a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA, and a bachelor’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution need not provide a test score. Last year, 56% of students who joined the school last year had their test scores waived and 21% of that group had over 10 years of professional experience.
The fully online MBA program is a 33-credit course, where students can take their classes anywhere, anytime. They can choose a concentration in Accounting, Business Intelligence & Analytics, Finance, Financial Psychology & Behavioral Finance, Leadership, and Personal Financial Planning. Tuition per credit hour costs $1,128, making a total of $37,224, and additional fees such as the University and Technology Fee and Heider College of Business Technology Fee can cost up to $248 per semester.
To help with the cost, Neuman says that there are nine graduate assistant positions available for students to apply to, though they are highly competitive. Open to students who can work on campus and are not already holding full-time positions, students selected for these positions go on to work 20 hours per week, and go to school full-time, in order to have their tuition covered. The school also offers tuition waivers, which usually cover half the course, and occasionally, the full course cost. Each student can receive two tuition waivers throughout the duration of the program, and they are not needs-based.
MORE THAN A CUSTOMER AND MORE THAN A STUDENT
The school has several courses that involve international travel to places including China, Las Vegas, New York, and Australia. Most students travel independently to the locations before meeting other students as part of the class.
The school also offers an online MBA program to international students, though they must be full-time students in order to receive a student visa, and many choose to study on-campus. To apply, they must prove English language proficiency and work with the Global Engagement Office to submit a Certification of Available Finances.
Once in the program, the school cares not just about the education of the student, but also about where the education takes them. Online MBA students also have access to the John P. Fahey Career Center where they can receive career advisement including exploration, resume and cover letter reviews, job and internship search assistance, and interview preparation. They can also access Handshake, Creighton University’s online career management system where students can search the database for job and internship listings, and information on exclusive events, networking opportunities, and career fairs.
“They are more than a customer and a student to us,” Neuman says. “We see them as someone who is part of the same community and we’re preparing them for the next few decades. We’re not just giving them technical things to take away, but rather helping them become contributing members of the society who can still make money.”
The program, which was launched in 2013, has 69 alums at the moment, and enrolled students range from the ages of 20 to 50. While some of them are in their mid-career or beyond, clearly established in their industries, some are fresh out of college, but usually with internship and coop experience. In their annual survey of MBA students, the school found that 21% of those in the online MBA program who responded reported receiving a promotion and 21% reported starting a new job after graduation.
“Most of our students are happy in their jobs, but are finding it a good time to get credentials to advance in their careers,” Neuman says. “Some are interested in switching jobs, others are figuring out what to do once they’re out of military life.”
To those who are considering Creighton’s online MBA program, the school says they are looking or students who demonstrate hard work and academic success. This can be done not just through grades, but also by taking more challenging courses, writing thoughtful personal statements, and asking colleagues and supervisors to write their required letters of reference.
“When prospective student applies, we ask what their goals are and where they want to go,” Neuman says. “We want to help students know how to choose the best paths.”