Community, creativity, and collaboration are the guiding principles for the online MBA at George Washington University.
“GW’s motto is ‘Only at GW, we change the world, one life at a time,’” Liesl Riddle, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs at GW, says. “In GW’s Online MBA program, we seek to infuse our online curricular and co-curricular program with ‘only at GWSB’ moments, where our students — no matter where they live in the world — get to interact with and learn from leading industry and policy thought leaders, our global alumni, and world-class faculty.”
The GW OMBA curriculum is identical to its on-campus MBA program. All GW MBA students are required to take 28.5 credit hours of core courses and 27 credit hour electives, which total out to 55.5 credit hours.
Core courses include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Decision Making and Data Analysis, Operations Management, Finance, Global Perspectives, Microeconomics for the World Economy, Organizations and Human Capital, the Nature of Markets, Marketing Decisions, Business Ethics and Public Policy, and Strategic Management.
Students take elective courses a la carte or choose to complete one of GW’s online graduate certificates.
“We strive to offer the most flexible program for the professional student,” Riddle says. “In consultation with their academic advisors via one-on-one online advising sessions, GWSB’s Online MBA students can take as many or as few courses to take each semester. They have up to five years to complete the degree, and students are encouraged to at least take six credit hours per semester.”
The GW community is central to the OMBA learning experience. The school has set up a number of opportunities that bring its community together.
“Alumni, employers and faculty from around the school are featured in asynchronous elements, such as videos, podcasts, cases, in our online classes,” Riddle says. “They also participate in synchronous sessions as guest speakers, boards of advisors, feedback panels, and experiential learning clients.”
All OMBA students are invited to GW’s on-campus extracurricular events, such as alumni meet and greets, discussion roundtables, and career fairs.
Additionally, GW has a designated online happy hour series, where online students, global alumni, faculty, and staff can meet throughout the semester.
OMBAs can also view and participate in the George Talks Business speaker series, a live-broadcast talk show hosted by the dean of the business school, featuring industry and policy thought leaders, including CEOs, leaders of multilateral organizations, and notable alumni and local employers. Past guests have included Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the World Bank, and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of The International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The OMBA, by design, is made to encourage creativity.
The school invested in its own in-house instructional design team and studio to develop technologically sophisticated yet accessible courses, custom-tailored to the course topic and to the faculty member’s preferred teaching style, research expertise, and personality.
“Courses are built around module-level learning objectives and course content is intentionally created that move learning around the brain to engage and sustain student attention visually, auditorily, and kinesthetically,” Riddle says.
Collaboration is also central to the GW OMBA learning experience through global virtual teams.
Students are first introduced to global virtual team research and theory in the required Global Perspectives class, where they partake in-class readings and an online simulation game. Students work in a five-person global virtual team to complete a seven-week client project where they collaborate to solve a real problem of a global company.
Additionally, core and elective courses include virtual teamwork, including virtual team-created research, strategy, and analytic projects
“We have built the curriculum for our MBA program through a collaborative process between faculty and our instructional design team and our courses infuse collaborative learning experiences into each of our courses,” Riddle says.