According to the dean of SUNY-Oswego’s School of Business, the X-factor that makes his institution’s online MBA program different from the rest is its student-centered approach. Dean Richard Skolnik says the emphasis SUNY-Oswego places on students as customers is seen in the concierge model it uses to work with every student on a one-to-one basis, the instructional design methods used to assist faculty in developing top-notch, engaging coursework, and the best practices for online learning it adheres to just to make sure students receive the highest quality of online education there is.
TWO MBA OPTIONS: BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION AND HEALTH SERVICES
The SUNY-Oswego online MBA is an accredited, top-ranked program that is delivered fully online through Blackboard learning management system. The curriculum focuses on general management principles and consists of 36-57 credits depending on students’ previous academic experience in business.
Students with an undergraduate degree in business are responsible for 36 credits, or 12 classes, to graduate. For those whose undergraduate career is rooted in a non-business area of study, their online MBA degree requirements can go as high as 57 credits due to several foundational courses in economics, statistics, and business law that the school requires.
“There’s no way to apply the concepts if you haven’t learned the concepts,” the dean says, referencing managerial finance courses as an example. “It’s about ensuring that students are prepared for graduate course work so they’re not overwhelmed.”
Seven foundational courses are required totaling 21 credits. They’re all offered online by the school of business or students have the option to complete the courses at another institution that may be more convenient for them both location-wise and cost-wise.
Students may also opt for SUNY-Oswego’s concentration option to obtain an MBA in Health Services. The MBA Health Services Administration degree program blends business fundamentals with specialized health administration coursework designed for health administration careers. The basic program consists of 45 credit hours of core requirements, directed electives, and an internship field study that are built upon 18 credit hours of foundational courses.
THE SUNY-OSWEGO EXPERIENCE
On average — 87% to be exact — students take two and a half years to complete the online MBA program. Courses are 100% asynchronous, lasting 15 weeks in the fall or spring, and three, six, or 12 weeks in the summer. Students can expect discussion boards, video presentations from faculty, video office hours, and group projects to make up their experience.
“Group projects would be in our international course, for instance, where we ask students to research the business environment for a country then make recommendations on whether to invest or not invest,” Dean Skolnik says. “In marketing, they’ll often do community-based projects such as one where there was branding for a local town and the students worked together looking at ways to elevate the town’s profile.”
In speaking about group project work, the dean reflects on one online MBA student’s recent experience. “We spoke about group projects and collaboration with peers who are in different places in the world. The student was relaying working with a classmate who was in India and another in China and the need to coordinate across multiple time zones. What was morning for them was evening for another student on the other side of the world. What’s nice about this is it models what we see in the business environment as we collaborate with colleagues who are in different parts of the world.”
ONLINE LEARNING DATING BACK TO THE 90s
Online learning isn’t anything new for SUNY-Oswego’s School of Business. It was first embraced in the 1990s as the school began exploring online education as a new delivery method. What started off as one class here and another class there quickly grew as more faculty embraced distance learning, its uses, and the benefits that stretch beyond mere flexibility and convenience. Such benefits they saw were increased participation from students who would typically shy away from speaking up in class but felt more comfortable engaging when given the opportunity to contribute through online discussion boards.
As the number of online classes the school offered continued to rapidly grow, the school finally reached a point in 2011 where it offered the Oswego MBA totally online.
Even with all the years of prior experience, the school had accumulated in offering online education, the decision to go all-in with the MBA was not taken lightly, the dean says. Built into the program are best practices and benchmarks to heighten the student experience and ensure their needs are met.
“We needed to have the necessary support structures in place. We have support for MBA advising — we had that in place — but we wanted to make sure we also had resources in the MBA office for online advising. One-on-one telephone calls, Skype calls, emails to learn about each student and their aspirations plus the various needs that students have from a curriculum standpoint.”
Hence, the concierge model and student-centered emphasis that he says are differentiators for SUNY-Oswego’s online MBA program.
“I think by having that concierge model and ensuring we’re following best practices we’re being very intentional in online education. It’s not just we’re going to put the content online and there you go. We have a production schedule with a division of extended learning which looks ahead for faculty members developing courses. For example for Spring 2018, you need to have at least a 9-12 month lead time for course development and course designers working with faculty members. This lead time is a requirement for faculty members who teach online and want to develop or enhance a course.”
REQUIREMENTS AND TUITION COSTS
SUNY-Oswego attracts students from across the world to its online MBA program, but mostly from New York state. Tuition for the 2017 academic year for in-state New York residents is $22,710 and out-of-state tuition was recently reduced to $26,460 — down from $37,245. Costs for the Health Services Administration MBA are $28,355 in-state and $46,490 for out-of-state.
Interested students are required to have a 2.6 undergraduate GPA and a minimum GMAT score of 500. The GMAT test requirement may be waived if applicants already have a graduate degree in another area or if they hold a professional designation such as CPA, CFA, or Professional Engineer.