Mason School of Business announces online Masters program

The Mason School of Business will debut an online program this fall. FILE PHOTO/THE FLAT HAT

The Mason School of Business is now accepting applications for its new online Masters of Business Administration program, which will start in August 2015. This new program is the product of a year of development. It will be offered in addition to the business school’s traditional two-year M.B.A., an Executive M.B.A. and a Flex M.B.A. programs.

“Our two-year program is recognized as a leading program for students looking for the immersive experience an on-campus M.B.A. provides,” Director of the online M.B.A. Program Pam Suzadail said. “Students applying for online M.B.A. programs are looking for a different kind of experience, they are looking for the ability to balance work, family and school.”

Suzadail added that the Flex M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. differ from the new online M.B.A. as they provide a traditional part-time classroom experience rather than remote classwork.

The online program consists of 49 credits that are meant to be taken over two years. Students complete twelve courses, each lasting seven-and-a-half weeks. The same application materials are required for both the full-time M.B.A. and the online M.B.A.

Professor of Economics Robert Archibald said he does not yet know how employers will differentiate between online and traditional M.B.A.s, particularly with possibly ambiguous methods of self-reporting degrees on resumes and the growing national trend of online degrees.

“Online education is rapidly changing as technology advances and more research becomes available,” Suzadail said. “Online programming is an extremely effective way to learn. There are many studies that show it’s becoming increasingly respected and comparable to the learning that happens in a traditional classroom.”

Professor of Economics and Finance Deborah Hewitt is developing a course for the new online M.B.A., which will be the first course she teaches online.

“When teaching online, absolutely everything must be prepared in advance, including answers to questions that the professor expects students to have,” Hewitt said.

The program will be asynchronous, meaning students will complete lessons on their own schedule. The business school is hoping for 25 students for the first semester this fall, who will have access to discussion boards and group work opportunities. There is also a residency dynamic to the course, where online MBA students come to the College of William and Mary for a weekend styled as a business summit, to practice skills gained in their online courses.

“The biggest challenge from my perspective is to make sure I am engaging each student even though I will not be in front of them in class. … I am hoping to project my personality into the course and to encourage them to do the same,” Hewitt said.


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