Marilyn Maguire

marilyn-maguire

I learned just as much from my classmates in my MBA program as I did from the course materials.

Institution

Why did you decide to attend Walden University to get your masters degree in business administration?

I decided to attend Walden University to get my masters degree in business administration because it offered a flexible and efficient online program. The quality of the courses, materials and instructors made Walden a natural choice for me. Before making my final decision, I conducted significant research on the different MBA classes and programs available at various schools.

What were your school’s biggest strengths?

Walden University’s biggest strength was the variety of classes offered in the business administration program. I had the ability to customize my class schedule to meet my future career goals.

On the other hand, the school’s biggest weakness was the outdated core classes. In my opinion, some of the required classes need to be updated to reflect the changing business techniques and practices in the field.

Did you view Walden University as a community?

I absolutely view Walden University as a community. The level of involvement among students and professors is exceptional, considering the online format. Students need to put in a significant amount of effort to become engaged with classmates. Plus, social interaction is required in order to complete any of the program’s classes. I learned just as much from my classmates in my MBA program as I did from the course materials.

Does Walden University have brick-and-mortar campuses?

Yes, Walden University has a brick-and-mortar campus for certain programs. Some advanced degrees require in-class instruction.

Cost

How did you pay for college?

The MBA program at Walden cost about $15,000 per year, which included tuition and class materials. I personally funded my education through money I had saved working professionally. One of my employers offered an educational reimbursement program, which I took advantage of as well.

How helpful was your school in assisting your financial aid process?

My school was extremely helpful in assisting students with the financial aid process. Although I did not apply for financial aid, I know Walden University has a very good counseling department that helps students through the process of securing loans and other forms of financial aid.

Do you feel like your overall cost of education was more or less than the cost of a degree at a traditional institution?

The overall cost of an online education is comparable to the cost of a degree at a traditional institution. I know this because I did quite a bit of research on different schools before deciding to enroll at Walden.

Admissions Requirements

Can you describe the admissions process from start to finish?

The admissions process took about 3 months to complete. I turned in my application, grad admissions test and resume using an online portal. I was also assigned an admissions counselor who helped me through the process and advised me on different required classes and elective classes I could take. I actually received a letter in the mail when I was accepted.

What did you write about in your personal statement?

In my personal statement, I wrote about my career aspirations and how a MBA degree from Walden University would help me to accomplish those aspirations. I also discussed my specific path for achieving those goals.

How many letters of recommendation did you submit in your application?

For my application, I submitted 3 letters of recommendation. I decided to select colleagues who I respected and who exemplified what I wanted to achieve in my own career. Before asking for a letter of recommendation, I made sure that they thought grad school was the next logical choice for me, so we were all on the same page.

Do you have any insight on how Walden University weighs the different parts of an admissions application?

If a student is hoping to pursue their MBA in emerging technologies, Walden puts a great deal of emphasize on a student’s technical background. They are looking for engineers and scientists who want to expand into the business area. Walden also looks for international students and smart students in order to cultivate a high degree of intellectualism and variety in the program.

During the admissions process, did you interact with an admissions advisor?

Yes, I interacted with an admissions advisor during the admissions process. At the time, I was living in a different country, so I worked with the admissions advisor to secure the necessary paperwork and appropriate visas.

Classroom Experience

How was class material presented?

At Walden University, class material was presented through pre-recorded video lectures and online discussion boards. The great thing about the video lectures was that I could watch them anytime and anywhere as long as I had access to a DVD player. Also, the online discussion boards were useful because they listed assignments and provided access to online examinations.

What were the benefits and drawbacks of this style of presentation?

The main benefits of this style of presentation were the convenience and flexibility. The online format suited my particular situation as a working professional. I could plan ahead and work at my own pace, and not have to attend class at a fixed time and location. However, the main drawback was the lack of in-person interaction with students. It was difficult to converse with classmates other than through e-mail.

Were you able to stay engaged in your online coursework?

Yes, I was able to stay engaged in my online coursework. The online format actually taught me how to work better with people virtually, which is extremely important as companies begin to focus on global product management and marketing. Also, because I traveled a lot for my job, I was able to multi-task and complete classwork on a plane ride.

Did your professors encourage class participation?

Yes, my professors encouraged class participation through discussion board requirements and group projects. Although it varied by class, most professors required that students read discussion comments and provide a certain number of posts to them. Personally, I spent about 45 minutes per week on the discussion boards. In addition, they assigned long-term projects, such as creating a business plan, which involved working with multiple students.

Another way that professors encouraged class participation was through conference calls. Occasionally, professors held an hour-long call, in which they encouraged students to participate in the conversation.

What method of communication did you use to keep in touch with your professors?

I communicated with my business administration professors using e-mail and chat. I rarely phoned them. For some classes, I interacted with professors once a week. For other classes, I only interacted with them once a month. Some professors set specific office hours, while others requested that students contact them on an as-needed basis. In general, I never waited more than 24 hours to get a response from them.

Can you rate the faculty on a scale of Excellent, Good, Average, Poor, Extremely Poor, in terms of:

Criteria Rating Reasons
Overall Good
Qualifications Excellent
Knowledgeable Excellent
Lectures 1) Content: Good

2) Clarity: Good

I found the lectures extremely helpful and often reviewed them again for added clarification.
Assignments 1)Relevance: Excellent

2)Reasonable: Good

3)Clarity: Good

4)Assistance Provided: Excellent

5)Feedback Given: Excellent

Assignments encouraged a high level of engagement between students.
Grading Excellent
Responsiveness  Good Professors were just as available as they would be on an on-campus school.
Reliability  Excellent I never waited more than a day to hear back from professors.
Interest taken in class as a whole Good
Interest taken in student as an individual Good

What resources did Walden University provide to help you succeed in the classroom?

Walden University provides various resources to help students succeed in the classroom. They offer an online book store with discounted course materials as well as counseling offices in financial aid and registration, which were extremely responsive to students’ needs. In addition, Walden offers an online portal that gives students access to virtual libraries, periodicals and research materials, a virtual campus and information about different program requirements.

What advice would you give to students to help them succeed in an online classroom?

To help them succeed in an online classroom, I would advise students to take an online class before committing to a program in order to determine whether or not that style of learning suits them. I took some preliminary virtual classes at the graduate level to make sure that I understood the nature of the course content as well as my ability to function in that sort of format.

Program

Why did you choose to enroll in your program?

I chose to enroll in the MBA program at Walden University because it provided a solid business foundation. I wanted a structured and recognizable program that built on my previous experience and would boost my marketability to employers in the business field. Walden’s MBA program in emerging technologies prepared me to enter a start-up company and help build an innovative and cutting edge product.

Did your program have a residency requirement?

No, the MBA program at Walden University did not have a residency requirement.

What were your program’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?

My MBA program’s biggest strength is the flexibility. I can take classes that fit into my schedule and accommodate any unforeseen interruptions. However, the program’s biggest weakness is the set structure. Certain classes are only offered during certain semesters, so students have to plan accordingly in order to graduate in the shortest period of time possible.

If you were to do it again, would you sign up for Walden University’s masters program in business administration?

If I were to do it again, I would absolutely sign up for Walden University’s masters program in business administration. I have appreciated and valued my education and it certainly has helped advance my career in terms of compensation and job duties.

Closing

In what ways has the fact that you studied online affected your future goals?

An online degree has not affected my future goals in any way, shape or form. I have never encountered anyone who has tried to dismiss my degree because it was obtained online. In my opinion, it holds as much prestige as a degree from any other school.

What general advice would you give to a student who is considering a masters degree in business administration at Walden University?

I would tell a student who is considering a masters degree in business administration at Walden to prepare for a significant time commitment. Some semesters will have a heavier workload than others, and they might need to adjust their work schedule to accommodate that.

In addition, I would encourage students to examine their career goals, so they can find a program that meets their needs.