When it comes to pursuing higher education opportunities, having flexibility is important — especially for graduate degrees.
Today’s graduate student is unlike the “typical” college student. Often, they are working, have families, and may not live close to any “bricks-and-mortar” campus.
To assist these students reaching their educational goals, Husson University has developed a master of business administration degree that can be completed online or through a combination of online and on-campus classes.
This program had a soft opening in the 2011-2012 academic year and will officially launch for the 2012-2013 academic year.
“The online MBA program is a great option for students who are looking for a quality program but with additional flexibility,” said Kristen Card, Director of Graduate Admissions. “This new program has all of the strengths of the current MBA program. It has an accomplished faculty with the expertise necessary to excel as teachers in their respective fields. It also provides the option for online students to pick up some of their classes on any of our campuses in Bangor, Presque Isle, or South Portland. They’ll be able to do the degree as a hybrid.”
For students who work at the Jackson Lab, Husson University recently started a partnership that provides courses to be taken onsite.
According to Card, the development of this program is more than just about providing an option for taking classes online: “It’s about meeting students where they are—on their terms,” Card said.
“This online program is more of a social and professional network community,” Card said, explaining that students will interact online with faculty and other classmates through the online courses.
In essence, it’s the virtual equivalent of a traditional college class, but with the flexibility of participating from anywhere.
“Some classes are held at a [pre-determined] time, using a webinar format” Card said. “They’re also all recorded and uploaded so that if the student has to miss class, they have the opportunity to view the recording at their convenience. Students can interact in a “collaborative workplace” setting, and there are special assignments where they’re required to interact online and work as teams.”
All students in the online MBAdegree program offered by Husson will be required to have a webcam to enable them to Skype and participate in webinars, Card said. In addition, technical support will be available 24/7, she said. The university will provide virtual test proctoring for students who are unable to visit the campus to take proctored exams.
In today’s college climate, online courses are customary. With more students coming from the working world or changing careers altogether, this option was a logical fit, Card said.
“More and more courses are being offered online,” she said. “As education has evolved, we saw that there was a real need in the market, especially in Maine and New England. These areas have many adult learners who live quite a distance from any campus. So this is a great opportunity to provide for the needs of these students.”
MBA courses, she said, have always been offered on campus in the evenings and on Saturdays. Yet it’s still difficult for many students to make it to campus for these classes.
That’s a challenge that Joe Blanchette knows firsthand. He works for the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor and lives there. As a husband, father, and employee, Blanchette said that making it to Bangor to earn his MBA would be unlikely. Instead, he’s earning his MBA through Husson by taking online courses plus onsite classes at Jackson Labs.
“It’s really great to be able to take courses with my colleagues,” Blanchette said. “I’ve wanted to get my MBA for a long time, but the timing was not right.” Now Blanchette is able to take advantage of attending classes for his MBA at The Jackson Lab, as well as online.
“It’s really great to have the flexibility,” he said. “I have young children and really like that I can take one class online and one here [at Jackson Lab]. I can work on my own because the online course is self-paced.”
Another reason Blanchette postponed earning an MBA was the cost. The Jackson Lab has a tuition reimbursement program, which helps defray some of the costs. Travel was another factor. Now, with gas hovering around $4 per gallon, students like Blanchette are even more mindful of the cost of commuting to class.
According to Card, enabling students to overcome obstacles such as time and cost is a major reason why Husson has already begun to receive applications for the program.
“It’s important to give prospective students the flexibility of completing a bachelor’s degree or pursuing a graduate degree based on their schedule,” she said. “Husson’s affordable tuition makes the MBA degree a good investment for your career. This is an absolutely unique program. Many of the online universities [don’t have] an actual campus. We have three in Maine.”
Online classes also help enhance technology skills that will give the Husson graduate a competitive advantage in the workforce, thanks to the experience gained from using current information and communication technology. And students who enroll in Husson’s MBA program have the added opportunity to take advantage of resources found on any of the University’s campuses. “We really want our online students to feel like they are part of the Husson community by also giving them access to our traditional college campus community,” she said.
For more information about Husson University’s online MBA program, contact the Husson University Graduate Admissions Office at (207) 992-4994.