Learn more about Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Analytics.
Sean Dove: Good afternoon. My name is Sean Dove, and welcome to the master’s of Business Analytics webinar that will we’re holding today to discuss obviously the master’s of Business Analytics program here at Ohio University. As you see on the screen here, the agenda for today, we’re going to be going to first introducing you to our speakers as well as some of the career outcomes that you can expect from the degree program. Obviously go over all the program information with you and then obviously we’re going to be going to answer all of your questions that were not answered in the body of our presentation today. With me here today, obviously you see myself there up on the screen, but we have the honor to have the director of the Business Analytics program, Dr. Young with us. Dr. Young, would you mind going ahead and introducing yourself to the potential students this morning?
Dr. Young: Absolutely, Sean. First and foremost, I wanted to thank everybody for being in attendance today or perhaps watching the recording later. We really appreciate your time and joining us today. As far as about me, I’ve been the program director of this program since its instantiation. So it’s really exciting to me to talk to perspective students. Basically in terms of my research and teaching, I do all things analytics. So anywhere from the descriptive, predictive and prescriptive side of thing. I’m really interested in predictive modeling and optimization and applications that are real world and really have business implications to them. I’m looking forward to your questions that we have and looking forward to speaking with you soon.
Sean Dove: We also have with us this afternoon, Dr. Ardjmand. Sir, would you mind introducing yourself to the audience?
Dr. Ardjmand: Thank you, Sean. Hello, I’m Dr. Ardjmand and I would like to thank you first for attending this webinar today. Here I’m an assistant professor of Business Analytics teaching courses of predictive and prescriptive analytics. In terms of research, I’m mostly focused on prescriptive analytics with [inaudible 00:02:22] in terms of supply chain and warehouses and retail industry.
Sean Dove: Thank you sir. We also have with us in attendance, her picture isn’t listed here, but our producer for today’s webinar, Amanda Scaperotta. You may hear her voice towards the end of the webinar as she will be handling basically all the Q&A session. We do want to make everybody aware, you’ll see a question and answer box or a chat box on the screen there. You can type your questions in there. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to answer all of them while we’re doing the webinar, but we’ll make sure that we get to the vast majority of them before we’re done today. Any questions that are left unanswered after our time runs out, I will make sure that the answers do get sent to you via email or with a follow up phone call. As we get started here, I’d like to go ahead and turn it back over to Dr. Ardjmand. If you can go ahead and discuss some of the career outcomes that students can expect from this degree program.
Dr. Ardjmand: Absolutely, Sean. I’m going to talk a little bit about the career outcomes and potential career path that one may embark upon by pursuing a master of Business Analytics here at the Ohio University. Specifically, I’m going to talk about three potential occupation outcomes, business management analyst, operations analyst and market research analyst. Let’s just start with management analyst and talk about that a little bit. Excuse me. Having a master of Business Analytics makes you an ideal candidate for such a position because of the quantitative skills that you acquire during your studies here. So as you know, in an organization we have many processes ranging from operational and day to day processes to strategic and critical processes that form the backbone of an organization. For example, in a pharmaceutical company, purchasing office equipment is a regular day to day process.
Dr. Ardjmand: However, research and development on drugs is a strategic long-term process. A common trait among all these processes is that as they interact with each other in different parts of an organization, they leave a footprint and that footprint is data. So every time a process is in play, it generates data. And by looking at that data, you will be able to measure how efficient the process is running. As a business or management analyst, you will have the knowledge to inspect and evaluate the processes in an organization and by observing the data they produce. By observing that data, you will be able to come up with improvement suggestions. Now, business or management analyst positions are very high in demand and the forecast point to a substantial gaps in this area in the future. The quantitative skills you will learn here at the Ohio University is master of Business Analytics especially if combined with your expertise in a certain industry makes you an ideal candidate for these types of positions.
Dr. Ardjmand: The second type of career outcome that I would like to talk about is operations analyst. This position is closely related to the management analyst that we just discussed, but it’s mainly geared towards operational processes and includes a wide range of activities such as demand forecasting, process optimization, operations, scheduling and planning. For example, an operations analyst in the retail industry will probably analyze demand patterns of different items, study the processes inside warehouses, suggest solutions for minimizing the operational costs of demand fulfillment activities and come up basically with solutions for optimizing the inventory level of different items. So as an operations analyst, you will work with variety of advanced statistical and mathematical tools that are specifically designed to deal with operational problems. The forecast for these types of positions also show significant increase in the coming years too. Our Master of Business Analytics here at Ohio University is designed in such a way that gives you the necessary background and knowledge as an operations analyst to pursue a successful career in this position.
Dr. Ardjmand: One other and very exciting position that I would like to also discuss here is basically a market research analyst. Again, this would be one of the paths that you can pursue after graduating from this program. In this position, you essentially are dealing with the data that is generated as a result of interaction between your organization and its customers and environment. For example, you may want to measure the influence or basically likeability of your organization on social media or find out what topics are usually discussed about your company on social media. Also, you may want to measure your customer satisfaction through gathering data from multiple sources or use industry and market data to measure the state of competition in your industry. In this position, you will be working with a variety of data types from numbers to text and even photos and videos.
Dr. Ardjmand: For example, you may want to analyze the comments that are put under a video you uploaded to YouTube and measure the sentiment of the comments in terms of the type of emotions they are pointing to. Or using an industrial report, you may want to predict the state of competition in the future. These types of data manipulations will help you and your company basically to come up with a marketing strategy to optimize the path you have ahead of you for gaining market share or increase your loyal customer base. The positions that we discussed are only a small subset of possibilities that you can pursue with a master of Business Analytics. Our program is basically designed in a way that covers a wide and useful range of tools and techniques to help you in your career. Many possibilities are out there. At this point, I’m going to ask you to submit your questions. If you have any, please go ahead and I’m going to turn this over to Sean.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Ardjmand. Everybody, just like Dr. Ardjmand had mentioned there, you can use this degree in a wide variety of different career sets. One of the professors here at Ohio University, she’s fond of saying that in the 20th century, companies didn’t have enough information to conduct their business effectively. Now we have the exact opposite problem in the 21st century. We have too much information and business analytics is taking that information and boiling it down to a story that can be used to drive change within your organizations. With this program, the key things you’re going to be learning is descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics. But it goes much deeper than that. When Dr. Young comes on, he’s going to go into a little bit more detail about the different classes that you’re going to be taking and what you’re actually going to be learning in the program. But this program is indeed setting you up with a degree that you can literally take into pretty much any industry that’s out there.
Sean Dove: Some of the key things, just before we get into that, with this particular program, we’ve recently been ranked number 16 by KDnuggets as one of the leading business analytics programs out there and perhaps even more importantly to you or just as importantly to you is the Ohio University’s College of Business is AACSB accredited. If you’re not familiar with that accreditation, what that stands for is the Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business. Only the top 5% of business schools worldwide carry that accreditation. Let’s put it this way, in the United States, all of your Ivy League business schools are AACSB accredited, so is Ohio University. So the exact same level of accreditation, the same standards are met here at Ohio University as you would get if you were going to Harvard, Yale or the big Ivy league schools.
Sean Dove: The key difference here is you’re getting that level of education, but you’re going to be given it at a state school price, which we’ll get into in a little bit. But before we do that, I want to go ahead and talk real quickly about the leadership development program that we do offer here at Ohio University. This is unique amongst, I would say in my research, this is the only program in the nation that I’m aware of that does offer a program like this for our students. What this is is a weekend that you get to come to campus, they’re going to bring in national speakers and trainers to work with you on your managerial and leadership skills. If you were to attend a conference like this on your own or a professional conference like this would cost you thousands of dollars. Here at Ohio University, this is included in your tuition, your hotel is covered as well as the majority of your food.
Sean Dove: During this weekend, in addition to the beginning of this high level of training, you’re also going to get to meet all the other students that are in your class with you as well as you get to meet your faculty. I can tell you that you’re going to get to meet Dr. Young and you’ll have to get in line to meet him because he’s like a rock star when he walks into the room, everybody runs up, they want pictures taken with him. But you’re going to have a great time on this weekend. And the reason they do this is most people when they get a master’s degree in business, they wind up getting stuck in middle management. They don’t move beyond there.
Sean Dove: Here at Ohio University, we want to equip you to, as soon as you get your degree, or if you’re already management, we don’t want you stuck there. We want you to be able to move forward and we want you to be one of the leaders of driving change within your organization. We want to make sure that we equip you with all the skills that you need. Basically give you all the tools you need in your tool belt so that you can break out of the pack and move forward so that you can get up to those higher levels of being a director or move up to the executive suite if that’s where you want to go. But in a nutshell, actually before I do that, Dr. Young, would you mind elaborating a little bit on what the students can expect here in the leadership development program?
Dr. Young: Yeah, absolutely. Great job, by the way, in setting up for the program discussion and also talking about the career outcomes. If I had to reflect about the leadership development program eight years ago when I started directing a graduate program here at the campus, I really thought, really, I don’t know if this is going to work. I’ll be just quite honest with you. Our students want an online program, the students probably don’t want to come to campus to do any type of residential experience, but I’m really happy to say I was absolutely positively wrong about that assumption. The leadership development program has been a huge success for us. We have, for example, the military students that go through similar leadership development training, and of course a lot of students that are working in corporations that do leadership training and they always say, “Oh my gosh, this was so well put together. I’m going to go home and reflect various things that were discussed during the two-day event.”
Dr. Young: We’re really proud of this event and it’s really a signature event for us here on campus. One comment that I just reflect on that was made last time by one of my colleagues is that, this might be an online program and you might think that it’s an afterthought and it’s not, it’s not an afterthought for us. Actually, our primary program in terms of our grad program is something like this, is the master’s of Business Analytics. So every day we have a whole floor on our college of business building dedicated to online programs. And every day we are communicating with our potential students or current students or alumni. So we really have a lot of passion. But more specifically what you can experience besides the keynote speakers, besides panelists, is that engagement between your peers.
Dr. Young: That’s such an important thing because you’re making connections and we bring you in to the campus early and we really think of coming to campus really is a nice personal touch to develop those relationships. But anyway, you get to meet a slew of different people that you can have conversations with and really explore some of the more difficult conversations to have in terms of career projection and roles within your organization and just a myriad of different topics that you wanna discuss. So in a nutshell, it’s a really great event that we really focus on understanding your leadership style, your leadership potential, exploring those avenues of how to more effectively communicate with your team. And if I reflect a little bit about the analytics proposition that we’re offering, it really has to do with two types of students if I could just summarize.
Dr. Young: One of our target student audiences relate to somebody coming right out of a bachelor’s program and leadership is going to play an important role for those types of students. Because organizations are really, they’re not mature in terms of their analytical capabilities. And a lot of our students, whether they are coming in from a bachelor’s program with very minimal years of experience or our students that have 15 years of experience or even more, organizations are growing out these capabilities internally. There’s so much potential within these organizations from our students who are going through a proper education and leadership development training that you can take back to your organization because you’re going to be the ones that they ask to lead this new analytical charge. So that’s why leadership development is really important.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. Since we got you on the phone, would you mind going on the next slide here, talk a little bit about the computer requirements that the students are gonna need going forward with this program?
Dr. Young: Sure, absolutely. What I want to do is over the next couple of slides, take you through the journey from our prospective students in terms of what might you need from a computer requirement, all the way to the level of what you can expect in some of our courses here within the program. When you talk about computer requirements, I would say that a Windows environment is going to be advantageous for you to be in. However, with that said, we can get into the nuances of overcoming some of the limitations within the Mac environment. So what I would recommend in terms of a computer setup is coming into the program with a PC if you can. But again, we have ways to address some of these issue. And the reason why is a lot of software within analytics is specifically designed for the Windows operating system.
Dr. Young: But anyway, if you have a Windows operating system, that’s great. And really in addition, something that’s not on this slide, a lot of our courses, by the way, we don’t have required textbooks, which makes the cost of this program even more exciting than what it already is. But I would invest in a second monitor. So we’ll get into a little bit more about how the classes are managed. But in a nutshell, a lot of our classes are centered around this skill development area as well as the strategic use of analytics area. What you’ll actually see is a lot of times you’ll be watching videos that are led by our faculty members solving tools and discussing, solving problems, I should say, and discussing how to use the tool. But more importantly, why these tools and why the applications of analytics are a quintessential to a modern business environment.
Dr. Young: When you’re working in software, it’s really beneficial to have a second screen to play the video and then within a software environment on your other monitor, be able to conduct that analysis. That’s not featured on this particular slide, but I think it’s really important to get off on the right footing within our program. So analytics, like I said, I want to mention the Mac angle within the analytics space. You’re more than welcome to come into the program with a Mac. We have a couple of options. That really boils down to a virtualized environment. We have a VDI, virtual desktop infrastructure here at the college that we offer. So if you do have a Mac but need to operate your course essentially in a Windows environment, you can simply use a browser, log in to a virtualized machine here on campus and use that virtual computer system environment, if you will, to complete your tasks.
Dr. Young: If you didn’t want to run some virtualization online, you can actually install software on your Mac computer that would allow you to install windows on your Mac, which would allow you to install any software that we use in the program on your Mac as well under that partition, if you will. That’s what I would recommend in terms of the ideal situation, would be to have the Windows operating system. The more Ram the better, the more up to date Windows the better, and of course, that second screen.
Dr. Young: A lot of questions I get from prospective students is the software. I definitely want to spend some time talking about the software that we feature. I think if I had to guess why there’s a question about the software is simply because maybe a prospective student isn’t acclimated into the jargon used within the industry in terms of maybe descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and even some of the BI courses that we offer. But they know the software titles. So it’s important to understand if you’re looking to transition to a different job or maybe transition into a different role within your organization that your leadership or those calls for different off career opportunities might be stating specific software that you need to be proficient in. So if you don’t know the topics within analytics but recognize the software titles, I think it’s important to cover what software we actually do use. And of course, some of our questions and concerns relate to how proficient do I need to be coming into a program with these particular software titles?
Dr. Young: I can say, we’ve put a lot of time and energy in developing these courses in a way that expect very little prior knowledge. As we go through the program, gradually we introduce more sophisticated software as we mature in our technical capabilities. For example, the first course that you would have is the data analysis for decision making. So it’s a descriptive analytics course and we started in an environment that is widely used, so Microsoft Excel. We will essentially, as a result of that class, make sure you’re proficient in an Excel environment.
Dr. Young: One of the things we often see is that students come in thinking that they are fairly proficient in Excel. While that’s true for some students, the level of depth that we go into in Excel in this course is actually fairly deep. So we start out with basically an understanding that hey, you might have limited exposure to Excel, let’s start out at the beginning and slowly but steadily grow into using Excel at a very sophisticated level. We also leverage some add-in to Excel in some of our courses like predictive and prescriptive analytics. And the reason we do that is because there’s two schools of thought. One school of thought says, okay, well I need to know Python. I need to know maybe SQL or some other software capability. So we can either focus our time devoted to teaching you programming, and we do by the way. So I don’t want to suggest that we don’t. Or we can devote it into learning and understanding the fundamentals of predictive and prescriptive analytics and in a software and environment that you’re already familiar with. So we actually balance those.
Dr. Young: We start out by saying, okay, now that you know Excel, you’re proficient in Excel, we walk you through the fundamentals of predictive analytics. So we’ll cover predictive topics and data mining such as linear regression, logistic regression, discriminant analysis, neural networks, classification and regression trees, clustering and all these exciting methodologies within that environment. Like I said, in an environment that is safe and you can learn the methods, then once you learn the methods, we go into other software environments that really teach the fundamentals of, for example, programming or scripting as it is sometimes called. So once you understand the methods, you get to a point that you can learn the more sophisticated tools that are going to bring an awful lot of values later to your organization. We do cover Python, we do cover things like Microsoft SQL Server and Visual Studio and Tableau.
Dr. Young: Those are all integrated into our courses, as you saw in this slide. But now if I transition to what does a typical course look like and how much engagement are you getting in terms of our faculty, since this is an online program, a lot of questions come from this area as far as, what is my next step, five semesters look like, for example? I did mention that we have videos so you would log into a course and typically, we would launch a course through a Blackboard environment. Those Blackboard environments are consistent course after course, and the slide prior to listing the courses, what you’re seeing there is an Adobe connect environment. So you would basically open up Blackboard, you would get the course schedule, you would map that out to your own personal schedule. In case you have children at home, maybe that needs babysitters or other accommodations that you need to make with your superior in terms of time either off or something of that nature.
Dr. Young: There’s going to be some amount of time management that you’re going to have to adjust to within any program that you choose. And what we offer is not only the asynchronous learning opportunities through the videos and reading that we have in our course by asynchronous learning opportunities or sorry, synchronous learning opportunities as well. So the Adobe connect screen that you’re looking at now is just a screenshot of a course in descriptive analytics where a colleague, Andy [Goodnight 00:26:42] and I are co-teaching a course. And this particular module has to do with probability and stats, which is one of the first courses, it’s actually the first course that you would have in the course sequence and you’re seeing the attendees on the left.
Dr. Young: You’re seeing that we document a table of contents in terms of our meeting minutes, which is, it might not sound like a very meaningful thing, but I can tell you this is reflective of how student centered we actually are. Because let’s say we have an hour video or recording that you weren’t able to attend live to, we record these sessions and send out the recording immediately after the session has ended. Maybe there’s only 15 minutes of that video that you really need before maybe submitting the homework or maybe discussing a topic that you had troubles with. Well, we provide a table of contents so you can quickly get to certain parts of that video that you might want to watch. We also interact with our students via polls. You can see some blue polls down at the bottom of the screen, which gives us an understanding of where the students are, what they understand and how we need to direct the next hour of our time.
Dr. Young: Of course, we have chat. We can share screens, we can give microphone rights to students if we want to. Our course runs a little bit differently in. The only other piece I didn’t mention is we share files in the Adobe connect environment. We offer these synchronous sessions twice a week in any course we offer in the MBA. So if you need to talk to that subject matter expert, you have a chance in our Adobe connect virtual office, virtual class environment to do so.
Dr. Young: But now if we look ahead into the program, I can talk a little bit about, not only the software capabilities, but more specifically some of the learning outcomes that we cover in our program. As we’re seeing here, it’s a 30 credit hour program and these courses can be finished in five semesters. Essentially, our program is broken down to where students take two courses per semester. We split a semester up into, if you will, term A and term B of a semester. The first seven weeks would be term A. The last seven weeks of a semester would be termed B. For example, if you enrolled into our program in the spring, you would start out with 6320, which is a course I teach descriptive analytics. After the first seven week of spring, you would have that course. The second seven weeks, if you will, will be predictive analytics. That’s where you get the videos. That’s where you get certain readings that are expected of you and that’s where you would have those opportunities online to talk with your instructor. That’s the general outline of the whole program.
Dr. Young: I’ll take a quick dive into every single one of these courses. And by all means, if you have questions, please ask. So descriptive analytics is all about describing data. We have historic data, what does that data look like and what kind of insights can we draw from that data to support decision making? Now as we move down to predictive analytics, now we’re closer to some, there is automated decision making, but we’re getting closer to a prescriptive environment, which is what the name suggests. It’s a prescription. Here is the right answer. Here is the most optimal answer or a solution or strategy for your business problem. The predictive analytics, if I take just a slight step backwards, it’s more about taking historic data and telling us what the future looks like. That’s a classic forecasting type of topic. But it’s not limited to that.
Dr. Young: As Ehsan was saying earlier, predictive analytics is also about learning customer segmentation and understanding what makes your business operate from not only an operations perspective but more or less how your customers, what customers are purchasing your products, which customers are likely to take some course of action and your product or service offering. So predictive is an area you can tell from my perspective that I really have a lot of passion about. The next person will list the strategic use of information systems. What I mentioned earlier might not have made sense, but I’m going to try to explain what our focus is essentially of our program. The program isn’t 100% technical skill building. It’s mostly part of that. But within every course, there is that a strategy component.
Dr. Young: But we also have two courses in particular that are really strategic and focused. For example, the strategic use of information systems is a course that explains how companies and organizations can leverage analytical capabilities by leveraging the systems in place. So ERP, CRM of the world. Business intelligence gets to a point where we take a dive into SQL and database management programming after you’ve had some predictive courses. We get to a part that we teach you the fundamentals of programming all the way up to where you’re doing some pretty sophisticated things later in the course that follow the programming for analytics course. So we’ve chose Python. Python is definitely by far one of the most exciting software environments and the most heavily sought after skillset along with SQL by the way, that we’re seeing from organizations. That’s where we’ll start your Python journey.
Dr. Young: Prescriptive analytics, as I mentioned earlier, is more about taking the historic data, if you will, perhaps taking forecast into account and understanding how we use our limited resources at hand. That could be anywhere from financial resources down to human labor hours perspectives and all of those have some constraints to deal with. We only have this much labor, this many employees, this much budget. How do we make an optimal decision? On the right side of the column, I’ll try to speed up some of these descriptions, but we get into the more advanced side of some of our courses on the left hand side. BI2 for example. BI2, you continue your general journey using visual studios and SQL and we get into more unstructured problems in nature. So when I say unstructured, I mean from a database perspective. So think text mining, text analytics, learning from customer feedback and things like that, or Twitter feeds or anything related to some unstructured data.
Dr. Young: Predictive, students continues that journey where predictive one leaves off and cover some of those topics that are not as common, but still very not as common. And I don’t want to suggest that they’re not important, but they are. They’re extremely important, but we just follow that journey down the predictive path. We have another strategic use of course, if you will, and that’s where we get into visualization. We try to go through Tableau and explore that tool and I explore also the visuals that support decision making. Then we have interesting concept of which I haven’t seen when I’m benchmarking other programs. We have a capstone, which is a two course caps and you’ll see a two hour and a one hour. Those are taken in conjunction with one another.
Dr. Young: We actually have used simulate real world scenarios within a team of MBA students as well as the MBA end students, semesters of Business Analytics. So you will function as the analytics expert in this team. It’s quite possible that the MBA students don’t have the, [inaudible 00:34:53]. They won’t have the deep dive of analytics that you’ll have at this point for sure. But you’ll be called upon to analyze data that’s generated within a computer simulated organization. So you get the simulated data, you’ll be asked to analyze the data and communicate that data back to your teammates to augment the decision. That’s our capstone environment. Like I said earlier, if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer those in the Q&A session.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. Going forward, let’s go ahead and cover some of the basic requirements for the program here. As you can see up on the screen, obviously you need to complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Ideally we are looking for a 3.0 GPA or higher. If you’re a little bit less than that, reach out to your enrollment advisor. We can discuss some different options with you offline regarding that. We will need official transcripts from all colleges and universities that you’ve attended. A current resume, a personal goal statement needs to be two pages long. It’s double space so it’s not bad at all. Then you need three letters of recommendation. The online application itself only take you 10 to 15 minutes to complete. And then to submit it, you’ll need to pay the $50 application fee.
Sean Dove: Everybody that is registered for this webinar will receive an application fee waiver code that you’ll be able to use. If you do not receive it by the end of the week, reach out to your enrollment advisor and we’ll make sure that they get it out to you. But it is my plan to get these out to you, if not this afternoon, by the end of the day tomorrow. Then finally, we do not require a GRE or a GMAT score for admissions into this program.
Sean Dove: At this point, we want to go ahead and open it up to any questions that you may have regarding the program. Already have a list here. Many of you had emailed me questions ahead of time, so I thank you for that. In the meantime, if you have any questions, go ahead and write those into the chat box so that we can go ahead and get those addressed for you. Dr. Young, here’s a question for you. The individual asked, are the classes set up to require team projects with each class or is it just the capstone class a group project?
Dr. Young: Yeah, great question. The teamwork happens in the capstone course. A lot of the other courses are more or less individual-based. We do promote collaboration in those courses, that collaboration is optional. The only place where team collaboration is enforced is in the capstone environment.
Sean Dove: Thank you sir. Another one that we have here is, is the program geared more towards technical skills or is it more research and writing focused?
Dr. Young: I would definitely say its application focused. So there is a heavy component of technical skills, but I don’t want to discount the focus of strategy because we don’t only focus on how to use Excel, how to use Python. We discuss heavily true implication and findings of our analysis. I would say there is a heavier focus on the technical skills, but I’d rather reposition that to, it’s a program that’s heavily focused on business application and the strategy of how to leverage these capabilities within an organization.
Sean Dove: Great. Thank you, sir.
Amanda S.: Awesome. Thank you guys. This is Amanda here on the line. To either of the professors on the phone, we had a question that came in, and it was talking about using a Mac computer. The question was, are there appropriate softwares needed to run Windows on a Mac device available to students through Ohio University?
Dr. Young: Yeah, I’ll go ahead and take this one. Yes, the short answer is yes. We offer what we call Bobcat Depot and at the Depot you can get discounts or even free software. You can buy computers at a discounted rate and other things. The software that is, what we’re referring to here is VMware. VMware, I don’t know the current costs of that. I’ll roughly estimate to $40 to $60. Once you’ve purchased that for your Mac, you can then get Windows and let’s say Microsoft Office or whatever other software that was designed for a Windows environment installed on your Mac in that environment that you create with VMware. So yes, we offer that software and we offer technical support to get you up and running through the Bobcat Depot.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. I have another question here. This student states that they are computer literate, that’s not an issue. However, they do not have a background in mathematics or programming. Would they be at a disadvantage in this program?
Dr. Young: I really think the answer is no, not at a disadvantage at all. What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is having the right attitude about any program, any course that you’re taking. If you want to learn this and you find this interesting and have the passion to succeed, your limited math background is not going to prevent you from learning these concepts and having enough confidence of applying these concepts within your organization. Like I said earlier, we assume at the very beginning that people have limited exposure to various math concepts. What we really try to do is focus the curriculum into the must need to know topics and deliver that in a way that not only builds your confidence of solving problems and applying these techniques, but getting you to the point where you know what is needed to know and at the right time. So it’s like a just in time mentality.
Dr. Young: If we think it’s important, you’ll learn it and you’ll learn it in a way that we have had a lot of success working with students with limited experience. The caveat of that is often when we talk about students who come in from the other perspective. And I can also ensure you, so if you have an engineering background for example, with a lot of mathematics, you will still get a lot of insight of how business decisions are made and what applications that these techniques can be used for. So we really offer a balance and we really put a lot of time and energy and effort of course, into designing courses for our students in a way that’s safe, that promotes confidence in their craft to the way.
Sean Dove: Thank you, sir.
Amanda S.: Hi guys. It’s Amanda again. I had a question come in for either the professors on the phone. It says, with the seven week course structure, is the coursework a typical 16-week semester crammed into seven weeks worth of work?
Dr. Young: Okay, I can take that one as well. Essentially, yes and no. It’s a little, to me, hard to just say crammed into seven weeks. Like I said, we work with a lot of learning designers specifically for the adult audience in terms of how much curriculum we can deliver effectively within a seven week period. So, I really don’t like the word cram there. But I can say that a typical student would spend anywhere from 10 hours to 15, maybe some more, maybe even upwards to 20, depending on your familiarity with the content and really how you calculate the time spent on the course. So it varies by the individual. And I’m not suggesting that every week is 20, because I know that’s maybe an alarming number. But I will say that with any graduate program and especially geared towards an adult professional audience, the time management and the voting time regularly at night and of course on the weekends is going to be a very vital piece of your success. So I would say yes, the courses are designed in a way that we offer a lot of depth within those seven weeks.
Dr. Young: One of the reasons we could do that is because we don’t have competing courses at the same time. Rather than having you take two courses simultaneously throughout a 16-week period, you’re taking one course at a time, which allows you to not switch gears, then go from let’s say, the very reading qualitative type of course to then switch gears and go to a quantitative course. You’re immersed into these courses one at a time.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. I’ve got another question here. A student is not looking to apply for the program until summer or the fall at the earliest. Are there any things that they can be doing to prepare for the program in the meantime?
Dr. Young: Sure. I’ll take this too. And Dr. Ardjmand, if you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear those as well. First of all, we do have three intakes a year. So we start cohorts in the fall, spring and summer. Some of the things that I’m thinking about are maybe rather basic. I would recommend, it really just depends on the individual and if you want to email me, we can talk about your individual needs for sure. But probability and statistics is one of those topics that, it’s always better to have more of a background but was saying that I don’t want to intimidate you in a way that you need to know everything there is to know about probability and statistics. But a review of basic concepts related to normal distributions and probability associated with those normal distributions would be helpful for the first class and definitely has an application within predictive analytics.
Dr. Young: That’s one thing I would brush up on. There’s a wealth of information on YouTube that [inaudible 00:46:20] this. Some are good videos, some are, well I’m not going to say not so good, but not as directed to the skills that you might need to actually know. So you can always brush up on those. You can also just start to engage in the process of understanding what analytics is all about. So it’s not a fresh new discovery. Every course that you take of what prescriptive analytics is, if you want to just get familiar with some of the terminology out there, there’s an awful lot of books you can read that just talk more or less about what companies are doing. So when you get to a topic, you’re not surprised you’re not learning it or not seeing it for the first time. So more than just any technical skill that you might be asking about, I would indirectly say what’s more important is your interest and your desire and your passion to learn the material.
Sean Dove: Thank you, sir. I have another question here. Actually, there are two questions, and I’m going to go ahead and combine them into one here. The first question is, what makes this program better than other programs that are out there, and how does this program compare to different programs that are out there cost-wise?
Dr. Young: All right. I think that our program is very cost, well attractive for lack of better words. When you combine the fact that we’re AACSB accredited, when you look at the price point that we offer our program, I can say that upwards of 80% of our faculty are, well, they’re PhD terminal degree holding faculty members with research experience, with consulting experience, and even with a lot of real world experience. I think that’s a really something to consider because in a lot of programs, especially at the graduate level, it is possible that it might on the surface appear that these courses are being instructed by those terminal degree holding and professional faculty. But oftentimes they’re actually facilitated by, it could be essential PhD students or even other graduate students within their program. So one benefit is that we have the accreditation, we have an excellent group of faculty who are very passionate and spend a lot of quality time with our students.
Dr. Young: I don’t think you get that at other programs. We offer those online sessions that you get a chance to really build a rapport with your faculty and really just go beyond some of the homework questions and some of the course material that’s being discussed each week. Those are definitely two. I can now also continue that discussion about the application focus. If you look at reviews of any of our programs, whether it be the master’s of Business Analytics or we have a rather large online MBA program, we’re consistently ranked for one of the highest student experiences from resources such as [inaudible 00:49:36] and those programs that we provide an outstanding student experience for our students. We’re also highly ranked in terms of the career progression.
Dr. Young: The career outcomes of our students is really top-notch. In a combination of the quality of faculty, we’re bringing in the amount of time dedicated to synchronous learning, the culmination of leadership development focus, which is definitely a necessity. In our organization at this point, there’s a lot of exciting things that we offer. When it boils down to it, we offer a lot of courses that are directly dedicated, not to just the theory, but applied theory and more application of what organizations and the people within those organizations need to do to add direct business value immediately.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. I’m going to go ahead and move forward at this point. If you have any additional questions, go ahead and put those in the chat box. We will definitely try to get to those before we wrap up here this afternoon. But just to give you an idea as a student that comes on board with the business analytics program, the online, you do have multiple layers of support that’s going to help you through this. A big concern a lot of people have regarding taking online classes is what do they do if they need help? They don’t want to be, it feels like you’re out there on an Island by yourself. When you’re doing an online program, when it’s just you at two o’clock in the morning sitting behind your laptop and you don’t know how to do something. Ohio University, we understand this and so we put together a system that’s going to provide you with much support as possible.
Sean Dove: At this stage, as you’re just taking a look at the different programs that are out there and you’re doing your research, you’re going to have your enrollment advisor that’s going to work with you. You also have student support services that’ll be assisting you from the day you get accepted all the way to the day you graduate. And then obviously you have the program director and his faculty. You’ve heard from Dr. Young as well, they will bend over backwards to help you. The support’s going to be there for you. Talking a little bit more about the role of the enrollment advisors, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have as you’re doing your research. We’re here to assist you as you’re putting together your application to make sure that it is as strong as possible.
Sean Dove: Work with your advisor. I know some people just prefer to do it alone and just upload all their own stuff and try to bypass the services that we can provide you. But do realize that we know what the admissions committees are looking for and we can help ensure that your resumes are strong as it possibly can, especially with the essay. That’s going to be crucial for you, it’s probably one of the more important pieces of your application. Work with your enrollment advisor. We’re here to assist you. We know what they’re looking for and we can make sure you’re checking off all the boxes before you do submit your application, make sure it is as strong as possible for you.
Sean Dove: Then like I mentioned before, once you do get accepted into the program, you’re going to be working with a student manager. They’re going to be with you from the day you get accepted, like I mentioned before, all the way to the day you graduate. They’re going to take you through orientation. They’re going to be there to assist you throughout the semester just touching base. How are you doing? Is there anything that they can do to assist you? I jokingly refer to them as your educational concierge. You reach out to them, they are a consistent point of contact for you. Whereas as your professors and faculty, your concern is possible.
Sean Dove: You could have a different faculty member going from semester or a session to session, but your student coach is going to be with you from day one to the day you end. So you’re going to that strong relationship built with them and as well, they’re going to help you when it comes time for coming up to campus for the leadership development program. They’re going to be the source of all your information helping you with the hotel and just getting you everything that you need for that. That’s a great asset available to you.
Sean Dove: Then finally, we have all these additional support services that are there for you. Probably a great one that I wish I had when I was going through my MBA at the time was the live 24/7 tutoring services. Dr. Young mentioned before about, there are different videos that you can watch on YouTube and Google to try to get help and preparation. Well, I can tell you from my accounting course, you don’t want to go to Google or YouTube to try to get help because they just made me all that much more confused. So having a 24 hour, that tutoring services there available to you is going to be priceless for you, especially if you are going to be doing this late at night. Because the beauty of online programs is we don’t care if you’re doing your work at 2:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon, whatever works with your schedule. This program is designed to work around your schedule, not the other way around. So this is just additional benefits that are available to you. Then finally [crosstalk 00:54:34]. Yes, absolutely. Jump in please.
Dr. Young: I did actually want to apologize basically. I mean, jeez, the level of students services we provide here, in my opinion, it’s second to none. So I apologize for not bringing that up, but you really got me motivated by hearing everything that we provide students, which is the absolute [inaudible 00:54:58]. So I think it’s a point that definitely needs to be taken into account when shopping around for different programs. So thank you for that.
Sean Dove: Oh, absolutely. And since we have you on the phone, I know you touched on this earlier for just a little bit. Do you want to expand on it, or Dr. Ardjmand, would you like to expand on what it’s going to take to be a successful grad student in this program?
Dr. Ardjmand: Absolutely, Sean. A couple of things that I guess are going to be very important in this program is that, as you have mentioned it here in this slide is to be self motivated, time management, which is very essential, very critical in this program. You will often find that you need to manage your time in order to finish all the homework assignments or work through a course, so that’s essentially a very important skill that you need to have. Working environment is important. You remember that at some point, Dr. Young talked about having two monitors. So having all those equipment and environment ready for you to be able to basically have a calm and efficient working environment is very important in this course. But most of all, and I would like to go back to what Dr. Young mentioned at some point, most of all it’s really the passion that you have for this topic and the motivation that you have, which is going to push you through this program and that would be the most important thing in becoming a successful student.
Sean Dove: Thank you, sir. We have one final question here as we’re getting ready to wrap up. Amanda.
Amanda S.: Hi there, guys. We just have one question come in and the question was around, during the Business Analytics program, upon completion, will they earn any type of certification of any sort upon completion of the program?
Dr. Young: That’s a good question. We haven’t formalized any certification, but we do have courses that directly relate to obtaining certifications like the analytics professional. Those strategy courses, any experience that you can bring in from a project management perspective, we’ll set you up for success. But no, we don’t offer formal certificates in this program [inaudible 00:57:23].
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. Okay, at this point, we’ll have to go ahead and wrap it up. If anybody has any additional questions, please reach out to your enrollment advisor or you can reply to any of the emails that were sent to you regarding the webinar today and we’ll make sure that we get those answered for you. Dr. Young and Dr. Ardjmand, I’d like to thank both of you for your participation and the insight that you provided to our audience today. I’d also like to thank Amanda for her work in producing this for us. But before we go, Dr. Young, is there any final comments that you’d like to give to the audience?
Dr. Young: I can’t stress enough the comments that Sean made about reaching out to your enrollment advisors. If you’re worried about perhaps a low GPA or something like that, that you don’t think you’re qualified for the program, we always look at the complete package, the complete application package of our students. So GPA is one item that we look at, but it’s not the sole item. We look at things like career projection, your willingness, your passion to learn, the material, your career projection in terms of why do you want this degree? If you want to boil it down to grit, we love grit. We love students that have a passion and a direction that they want to take in terms of their career. So I would highly recommend that. Any other questions, for sure, reach out to them. If they think they need to reach out to the faculty to help them, we’re always available here as noted earlier. We’re very student focused.
Dr. Young: Anywhere from planning our courses to working with those learning designers that direct expertise of developing content for adult learners, down to our faculty that have experience teaching graduate programs. We’re here for you and we look forward to hearing from you and having you apply to our program. So again, thank you for your time and taking out and carving out a little bit of piece of your day to learn more about our program. I wish you luck.
Sean Dove: Thank you, Dr. Young. To everybody online, thank you for joining us again today. I echo Dr. Young’s sentiments. We appreciate your time with us. If you do have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to assist you in any way that we can. Have a great afternoon. Thank you.