Meet the Program Director of the online Healthcare MBA

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Hear from Dr. El Tarabishy as he shares the benefits, highlights and outcomes of the online GW Healthcare MBA program. At the end, he also addressed an active Q&A session.


Annie: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules and joining us today for an information session on the Online Healthcare MBA Program at the George Washington University. So we have invited Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy, the program director today, so that we can get to know him a little bit better and also ask him to take us through the program features. And we also have our advisors today to provide more application details. And I am your moderator, Annie Li.So let me firstly introduce today’s speakers. So we’re going to start with Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy who is a Director of Online Healthcare MBA Program, and also an Associate Teaching Professor in Management at the GW School of Business. He is an award-winning author and teacher awarded the most outstanding faculty voted by students four years consecutive from 2011 to 2014. Dr. El Tarabishy developed the first social entrepreneurship and innovation and creativity courses offered to MBA students throughout the School of Business. He is also the Executive Director of the International Council for Small Business.

We also have out advisors today, Ilana, Rajiv, and Debra on the call today, so many of you might have already spoken with them recently. They are your dedicated advisors and ready to help you through every step of your decision and application process. So let me just play this short video of Dr. El Tarabishy before we begin.

Dr. El Tarabishy: Hi, my name is Ayman Tarabishy. I’m an Associate Teaching Professor at the Department of Management in the School of Business. I am also the Director for the Healthcare MBA program at GW. A little bit of my professional background is that I worked for the World Bank for about five years in their strategy group developing a new initiative called The Development Marketplace. I have also started my own IT firm with a good colleague of mine, helping to find IT solutions for businesses. I am also a professor, and I teach courses like entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity, and knowledge management. A little bit of my personal hobbies is I like sports, and I also have two little munchkins, two little kids, that are five years old, so there’s a lot of innovation happening at home here.

Annie: All right, so here is Dr. El Tarabishy himself. I’ll pass it over to you from here on.

Dr. El Tarabishy: Thank you. Thank you, Annie, and thank you for the nice introduction, and I want to thank everybody on the session today. Annie, how many have joined us? Over 50, I assume, from all the registrations here. So I want to thank you all for coming. And my name is Ayman Tarabishy, I am a professor in the Department of Management in the School of Business. I’m also the Executive Director for the International Council for Small Businesses. A little bit about myself, I’ll actually tell you a little bit about the pictures that you see on screen here. The first picture, you see me here on a desk all immersed. The picture was taken in Seoul, South Korea. I was being interviewed by one of the Korean newspapers, like the equivalent of the Financial Times, talking about the impact of small businesses in Korea, even though they have the Hyundai and the Samsung, and I wanted to kind of explain to them the impact of small business in Korea regardless of the big businesses.

And the next picture here was actually at GW. We had a summit here, and the gentleman next to me on my right is Jim Clifton, and he is the CEO of the Gallup Foundation, and he was here to give a talk about his understanding of the difference between entrepreneurship and innovation.

And finally, the third picture of me in a tuxedo was at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, down the street right across from The White House. And I always liked that building, it’s a beautiful building, but what’s neat about it is they have a huge sign outside the building with one word only, and the word is: ‘Jobs’. And I asked about the history of this, why do they have this huge sign outside that says ‘Jobs’? And I was told that when President Obama took office and we were in the midst of the recession, they put the sign up there so when he was sitting in his Oval Office he could always see that big sign saying focus on the jobs, focus on the jobs. So I thought that was kind of funny, a little ironic, and because today we’re at the lowest unemployment rate in the last 16 years. But I think things are moving well for everybody here.

So that’s a little bit about the pictures and kind of give you an idea of what I do in terms of activities inside the university and outside the university. Let’s talk a little bit about the program here. And I don’t want to just get into the simple terms of the program, what it is and all that stuff. But the program itself, the GW Healthcare MBA Program, was started in 2002, 2003. And it was started, really honestly, by a couple of people in the MBA office that saw the future, that kind of projected the future, and kind of realized and said, you know, the healthcare industry is going to change so radically, so dramatically, that there is going to be this huge demand from healthcare providers, from physicians, clinicians, pharmaceutical executives, from individuals that are interested in healthcare, but not just healthcare, healthcare and business.

And so they said, we need to do something about this, we need to be ready, we need to get ready to kind of deal with this big demand that’s coming in, because at this point back in 2002, 2003 and the internet was in its infancy here and we said we need to do something in which we understand the nature of these individuals coming in but provide something that’s cutting edge, provide something that connects business and healthcare together, or healthcare and business together.

So, and that’s really … and I’m very proud of this – it’s because it’s that entrepreneurial moment that the GW MBA Program was created. And we had an idea that the demand was coming, and now from 2002, 2003, up to today, we are very proud of what we have accomplished. And GW itself is located in the centre of Washington, D.C. It’s five blocks away from the White House, it’s about three blocks away from the State Department, it’s about two blocks away from The World Bank, IMF, IFC. I have colleagues and friends there at the World Bank, IMF and IFC, and I sometimes tease them and tell them, oh, you all know that this is GW East, that we actually own the land. And it’s true, we actually own the land where the World Bank, one of the World Bank buildings resides, and we took it back a couple of years ago and we gave it to passport control.

So GW, location-wise, is very strategic, but at the same time more than just land and how GW was created, the idea behind GW, the idea behind the different programs, is really the intersection of many different disciplines and using our location, using our environment, to bring people together, to bring people that are curious about knowledge. To bring people that want to experiment, people who want to retool and rethink the way- how their career is moving. And that’s what GW provides, I call the convenient platform in which we bring knowledge, experience, expertise, and I call it a hunger and passion for knowledge.

And so I love- I know we changed the theme at the center of it all to something else, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s the center of it all. And a lot of people say, oh, well you know, we use- we’re global, or we’re worldwide, and I kind of push the envelope in saying that GW is not just global, it’s intergalactic. And I use that, and they make fun of me. But I think we can claim that for a little bit here, just kind of to understand that we are not limited to our thinking here.

And why don’t we go to the next slide? So a little bit about the program, and I’d like to talk about the program in a humane way, a human touch, because I think you can read all the explicit information listed there. But I want to share stories, and stories have major impact and power in kind of understanding a little bit about the program here. A couple of years ago, actually almost two and a half years ago, I was kind of trying to get a doctor’s appointment. It was actually three years ago, and I called to make a doctor’s appointment and I was told that they’re not available, and we were going for over ten minutes on the phone just to find a time when I can go do my checkup. And then finally I basically kind of got tired of this, of this whole routine, and a friend of mine was saying, you know, you need to check out this company. And the company itself – and there are so many of them now, but three years ago there weren’t many of them – was called One Medical, or Medical One.

And so I went to their website and they said, you can reserve or make an appointment online without talking to someone and here is the list of doctors that we have available on the site, and here’s their profile, and here’s their area of interest and expertise. And the website was so high-tech that it just kind of lured you into making that appointment. And they showed the availability, they showed the time, they showed the location, they gave reviews of the doctors, and, more importantly, everything was done where it was connected, you can download it to your phone, you can download it to all your social apps. And I thought it was the friendliest thing I have ever seen, it was like night and day. And I thought, this is great, I think finally we’ve got into technology and that the doctor’s office realized that technology is actually a tool to get more patients organized.

And when I did everything, and at the end of me trying to put all this together, the information, they said, oh, by the way, you need to subscribe, we have a membership fee. And I’m thinking to myself, I’m like, when do doctors’ offices request a membership fee? Now, I’m a professor, so right away it just made me smile, it was $99 for the year. And I’m like, $99 in membership fee to join a doctor’s office, why are they charging this? And then I realized, I’m like, I just had the most pleasant experience, right, to make an appointment at a doctor’s office. So I said, you know, just for that I’ll pay the $99 and I’ll go experiment to see how this whole thing works. And I did go, and they were in the office building, and I went to the office building, and when I walked in, you’re walking in to like the Ritz-Carlton, or the W, or the Four Seasons. The interior was just not something you would ever imagine in a doctor’s office. Right? It was modern, it was pleasant, they had an espresso machine, they had TVs, they had magazines. It was so new that I’m like, where am I? Am I checking into a hotel or am I checking into a doctor’s office? And they had Wi-Fi and computers available.

And they checked you in and they told you, within seven minutes your doctor will come and see you. And you never had that- I call it the blue screen of death, of waiting. Exactly within seven minutes – and I kept kind of time – my doctor came out. He wasn’t wearing a white jacket, he was just wearing, you know, regular clothes, a sports jacket, you know, a shirt. Everything that you can see or imagine in a doctor’s office disappeared. Right? So I went, I kind of explained to him what’s going on, it’s a regular checkup. He goes, oh that’s great, no problem, let’s do the blood test. He pressed the button, the nurse came, took me for the blood test. I’m like, oh, when will I get my results? He goes, well within the next 60 minutes I’ll email you your results, but you can go online now because you’re a member and I’ll write you the report so that you have it available, and by the way I want to do some more tests so I’m going to forward you some more of these referrals that you need to connect with the doctors and do this. A game-changer.

I’m healthy, if anybody was wondering, it was just- it was like he wasn’t saying that was my bad cholesterol, good cholesterol, I don’t remember, but it was all good. But it was just an experience. Now, I didn’t stop there, I wanted to know what the heck were these people doing? Why were they doing this? Who’s behind this? It turned out it was a start-up, it was actually started by some medical doctors with some D.C. funding and some angel investors. And they started in Austin, Texas, in San Francisco, in Washington, and they were bringing in all these doctors into this new model, into this new business model of kind of trying to- how to handle patients, but they blurred the line between patients and customers. Like I was a patient, but at the same time they handled me as a customer, but they made that- I call it the magical balance between both, what we perceive as what we want as customers versus what we expect in quality when it comes to medical care.

So that’s story number one. With that story this is kind of how I see this Online Healthcare MBA Program. Innovation is here, it’s not like it’s just coming, it’s here. And it’s here for many different facets, so you get to pick which part of the innovation you want to explore. And there’s no limit, as I mentioned earlier, we are intergalactic. So you get to customize what area of innovation that you are interested in. It’s really what I call the best of both worlds, kind of like in that medical office I was dealing with a whole new business model of how they take care of the patients, the customers, but at the same time the quality of medicine. They made me fill out a form, and you know those forms that you could never legibly read, right? They gave me an iPad, that basically like check, check, check, check and sign, and that was all the forms I had to do and now it’s all there. It was personalized, kind of like the MBA Program, it’s personalized, you get to pick pieces that you want to build in.
We have top-notch faculty. I think lately we have been ranked sixth in the nation, in the Financial Times, in the online sphere of education, because of what we call our sync sessions, and I’ll talk a little bit about those a little bit later. But they are actually- when we did it we said, oh students are going to hate them, but it turns out the students really like them. And we were dead wrong, because I think that sync sessions make a big difference. And the diverse community, and then the Business School, it’s not just one discipline. In the School of Medicine it’s not just one discipline it’s multiple disciplines all coming together, all colliding together, and that’s what makes it unique.

So why GW? Why the online program? Well, we started it a long time ago, and I like history. There’s a sticky thing about history that if you do it for a long period of time it shows that you’re committed, it shows that you continuously want to do what is good, and people respect that, and people appreciate that if you do it. And our program is one of the oldest, or I think the oldest; I don’t know, it gets vague, but there were two or three schools when this whole thing started.

And, more importantly, with this this innovation that I saw three years ago, now it’s common. Everybody says, well yes, now everybody is doing this. Edna, Kaiser Permanente, and all that. And more is coming. And I see the future happening more. And I have twin boys, seven-year-olds, and of course, as soon as my wife travels for business one has to get sick, it’s organized mafia, in my opinion. And one got sick, and it’s late at night, it’s one o’clock, and I had to make a decision, either take them to the emergency room or, you know- my wife said, you know, if you need to get a doctor you need to call this number on the website, or go online and a doctor will see you. And we tried it, it was one a.m., we got online, we clicked some links, and somebody popped up on the screen and it was a doctor. And I had my little munchkin on my lap, and we were talking to him about the symptoms of what’s going on, he made him get closer to the screen, to open his mouth, and all this stuff, and we got giggles out of it.

And it turned out to be, I think, a sore throat or an ear infection, but at that moment in time I said, well, it’s here. And now I’m getting my kid to be seeing this, but I hesitated, I had this internal dilemma: Do I accept this as a prognosis and go back to sleep, or take the kid – because the fever was high – to the doctor’s office. And by two o’clock I took him to the emergency room. I couldn’t sit there, I was like, no. You know, my heartstrings were pulling, I said, you know, better be safe. But it’s that dilemma that some of us will face, you will face, but what does the business community do about this? And this is where we talk about the uberization of the workforce. What about in the future at one-thirty in the morning and you really need a doctor to come to your house? Why not? You know? Or drop down to CDS where they have the clinic 24/7? Or the reinvention of all the malls that are closing down because nobody is shopping any more, why can’t they be centre hubs for many of these things that are there?

So why don’t we go to the next slide? So here’s how it works, and kind of as you glide your way through it, core business courses, and then I’ll go through the elective healthcare courses, and then the elective general courses. The core business courses, I call them the CBKs or the Common Body of Knowledge. Most of you are either kind of unplugged from academia for a while, or you kind of are but you you’re not, and you’re starting new, or you’re getting back into it again, so you have to ground yourself. And what any program, what GW offers here is what we call the core business courses, things that you need to know, things that you can’t avoid because- and meetings that you are going to eventually have, interactions, projects, initiatives. You have to understand the language and the logic and the theory behind it. Right?

You might not be the expert in it, you might not know exactly everything in it or not, but you understand the dynamics of it, you understand what it means, what it means for an ROI, a return on investment. You need to understand kind of what is angel investing, what is social entrepreneurship, and what are B Corps, what is social marketing, branding? All this stuff that you hear, that everybody uses, and you say, well yeah, I know this but I [do not] know it, you get to be grounded in it, you get to figure out how to do an Excel sheet and financial cash flow projections.

And your numbers might be absolutely off, totally wrong, you destroyed it, but the key is, in the future when you look at something like this again you’ll say, oh, I see, I know this, and then you’ll laugh, you’ll be like, yeah, I blew that in the mid-term. But I kind of know what this is all about, I know why we’re doing this, why we’re doing these projections, why we’re doing this analysis. Why is there a fallacy in the logic? Right? And that the core of business courses, and you’re immersed in them across the board, from accounting, to marketing, to finance, to leadership, to entrepreneurship. And you have to take them all because as soon as you leave the school, or as soon as you graduate, one of the things that we need to be sure of is that when we’re sitting in a meeting, in a business meeting, no curveballs come to you without you knowing where it’s coming from, and that’s business.

The next part is what I call kind of sharpening the edges, which is the electives that you take, and we have many different electives that are both in the Business School but also in the School of Medicine. We say we are the healthcare, GW MBA Healthcare, so in a way we have to offer course that are both topical expertise in business and in medicine, so you get to have best of both worlds, you get to pick and choose between both. And if you take a whole bunch from the school of medicine they offer you a certificate, a certificate or some sort of diploma that comes with it. I think it’s called a certificate, a concentration basically. And I’ll get into that a little bit more.

And then we have what we call our electives in the school. And our electives are very … depending again on what I call the innovation that you want to seek. Is it marketing? Is it finance? Is it accounting? Is it international business? Is it entrepreneurship? And you add up on those courses. So at the end, while you’re doing your Common Body of Knowledge, you’re also- on top of it you add layers of complexity, what I call, it’s kind of more tools in the toolbox that you’ll use. And with all three I feel you become powerful in a cognitive way, you become on the cutting-edge of things. And you get to have fun after that, then you get to talk to people and say, you know, I know about this stuff and it’s all connecting the dots now for me.

And that’s kind of how I see it. Now, while we offer our location here, and GW has something … or the School of Business, in particular, is known for its international study abroad programs, and so if you can steal time, if you can borrow time and travel, we have plenty of abroad programs that go to China, to Sweden, to … I think last year was Paris, France. And it depends on the [theme], again, these are electives that you get to go and do. I think the one that we did a couple of years ago in Sweden was with a medical company, that they were trying to enter the United States. But Professor Anna Helm took a bunch of students and went to Sweden – Stockholm, Sweden – for the summer of [unintelligible 00:25:44]. The good news is the company loved it. The bad news is, because there was always sun there, the students never slept, so because of the summer solstice back there so it was just always light.

So that’s the online Healthcare MBA curriculum. If you want to go to the next slide.

So here is, I imagine, some of the core courses that you take, and I’ll go through them. I know the ones that I teach and I’ll tell you a little bit about the other ones here. So the Foundational Management Topics in Healthcare, that’s my course, and that’s a new course that we put together, and as program director I think it’s very important that all incoming students take this course. It’s because not just about the topic itself, it’s about the mindset, and the focus was to get you guys back in the mindset of acquiring knowledge, processing knowledge, balancing your lives in a sense, because there’s a lot of things happening, but now you’re adding a full-fledged MBA program – online MBA program.

So people think that you can just do it in half an hour and so on. No, it really requires proper planning and commitment, sacrifice, but really planning is the key. So part of this course is to delve into the topic, to delve into this innovation, but at the same time to get you guys on this pace. I call it like a symphony of sorts where things kind of calm down and you understand the rigor and the magnitude it requires for you to kind of connect in academia – to think, to write and to plan. And I’ll talk a little bit more about the course a little bit later, but as you move forward you’ll see that the course is very interesting – it’s kind of like built up on the story that I mentioned when I went to this doctor’s office and how it all fits in.

And Business Ethics and Public Policy, I think the name gives it itself, right, where do we draw the line when it comes to ethics versus business posturing? And what’s happening from a policy, from a public policy perspective. Decision-making and Data Analysis – this kind of makes you kind of re-think how you think by using technology. And Financial Accounting, Finance, Global Perspectives, give you a kind of global overview of everything that’s happening. And Managerial Accounting – so not only financing accounting, but managerial accounting; how do you kind of categorize everything. Marketing: Marketing is fantastic, excellent, and faculty on the marketing. Microeconomics with the global economy, and that’s an interesting … that’s a nice twist to it now that globalization is a bad word. And Operations Management, especially in healthcare we talk about Lean [you know] Six Sigma and so on, organizations, and even capital, how does it feel with a human aspect of things, and strategic management – how to put a [charity] together, and, more importantly, the difference between management, leadership and entrepreneurship. So that’s kind of the credit courses, the core courses, that are required, and then you get into the fun stuff, which is the electives.

And the next slide. Right, so my course, and I copied and pasted from the syllabus here what are the course goals here. And they’re very explanatory here, right, but the field itself, the health sector itself, is changing rapidly, so what are the new drivers and trends. I was talking to a friend of mine and my parents – one of them is almost 90 and the other one is late 70s – and we just got an Alexa. We have Alexa at home and I got them Alexa at their house. So my mom and dad love it and they keep talking to Alexa all the time – Alexa this, Alexa that, that’s kind of the Amazon system. And now there is Google Home, and then Apple just launched theirs that they just did a couple of days ago. And Alexa is fantastic. My seven-year-old thinks it’s part of the family now. They go downstairs and ask her for a joke every morning.

But there are trends with Alexa. Imagine if Alexa, or Google Home, is actually a robot that has little wheels that can go around and then you can actually talk to it from your cellphone, you know, and saying: Alexa, go find mom and dad, and they’re a hundred, 200, 300 miles away – go find them and tell them to call me because they’re not answering their cellphone. Or, Alexa, please go check on dad and give me his heart rate, because he’s wearing a watch I got him that can measure his heart rate. Or check on mom. Why not? The technology is here, right, so are there such things? Of course there is, they’re all being prototyped right now.

So we talk about this in our course. What are the disruptions that are coming in in the healthcare sector, that are happening? And what are the confines in terms of, you know, the difference between customer and patient, and [unintelligible 00:31:10], right? And really, the second one is develop strategies for integrating business, operational, clinical and policy components into cohesive plans, and that’s what a lot of people are doing, even in Congress they’re trying to [figure it out] as we speak.

Apply business and consolidative perspectives in the evaluation of healthcare. I mentioned the example of that group, that medical group, that has combined both cutting edge business best practices to healthcare services and analyze business environment impact by emerging trends in informatics and so on and so on. And find and develop a framework for evaluating your expertise and potential roles in the healthcare center, and that’s the big one, that’s one of the key things about my course, is at the end of the course I ask you: What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Because if this is the first course, then what we do is we use Stephen Covey’s approach: Start with the end in mind and work backward. When you finish your MBA program, what do you want to get out of it? From there you map your way to get where you are.
So, let’s say you want to get into informatics, you want to get into data, or you want to get into marketing, or you want to get into digital marketing, or you want to start your own clinic, or you want to get into accounting – then you map, you start mapping your way till the end, till the day you graduate. So then it becomes a strategy of what courses to pick up, and you work with your advisors on this. Take this course, take that course, do this, do that. And then it becomes a piece of puzzle, like a Lego, on how to build it. And that’s the foundations course. So I get to kind of mess with you all for a while because I keep disrupting the way you think, in the sense of, the assumptions that you have we try to kind of break them down and saying, well, who said that this always applies? Can we not re-think it in a different way. Right? And that’s kind of the approach.

One example was a bunch of students a while ago put together a [plan for a NightHawk, which is basically you go to an emergency room and you do an X-ray or a CT scan. And so what they do is they send the scan or the X-ray, and they send it digitally to another venue which have doctors on premises. Now the idea is fantastic, right, that you get somebody there 24/7, that you can get results immediately while not waiting for a doctor to come in and review – you get it within hours.
The business opportunity was absolutely fantastic. You have to realize that visibility-wise it’s very complex because different states and different regulations to get registered to do these reviews and to write. So, you know, Indiana versus Maryland versus Virginia. You know, if you’re going to do this analysis you have to have some sort of certification, and not all states have the same certification. Also, let’s say you exported overseas to Dublin, to India, etc, how do you verify quality? And the liability is another major issue. So, these are the things that we start to break down and kind of challenge the way we think.

Annie, the next slide. Right, so this is basically the different electives that are available. Now, as I mentioned, we are a business school, but in the business school you have access to all the different courses available from the law school, the school of nursing, Elliott School of International Affairs, The Milken Institute School of Public Health if you want to focus on public health, and the School of Medicine & Health Sciences. So you get to go shopping for any of these courses that are 6,000 level and above. And they’re in the course catalog, but also you can find them on line by Googling, kind of seeing who is doing what.

And the next slide. Okay, so here is the School of Medicine. Now, I was part of the negotiations for this, and here is a preview of what the School of Medicine is providing as a certificate program here. So you can take up to 12 credits with them and they go into these buckets: Clinical research administration, healthcare quality, health sciences, regulatory affairs, and [unintelligible 00:35:54] here are some of the topics that you take. So you are in one of those areas, or you want to delve into one of those areas, remember I said take the CBKs, the Common Body of Knowledge, that’s the language that you’re going to speak across, but then build on it. And this is how you build: You take the CBKs and say, I’m going to deal with regulatory affairs, or I want to deal with health sciences, or I want to deal with healthcare quality, and you start building the Lego approach. And that’s what they provide – everything is online with them and they apply as part of your degree so you’re actually doing kind of two for one: You get a concentration [slash] and also the degree, the MBA degree from GW. And it’s a full MBA degree, it’s not online or anything like this, it’s just an MBA degree.

So that’s a little bit about the healthcare focused electives, and then these are the certificate options that are available, so I think they have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven that you can do. So one of seven certificates offered by the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at no additional program hours. It’s just kind of you take these electives and they count double as an elective for you to graduate, but also if you complete them all you get the certificate on this.

And I think that’s the differentiation, and I’ll explain to you why this is a differentiation, because this is a discussion that we had in the School of Business. We said, yes, we’re the oldest, but we need to continuously innovate, and that was my message very clear to the administration and very clear to everybody involved. So that’s what we’ve been doing and it takes time to get this to happen because it’s bureaucracy, right, so I’m very proud of this, that now we can do both, because now we’re at the cutting edge, it’s one plus, right. And I teach entrepreneurship so the way we do it is we do this and if it doesn’t work you fail, you fail fast and you move on. But we didn’t fail – it succeeded and people really like it, and I think you should really look into this because that’s the cutting edge that I think that healthcare is being provided.

And the next slide. And this is the different opportunities around the globe. You can do consulting. I mentioned the one in Stockholm, and you can do 10-day and short-term abroad, or some even in the U.S., like they went to California and so on, so you can do those what I call these quick hit courses, which I think is the next trend, people want to come in for four days, five days, intensive, combination of a hybrid on-campus, online and get the credits, and we’re working more and more on offering these. Internships, volunteers abroad, so I think they went to India and so on, so it’s exciting and it’s available to all MBA students, and I say MBA students because regardless of the platform – online, on-campus – it’s available for you all.

Next slide. All right, the online learning experience. That’s me, right? I get to talk about this, right?

Annie: Yes, in the sync sessions.

Dr. El Tarabishy: Okay, so the person sitting there is Vanessa Perry, a good friend of mine, a fellow troublemaker – that’s why I like her – and she was a graduate dean for a while, but now we have a new graduate dean. But here’s the thing about the sync sessions, and this is something that we started here, and something that was built out of frustration but also opportunity, when we started the program – and I’m dating myself here, 2012, 2011, 2003, 2004 when the program started technology wasn’t around, it wasn’t like what we have today with what we see now with videos online and so on and ConnectPRO and all that stuff where you can do all this. A new one that I just connected with was BlueJeans. I’m not sure if you’ve all heard of this BlueJeans online collaboration tool. It’s amazing how they do it, it’s on your app. But back then we didn’t have technology, but we offered an online MBA program, so believe it or not, we were doing it kind of the old-fashioned way with correspondence, emails, discussion threads, etc, etc, etc. But now we’re at the cutting edge, now everything is interconnected virtually. But the quality has to remain there. It’s kind of like the old school way of teaching, you can’t let it go, you can’t just say, oh well, we’ll put a bunch of videos on, we’ll, you know, get them to read, we’ll get them to do a discussion thread, and we’ll all wrap it up and make it sound so exciting and we’ll tell them it’s online, but it’s missing that classroom feeling, it’s missing that quality, that connection between a student and a faculty and a professor.

That’s one of the big decisions we made, and we knew it would be unpopular with a lot of people because it’s difficult to do this when you want something done properly. So, we created the sync sessions, and how the sync sessions work – and they sound so complicated but they’re not – it’s literally just going to the classroom. It’s like you being on campus but you’re not. So you know the time, you know where you have to go, but you just have to show up there, right. And you sit and you listen to the faculty life, right, teaching the course, right, and you get to ask questions, you get to comment, and you have a live sync session with this faculty member and you feel like it’s there, the content is there, you can always catch up on different things, but that moment, that 60 minutes, 90 minutes, whatever it is that’s happened is I think where there magic happens. Everything else just feeds into a knowledge base, but the magic happens when you connect with the faculty, when you’re listening [in] to speak and you ask questions, and we do a good job with it, I think our faculty do an excellent job with it.

I get to have a lot of fun with it when I do my sync sessions and because I interact with the students and we talk, we kind of ask questions, and we’re always kind of figuring things out – we try to solve a problem collectively together, not that I’m sharing a PowerPoint and just talking and you say, well, why do I have to do it live, I can just always listen to it later. The part is that interaction part that makes it special, and I think that’s a major differentiating factor for us. Now you get to see all the digital sessions which is basically all recorded that the faculty did, and I always cringe when I see them because I think my voice sounds weird, I pick up on mistakes I’ve done, and we’re our biggest critics.

But I the live session this is where I’m most comfortable because I’m engaging, and you guys are engaging, and that’s kind of how you see Vanessa Perry doing it and this is a digital recording, but then she has her live sessions and I think this is where the value comes in. So highly, highly, one of the highlights of the program here is these sync sessions. And I know you’re going to hate them because it’s just the scheduling for you all that’s a challenge, but at the same time if you figure out your symphony, if you figure out how to plan things and organize things, then you actually look forward to them because you’re saying I’m going to a whole new galaxy now and I’m learning. That’s a little bit about the online learning experience.

Annie, do you want to go to the next slide?

Annie: The next slide is going to be about the application process.

Dr. El Tarabishy: Okay, so let’s do that and then we can open questions about the program and then the application process.

Annie: Yeah, for sure. Everyone, I want to remind you that you can submit questions. I know a couple of questions that came in already. You can submit it through your Q&A box and we will collect all that and answer it during the session. Ilana, are you still on the line? If you could take us through the application requirements and just highlight it for everyone here.

Ilana: Sure. First of all, everyone, thank you for joining us today, and Dr. Tarabishy as always wonderful to sit through one of your Webinars. The application process is a very, very simple process. We do ask that you do your application through an advisor. That is what we’re here for. We’re here to make sure that everything runs smoothly for you. In terms of what we’re looking for, we need you to complete an online application. We would need a GMAT or GRE score where applicable. Again, if you speak with either Debra, myself or Rajiv, generally we are able to assess whether you are going to be asked for that score, and we will always, if you wish, apply for the GMAT waiver in advance for you – it also speeds up the final review process.

We need all university level transcripts. I know with a lot of the foreign graduates, they are worried about the fact that it seems to imply on the website that you need to have a Bachelor’s degree. No, we understand that in places around the world you can go directly from high school, pre-med and through medical school. So, don’t worry, there isn’t the undergraduate degree. We need a résumé or CV, we need two letters of recommendation. We ask that these come from people who can speak to your work ethic. We are really not looking for a letter of recommendation from a professor who may have been your professor 45 years ago. We have two essays and a [unintelligible 00:46:34] – IELTS score, where applicable. And again, that is something that you can discuss with myself, Debra, or Rajiv.

And really, that is the entire application process. It’s really, really simple. We do rolling reviews, we have three entry dates a year – the next one coming up is August, that is fall. We will then have spring, which will be January, and May, which will be summer. We’re still accepting applications for the fall start date and I would say that if we could have the applications completed probably within the first or second week of July, we should still be good to go to be able to get you reviewed and ready for a fall start date, or even if you’re looking to begin in spring we can do those applications with you as well.

Debra, myself, and Rajiv will be following up with all of you, if not today, certainly within the next 24 hours. One, to make sure that all your questions have been answered adequately, and, two, to make sure that if you’re going to proceed with an application, that we’re able to make sure that you have all the correct documentation requirements and to assist you in getting a really, really strong application put together.

I really think that covers that part of the application requirements.

Annie: Okay, perfect. Thank you, Ilana. So again, I encourage everyone, if you have any questions you can submit that through the Q&A box. Right now I do have a few questions so I’m going to open up the floor and I’m going to start reading some of the questions. So, the first one is – let me see – well, we kind of touched on this a little bit but maybe we can talk about it or just kind of summarize it overall.

How can one kind of tailor the MBA program for this person particularly around the clinical research administration. Dr. Tarabishy, do you want to just kind of summarize that?

Dr. El Tarabishy: Yeah, well okay. So it starts with the Common Body of Knowledge, right? So you have this speaking the language on that. You need to pick up the business language. That’s number one, and you actually have no choice in it, it’s required, so you have to take that medicine. And so once you do that, then the clinical part comes in as part of your electives, right, and I think it’s after the second semester that you’re able to start taking the electives. So it’s very easy, it’s kind of fluid in that sense. You start taking some of your classes, the CBK classes, and then you start registering for these electives and you start building on it. And my recommendation is don’t commit a hundred percent right from the beginning because you need to shop around a little bit, and that’s what I encourage everybody to go explore, to go look at [unintelligible 00:49:51], to go talk to faculty, and to talk to your advisor, because you might want to start with A, but you end up with Z, right. So that’s my recommendation. So it’s fluid, we’ve thought about it and everything that’s listed there, the courses and the faculties, and you can look up the syllabus, and if you’re adamant about it, go for it, it’s just a matter of scheduling and putting it in sequence.

But my recommendation is that’s a great start, you know what you’re doing. I would push back and say, go have some fun and explore, go shopping a little bit and then come back and tell us what you’ve thought of and exactly what you want to do.

Annie: Perfect, thank you. And the question is related to what is the class size like for an online program like this, and especially with sync sessions, how does that work?

Dr. El Tarabishy: Okay, so the sync sessions go between 15 to 20 students, so no more. So if you’re put into a sync session and you get to pick between two or three, depending on what they ask of you, because each sync session has a time frame for it so you get to pick and then you go from there. So it’s no more than 20 students per sync session, 15 to 20 students per sync session.

Annie: Perfect. There’s a question here about: is today the last day for applications or can we apply after today? Ilana kind of spoke to that a little bit. Ilana, do you want to remind everyone about the application deadline?

Ilana: Sure. So, with the online program we usually get an extension for the applications, so I would say that absolutely, you can still apply, and if you’re working closely with myself or Debra or Rajiv, we will make sure that we get these applications done with you asap, and I would say that we probably would be able to push completion of your application to the first week of July and still be able to get you reviewed, but the sooner you begin your application, and particularly if we get that GMAT or GRE waiver done for you while you’re still completing the application, that is certainly going to take time off the amount of time it’s going to take to get you reviewed.

Annie: Perfect, thank you. And related to that, Ilana, if you could maybe highlight … I know everyone’s case is a little different in terms of high-level, what is that process like to waive the GRE requirement?

Ilana: It’s a very, very simple process as far as the applicant is concerned, you email to us a copy of your CV or résumé, and a copy of any of your transcripts. If you have taken more than six credit hours in terms of transfer in credits we would want unofficial copies of those as well, and you email that to us – Debra, myself, and Rajiv – put in the request for the student, and generally we get those done pretty quickly.

Annie: Perfect, thank you. So another question, I have another question regarding the study abroad electives. Dr. El Tarabishy, maybe just speak a little bit about this. So the question is: Are the same electives always offered for the study abroad?

Dr. El Tarabishy: The answer is no. Yeah, the answer is no, it’s actually a competitive process here, on what the school wants and who is providing it, the area, and so on; so every year it changes. We have some repeats because these are very popular, but it changes. So I think 2015 I took students to Seoul, South Korea, and then 2016 I didn’t do anything, and 2017 I didn’t do anything, but next year I’m planning to do something for Taiwan. So that’s kind of how it works. It’s a competition, it’s based on resources, who is doing it, and the topic, and so on.

Annie: Perfect, thank you. And we are almost at time but there are some other questions. Another question about the sync sessions. Do you have any examples of timing for those sync sessions? Are they mandatory? Are they usually during the day? At night? And how far in advance will they know that they have to do these sessions?

Dr. El Tarabishy: Yeah. So you know way in advance because it’s a scheduling thing, so when the semester starts … not the semester- when you are about to register, let’s say you get accepted now and you’re almost going to register for the courses for the fall, they’ll start pulling the sync sessions I think in July or in August when they start offering, so now you start to coordinate when you want to sign up for them. And they offer it not during the week days in the sense of like Monday at three o’clock or two o’clock when people are working, they are offered in the evenings and offered like five to six, seven to eight and sometimes on weekends. Sometimes on weekdays, but it really depends on it, but very rarely actually on working hours. It’s not like on-campus, it’s more different in that sense.

They usually last for about an hour because that’s kind of how we just … an hour, an hour and 15 minutes is usually what happens with these sync sessions, and I like to do mine on a Saturday and a Sunday, and people hate it, but I think that just the downtime for people when [I] say, oh, let me get on this session, and I like to do it in the evening, like believe it or not, on a Sunday evening because I think that’s where people have some time to just kind of sit and say, okay, I’m going to do the session now. And then I’ll get ready for Monday, put the kids to sleep and we’ll go from there, so I kind of do it relatively early on Sunday to get it out of the way to prepare for it. And I do some on Saturday, and that’s how it works.

It’s not as complicated as you think. I think faculty understand, and it’s not the old way of doing things where they take cold calls and stuff, there’s a lot of understanding [and it’s] happening there.

Annie: Okay, perfect. Thank you. We’re out of time in terms of being an hour. I know there are still a lot of questions that are coming in. I know some folks are asking —
Dr. El Tarabishy: Annie, let’s go ahead with a couple more, I have no problem.

Annie: Okay, sure. Yeah, okay. So if everyone who can stay behind … So let me see. How many courses are you required to take in a semester? Can you just take one?

Dr. El Tarabishy: You can take one. Again, what is our goal? Our goal is to get you guys to graduate. So if you want to start the semester and say, the next three months are three months of [depth], I have an implementation project, I have to do this, I have to do that, my bandwidth is one course, great. We will say you’re fantastic, smart, go for it. We don’t want you to fail, that’s not the point. The point is for you to do this and then in the summer say, okay, now I’m free, you know, I’ve finished my projects, I’m good to go, load me up, I’m going to catch up. That’s great too. So it’s up to you, and we encourage you with this. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone except you have to get it done.

Annie: And another question comes in from Jen, so she’s asking about maybe perhaps you’ve encountered this through conversations with graduates and keeping in touch with graduates. What are some of the career changes or paths that you’ve seen the graduates have taken from this program with the skills that they have learned?

Dr. El Tarabishy: You know, it depends really where you are now, but a lot of people use it to get promotions or to move up or switch jobs within the company. Some have actually jumped ship and did something else with a different company, and some went and did their own things. So it really depends on where you want to go with it. Again, at the end, it’s not just you’re reading a book and you’re going to put it aside. Part of it is kind of what are you going to do with this degree, and that’s something that you need to find out. Remember, I mentioned Stephen Covey: Start with the end in mind. Right, what do you want to get out of this?

So if you’re studying this MBA program and your company is paying for it, or something like this, you might want to go and have a conversation and say I’m doing this, let’s have a conversation, an open conversation, where do you see this happening after I’m finished, and, by the way, do you have any money to pay for the tuition? Don’t forget that question, you never know what happens.

Annie: For sure. And, Jen, I just want to add to that as well. Feel free to talk to our advisor and they are able to send you some links in terms of profiles and interviews that we’ve done with some graduates, and even past webinars that we have done with graduates where they are speaking in terms of their experience and where the program has taken them since. So feel free to contact us for more information about that.

And then there’s another question and I think it’s just more of a reminder that we address about the certificates, you know does it take extra time or cut hours outside of the MBA requirements to satisfy?

Dr. El Tarabishy: No, it’s part of your degree; the electives that you have to take regardless, for you to take it as part of your electives and get a certificate, or you can mix it up and do all different courses and you don’t get a certificate. So no more courses added, it’s part of it, and that’s the innovation.
Annie: Perfect, thank you. And I see a question about what are the different certificates and especially what is integrated medicine, what’s clinical and translational research. I don’t know if you want to speak to that right now, Doctor.

Dr. El Tarabishy: I think they can look it up online, I think it’s all there.

Female: I was going to say, too, also, Nicole, if you can message us we can definitely send you over to … actually, within the [unintelligible 01:00:06] right now, under the resources list that’s on the right of your screen, we do have a link out to a past webinar that we’ve done with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where they actually talk a little bit more about the certificates and what they kind of mean, what that includes. So feel free to watch that, and then if you have further questions we’re here to answer any of them.

There’s a lot of other questions about administration stuff, which I think is very personal to your experience and your background, and our advisors – Ilana, Debra, and Rajiv – can definitely answer those question for you after the webinar. Again, the screen is on there in terms of where you can click to. Email us or even book an appointment in advance based on your schedule and have a call with our advisor. Dr. Tarabishy, Ilana or Rajiv, did you guys have anything else to add for the webinar today?

Dr. El Tarabishy: No, I want to wish them all the best of luck. And I guess I want to say to them here is this MBA program is like an adventure, you know, you need to come at it with an open mindset, enthusiasm, passion, and patience, you know, because it will change your life and it will change the lives of people around you. But if you do it right it can be an enjoyable, fun, highly learning experience. And I think that’s what people want to kind of activate their [smiles] and they’re going to say, wow, I learnt something totally new today, and that’s kind of cool. So that’s where I’ll leave it at.

Annie: Thank you again on behalf of everyone for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us today. And so again, if you have any questions about the program or application process I encourage you to call us or email us directly after the webinar. Enjoy the rest of the day, everyone.