Online Healthcare MBA
Online Course Demo with Finance Professor Neil G. Cohen
Professor Neil Cohen teaches the finance course and in this webinar, he will demonstrate what’s it’s like to be in one of his lectures. He won the Students’ Choice Best Teacher Award for online MBA in 2018. Find out how he does it.
WEBINAR LEARNING OUTCOMES:
- Become aware of how the course (MBAD 6235-ON Finance) is organized and what is expected of the student
- See and feel how a synchronized session works
- Take a look at the first week’s material about how financial markets work
Neil G. Cohen, M.B.A, D.B.A, C.F.A (Associate Professor of Finance, GW School of Business)
Thank you so much for attending the GW Online Healthcare MBA Special Class Demo with Professor Neil Cohen, who will be going over the Finance MBAD 6235 ON course which he teaches in our Online Healthcare MBA program. I’m Kira, your moderator for today. Now before I introduce you to our presenter let’s go over some housekeeping items. Once you’re a student of the Online Healthcare MBA program you notice that a typical live sync session, we’ll cap it around 15 to 20 students to ensure that students have the best interaction and attention from the instructor. So during those sessions students would be able to speak directly to the instructor and one another.However, since our audience size is quite large today we’re using a different platform that allows the audience to communicate via the chat function versus being able to speak directly. So your lines are currently muted. Please feel free to forward any questions you have to Professor Cohen at any time during the presentation by using the Q&A window, and that is the purple icon on your screen. Just make sure it’s activated. And next to that you see the menu function. Other functions to note are the resources icon in green and there’s also a book a telephone appointment to speak with a member of the admissions team. That is kind of, like the link chain icon that you see.
And, finally, to learn more about Professor Neil Cohen you are welcome to follow his speaker profile icon. It’s the last button on your menu. Now let’s go over to today’s agenda. I know everyone’s excited to, you know, listen in on this presentation. So I will be introducing your speaker, Professor Neil G Cohen, who will be going over three main items. The first is that he’s going to go over how the MBAD 62350 course is structured and he’ll talk about what to expect in his typical life sync sessions and also the content … what to expect for the first week’s … the content of the first week’s course. And, finally, we’ll talk about the admissions requirement and take any, you know, Q&A questions that you may have.
But, again, we do invite you to forward your questions while the presentation’s going on because we want to keep this as interactive as possible. We also have, here, on our panellist, [Ilana Hirson 00:02:35]. She’s one of the members of the admissions team, who will be happy to, you know, take on any questions you have regarding the program, of the admissions process itself. Now I’d like you to meet our presenter. With us today is Professor Neil Cohen, who is an Associate Professor of Finance at GW School of Business. Professor Cohen is the author, co-author and supervising advisor of case studies in the fields of corporate finance, investments and portfolio management and personal finance.
Professor Cohen wrote one of the firs books combining computerised spreadsheets and financial analysis, who was the impresario and editor for the book: Obstacles to Trade, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. His manuscript: Personal Finance Advising Concepts and Cases is the basis of an academic course designed to train professional personal financial advisors. An innovator in online learning, he designed and directs two courses for the business schools healthcare MBA program. In 2010 he won the Best Professor Award in the Healthcare MBA program. He was a visiting professor and the Central European University Business School in Budapest, where he first taught in 1994 as a full right Professor.
He led management development programs in business finance and investments for companies such as [ABB Prague 00:04:03], Coca-Cola Moscow, [Credit Spot 00:04:06], [Cross Jacobs Shurgard 00:04:07], MOL Hungarian oil and gas company, [U.S. Deals Slovakia 00:04:12] and [Oracle 00:04:0315, as well as open programs in Bratislava, Prague, Riga and Zagreb. He has taught in the MBA program and Zagreb School of Economics and Management and teaches the MBA program at the Stockholm School of Economics, Riga. Professor Cohen earned his MBA from the University of Michigan and a DBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and he’s also a CFA. Now I’d like to welcome Professor Cohen.
Neil: Well, thank you, thank you very much. That’s quite a mouthful. So I’m very glad to have the opportunity to speak with you today about the finance course, so thanks for attending. My voice is a little bit raw. You might notice that. If I cough or clear my throat I just excuse myself in advance. As Kira already told you, there’s three things on my mind, and if you want to interrupt at any time just do so. You won’t be able to do it by speaking, just in the chat room, but just lecturer for a discussion. So any time you have a question put it in and we’ll deal with it. First thing to talk about is how the course is structured. Second thing to talk about is how the synchronised sessions work, live synchronised sessions.
Then thirdly, to give you a feel for what the first assignment looks like. So first, the slide on your screen says course description. On my screen the letters are pretty small. I hope you’ll be able to read it. The course is divided into two parts, two separate parts. First part is about the financial markets system. It’s mostly descriptive you how the system of markets around the world works. The example of the first assignment, which will come up towards the end of my presentation will show you a chart, a chart that prints out on one page, which has all the elements of the financial market system, so your eye can take it in on one page. We’ll deal with commercial banks, investment banks, broker dealers, investment companies, pension funds, endowment funds and insurance companies and you’ll come out of that with an understanding of how all these pieces fit.
The last running of the course covered this in four weeks. I’m revising the course. It may still be four weeks, it may be five or it may be three, because students tell me that part two goes by too fast, even though out of the 14 weeks of the course it covers the majority of the weeks. Part two is financial analysis and decision-making. This is [whenever you’re ready, whenever you’re ready 00:08:23] where the tire meets the road, which is so crucial to your ability to succeed, and whether you are in a, for profit business or a government or a not for profit finance is mostly the same. There are those who would disagree with that statement but I’m going to claim that if you work for something other than a, for profit business that you might feel left out.
Not true. I’ve looked at books that are used for non-profits, for NGOs as they cover their version of finance and they’re not much different from our standard business finance approach. There’s no assumption that you know finance, that you have experience in finance. There’s no assumption that you have knowledge of business, because most of you will never take another finance course. I put in this basic finance course material that does not typically occur in the initial finance course. So you have exposure to a set of three case studies to the decision-making process. So when you’re working with a colleague in your own organisation or you’re presented with data from outside you’ll be in a position to know what the right questions are to ask.
So there is your basic description of the course, financial markets, financial analysis and decision-making. Here are the learning objectives for the financial markets piece. Different types of markets and their purposes. This is the macro view, the long view, the overall big view. Then understand the different types of institutions and their purposes, that’s the micro view, looking at the private for profit businesses that operate the financial markets. Some of you may be surprised with that statement. The markets are operated by private for profit businesses, like bank, like insurance companies, like pension funds. [Audio cuts out 00:11:26] understand the regulatory system, the rules, how things work; if you read the newspaper and pay attention to news about made by the Trump administration to relax the regulation of the financial markets.
We’ll talk a lot about that in the course. In the context of the subprime crisis of 2007 and 2008 we’ll talk about the reforms. It’s still a moving target and will continue to be a moving target. And then this last bullet point I already mentioned, no matter if you’re business, government, private, non-profit, whatever, you will understand the metrics from these markets and how they can be used in your decision-making. Part two learning objectives, using balance sheet, any income statement data. How do you size up a company? Let me mention, at this point you will take an accounting course, Financial Accounting. You should then take this course, Finance, immediately thereafter.
Courses are a matched set. The language, the terminology of accounting that you will learn in the accounting course is the same as the terminology in Finance. So make a note that don’t delay, don’t defer the Finance course. You will learn to forecast cash flows. You’ll learn to determine if a project proposal either creates or destroys value. This means before you commit to a proposal you can forecast it out to see whether or not it works. [Audio cuts out 00:13:42] debt capacity, how much can be safely borrowed. What are the limits to borrowing? The value of a business, how you determine the value of a business, if you’re buying it, you’re selling it.
Understand the strengths and weaknesses of cash flow analysis. Well, as I mentioned previously, you may well be on the receiving end of a proposal, with numbers in a spreadsheet, and you need to know what the questions are that you need to ask. That proposal really should be viewed as a sales presentation, a sales document, and it may not be fair. It may well be biased. [Audio cuts out 00:14:31] the above in the context of healthcare, we’ll use healthcare examples. To understand the techniques of financial decision-making, apply … I’ve already covered this. I’m repeating it too many times, but it’s not just for profit business, any questions? I don’t see any questions coming up.
Kira: Yes, we have a few coming in. So one question has to do with how examinations are conducted in the online program, if you could talk a little bit about that.
Neil: Each professor has his or her own style. My style is that there’ll be a final exam at the very end of the course. There’ll be a midterm coming up at approximately the midpoint. Again, I’m revising the flow of the material. It’s subject to change. But let’s talk now, since you asked the question about the sync sessions. The sync sessions are live. You will have your face there. You’ll see my face. We’ll be talking back and forth. There could be from 15 to 20 people in there. It very closely simulates a live classroom. A significant portion of your grade is placed on your activity in the sync session. Not that you need to have the answers but you need to be active, you need to be involved. I’m trying to get to know you as I would get to know the students in a physical classroom.
So the grading is a combination of grades on written assignments, grades on your live sync session and the two formal exams. The two formal exams will look exactly like one of the weekly assignments. You will have the whole week to complete it. I’m not a believer in multiple choice exams. I’m not a believer in having a two hour time limit. Each assignment is deemed to be handed in and graded. You have a whole week to work on it. We can start on Monday and Sunday at midnight, so two exams, same approach. It’s fairly longwinded. That’s the answer to the question.
Kira: Right. And how often do the live sync sessions usually occur?
Neil: Well, requirement of the program is that we do six of them and I would like to do more of them. I would like to do one every other week. However, one of the advantages of you joining an online program is that you can do the work on your schedule, not mine. However, we typically have multiple sections of the sync session and you can pick the one, day and time of day that suits you. Potentially I’m a case method teacher, have been my entire career and I believe that discussion and debate is the key to learning, along with repetition. That’s what we try to accomplish in these live sessions. Not that you should have all the answers and be right. [Audio cuts out 00:18:27] learning is a progressive thing and it accumulates from week to week.
Kira: That’s perfect.
Neil: If somebody has a question, someone coming from healthcare and has no idea about financing how can I [unintelligible 00:18:41] them to be able to do well? The course is designed from the ground up to inform you about what you need to know. So it will happen. If you put the work in it will happen. And I’m repeating myself, there is repeating. The terminology which you use in accounting is the same terminology which you use in finance. If you’re weak on the terminology it will be like we’re speaking a foreign language. So treat accounting like a foreign language. You memorise the terms and then through using them they become second nature. So prerequisites for that, it’s accounting. I have been teaching it for a long time. I think since the inception of the program. I really don’t know how many years ago it is, maybe 12, maybe 15. Students from all backgrounds, they conquered; anything else?
Kira: I think just going back to the examination, are they proctors? Is a proctor needed for the exams?
Neil: Now, let me give a few minutes on this. Some universities, with their online courses, have proctored exams. We have looked into it. We have not established it, although I think we should, but we’re not at that point yet. So there is no proctoring on these exams. The importance of the sync sessions, where I do get to know you, allows me to have confidence about the work you’re doing. And if it’s not your own work I’ll probably notice it. I’ll probably notice it. Do I wish we had proctoring? Yes, but I have done trial runs with many of the proctoring companies and I’ll tell you it’s a nightmare, a nightmare. The learning curve is steep and the technical issues sometimes rear their heads. Sometimes everything goes smoothly. So I rely on the same thing I rely on in a course in a physical classroom. Unless the people in there are imposters, so they send someone else in and not themselves, I listen to what goes on and I form judgements about them and that’s the basis of the grading and that sidesteps the need for proctoring.
Kira: And how are the courses graded Professor?
Neil: Well, I think I covered that. You have some written assignments, they’re graded. You have sync sessions, they are graded. Then you have one or two exams, they’re graded.
Kira: And if someone misses the live sync session are they able to make it up somehow?
Neil: The make up for the live sync session will be handled in a discussion forum. So you and any others who missed the live sync session enter the discussion forum and you have a back and forth about topics. The topics are listed there for you by me in the introduction to the discussion forum. So that’s the makeup. And it’s very easy for me to judge the quality of the back and forth. Before we got into sync sessions we used discussion forums as an integral part of the course. Now they serve the role of a makeup. So if you miss a session
forum at a high level in the discussion, no prejudice, nothing lost for having missed the live session.
Neil: Anything else question-wise?
Kira: No, I think we can continue with your presentation at this point.
Neil: Okay. So we finished the two slides that talk about the objectives. Firstly learning objectives for the financial markets piece and then secondly the learning objectives for the financial management and decision-making piece. This is what I recommend to students, you may believe, when you look at the lessons, that there’s too much material in there, too much material for you to comfortably handle in the week. Well, I put a lot of material in there because some students may have more time than others, maybe more interested in digging down than others. So here is the recommendation, wise students work backwards, by working backwards. And I think this is how effective people work anyway. If the assignment is due at the end of the week, Sunday midnight, there’s a list of three, four, five questions.
Digest the assigned questions first. Isn’t that logical? Then go into the materials, the readings, and focus only on that part of it, those parts of it that relate to the questions you have to answer. So you shouldn’t be … like, I hesitate to say undergraduate because graduate students do it too. You open the textbook, page one, page two, you read everything, you have a yellow highlighter, you underline. Don’t do that. That’s not effective. That’s not efficient. The questions are designed to focus on the key things. Know what the questions are, find the answers. Write it up, turn it in. That’s how I’ve always done it. I think students do follow that advice and perform efficiently and certainly effectively. And then there were questions about the exam.
If there was an 800 page textbook some professors will require you to read it all and the exam, they have a question on any of those 800 pages. Now, I think that’s silly. I think that’s ridiculous. For a Cohen course the questions are going to come out of the assignment material, the questions that you have worked on; the questions that we’ve discussed in the sync sessions and/or in the discussion forums. Further, there is no 800 page textbook, which could cost you 200 bucks; so it says in red don’t spin wheels. If you don’t understand something or you’re stuck ask me in an email. We can discuss it by email. If you want to talk on the phone we can talk on the phone.
If you want to talk on Skype we can talk on Skype. Don’t spin wheels. The pleasure I have out of it is that I’ve made contact with students on a personal level throughout all my years teaching online. So I think that the sync sessions are terrific and any back and forth through email or any of the sources, terrific also. So that’s what working backwards is and I’m serious when I invite you not to spin wheels, to ask. Every syllabus that I’ve had for years has a picture of Venus Williams. What do you think I mean by it? Did she watch videos to learn how to play tennis? Did she read textbooks to learn how to play tennis? Did she sit in the audience and watch people playing tennis? I think the answers to all three are no.
She played tennis. You know, you practice, it’s a skill. Financial analysis and decision-making, critical thinking, which is what we’re supposed to be doing in our MBA, critical thinking, analytical thinking, you do all of that as a skill, by practice. And in the beginning you’re not going to do it right. You’re going to make mistakes. There should be no fear of mistakes. So that red word not in the first sentence, you’re not expected to produce perfect results. It’s practice. You’re learning; and then again, several lines down, practice, practice. [This question 00:29:19] used to work in the past, but since we have so many people who come from other countries, in the United States or people who don’t know the reference, you’re on 7th Avenue in New York City and someone taps you on the shoulder and says how do I get to Carnage Hall?
You know the answer. How do I get to Carnage Hall, practice, practice, practice. So again, what I’m about is designing a course which causes you to practice, through repetition, raising the level of the challenge as we go. So by the time we come to an end, 14 weeks down the road, you’ve learned what is deemed necessary to learn to be qualified in finance. So there’s no ways a hundred page textbook. Sometimes what I’ve just said brings forth comments, any comments?
Kira: I think we’re good for now.
Neil: Well, someone’s asking me about office hours. I do have a physical office but, I mean, why would you want to drag yourself down to GW and pay for parking or sit in the subway, you know, and pay for that? We can do it online. We can do a video, using the same platform that we use for live sync sessions or we could use Skype.
Kira: Right, right.
Neil: But if you want to come into the office to see if I’m a real human being you’re welcome, but in … well, it depends on the semester. In the fall I have one online course and one course in Paris, during the month of November. So I hardly come to the office. During a normal semester I may be in the office on certain days of the week. It’s not as though we sit there from nine to five. But if you want to meet me in person, see what I look like, sure.
Neil: [Cohen 00:31:47] Finance workbook. Yes.
Kira: Yes, one question regarding materials. Are there any textbooks or just the online reading materials for this course?
Neil: That’s what I’m coming to.
Kira: Okay, perfect.
Neil: Cohen finance workbook, gratis, it’s free. To PDF it’s about 130 pages long. You will download it. Some students print it, other students would put it on their desktop and just click on it when they need to use it. The more formal title is [Financial Decision-making and a Strategy Text and Templates 00:32:28]. So this is the book that is used in part two of the course. That logo, return risk, [rate of 00:32:44] return and risk, growth and sustainability. These are four words which you will learn a lot about. But then in the centre it says cash is king. Cash is indicated by that pile of green bags and the crown and, again, the king and then the cigar box is where the money is kept, cash is kept; so [answers 00:33:16] about textbook, none.
What do you have to buy and pay for? Nothing, except I’ll make a recommendation to get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, which would run you, on a special student discount, 15 bucks for the semester. Maybe the best 15 bucks that you’ve ever spent, but it’s … I feel wrong about requiring it because I know how busy students are with jobs, with family. Or the financial market support part of the course, I put together a written assignment full of multimedia and full of links and full of text, some of which I wrote, some of which I have taken from other sources. So the first, approximately, four assignments will be downloadable PDF or doc files that contain what I just described. It’s all scrollable. You can scroll through it.
You’re not going to have to click all over a platform to find stuff. It’s all there in one place. It’s portable. I mean, you could read it on the beach if you wanted to, although you wouldn’t be able to access the links, although I guess you could if you have a hotspot. So the design of the course is to make it efficient, to respect the student’s schedule and still get through the material as necessary. This is a drawing of a … what I call a crazy artist. Financial decision-making many people think is highly scientific. Not true. Not true at all. It’s a lot of art and less science than you may imagine. Is a financial director the most important or the least important colleague in your business or organisation if it’s not a profit business?
Well, 20, 30 years ago the answer to the question is yes, but fortunately that’s not the case anymore. Finance is not the function that drives the business, as it used to be, but it’s still a vitally important function, because resources [unintelligible 00:36:18] have to be managed. Have to be raised and they have to be managed effectively. That’s what a finance director does. I may have skipped something. Is financial decision-making and strategy important necessary for you? Well, okay, I’m biased. I’m the [unintelligible 00:36:51], but I think that it is, for the aforesaid reason, funds in an organisation, for profit or otherwise, must be raised and must be managed. That’s what finance shows you how to do.
Here is an example of a one page chart I like. I don’t want to take a lot of time now. It’s 3:37. Maybe I’ll … well, remember when the Challenger space shot shuttle blew up because of some freezing weather, in Florida? And the scientists recommended that the flight be scrapped, that it was too risky to launch and the night before was subfreezing, too many problems. Well, the bosses studied it, put together a PowerPoint presentation, which is lengthy, who knows, 100 slides, maybe more. The decision was made to go ahead with the launch, with fatal consequences. You don’t want to get into 100 page presentations where you can’t follow from one page to the next. You lose track of the chain of thought. So I’m a believer in one page charts and diagrams and here’s one example of it.
On the left side it’s an income statement and on the right side it’s a list of topics. In the middle is a balance sheet. I can describe the entire course. It would take some time and it’s beyond the scope of what we want to do this afternoon. We could do that from this single page and you’ll be asked to print out this page in colour and look at it all the time, because it’s your anchor. It’s your point of reference about how everything fits in finance. Here, what I refer to at the top, is the diagram of the financial markets that go with the first lesson, and then into the second week and third week. I know you can’t read it unless you have capability of zooming it out but it’s the example of trying to put all the relevant elements on one page so your eye can take it in, as opposed to spreading it out over multiple pages where you lose track.
So you have, on the far left, and I’ll read it to you, deficit unit issuers. These are the issuers of securities, those organisations which sell their securities to raise money. There was only three: corporations, municipalities and governments. Right there you’ve learned that there’s only three issuers of securities in this world of ours. On the far right it says surplus units. So the deficit units are the ones who need funds but don’t have it. Surplus units are the ones that have funds but don’t need it. So the surplus units buy the securities that are issued by either a corporation, a municipality or the government, and everything in the middle is the process of how this intermediation works. Now, if you look in the middle there’s a list of the types of institutions which I mentioned before are private for profit businesses.
So we have insurance company, we have pension fund, we have endowment fund, we have securities firm, we have commercial bank. So you are going to learn how all of this fits together, if hopefully you join the program. Then if you join the program you’ll take the course. See the policeman? Markets need to be policed. Some believe that the meltdown in 2007, 2008 would not have occurred if the policeman had been more effective, which I do believe. So I don’t want to try to give a more in-depth explanation of this. I’m using this as an example, where each key topic in the course is portrayed with a one pager so you can see how it all fits together. So let’s see the question, because everyone has their own preferences for length of PowerPoint presentations or other materials.
You’ll find professors in the program are flexible in their preferences. Each professor does his or her own thing. So what’s behind the question? If you’re making a presentation to a professor and the type of professor prefers something short you have to do it short or if a professor prefers something long you do it long. Is that what you mean? In the assignment questions I will typically state how long your answers should be. It might be half page or it might be one page or it might be a page and a half. I’m a big believer in conciseness and brevity and it’s harder to write something in one page than it is in three. So if you’re writing three pages first edit it and cut it down. [Unintelligible 00:43:45].
Kira: That’s perfect, thanking you.
Neil: So I’m going to shift to … well, I guess I turn it over to Kira and Ilana and then I can come back at the very end.
Kira: Yeah. Ilana, do you want to go ahead and go over the admissions requirements for our audience here?
Ilana: Sure, no problem. Hello everyone, thank you for joining us. For those of you who are, perhaps, still looking for a fall, which would be August 27, start date, we still have time to put together an application for you. It’s a very, very simple process so it can be done. We have an extension until the 1st of July to do so. In terms of the requirements to come into the program, what we are looking for is we are looking for people who have a minimum of three years fulltime working experience. Not necessarily in the healthcare field, however it is preferred if some of it is in the healthcare arena, only because then you share something in common with the other students in the program. Anything after five years we can apply for a GMAT waiver for you.
Of course for board certified doctors, Pharm. D.s, regardless of how long you’ve been working, the GMAT waiver is granted. If you have less than three years … if you have only three years working experience and don’t necessarily want to do the GMAT or the GRE speak with your advisor, whoever you’ve received the invite from. We now have an alternate route that you can come into the program. So we’re more than happy to discuss that with you. In terms of the documentation requirements, what we would need is for you to complete the online application. The fee, the application fee will be waived for you because you attended the webinar, this particular webinar. We are going to need a resume or a CV, just to make sure that in the resume or the CV you, as close as possible, put the start day and date to the end day and date.
We need one professional letter of recommendation, statement of purpose. This is really telling the admissions committee who you are. They don’t have the pleasure of chatting with you on the phone like we do. Who you are, anything you’d like them to know, in particular, about you, all university level transcripts, ECE valuations or [Wezi 00:46;58] valuations, they will suffice. For those who are foreign graduates, in order for the doctors to get the GMAT waiver we would require a copy, a photocopy of your board certification. And in terms of the TOEFL, where applicable, very seldom use it, applicable, in terms of the fact that if you are a permanent resident of the United States or you’ve done [ECFMG 00:47:31] of the U.S. [Emelies 00:47:32] this will not be necessary.
I’m wondering if anyone has any particular questions regarding this. Feel free, if you quickly want to write them up, otherwise more than … okay, board exam results are not available by August 27th. Does it disqualify a physician; absolutely not. It doesn’t disqualify you because generally the exams would have been written. So if you want to chat with me I think I’ve sent you some information today, feel free … I will reach out to you, any of the people I’ve been chatting with, I’m going to reach out to you this afternoon or tomorrow anyway to see if all your questions were answered and we can cover that in more detail. [Unintelligible 00:48:34] wanted to know the fee for the program. What we do is we charge per credit hour and, of course, you only pay every semester for the number of credit hours you are enrolled in for that semester.
The way the academic roadmap has been set out. You would be doing two courses in a 15 week period, which is our semester. So that would be six credit hours. You’re currently looking at $1,825 a credit hour and there are 55.5 credit hours in the program. The fee is not payable in advance, as I said. It’s payable each semester for the number of credit hours you’re enrolled in and, again, discuss with the academic advisor what would be the best payment option for you. Student loans are available and they are not household income-based, unlike an undergraduate degree. And you wanted to know your masters from UMT, can credits be transferred? Yes, up to a maximum of 12 credit hours can be transferred and … is there anything else here? Did we need the university transcripts or the board certificate will suffice?
So [unintelligible 00:50:14], we would … if you’ve … in terms of when you’re talking about the university transcripts, I’m not sure and I will get back to you, whether you are a foreign graduate. If you’re a foreign graduate you would have had an ECE or the ECFMG. That will suffice. And your board certification will absolutely suffice to get you the GMAT waiver. How about [FAFSA 00:50:46], when should I start the application for the FAFSA loan? I would suggest that you do it at the same time that you are making your application. They will get everything done for you. Obviously they will not complete anything until such time as you are an accepted and confirmed student into the program. Just on a side, a lot of people worry when they deal with FAFSA because they don’t hear anything from them.
You will not hear from them unless they want something from you. Otherwise they are just processing everything in the background. Another thing to note with FAFSA, and that is that FAFSA generally will only pay towards the end of the first week, when the school begins. We are fully aware of this, so this should not perturb you. You probably will get a bill before but just to let you know that your FAFSA’s generally only uploaded after the fifth day that you’ve been into the program. [Unintelligible 00:51:54], ECFMG certified physicians, do they get a GMAT? Yes, absolutely, as long as we have the ECFMG, which is the proof, I believe, of the U.S. Emelies 1, 2 and 3. So yes, you will certainly get the GMAT waiver.
How long does it take to process the application? Well, at the moment, because we’re pretty close to the start date, the admissions committee is doing a great job and we’re generally looking … it’s a two-part process. The first part is when they do the read for the GMAT. They generally will do that on a Tuesday and then they’ll go straight on to the review on that Thursday. So I would say at this stage you’re probably looking at seven to ten days, once we submit your file. How flexible the program is in terms of the number of credit hours that need to be taken per semester, you have up to five years to complete the program. Now, the one thing to bear in mind, if you are going to be using the student loan you need to take a minimum of six credit hours a semester. So that would be the two courses.
A lot of people do want to begin with only one course. You can do that, so long as you know that that will not be covered by the student loan. The GPA requirements, generally we look for a 3.0, however it’s a very holistic review. If you’re slightly below we would do an optional essay to the admissions committee, explaining the reason for the possibly lower GPA and, as I said, they are going to take everything into consideration. Your working experience, if you have a lower GPA but you have progression in your work environment, they will take that into consideration. So we’ve covered the GPA requirements. And Joshua, you said … oh yes, seven to ten days for a decision, yes, particularly at this time. With the other MBAs, they have decision dates.
We’re a very, very special MBA, since we have people like Professor Cohen as our professors, so at the moment yes, we’re definitely getting expedited responses and you can, of course, apply for any semester in advance, those of you who are looking, say, to begin the program, but not necessarily for August. Absolutely, reach out, let’s get your apps moving. We can get them moving for spring, which would be January. Hopefully it’s spring where you are, because it’s not spring where we are. That would be … I believe, at the moment we’re looking at about the first week in January, early into the second week for the start date. We can get everything done for you in advance. There don’t seem to be any other questions going at the moment for that, so I do hope that I’ve been able to answer questions for you.
[Rojed 00:55:33], [Deborah 00:55:34] and myself will be reaching out to you. Deborah is out of office. She’s on vacation this week. But if there’s something that you would like answered I believe she either has my or Rojed’s email addresses as an out of office email address. Feel free to reach out. It’s our absolute pleasure to assist you.
Kira: Wonderful, thank you Ilana. And Professor Cohen, thank you so much for spending the time today to go over your finance course. I know, you know, it’s an imperative course. It’s sort of, like the heart and essence of an MBA program, so really appreciate you taking the time to provide insights and share experience and answering our prospective students’ questions and to –
Neil: Do we have time for a question?
Kira: Yeah, we have about five minutes. Yes, there’s one question coming in, so absolutely. Feel free to stay if you have more questions. Professor Cohen welcomes your questions.
Neil: Someone has asked do other teachers have a different approach than mine? So yes, some professors use a normal textbook and you go through the textbook. Some teachers will give multiple choice exams, where you log in and you have a two hour or whatever the time limit might be, some professors, I know, use the sync sessions to lecture to you, where they’re doing the talking, not you. Less of a discussion and it’s more of a lecture; yeah, so different teaching styles. So here, this final slide, or at least it’s 26 and 28, if you have further questions email me: ngcohen@gwedu. I’m happy to respond to you.
Neil: And thanks a lot for your attention.
Kira: Thank you. So we have about three more minutes. Ilana, if you want to have a wrap-up answer here from John.
Ilana: Absolutely. So John you asked, how would you summarise the advantage of this program of an MHA. It’s very different. An MHA is a Masters of Healthcare Administration. It doesn’t have as much business as the MBA Healthcare has. That’s why we have so many people coming into the program who do hold MHAs. That would be the first thing. Second thing, and more importantly, the MHA has no transitional ability. When we confer this degree on you we do not confer it as an MBA Healthcare. It is conferred as a George Washington University MBA. That means you get the full benefit within the healthcare arena, but if in ten years you want to transition outside of the healthcare arena you have a degree that stands you in very good stead from a fantastic university.
The MHA cannot transition and you definitely will find that you will outgrow the MHA. And the shortest time to complete this program it used to be a two year program. The students found that the workload was too intense. However, if you can afford, you know, between 15 and 18 hours a week, in terms of time, it can be completed in two years. And [unintelligible 00:59:17] I think I’ve answered your question. No, it definitely will not say online, on the degree and, in fact, you will walk with every single other MBA graduate at the same time across the steps of the mill to have your degree conferred on you. And how is GW MBA ranked? It’s highly ranked.
I always tell people they should worry less about the ranking and more about the accreditation. It’s AACSB accredited, which is what you’re looking for, because of the fact that it’s a business degree as well as the School of Medicine and Health Sciences being [unintelligible 00:59:55] accredited, which is very, very important. Those two are far more important than ranking. You want a degree that you can take anywhere in the world, because it has the same standard of education.
Kira: Thank you so much.
Ilana: And you can take three courses a term if one wants to, absolutely.
Kira: Well these have been great questions from our audience. So many very good questions and thank you so much for your attention and the time that you’ve taken today to listen to our webinar and to learn more about the program. Professor Cohen, once again thanks for your time and Ilana and the rest of our admissions team and to our audience. We’ll be having more webinars in the future so please be on the lookout but in the meantime, if you have additional questions that have not been answered or you didn’t have the time to provide, please feel free to get in touch with our admissions team. Their contact is on your screen and this webinar, as you know, is being recorded and you have access to the link later one, once it becomes available, and we really look forward to having you join our wonderful GW legacy and, once again, thanks everyone for joining this webinar, the Online Healthcare MBA at GW.