Masters in Business Online
When I began my graduate studies in 2005, I was a Divisional Vice President in my realm of business (retailing operations) so obtaining a graduate degree - for me - was not for the purpose of advancement nor necessarily for increased income.
To begin with, I completed a BBA in General Business/Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin in 1980/82. Having always wanted to pursue a graduate degree at some point later in life, I finally "jumped in" to online graduate studies in 2005. I took my first 2 courses at another university (online) and then made the switch to University of Phoenix (UPX) in early 2007.
For my part, I was not looking for an ivy league, high level graduate degree but one that would supplement my prior business education with at least a fair-to-good program that I could feel good about and which had a curriculum of courses that I felt were comprehensive in nature relative to expanded business studies.
I was already well into 6 figures with my income so my motivation for studies was primarily for continuing education, updated perspectives on business principles, and refining my critical thinking and writing skills.
For me, my experience at University of Phoenix was a good one. I felt that the teacher-practitioners I had who instructed my courses were by-and-large quite good and were each successful in their own right. My first course which focused on problem-based learning (the UPX model for learning) was taught by a gentleman with a PhD and was very requiring with high standards of expectation for quality of work and substance relative to the course content being covered.
Across all eleven courses that I took at University of Phoenix as part of the MBA program, my instructors were at worst fair and at best very good...the majority being good or better.
Having gone through the MBA course of study and completing it in December of 2008, my overall thoughts are as follows:
-Very user friendly.
-Instruction was at least fair and oftentimes good.
-It was important to me that the instructors were knowledgeable and experienced in what they were teaching...and I found this to be the case consistently.
-It was important to me that the instructors were engaged and fulfilling their role to instruct, challenge, competently grade my work, and provide substantive feedback on the work I submitted. I felt that in the majority of cases I experienced what I expected from my instructors.
-My critical thinking and writing skills were improved.
-UPX's online libraries and resources are second to none.
-While the online classroom process and sequencing of weeks and what was covered was somewhat formulaic, I thought the consistency in method, line of thinking, and classroom topical progression made sense.
-Generally I could take or leave the student teams however in most cases I found my peers to be engaged and decent contributors to projects required from teams during the required weeks of each course. I only had 2 fellow students in 2 different classes in the 11 courses I took where one didn't carry his weight on the team and another plagiarized my work - which was dealt with by the UPX faculty satisfactorily. Otherwise, generally a good experience with fellow team members.
-I felt the MBA curriculum content was good. I was a voracious reader of the homework and was very committed to writing good papers and completing required homework assignments and online classroom participation requirements as expected. In this context, I got out of the courses what I put into them and therefore was pleased with the process and what I gained from it.
-I valued going back through both the Statistics and Finance/Accounting courses to "review" the numbers side of business. Again, I put into these courses what I needed and got of them what I expected.
-If a student didn't put in much effort he/she might be less pleased with their end result. Students will get out of the curriculum and study what they put into it.
-I felt like there were no irrelevant courses in the MBA curriculum. It was a fully-orbed curriculum and covered every area that I felt was appropriate for a graduate student in business.
-Cost was a little high but it was ok for me. My company subsidized about half the cost of my studies.
-Would I recommend University of Phoenix to others? Yes, the caveat being that if you are a committed student and want and expect results and content quality and retention, you need to be focused, committed and aggressive during your course of study. If you choose to be a slacker and attempt to do the minimum to get by, you will likely be less pleased with what you've learned, how your experience was, and whether you would ultimately recommend UPX for graduate studies.
It has been disheartening to see some of the negative feedback on the internet regarding the quality of University of Phoenix, i.e lack of it in some cases from some people. My experience was a positive one...but then again I can only speak about my own experience. I got out of it what I put into it and therefore I'm quite satisfied.
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