Starting WGU MBA IT Management on Mar 1, 2019

JDMurrayJDMurray Certification InvigilatorSurf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
On March 1, 2019, I will officially begin the MBA in IT Management degree program at Western Governors University (WGU). This is a two-year journey that I've decided to mini-blog about here in the hopes that my opinions and experiences will help others, and also encourage others to post their educational experiences at www.TechExams.Net.
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  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    I am presently a manager (of people, not things) in an IT security environment. I am a very technical person and have no management experience before my present position. I have discovered that on-the-job experience will only teach you the things you need to do your specific job at your place of business. I realized that I needed a broader exposure to aspects of management that I will not touch in my present position. Therefore, I concluded that I needed to take classes in business management.

    After looking at a variety of online management programs that my employer would pay for (Strayer, Webster, Capella, etc.), I decided to go with WGU and its MBA ITM program. My original intent was just to take a few business classes and not enroll in an actual degree program. However, all online schools want admits into their degree programs. The alternative would leave me attending courses at local brick-n-mortar schools late at night, which would not fit my present work schedule. I realized that if I were to continue on to a management career path in IT, an MBA would be a great course of study to follow.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    edited February 21
    Why the MBA ITM and not the MS ITM degree at WGU?

    I have spent most of my life as a technical person. I can already teach most of the technical courses in the MS ITM program. And frankly, the two certifications offered in the MS ITM program (C|EH, C|HFI) are rather lame. The MSITM degree seems to meet the needs of people who are already managers but are not nearly as technically knowledgable and competent as the people they manage. Many of the MSITM courses help increase the manager's tech-savvy--assuming they get some hands-on practice with the concepts they are learning.

    For myself, I need business operations theory and knowledge and not another technical IT certification, so the WGU MBA ITM program is for me.
  • JasionoJasiono Posts: 895Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Definitely following this!
  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, CCNA Cyber Ops, Sec+ Posts: 314Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thread already worth it for the interesting perspective on the programs. I have an Master's level course penciled into my goals as something to research for the near future, but this reminds me to make sure to read carefully and make sure it's something that will benefit me and my skills or gaps, just like you did above. Nicely done!

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
    OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, CCNA Cyber Ops, Sec+
    2019 goals: GWAPT, Linux+, SLAE (possible: SEC573, CCSP, Splunk F&PU)
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    edited February 22
    The process of my acceptance to WGU was largely uneventful. I filled out the online application and took advantage of the (seemingly perpetual) offer to waive the $65 application fee. An email detailing how to proceed was quickly sent to me by my assigned enrollment counselor. I uploaded an updated copy of my resume and arranged to have my prior college transcripts sent to WGU. 

    PRO TIP: For the MBA program, WGU wants your undergrad transcripts. I first sent in my graduate transcripts (Capella) and this caused some confusion in their back office for about a week. I was notified by my enrollment counselor that it was my undergrad transcripts that were needed. Even after WGU received them it took nearly another two weeks for approval to be given. I have no idea why such a delay occurred, but it did not prevent me from making my March 1st start date.

    Meeting the financial requirements for WGU went quickly. My employer provides a goodly amount of tuition assistance per year for accredited education. WGU's tuition pricing structure fits exactly into my employer's tuition assistance program. Once I had an idea of what the classes for my first term would be along with the start and end date of my first term, I was able to complete the form to get a Letter of Credit to guarantee my tuition for the first term. I just need to remember to submit a request for tuition to my tuition assistance program well before the start of each term to get the Letter of Credit that WGU needs.

    Ah, I forgot to mention that there is a $145 resource fee that is due each term. Because this fee is not part of the tuition, I must foot this out-of-pocket. No biggie.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy SABSA, GCFA, GPEN, CISM, RHCE, Security+, Server+, CCNA Posts: 3,958Mod Mod
    Good luck JD Murray! I'm similar to you and that's why I'm doing an MBA as well!

    Do you know why it's called "MBA in IT" and not "MBA" ?

    I must say, I'm jealous of you guys in the US, you have the best MBA schools in the world :D
    Goal: MBA, March 2021
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    UnixGuy said:
    Do you know why it's called "MBA in IT" and not "MBA" ?
    There are MBA programs tailored to different industries, such as IT and Healthcare. Having an MBA specific for an IT management career really sold me on getting an MBA in the first place.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy SABSA, GCFA, GPEN, CISM, RHCE, Security+, Server+, CCNA Posts: 3,958Mod Mod
    JDMurray said:
    UnixGuy said:
    Do you know why it's called "MBA in IT" and not "MBA" ?
    There are MBA programs tailored to different industries, such as IT and Healthcare. Having an MBA specific for an IT management career really sold me on getting an MBA in the first place.
    That's interesting. Traditionally MBA's are broad, and cover a holistic view of business management (marketing, operations, accounting, Finance, people management, economics, ..etc)

    Good luck and keep us posted!
    Goal: MBA, March 2021
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,033Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    In my case, there are weeks when I have more work, weeks when I'm more stressed out by work and weeks when I have extra mental cycles. I've liked the flexibility to work at a pace that gets the job done without having a sudden work deliverable collide with a major assignment. One thing I would suggest though is for each term, front-load the work you turn in if you can. This serves two purposes, first it gives you flexibility so you don't feel crunched at the end of the term and second, it keeps your mentor off your back. You can also work on multiple classes at the same time so if you'd like to work faster but are fitting it into your firm's reimbursement schedule because that's the schedule, you have the flexibility to do all pieces of work for a class, except the last, a bit earlier.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    EANx said:
    One thing I would suggest though is for each term, front-load the work you turn in if you can. This serves two purposes, first it gives you flexibility so you don't feel crunched at the end of the term and second, it keeps your mentor off your back.
    I'll have to experience how to do this for myself. It looks like a WGU student can end up with 3-4 weeks of unused time at the end of a semester if they plan ahead their work before their term starts and be consistent with doing something productive in their task list each day. That slack time could also be used to play catch-up if real-world events interfere with schoolwork.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    After completing the admission process, I was cleared to begin orientation at WGU about three weeks before the start of my first term. The WGU orientation course (ORA1) is a special section of the WGU website student portal that provides access to an interactive, self-paced, Web-based learning resource which introduces the new student to the basics of succeeding at WGU.

    Topics include:
    • Full details of the WGU learning program
    • Academic expectations for WGU and your degree program
    • Leaning strategies for WGU courses and materials
    • Learning and student support resources
    • Tools used for communication with WGU staff, support, and other students

    The material is presented very professionally as videos, text, matching answers, and short written answers. Completing orientation requires taking an orientation assessment exam, the results of which you will provide to your Program Mentor. The estimated time for completion of ORA1 is 6-8 hours. I did it leisurely over a weekend.

  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    About three days after I completed the WGU orientation, I received my WGU "Student Success Kit" in the snail. This is a small box containing two items necessary for coursework at WGU, and an assortment of fun WGU marketing materials that you might find useful too.

    The first necessary item is a small, dry-erase whiteboard and dry-erase marker to use in place of scratch paper when taking WGU online proctored exams. Anyone who has taken an IT certification exam in a proctored testing center is familiar with these items and their use. 

    The second item is a no-name webcam with an integrated microphone that looks like a small, black desk lamp. It is also necessary to use the webcam when taking WGU online proctored exams. (It must be aimed at your face, hands, and keyboard, and you must use the whiteboard in its view.) You may not use a different webcam for taking WGU online proctored exams. 

    You can find unboxing videos of WGU's Student Success Kit on YouTube.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    After completing WGU's orientation course, a Program Mentor was assigned to me. Your "PM" will be with you your entire WGU journey, helping you create your degree completion plan, periodically meeting with you to check your progress, and guiding you through your rough patches. Any problems not directly related to a program course or learning resource are handled by your PM.

    My PM is very professional and experienced with guiding students at WGU. Like myself, he is an older gentleman who has worked in management, so we have some common ground right from the start. Meetings with my PM are by phone or screen share (Adobe Connect). The initial meetings were for us to get to know each other, explain how WGU courses work, reinforce what WGU's expectations are, and to decide the courses in my first term. My PM also made my first course available to me a week before the start of the term so I could get a  feel for the course's material and have a bit of a head start on my first term.
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc CISSP, CHFI, CEH, CCNA RS/Sec, MCSA Server 2008, Project+, Security+ce, Server+, Network+, A+ King City, CAPosts: 609Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I enjoyed working with all three of my Mentors.  They all removed all barriers when I had issues, and went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed.  They also rearranged my courses based on my progress or limitations.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • JasionoJasiono Posts: 895Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    WGU really has a nice system in place. I'm very glad that they progressed with their onboarding process, so to speak. When I started WGU they just emailed me all the information. Seems more engaging now!

  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    Speaking of email--there seems to be a disconnect between WGU's admissions and marketing processes. I have been in the WGU program for several weeks now, and WGU is still sending me "email blasts" asking me to apply to one of their degree programs. I'm afraid to click the "unsubscribe" link in the emails as it might prevent me from receiving emails that I need. Also, I was informed that once I was accepted, all WGU correspondence would be directed to my WGU email address. However, some program information emails continue to be sent to my home email address. More disconnect somewhere else I'm guessing.
  • JasionoJasiono Posts: 895Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    @JDMurray - They still haven't fixed that issue, unfortunately. It's been like that for a while now and I suspect that they won't have it fixed anytime soon. 

    Do you know anyone who has completed the MBA from WGU?
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    I do not personally know anyone who has a WGU MBA, but there are a lot of people in Internet discussion forums that do. After WGU and TE, reddit has become a go-to source of WGU information for me.
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,033Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    One thing I experienced was that Firefox wasn't able to see info in a certain tab. If you have problems seeing info you think should be there, try another browser. After I figured it out, I switched to Chrome for WGU.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    Yes, I've been using only Chrome with WGU (Cengage) content. It's not perfect (the Flash media content is not 100% compatible with Chrome's built-in Flash), but it works well enough.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    Today is the first day of my first term at WGU. I thought to mark the occasion I'd throw down a few factoids that I have learned thus far:
    • The WGU terms are 6-months in length, but there are not six months of work in a term
    • If you finish a term early, you can add another course (called "accelerating")
    • A course must be completed in the same term that it is started
    • You can start working on a course before the term (called "working ahead")
    • A course is not officially in the term until approved by your mentor
    • You can, however, activate any course at any time
    • Grad students need to take a minimum of 8 Credit Units (CU) per term (9-10 is typical)
    • Cohort meetings & webinars not mandatory, but recommended
    • Performance Assessments are written papers, projects, turned-in assignments
    • Objective Assessments are proctored multi-choice exams.
    • Pre-assessments are non-proctored exams used to determine what material in a course the student already knows. 
    • WGU does not want students spending time "re-learning" stuff they have already learned, either academically or from real-world experience

  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc CISSP, CHFI, CEH, CCNA RS/Sec, MCSA Server 2008, Project+, Security+ce, Server+, Network+, A+ King City, CAPosts: 609Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Another one: you MUST earn a minimum number of CUs per term to continue being a student. I think it's at least 3, but I don't exactly remember.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    It's 8 CUs minimum per term for grad students. (See bullet point #7.)
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,033Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I suspect the number is highly dependent on if you are using Federal financial aid or not.
  • mizterkewlmizterkewl Posts: 68Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    JDMurray said:
    Today is the first day of my first term at WGU. I thought to mark the occasion I'd throw down a few factoids that I have learned thus far:
    • You can start working on a course before the term (called "working ahead")
    So you had access to course material before your term started as well?
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    EANx said:
    I suspect the number is highly dependent on if you are using Federal financial aid or not.
    I'm not aware that the source of tuition payment is an adjusting factor. I've only seen "Minimum 8 CUs per term for grad students" in all the documentation and not any conditional statements regarding this requirement.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    So you had access to course material before your term started as well?
    Yes, all students do if you are cleared in advance of the start of the term. Terms start on the first of every month, but you don't need to begin WGU on the first available start date. This a detail you would need to iron-out with your program mentor.
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc CISSP, CHFI, CEH, CCNA RS/Sec, MCSA Server 2008, Project+, Security+ce, Server+, Network+, A+ King City, CAPosts: 609Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    JDMurray, I know that you have to enroll in at least 8 CUs to be considered full-time, but what I remember is that you had to complete at least 3 CUs each term, otherwise you would be dropped.  As long as you had your 3 CUs, you could carry the courses you didn't finish to the next term.  I had to do that with my Bachelor's.  Their policy might have changed since then though.  I'm not able to look at the Student Handbook anymore, since I'm graduated.  Although 6 months should be plenty of time to get through those courses.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    If you only did 3 CU per term it would take you more than fours years to get through your degree.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,307Admin Admin
    edited April 6
    I just completed C200: Managing Organizations and Leading People with a PASS. This is a course in leadership theories and practices and forms of management organizations. It is both theoretical and self-reflective on the leadership strengths and weakness of the student. I received the "You Passed!" notification email about a month after I started the class.

    This course has two performance assessments in the form of two tasks (research papers) that must be written using citations from scholarly, peer-reviewed publication and presented in APAv6 format. These papers show you what the style, quality, and complexity of performance assessments are expected at WGU. They are also tailored to allow people who have been out of school for a long time to get back in the swing reading, researching, and writing again. C200 is completed when both papers are evaluated as meeting the minimum criteria as set by the rubric. Formatting the paper to follow the design of the rubric greatly aides the reviewer in assessing your work (*hint hint*).

    There is a considerable amount of reading involved in C200 along with an almost overwhelming amount of instructions on how to write the two tasks. This is by design to answer every possible question any student may have about topics, formatting, content, etc. Even with that, there is also a considerable amount of help in taking this course in the form of instructors, task reviewers, student chats, webinars, and online review like this one. C200 is the first class for four graduate-level programs at WGU, and there were over 4000 students enrolled in it with me.

    I did hit one glitch when the second paper I submitted (as a PDF file) successfully uploaded to the submission page, but the upload was not recognized as a submission. The status of the task should have changed to "Submitted" and a notification email sent to me. I did not realize this had not happened for several days. After conferring with the instructor and discovering that my task was not recognized as submitted, I deleted the uploaded file and re-uploaded and submitted it a second time and it this time worked. I was given a PASS on the paper two days later, and no revisions were necessary. While it did delay me in completing the C200 course, it did not delay me from starting the "MGT2: IT Project Management " course. WGU allows the next course to be started before the previous class in your degree plan is completed.
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