Review of the WGU MBA in IT Management

EANxEANx Posts: 1,078Member ■■■■■■■■□□
After getting promoted at work with the promise of another promotion in 18-24 months, I started to lose traction with studying for the CCIE. I decided that with the momentum I had, getting an MBA made more sense and signed up for WGU.

I had been weighing the idea of going back for my masters and specifically the WGU MBA in IT Management for a couple of months before pulling the trigger. When I did, it was the day before the deadline to start the next month (the application cutoff is the 15th of the month to start on the 1st of the following month). It turns out that it is certainly possible to start the application process on the 14th and be done on the 15th for a start on the 1st, but in order to do so, you can't have anything that requires extra effort. In my case, I had extensive experience and was paying out of pocket (employer doesn't reimburse but I get a pay bump on completion). No financial aid to worry about and my Bachelor's confirmation was delivered electronically the day I requested it.

From beginning to end, the degree was 11 months for me. In that time-frame, my workplace suffered our equivalent of a strike that resulted in me being responsible for eight other jobs for a period of a month. I also had one surgery, an international move for work and obligatory family stuff.

There's lots already out there about WGU degrees so I won't try to compete. For a techie, I will say that the MBA will require more work and effort than some of the MS in other IT disciplines seem to take, especially if finance and project management are new to you.

The degree itself is 11 courses with some that simply require an exam to pass and others require papers with one requiring both. The majority of these could have been knocked out in a few days to a week but work, life and sometimes procrastination got in the way. Once I realized I was not going to finish in one term, I relaxed a bit and let it take to the end of the 2nd.

The tips that I would recommend are as follows:

Many courses have "recommended" ways of studying for the exams. The instructors might have put together compressed videos about the topic, the specifics about what you'll be provided on the exam and what you won't, etc. The books, while often still a resource, tend to be overshadowed by the professors pointing out the shortcuts.

Write to the rubric. In classes that require a paper, there will also be a rubric showing what each section will be graded on. Copy/paste the headings into a Word document and treat each section as a separate tasking ... because it is. Let me be clear, this is not college-level writing with flowing segues. Course AB567, Task 1 will be a paper that has a broad topic but each A, B, C heading is its own very specific deliverable and sometimes those sections are broken into unrelated sub-sections. Don't try to connect them unless specifically told to, answer each one independently.

For many papers, it's easy to overthink it and in some cases, get overwhelmed at first glance. Read through the requirements and start putting something... anything down on paper.

The last class is the capstone where you take info from a lot of different classes and bundle it together. This course used to require a consulting project with associated paper that would run anywhere from 15-30+ pages but as of Nov 1, that requirement has been lifted. You do still need to participate in CapSim as well as create a presentation and video yourself presenting.

Overall, was it worth $8k and months of effort? I guess we'll see in a few years but I'm giving it a tentative yes; at least the pay raise will more than cover the cost. I like the concept, I just worry that with removal of requirements like the capstone project and (in my opinion) loose grading standards for papers, the degree risks not being taken seriously.

Comments

  • MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Junior Member Posts: 168Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited November 4
    Thanks for the long review. 

    Regarding your last paragraph:

    I don't think many if any employers look to see if a graduate has taken X, Y, and Z courses. I have personally, never in my life been asked for a college transcript in the public sector. The only time I've provided a college transcript was for applying for government jobs, where a degree was mandatory, or minimized the minimal years of experience. I see people who have it all of LinkedIN. I think it's funny. Ok, you are 45 and you learned how to code 20 years ago but now you hold the title of SOC Analyst where you are monitoring and tuning alerts all day. Ok Cool. I think if the courses were recent, and applies to what you are doing now, maybe it holds minimal weight. But, who remembers everything they learned in school in every class? I can't even remember what I ate for lunch 10 days ago. I think listing courses you took in school, would primarily be beneficial for last year college students and recent college graduates looking for a job. I personally don't think it's useful for anyone over 22 years of age. 

    All things considering, I don't think that the addition or removal of a course will positively or negatively impact the weight (whatever that may be) that a WGU degree of any sort holds. 

    The grading standards are debatable. The grading standards are known and have been known for years. People (like myself) know/knew the grading standards prior to enrolling. It's been people who have failed papers/classes in WGU. It happens more often than we think. Like I've said before, reddit has 1000X more WGU consistent daily reviews. But, I can say that with the grading standards, some people still find passing to be difficult. 

    the degree risks not being taken seriously....

    Some people still don't take it seriously. Go to Washington DC where people have prestigious degrees. Go to a place where people paid 40k+ for a undergrad. You can't walk into a competitive market with a 2 month graduate degree like myself and a 11 month MBA like yourself and expect to compete. WGU on a resume, in a competitive market isn't going to be taken seriously anyway. It's just a YES box on an application. I don't even list WGU on my resume. I just list what the degree is in. Out of all the interviews I've had in the public sector, only one asked what school I attended. Most people really don't care. ...
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy SABSA, GCFA, GPEN, CISM, RHCE, Security+, Server+, eJPT, CCNA Posts: 4,048Mod Mod

    Congrats on finishing the degree mate, I hope it pays off! What's next for you?

    EANx said:

    The degree itself is 11 courses with some that simply require an exam to pass and others require papers with one requiring both. The majority of these could have been knocked out in a few days to a week but work, life and sometimes procrastination got in the way. Once I realized I was not going to finish in one term, I relaxed a bit and let it take to the end of the 2nd.

    My experience is soo different than this. I wish I could knock some of my subjects that quick :/
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • november24november24 Posts: 67Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited November 4
    I haven't taken any academic degree from a US institute before, I have a Bs.c from Middle East, I am thinking about the MBA in IT but what is holding me back is I haven't write any papers before, How many writing is required in these courses and how can I test my self to see whether I am ready for it or not?
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,078Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    edited November 5
    UnixGuy said:

    Congrats on finishing the degree mate, I hope it pays off! What's next for you?
    Thanks. Two things really. First is stay connected with family while I'm remote from them (the international move part) and I'd like to modernize some of my security skills. I'm fortunate to be in the position where my boss will give me access to any online training I want so when I'm not playing Minecraft with a child, I'm thinking about learning about pen testing. I find it easier to manage people who do the work when I understand what their goal is. This wouldn't be for me to do the work, rather to be able to write good requirements and understand vendors.

    I haven't taken any academic degree from a US institute before, I have a Bs.c from Middle East, I am thinking about the MBA in IT but what is holding me back is I haven't write any papers before, How many writing is required in these courses and how can I test my self to see whether I am ready for it or not?
    More than half the courses require writing but like I said, it's not college-level writing in the way you think of one subject with topics that flow together. You don't say if you're in the U.S. or not, WGU only takes U.S. residents with a U.S. address. If you are in the U.S. and you want to work on your writing skills, I'd recommend a community college English 101 course or online equivalent. Grammar is a larger issue with WGU writing so you might have to get used to using a site like Grammarly to help out.

  • november24november24 Posts: 67Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    EANx said:
    UnixGuy said:

    Congrats on finishing the degree mate, I hope it pays off! What's next for you?
    Thanks. Two things really. First is stay connected with family while I'm remote from them (the international move part) and I'd like to modernize some of my security skills. I'm fortunate to be in the position where my boss will give me access to any online training I want so when I'm not playing Minecraft with a child, I'm thinking about learning about pen testing. I find it easier to manage people who do the work when I understand what their goal is. This wouldn't be for me to do the work, rather to be able to write good requirements and understand vendors.

    I haven't taken any academic degree from a US institute before, I have a Bs.c from Middle East, I am thinking about the MBA in IT but what is holding me back is I haven't write any papers before, How many writing is required in these courses and how can I test my self to see whether I am ready for it or not?
    More than half the courses require writing but like I said, it's not college-level writing in the way you think of one subject with topics that flow together. You don't say if you're in the U.S. or not, WGU only takes U.S. residents with a U.S. address. If you are in the U.S. and you want to work on your writing skills, I'd recommend a community college English 101 course or online equivalent. Grammar is a larger issue with WGU writing so you might have to get used to using a site like Grammarly to help out.

    Thank you for clearing things, I do live in the US, and I wonder where can I find a sample of the assignments that require writing.
  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GXPN GPEN GWAPT GCIH GCFE GICSP GSEC eJPT Sec+ Posts: 1,260Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    You can take individual self-paced WGU style classes for college credit through Straighterline: https://www.straighterline.com/online-college-courses/english/

    Those would be the undergrad classes he is referring to.
  • deep_logicdeep_logic Posts: 14Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    @EANx, I've been in the process for about 2 months now getting enrolled. I've had some health issues come up. I figured the cost, $10k US, is probably worth it. I am ambivalent about the reputation and if the degree is taken seriously, but I think the risk is worth it. I have a BA in Econ from a "real" brick and mortar school (used my GI Bill for it 20 years ago). I have one cert, SEC+, and am a halfway decent coder/programmer. I'm a mid career professional (AutoCAD/SCADA tech) and am trying to get to the next step in the career path. Thanks for the insights and good luck to you.
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