WEBSTER UNIVERSITY // 2018 NOTABENE

Creative Global Classes

Where else would you be on a Saturday?

Part of being able to allow students to complete an MBA in just under a year has involved thinking creatively about how to offer elective courses within the program.

MBA Director Debbie Psihountas has designed one of the electives each year since the 1-year MBA’s inception in August 2014 as a series of three, one-credit hour electives. While the topics have varied, as have the months of the academic year in which the courses have been offered, the approach used over the past three years has not. Students from all global cohorts work with an instructional team that comes together for a full Saturday, with one or more expert professors beaming a lecture from St. Louis. This instructor works collaboratively in advance of the Saturday session with the other field professors at the various sites, to ensure as consistent as possible a learning experience across the globe for all of our 1-year MBA students. Learning material and pre-work is also posted online in advance of the course to allow for common assignments across all students and sections.

During the full-day Saturday sessions, students cover a current business topic such as leadership, business communication, or business and politics. Shown here is the November 2016 offering by professor Wayne Davis, a St. Louis-based attorney who teaches as an adjunct at the main campus. Wayne offered a seminar titled “Business, Politics, & Law.” Psihountas contacted Davis in fall of 2015 to offer the seminar, as she felt that with the coming year being one of presidential candidate run-offs and lots of activity, the seminar would be timely and allow students to think about the intersection between government and businesses, and how differing candidate perspectives might influence business decision-making and future policy. Davis’ seminar was well-received, and she decided to offer it again in fall of 2016, just days before the actual election, since at that point in time, final candidates were known and their perspectives available to consider in terms of the possible impact on businesses as well as individuals.

In the Saturday elective workshops, students spend 4 hours of their day doing team-based work at their local site (and with their local instructor), and then 4 hours together on a webinar with the lead professor presenting to the other sites. The St. Louis students see the other students and classrooms on the big screen, and the same holds true for the sites.

To enable this type of seminar to work across the globe, Psihountas designed the approach so that the “local” content can be covered before or after the main combined lecture. For instance, in Geneva, which has had a 1-year MBA cohort all three years since launch, students cover the “local” content from 10 am to 2 pm Swiss time, take an hour for lunch, and then join the global seminar online from 3-7 pm their time. After the common component ends, they go home. In St. Louis, students have the global seminar as soon as they arrive from 8 am to noon, then break for lunch, and return at 1 pm to cover the local portion of the material. The first year of the 1-year MBA, an Orlando cohort covered a similar schedule to that of St. Louis, with just a one-hour time differential since they are on US Eastern time.

All in all, the seminars have been a great new way to use technology, and to benefit from Webster’s global footprint.

For more information on this, and other exciting MBA offerings, please contact Steve Hinson at hinsonsy@webster.edu.

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