Yesterday was a joyful occasion for Lisa and me, as I received notification that the final paper for my Capstone course had passed muster and that I have completed all program requirements for my Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from Western Governors University (WGU).
That this news came on the 21st anniversary of my first day working at Mayo Clinic made it even sweeter. I celebrated by playing a round of golf with my brother Mark and sons Jacob and Joe, and then we had a family cookout with steaks and brats.
I started the MBA program on Dec. 1, 2019 with no inkling of the upheaval that would be starting just a few months later. It was quite a journey, and in retrospect I can see lots of personal growth from the experience.
As a life-long learner who is interested in trying new things and always looking for ways to improve myself, I had been somewhat skeptical of formal education.
I have taken (probably inordinate) pride in how I’ve been able to advance with my highest degree being a B.S. in Political Science. I’ve also been able to count on a good laugh in my presentations as I note how B.S. and Political Science kind of go together.
I guess I will have to come up with a new joke.
Some of my previous reluctance to go for an MBA had related to costs, but the WGU model is an excellent value. Here are five reasons why I recommend it :
- Affordable tuition. For the MBA in Healthcare Management the tuition is $4,180 per six-month term, and a pace of three courses per term is the standard expectation for satisfactory academic progress. At that rate you can get the degree in four terms for a cost of around $17,000.
- Flat-rate tuition. If you complete more than three classes in a term, you pay no additional tuition! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WGU extended our term by a month last year. As a result, I was able to finish seven courses in my first term, which enabled me to get done one term early, and with pro-rated tuition for the last term. It took 16 months altogether, including a two-month term break in July and August.
- Competency-based learning. To pass a course, you need a rating of either Competent or Exemplary in each of the learning objectives, as demonstrated by performance on objective exams, papers, presentations or a combination.
- Benefit from demonstrating what you already know. At age 57 and with 35 years of career experience, I was familiar with the subject matter for several of the courses. That’s what enabled me to finish some of them quickly, after reviewing the course materials and completing the assessments.
- Optional Lectures and Cohorts. For some courses it was helpful to have lecture recordings I could review, and I also participated in some live cohorts, but they’re not required. No one takes attendance. They’re strictly a resource to use if you find them helpful.
While I still strongly believe in lifelong self-motivated learning outside of formal education programs, I found the rigor and accountability of the WGU MBA a helpful stimulus to my growth. It made me do some projects I would never have considered if they weren’t part of the program.
My daughters Rebekah and Ruthie introduced me to WGU a few years ago, as they had found it a great way to get their B.S. in Nursing after having finished a community college R.N. program.
So consider this your WGU introduction. Lots of different programs are available, and if you’re looking to get a college or graduate degree, I highly recommend this option.