Online Business Program Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

How long does the application process take?

Two weeks. We encourage applicants to apply sooner rather than later for numerous reasons. The main one is that we have a rolling admissions process. The sooner you apply, the sooner you hear back, and the higher your chances are of acceptance. Since we keep class sizes small and only start a few sections each term, the admissions committee must be more selective with whom they admit the closer we are to deadlines and nearing a potential wait list.

Will I have access to resources on campus?

Absolutely! Even though you are an online student and have virtual access to on-campus resources, you may still physically access many of them if you are local or in the area.

What is the residency? Do I have to take it?

For the Online MBA, the residency is one credit hour of the program and required for all students unless there are severe circumstances preventing your participation. If that's the case, an alternative assignment may be given at the discretion of faculty. Online MS in Finance students have the option to attend the Online MBA residency, but it is not required.

The residency weekend for Online Master’s in Marketing students is required and features an introductory one-credit course structured around exploring collaboration, culture and connections in the program.

For the Online MSBA, there is not a required residency; all degree requirements can be completed online.

What is the tuition?

Tuition is calculated at a per credit hour rate for our online programs. For current rates, please visit our tuition and financial aid page.

What can I expect in terms of feedback from professors?

Since we keep class sizes small, you can expect a high level of engagement with your section leader and master teacher. They're very open to meeting with students should any additional support or feedback be needed.

How many classes can I take each semester?

Online students will have three semesters each year and complete two courses each semester, taking one course at a time and two sequentially during each semester.

Are lectures live or tests proctored?

Our online programs are asynchronous, meaning there are no mandatory login times. Everything is done at your own pace, and weekly deadlines are set to keep you on track. The only reason you would need to log in at a specific time would be if you arranged it with another classmate or faculty member. Faculty lectures are prerecorded, divided into mini-segments, and uploaded to the LMS.

Is there a minimum GPA needed to graduate?

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. See more information about academic status.

Am I invited to on-campus graduation?

Absolutely! You are part of the same commencement ceremony as anyone else in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.

Can I choose what classes to take each term?

­All Online MBA students must take the same two courses to start and finish the program, and courses in between are apportioned specifically between years one and two. The order in which you take such courses depends upon faculty availability and student demand. Similarly, Online Master’s in Marketing students must take the same two courses to start and finish the program.

Online MSBA courses are sequenced in a specific order that must be followed due to the prerequisite nature of the program. Online MS in Finance courses will be taken in a predetermined order based upon start date and core course availability with elective courses running during summer semesters.

Contact your Admissions Outreach Advisor for the most up-to-date curriculum information.

Can I take breaks from the program?

Online MBA students have three years to complete the two-year program, so it is possible to take time off without impacting your course load.

Online MSBA, Master’s in Marketing and MS in Finance students may take a break but only have two years to complete their degree once starting the core program courses, which could result in heavier course loads being required in later semesters.

What networking opportunities are available?

As a student in one of our online business programs, you are part of the same calendar of events as all on-campus Raymond A. Mason School of Business students. Please attend any local and non-local events that interest you to optimize your networking opportunities. The interactive LMS used in all programs and the on-campus residencies are very conducive to networking as well.

What size will my classes be?

The average class size is 22 students per section.

Are scholarships available from William & Mary?

Yes, The Kyle J. Milliken Memorial Scholarship (Online MBA only) is available to military veterans and active-duty service members. Please contact the W&M Office of Financial Aid to learn more about external scholarship opportunities.

What are my funding options?

The most popular methods of payment for our online programs are payment plans and financial aid in the form of Stafford and Grad PLUS loans.

How will I interact with my classmates?

Although these programs are asynchronous, students can anticipate some group work throughout. You may interact with your classmates on your own time, schedule times to meet if you'd like, and communicate in private and public forums. In general, the more you put yourself out there, the more you are going to connect and network with like-minded individuals.

I have a vacation planned. What are my options if I have already started class?

Students are encouraged to view their program plan within Orientation (under Announcements in the LMS) and review start/end dates for classes. If a vacation is planned during a course and the student will not have reliable internet access, the student can go on a leave of absence for that semester.

Not all courses are offered every term, so breaks may create additional gap terms and require an extension of your time to program completion.

MBA-Specific Questions

How long is the Online MBA program? Am I able to finish it sooner?

The Online MBA program can be completed in as few as two years. It may be possible to finish sooner, but if you work full time, it is more than likely you will only be able to take one course at a time. One course is about 20-25 hours worth of work each week.

Is the GMAT or GRE mandatory for admission?

Because of our commitment to holistically evaluating applicants and considering all aspects of their professional and academic accomplishments, we do not require GMAT or GRE scores for admission to the Online MBA program. Applicants may, however, submit scores for consideration if they believe that doing so will be beneficial to their application.

What type of career opportunities are there upon completion of the program?

Our alumni job titles include: Consultant, CEO, CFO, President, VP of Operations, Senior Director, Financial Advisor, Senior Business Analyst, Senior Principal, Financial Controller, HR Business Partner, Chemical Engineer, and Senior Nuclear Operations Instructor.

With what companies and in what industries do your graduates work?

Companies our alumni work at include: Booz Allen, Oracle, Accenture, Capital One, Department of Defense, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Markel Corporation, S&P Global, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, U.S. Navy, Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Our MBA alumni work in industries that include healthcare, retail, finance, education, construction, government, agriculture, manufacturing and more.

What makes W&M’s program better than some other online MBA programs out there?

William & Mary takes great pride in our sterling reputation and renowned faculty, as well as our commitment to ensuring small class sizes and our AACSB accreditation, which we maintain through constant improvement and innovation.

Can you tell me more about the practicum?

The Revolutionary Leader course is designed to be a summative capstone experience for your Online MBA program. There are two major components to the course.

The first component is the creation of a Tribe Talk. Similar in style to a TED Talk, your Tribe Talk will be a 12-15 minute video presentation accompanied by a PowerPoint slide set. The subject of your Tribe Talk will be your proposed solution to your chosen wicked problem, informed by material that you have encountered throughout the entirety of your Online MBA program.

The second component of the course is a short paper in which you reflect on your Online MBA experience and define what you think makes someone a revolutionary leader. Your work on this component is aided by readings and discussion boards, as well as some video interviews with revolutionary leaders who have tackled difficult problems. Throughout the course, you will also review the drafts and final presentations of your peers’ Tribe Talks and provide feedback to them.

What is the residency like? Is attendance mandatory?

Yes, all Online MBA students must fulfill the 1-credit residency requirement. The weekend begins on a Friday afternoon and concludes on Sunday around lunch time. Events throughout the weekend include speakers, team-building activities and networking functions. Students have the opportunity to discuss core business topics such as leadership, finance and marketing, as well as current events and global issues; discussions during the residency weekend will cover topics that are not built into the traditional curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to meet with our Executive Partners (EPs), a select group of retired professionals who volunteer their time as mentors to all Raymond A. Mason School of Business students.

Is it possible to speak to alumni of the program and ask them about their experience in it?

Yes, we have a number of current students and alumni to whom we can connect potential students.

Do you offer concentrations?

At this time, we do not offer any concentrations or elective courses. Our curriculum is very well-rounded and focuses on leadership, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that many leaders today lack. It is our mission to mold and graduate the future business leaders of tomorrow who cannot have the luxury of being an expert in one specific area of business. Our opinion is that all functional leaders across all business specialties must be well-rounded.

What is the difference between the Online MBA program and its on-ground counterpart?

The Online MBA is the same degree awarded to on-campus MBA students. Your transcripts and diploma will not indicate that you were an online student. There may be slight differences to the curriculum as well as in the availability of global immersion experiences.

I'm also interested in the MSBA program. Are any of the MBA credits transferrable toward the MSBA?

No, the Online MBA courses will not transfer or waive any of the Online MSBA course requirements. However, they may help potential MSBA students waive out of one or more of that program’s prerequisite courses.

MS in Business Analytics-Specific Questions

How long is the Online MSBA program? Am I able to finish it sooner?

Core courses for the Online MSBA can be completed in as few as 15 months. If prerequisites are required, then the program can be completed in as few as 18 months. The core courses are designed to be taken one at a time, which makes it unlikely that students would be able to complete the program any sooner.

What are some specifics about the AI course?

The theme of this course is “natural models and artificial intelligence.” The course considers natural models of intelligence and their artificial equivalents, shows how viewing natural intelligence is an effective mindset, and describes the key analytics tools required for designing and executing some business processes competently. A majority of the course is devoted to the topic of neural networks, although other methods are included, such as genetic algorithms, simulated annealing and swarm intelligence. The course utilizes Python and a number of packages, including TensorFlow.

What type of career opportunities are there upon completion of the program?

Available opportunities after graduation may depend on prior work experience. Entry-level graduates may begin the data science, data engineer and data analyst career tracks, while those with prior experience may attain senior and management level positions in their respective career fields.

With what companies and in what industries do your graduates work?

Our graduates have found employment in the following fields, with some of the following companies:

  • Consulting (e.g., Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, EY)
  • Finance (e.g., Vanguard, World Bank Group, Bank of America)
  • Insurance (e.g., Geico, MetLife)
  • Technology (e.g., IBM, Red Hat, Salesforce)
  • Industry Leaders (e.g., CBRE, FedEx, Ferguson)
  • Government (e.g., NASA, U.S. Armed Forces, DOD Agencies)
  • Other, including healthcare, marketing and start-ups

What makes W&M’s program better than some other MSBA programs out there?

There are a number of unique features about our program. First, the quality of our instruction and learning management system is top-rate. Second, all courses are taught by faculty with industry experience and terminal degrees, all of whom are full-time faculty at William & Mary (i.e., no adjuncts). Third, the program has required courses in AI, machine learning and optimization, which is unique among business analytics programs. Finally, the students and alumni of the program are great examples of the prestige of the William & Mary community and its impact on the world and their organizations.

Is this program very technically focused?

The Online MSBA program is both technical and business-focused; it is designed to expose students to the technical tools that will help them become adept in computing technologies and math modeling, as well as to help them improve their business acumen and communicate with impact. In terms of technical coursework, the program includes 16 required credits of AI, machine learning, and optimization, which is more than many other business programs feature. We believe this is vital to prepare you for the most important job of the 21st century.

If there's no residency, how will I network with my classmates or other cohorts?

Students are welcome to attend all networking events put on by the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, including events in Northern Virginia. If students do not live locally, they are encouraged to network online within their cohort.

What does the capstone project entail?

The capstone project is completed during the culminating course of the Online MSBA program. The project will be a team/group project on a real-world problem that has been redesigned for your academic experience (i.e., data available and the project is scoped to be capable of completion during the 7.5 week course). Your small team will be individually advised by a faculty member.

Do you offer certificates? If so, do they apply toward credit for the MSBA program?

Yes! We offer a short-term Foundations in Business Analytics Certificate, which can either launch you into a business analytics career or prepare you to continue on to earn the MSBA. Credits from the certificate program may be applied to fulfill some prerequisite and core curriculum requirements for the Online MSBA program.

What is the value of getting an MSBA vs getting a data analytics certificate?

The MSBA from William & Mary is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). It includes a broader view of analytics than that provided in a certificate program, both foundational courses in probability and statistics, databases, R and python programming, and linear algebra, and more in-depth coursework on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and optimization.

What is the difference between the Online MSBA program and its on-ground counterpart?

The primary difference is the modality of the online program; it is completely online and geared toward the part-time student who is a working professional. The course content, the faculty and the degree awarded are all identical to those for the on-ground MSBA program. The Online MSBA program is also more heavily comprised of working professionals and part-time students, which can allow you to be enriched with their experience and network as well.

What kind of data would I be working with?

Students in the Online MSBA program will encounter all kinds of data: structured, unstructured, streaming, quantitative, qualitative, text, spatial, visuals and more. You will also learn how to collect data, and how to optimize a situation without much available data.

What are the faculty's credentials? Are they data analysis professionals outside of academia?

All faculty hold a terminal degree (Ph.D.) and are full-time faculty in William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Also, all faculty have industry experience, in fields that include healthcare, marketing, defense, engineering, telecommunications, IT, software, oil and gas, and manufacturing.

Master's in Marketing-Specific Questions

How long is the Online Master’s in Marketing program? Am I able to finish it sooner?

Core courses for the Online Master’s in Marketing can be completed in as few as 15 months. This does not include the free Program Prep Course, which opens 7.5 weeks prior to the start of class and can be completed in approximately ten hours.

It may be possible to finish the core courses sooner, but if you work full time, it is more than likely you will only be able to take one course at a time. One course is about 20-25 hours worth of work each week.

What is the Marketing Challenge?

The Online Master’s in Marketing is structured around a program-length project called the Marketing Challenge, which you will develop from your introductory Renaissance Marketer courses all the way through your culminating capstone seminar. Read more about the project’s details, and see examples of Marketing Challenges selected by some of our students.

What is covered in the Program Prep Course? Do I need to take it?

The Program Prep Course is designed to help you build essential marketing skills that will let you hit the ground running in your first term of courses. It is completely free (i.e. there is no tuition associated with it), and it covers math and marketing fundamentals.

You may be able to waive the Program Prep Course if you score 80 percent or higher on a marketing background assessment, demonstrate three years of direct experience on a marketing team, or possess an undergraduate degree in marketing or an MBA.

What type of career opportunities are there upon completion of the program?

Graduates of the Online Master’s in Marketing program are prepared to thrive in leadership or executive roles in the field of marketing, from brand management up through vice president roles and all the way to CMO. They can find success with in-house marketing teams in any industry or at marketing agencies of any size.

With what brands has the Online Master’s in Marketing faculty worked?

Our faculty possess decades of experience creating and managing innovative work at some of the most well-known global and national brands, including:

  • American Express
  • Arby's
  • Best Buy
  • Burger King
  • Discover Financial
  • Domino's Pizza
  • Expedia
  • Geico
  • Kraft Foods
  • MetLife
  • Microsoft
  • Mondelez (Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Velveeta)
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Old Navy
  • Taco Bell
  • Target
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Uber
  • UPS
  • Volkswagen
  • Walmart
  • Zillow

What makes W&M’s program better than some other marketing master’s degree programs out there?

The program’s core theme of “Renaissance Marketer” and its positioning of the Marketing Challenge project as a central facet of your coursework distinguish the Online Master’s in Marketing from other similar degrees by providing it with an uncommon degree of craft, focus and personalization. Additionally, our faculty of industry veterans offer both their unique insights honed across decades of experience and connections to major organizations and brands.

Is this program very technically focused?

The program is designed to shape you into a well-rounded marketing leader equipped with both the facility to use leading edge analytics tools to drive your decisions and the mindset to manage confidently and effectively. While there is a technical element to some of your coursework, our Program Prep Course ensure that you are able to handle any quantitative material you will encounter.

What is the Residency Weekend like?

Residency Weekend occurs twice a year on our historic Williamsburg campus, and you are required to attend at least once during your time in the Online Master’s in Marketing program. Over the course of three days, you will bond with your classmates and faculty, strengthen your professional network, and complete a one-credit course introducing you to unique aspects of collaboration, culture and connections at William & Mary and the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.

What does the capstone project entail?

During the Revolutionary Marketing Leadership capstone course, you will summarize your work on your Marketing Challenge in a presentation to your entire graduating cohort. In so doing, you will demonstrate each of the skills you have acquired throughout the duration of the program and realize your potential as a compassionate and ethical team leader and as a marketing visionary.

MS in Finance-Specific Questions

How long is the Online MS in Finance program? Am I able to finish it sooner?

The Online MS in Finance can be completed in as few as 16 months. It may be possible to finish the core courses sooner, but if you work full time, it is more than likely you will only be able to take one course at a time. One course is about 20-25 hours worth of work each week.

What type of career opportunities are there upon completion of the program?

The Online MS in Finance is designed to set you on a path toward a CFO role by equipping you with timeless financial knowledge and leading-edge analytical skills. Graduates are poised to thrive in leadership roles in corporate finance, investment management, real estate finance, commercial banking, consulting and many other industries.

With what organizations has William & Mary’s finance faculty worked prior to their time at the university?

Our faculty is comprised of deeply experienced individuals who, in addition to their standout business scholarship, have achieved leadership roles at major companies and organizations, including:

  • Alcoa
  • Bank of America
  • BB&T
  • BNP Paribas
  • Goldman Sachs
  • NASA
  • HSBC
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Raymond James
  • Teledyne
  • Washington Mutual

What makes W&M’s program better than some other finance master’s degree programs out there?

Our Online MS in Finance is built on four essential pillars that promote informed, thoughtful finance leadership: principled value creation; financial modeling, analysis and decision-making; global financial strategy; and effective communication of complex financial information and strategies. By centering our curriculum around these concepts, we ensure you graduate well-versed in the essential knowledge that defines finance as a field and confident in your ability to adapt and thrive among evolving industry trends.

Should I attend a Residency Weekend?

While no residency is required for Online MS in Finance students, we invite you to attend any of our Online MBA Residency Weekends throughout the year. These events are great opportunities to meet fellow members of the William & Mary community, bolster your network with a diverse group of professionals and simply take in the beauty of our historic Williamsburg, VA campus.
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