Project-Based Master of Business Administration (PMBA)

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Melissa Koerner, Interim Dean
Jerry Van Os, PMBA Program Chair

Faculty:  Richard Chapman,  Alison Mackey, Jerry Van Os, and Christine Ye

The project-based MBA program is specifically designed for graduate students who require greater flexibility in course scheduling and program design, and offers demonstrated learning through real-world business application projects instead of traditional courses.   Students are individually coached by full-time faculty members with real world business experience and academic qualifications to help students develop increased professional abilities and mastery of critical business competencies.  The MBA program is:
  • Project-Based:  a student completes a total of five project sequences designed and sequenced specifically to measure student learning and accomplishment.  Projects are based on current real-world business problems and analysis can be contextualized to the student’s own firm or entrepreneurial venture.  Each project sequence is designed to be completed within one semester, meaning that that the program can be completed in five semesters (approximately 20 months).
  • Individual and Team Based:  students complete most projects individually to demonstrate mastery of associated business and professional competencies.  Some projects are team-based to assist students in mastering leadership competencies, such as managing projects, leading and working in teams, and coaching.
  • LowResidency:  a student attends a two-day residency for each of the five project sequences. A student combines his or her professional experience and ability with learning experiences and resources delivered online to master program competencies.    Projects are then completed around a student’s personal and professional schedule, making degree completion more flexible and convenient.
  • Faculty Coached:  a student worked directly with a full-time faculty member on an individual basis to provide for project guidance and feedback.  Faculty members evaluate completed student projects to determine if project competencies and student mastery is sufficiently demonstrated.
Students completing all program and college requirements earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Westminster College.

Program Goals

A student completes the MBA program by demonstrating mastery of the following program goals and related competencies:
  • Communication skills.  Effectively communicate business concepts and analysis orally and in writing to organizational stakeholders.
  • Ethics and social responsibility.  Evaluate various ethical perspectives and use an ethical and legal framework for decision-making and social responsibility.
  • Critical, analytical and reflective thinking.  Analyze and solve complex managerial and organizational problems incorporating reflective thinking on the implications of the outcomes of those decisions.
  • Leadership and teamwork.  Lead and influence individuals and teams to achieve organizational objectives.
  • Organizational performance.  Analyze and use accounting, financial, and operational information to measure and influence organizational performance.
  • Understanding markets.  Identify and evaluate markets for the organization’s goods and services, articulate and influence the activities that make up the value chain for those goods and services, and use appropriate methodologies for ensuring product/service quality and speed to market.
  • Strategic and global thinking.  Design a strategic planning process, formulate a strategy, and implement a strategy to achieve sustainable competitive advantage for a firm.

Degree Requirements

The Projects

The program consists of five project sequences, comprised of a series of applied business projects, all of which must be completed through Westminster College.  Each of the project sequences consists of several project assignments and an integrative project.  The projects are to be completed in the order specified.  A student completes all projects to demonstrate mastery of the program learning goals and competencies.  Before starting a project sequence, a student meets with his or her Project Coach to assess which learning experiences should be used to help the student complete the assigned projects, given the student’s prior life and/or professional experience. The student is given access to a set of rubrics, which explain how the project will be evaluated upon its completion. A student can use the rubric to self-assess the project before submission.  When a project sequence is successfully completed, the student can begin the next project sequence.

Faculty Coaching

To help students in the program, full-time faculty members (Coaches) are specifically assigned to assist in learning and in project assessment.  Students and faculty interact regularly on an individual basis to facilitate learning and mastery of competencies. Each project sequence has a faculty coach who assists the student in learning experiences and in project completion and evaluation.  Each student also has access to the student support staff to assist with registration, billing, financial aid, project submission, technology systems, and any other questions about the program.  A student is encouraged to utilize these resources whenever needed throughout the duration of the program.

Grading/Assessment Systems

When a student has completed a project, work is submitted to the faculty Project Coach for evaluation according to the established project rubrics. A student is given one of three assessments for each of the competencies related to the project assignment and for the overall project evaluation:  Exceeds project competencies, Mastery of project competencies, or Does Not Meet on project competencies. In all cases, the student is given substantial feedback on project performance.  In the case that an assessment of “Does Not Meet” is given, the student is allowed to use additional learning resources and coaching feedback in order to resubmit for additional evaluation.   For grading equivalency and transcript reporting, an “Exceeds” is equivalent to a letter grade of “A” and “Mastery” is equivalent to a letter grade of “B”.

Residencies

Each project sequence includes a two-day on-campus residency period.  The purpose of the residencies includes the following:
  • Develop relationships between project coaches and students.
  • Communicate expectations on project assignments and competencies to be evaluated.
  • Facilitate higher levels of performance in competencies that are mapped across project assignments and project sequences.
  • Develop community building and networking for students.

Applied Learning Resources

Applied learning projects are utilized to help the student master the knowledge related to specific competencies and learning goals as they relate to specific project assignments. All of the learning resources associated with applied projects can be accessed from the course management website.    Learning resources augment a student’s knowledge and can be engaged on an as-needed basis by the student.  A student is strongly encouraged to consult with his or her Project Coach as they are working on project assignments to figure out which sets of learning resources are most useful, given the student’s background and experience.  All learning resources can be accessed by all students, even if a student is completing a later project, in order to revisit and review specific techniques and knowledge.

Academic Progress

A student can complete the requirements of the MBA program within five semesters.  A student who, for whatever reason, does not enroll for two consecutive semesters, must request reinstatement in the program, and will be subject to the tuition charges currently in effect.  While students may manage their time during the semester to meet their personal and professional commitments, each project sequence must be completed within a semester.  If the project sequence is not completed or satisfactory progress requirements are not met, student may jeopardize their financial aid eligibility for subsequent semesters.  Staying in constant contact with the student support staff and project coach helps to avoid potential financial aid and matriculation issues.
If a student, because of personal and professional life commitments, needs to take a semester off, they can do so by communicating with the student support staff.  If students take two full semesters off without communicating with the student support staff, they may be withdrawn from the program and require readmission to be reinstated back into the MBA program.

Academic Suspension

A student who, for whatever reason, is unable to demonstrate mastery of the competencies of a particular project sequence after two full attempts will be asked to meet with the project coach.  The project coach will work with the student to develop a realistic plan to identify those barriers that inhibit the student’s successful performance.  This plan will then be engaged and the student will be given one additional attempt at completion.  If the student is still unable to complete the project, the student may be suspended from the MBA program.

A student who is suspended from the program may reapply for admission after two semesters.  A personal interview will be required before readmission is allowed, and if readmitted, the student will be able to reenter the program at the current year’s tuition rate.  The student will work with his or her project coach to develop a specific progress plan.  As long as the student fulfills the terms of the performance plan, the student will be allowed to complete the remaining program requirements.

Academic Standards

Faculty members in the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business have developed the following academic standards to support the mission and goals of the MBA program. The goals are presented here to help the student understand their responsibilities as a student in the program:
  • A student should always be familiar with project requirements and assignment guidelines.  The student should take every opportunity to consult with his or her Project Coach and the Student Support Staff to receive clarification when needed.
  • Collaboration is encouraged to enhance depth of learning; all submitted work, however, must be the original work of the student.
  • A student should always be respectful of faculty, staff, and other students in the program.
  • The program is designed to be academically rigorous, intellectually challenging, and real-world application oriented as demonstrated by mastery of competencies and outcomes.
  • Plagiarism is a serious offense in academic and business settings and a violation of the college’s academic policy.  A student who violates the academic honesty policy may be suspended from the program.

Graduation Requirements

A candidate for graduation must consult the student support staff at the beginning of project sequence three.  The student support staff will assist the student in completing an application for graduation for the next graduation period, depending on the actual date of the application.  To be eligible for graduation, a student must satisfy the following conditions:
  • Complete 39 credit hours.
  • Complete each project sequence with a minimum evaluation of “Mastery” on all project competencies.
  • Students will complete the Major Field Test in Business administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), during Project Sequence 5 Residency.
A student should consult with either the assigned project coach and/or student support staff regarding graduation requirements.

Program Requirements

Requirement Description
Credit Hours
 
SEQUENCE 1:  STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
8
Semester 1 
Project 1.1:  Negotiations and Conflict Resolution     (1.0)
Project 1.2:  Salary Negotiation     (1.0)
Project 1.3:  Internal Negotiation     (1.0)
Project 1.4:  Creativity and Competitive Advantage     (1.0)
Project 1.5:  Internal Organization     (1.0)
Project 1.6:  External Environment     (1.0)
Project 1.T:  Manage Teams Improve Org. Performance (1.0)
Project 1.F:  Presentation & Defense Business Strategy (1.0)
SEQUENCE 2:  CONSUMERS IN THE MARKET
8
 Semester 2
Project 2.1:  Data Analysis     (1.0)
Project 2.2:  Pricing Strategy     (1.0)
Project 2.3:  Product Portfolio     (1.0)
Project 2.4:  Market Research     (1.0)
Project 2.5:  Promotional Strategy     (1.0)
Project 2.6:  Globalization     (1.0)
Project 2.T:  Manage Teams Improve Communication     (1.0)
Project 2.F:  Develop a Marketing Plan     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 3:  ENTERPRISE PERFORMANCE
8
Semester 3
Project 3.1:  Developing Organizational Performance Measures and Outcomes     (1.0)
Project 3.2:  Lead Process Improvement     (1.0)
Project 3.3:  Financial Analysis and Reporting     (1.0)
Project 3.4:  Evaluate Financial Performance     (1.0)
Project 3.5:  Industry Comparative Analysis     (1.0)
Project 3.6:  Developing a Financial Forecast     (1.0)
Project 3.T:  Manage Teams Improve Org. Performance  (1.0)
Project 3.F:  Develop a Financial Budget and Plan     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 4:  IMPLEMENTING STRATEGY
8
Semester 4
Project 4.1:  Managing in a Global Environment     (1.0)
Project 4.2:  Leadership Evaluation     (1.0)
Project 4.3:  Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility    (1.0)
Project 4.4:  Corporate Structure     (1.0)
Project 4.5:  Analysis of Business Level Strategy     (1.0)
Project 4.6:  Personal Leadership Improvement     (1.0)
Project 4.T:  Strategy Implementation     (1.0)
Project 4.F:  Developing an Operating Plan     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 5:  BUSINESS PLANNING
7
Semester 5
Project 5.1:  Industry and Company Analysis     (1.0)
Project 5.2:  Customer Analysis and Marketing Plan     (1.0)
Project 5.3:  Competitor Analysis & Strategic Response   (1.0)
Project 5.4:  Company Operations Plan     (1.0)
Project 5.5:  Firm Financial Analysis and Plan     (1.0)
Project 5.6:  International Context Trip     (1.0)
Project 5.F:  Final Business Plan Creation, Publication, & Presentation    (1.0)
Students will complete the Major Field Test in Business administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), during Project Sequence 5 Residency.
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE PROJECT-BASED
MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM (PMBA)
39

Accelerated Project-Based MBA Program

Students who have completed the executive Mastering Leadership Certificate program offered through Westminster College can enroll in the accelerated Project-Based MBA program and complete the program in five-semesters and 30 semester credits.  The Mastering Leadership Certificate program is developed around 10 two-day courses focused on essential leadership and business skills.  Each leadership session is centered on a three-stage process: pre-work, practice in real-world activities and then application in the workplace.  The leadership certificate series utilizes a competency-based project model with an assigned faculty coach to work with each participate and is available to consult with participants in real time. Only Students who have successfully completed all 10 courses of the certificate program are eligible for an accelerated PMBA.

Students who complete the project-based BBA program are pre-admitted to the project-based Master of Business Administration (PMBA) program offered by the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business. Students can complete the MBA program in four to five semesters (20 months) and 30 semester credits.  Please contact the Program Chair for further information.

Graduation Requirements

A candidate for graduation must consult the student support staff at the beginning of project sequence three.  The student support staff will assist the student in completing an application for graduation for the next graduation period, depending on the actual date of the application.  To be eligible for graduation, a student must satisfy the following conditions:
  • Complete 30 credit hours.
  • Complete each project sequence with a minimum evaluation of “Mastery” on all project competencies.
  • Students will complete the Major Field Test in Business administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), during Project Sequence 5 Residency.
A student should consult with either the assigned project coach and/or student support staff regarding graduation requirements.

Program Requirements:  Accelerated Project-Based MBA (BBA to MBA)

Requirement Description
Credit Hours
 
SEQUENCE 1:  STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
8
Semester 1 
Project 1.1:  Negotiations and Conflict Resolution     (1.0)
Project 1.2:  Salary Negotiation     (1.0)
Project 1.3:  Internal Negotiation     (1.0)
Project 1.4:  Creativity and Competitive Advantage     (1.0)
Project 1.5:  Internal Organization     (1.0)
Project 1.6:  External Environment     (1.0)
Project 1.T:  Manage Teams Improve Org. Performance (1.0)
Project 1.F:  Presentation & Defense Business Strategy (1.0)
SEQUENCE 2:  CONSUMERS IN THE MARKET
7
 Semester 2
Project 2.1:  Data Analysis     (1.0)
Project 2.2:  Pricing Strategy     (1.0)
Project 2.3:  Product Portfolio     (1.0)
Project 2.4:  Market Research     (1.0)
Project 2.5:  Promotional Strategy     (1.0)
Project 2.6:  Globalization     (1.0)
Project 2.T:  Manage Teams Improve Communication     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 3:  ENTERPRISE PERFORMANCE
7
Semester 3
Project 3.1:  Developing Organizational Performance Measures and Outcomes     (1.0)
Project 3.2:  Lead Process Improvement     (1.0)
Project 3.3:  Financial Analysis and Reporting     (1.0)
Project 3.4:  Evaluate Financial Performance     (1.0)
Project 3.5:  Industry Comparative Analysis     (1.0)
Project 3.6:  Developing a Financial Forecast     (1.0)
Project 3.T:  Manage Teams Improve Org. Performance  (1.0)
SEQUENCE 4:  IMPLEMENTING STRATEGY
7
Semester 4
Project 4.1:  Managing in a Global Environment     (1.0)
Project 4.2:  Leadership Evaluation     (1.0)
Project 4.3:  Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility    (1.0)
Project 4.4:  Corporate Structure     (1.0)
Project 4.5:  Analysis of Business Level Strategy     (1.0)
Project 4.6:  Personal Leadership Improvement     (1.0)
Project 4.T:  Strategy Implementation     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 5:  BUSINESS PLANNING
1
Semester 5
Project 5.6:  International Context Trip     (1.0)
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE ACCELERATED
Project-Based MBA (BBA to MBA)
 
30

 *Students who have completed the project-based BBA at Westminster only need to complete 30 hours in the project-based MBA.


Program Requirements:  Accelerated Project-Based MBA (Leadership Certificate to MBA)

Requirement Description
 
Credit Hours
 Recommended Schedule
SEQUENCE 1:  STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
2
Semester 1 
Project 1.3:  Internal Negotiation     (1.0)
Project 1.6:  External Environment     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 2:  CONSUMERS IN THE MARKET
7
 Semester 2
Project 2.1:  Data Analysis     (1.0)
Project 2.2:  Pricing Strategy     (1.0)
Project 2.3:  Product Portfolio     (1.0)
Project 2.4:  Market Research     (1.0)
Project 2.5:  Promotional Strategy     (1.0)
Project 2.6:  Globalization     (1.0)
Project 2.F:  Manage Teams Improve Comm.  (1.0)
SEQUENCE 3:  ENTERPRISE PERFORMANCE
6
Semester 3
Project 3.3:  Financial Analysis and Reporting     (1.0)
Project 3.4:  Evaluate Financial Performance      (1.0)
Project 3.5:  Industry Comparative Analysis        (1.0)
Project 3.6:  Developing a Financial Forecast      (1.0)
Project 3.T:  Manage Teams Improve Organizational Performance  (1.0)
Project 3.F:  Develop a Financial Budget and Plan     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 4:  IMPLEMENTING STRATEGY
8
Semester 4
Project 4.1:  Managing in a Global Environment     (1.0)
Project 4.2:  Leadership Evaluation     (1.0)
Project 4.3:  Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility    (1.0)
Project 4.4:  Corporate Structure     (1.0)
Project 4.5:  Analysis of Bus. Level Strategy     (1.0)
Project 4.6: Personal Leadership Improvement (1.0)
Project 4.T:  Strategy Implementation     (1.0)
Project 4.F:  Developing an Operating Plan     (1.0)
SEQUENCE 5:  BUSINESS PLANNING
7
Semester 5
Project 5.1:  Industry and Company Analysis     (1.0)
Project 5.2:  Customer Analysis and Marketing Plan     (1.0)
Project 5.3:  Competitor Analysis & Strategic Response   (1.0)
Project 5.4:  Company Operations Plan     (1.0)
Project 5.5:  Firm Financial Analysis and Plan     (1.0)
Project 5.6:  International Context Trip (1.0)
Project  5.F:  Final Business Plan Creation, Publication, & Presentation (1.0)
Students will complete the Major Field Test in Business administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), during Project Sequence 5 Residency.
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE ACCELERATED Project-Based MBA (Leadership Certificate to MBA)
30