USC Master of Communication Management Online: The Student Experience

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Are you curious about what it’s like to be part of the USC online MCM program? Learn more about the program, and hear from recent grads Mark Carpenter and Angelyssa Granillo as they share their experiences in the program, and how it has helped their careers.

Transcript

Yesenia M:                          Hello, and welcome to our student experience webinar. My name is Yesenia Monarrez and I am an enrollment advisor for the master of communication management online program. I’d really just like to thank everyone for joining us, and taking time out of your busy schedules to join us. Before we begin, I’d like to review what you can expect throughout the presentation.

Yesenia M:                          To cut down on background noise please mute your phone line, so as to not disturb the presenters. If you have any questions for our speakers, please type in the Q&A box in the lower right hand corner of your screen, and hit send. Feel free to enter your questions as you think of them, and then we’ll be sure to answer as many questions as the time allows at the end of the presentation. Lastly, a copy of the presentation recording will be available, shortly.

Yesenia M:                          In today’s agenda, here’s a quick look at what we’ll be covering. First, you will hear from our program director, Neil Teixeira, who will be giving a brief overview of the program. He’ll be introducing two of our alumni, Angelyssa Granillo and Mark Carpenter and they will be going various items, including their experience in the program, and why they chose to attend the University of Southern California to complete their master of communication management. We will also be going over the admission requirements, and we will also cover a few of the questions at the end of the session. Now, let’s begin. Hi, Neal. Thank you for joining us today.

Neil Teixeira:                      Hi, Yesenia. Thank you so much, and thank you once again to everyone that has taken time out of their busy schedules to attend our webinar today. I along with our alumni presenters are looking forward to sharing some helpful information about USC, the Annenberg school, and many of the outstanding elements of the online master of communication management, including how you can start an application for our spring semester today.

Neil Teixeira:                      My name is Neil Teixeira. I’m the director of distance learning at the USC Annenberg school. I am also an alumnus of the USC master of communication management program. However, the on campus version of it. I was brought on to Annenberg to help bring that version online back in 2011, and since then we’ve graduated hundreds of students, and currently have over 200 students taking master courses in our program.

Neil Teixeira:                      Let’s start off by taking a little bit about USC, and the USC Annenberg School. USC was founded in 1880, back when LA was a small western outpost that had only welcomed the arrival of the railroad four years prior. Since then, the University of Southern California has grown to become one of the worlds leading private research universities. USC has regularly enrolled more international students than any other American institution of higher learning, and holds research based education that can be applied to professional practice as a cornerstone of the institution.

Neil Teixeira:                      In keeping with this, USC has long been a pioneer in distance education, offering master level classes to professional engineers via a satellite as early as 1972. USC Annenberg School has proudly continued that pioneering tradition by offering our fully online MCM degree to communication professionals all over the world. USC Annenberg School was founded in 1971, through the generosity and leadership of Ambassador Walter H Annenberg. You may know him better as the creator of TV Guide, Seventeen Magazine, and through his families long legacy of supporting public television, and the arts.

Neil Teixeira:                      Today, USC Annenberg is renowned for its innovative approach to communication teaching and research, and serves as an international hub for scholars, and professionals in communication, journalism, public policy, media and education. The online master of communication management enables the USC Annenberg School to deliver that same high quality educational experience in a rigorous engaging, and collaborative way. By the way, that picture on the slide is of our 2017 graduating class of online MCM students attending our annual graduation barbecue prior to commencement. We also host a reception and tailgate for homecoming, so not everything is online around here …

Neil Teixeira:                      Before I discuss the program in more detail, I would like to briefly share USC’s accreditation and ranking information. To reflect the university and the school’s commitment to excellence in higher education. USC and the online master of communication management program have both been reviewed, and accredited by WASC, and USC is currently ranked in the top 25 among national universities by US News and World Report. Additionally, the Wall Street Journals comprehensive 2018 college rankings placed USC in the 15th spot, nationally, and third among all western institutions. Among all institutions in the world, QS World Rankings for 2018 rated USC Annenberg the top institution for communication and media studies in the US, and second highest ranked anywhere in the world …

Neil Teixeira:                      Before I introduce our panel, we’ll turn to our programs curriculum faculty, and some of the advantages you’ll have as a USC online Annenberg student. The MCM program has been designed for both early and experienced working professionals. Everyone you will be taking classes with will play a role in your learning. You’ll share your work experiences. You’ll talk about issues that you are currently facing on the job, and you will get as much out of the people you are going to class with, as you will from your instructors. Our program id done cohort style, which means you will go through the program with the same group of people over the course of your classes. Typically, each class is divided into sections of no more than 20 people. That doesn’t mean you’ll have the same 20 people all the time, but everyone will have gone through the same courses that you have gone through.

Neil Teixeira:                      You can complete this program in less than two years, 16 months to be exact. This is important we found for working professionals. You have a lot on your plate, and you have a lot of responsibilities at work, at home, and taking classes will add considerably to that work load. We know that it’s really important for you to get through this as quickly as possible, and we think that completing the program two classes per term in about 16 months is the best way for you to achieve your goal of earning a masters degree from USC.

Neil Teixeira:                      What does the MCM mean? This is a management degree for communication professionals. We operate from the understanding that communication is at the center of every enterprise. We also believe that communicators shape, and change the world, and this is a degree that is offered to communicators like yourselves, so you feel empowered to lead within your organizations. What we found is that the learning is phenomenal online. The on campus program when you come to class for three hours the class moves at a particular pace, and you’re forced to move in that same pace. The online program you’re actually able to cover far greater material, and far greater depths, because you are working on it more incrementally. Of course, you’ll also be working in groups, and working with your colleagues, and your cohort on a regular basis. I think that’s an extraordinary advantage of our online learning program, because the ability to work in virtual teams is becoming increasingly essential in the modern workplace …

Neil Teixeira:                      Some of our learning and career opportunities, I’ll share it briefly, but I think that our alumni panel will probably speak more to how the program has impacted them. This is a program designed to help you analyze complex business issues, to gather and analyze research, and so one of the core competencies, and classes of the program is a research, a communication research course. We want you to be able at the end of the program to design communication that has a global perspective, so you may be working on something for your organization that is specifically tailored to a national demand, but we want you to be able to look beyond that, and develop communication that addresses new and emerging markets. Graduates in our program are often positioned for careers in management consulting, training, development, public relations, advertising, business, marketing, and other types of promotions …

Neil Teixeira:                      Let’s talk about the classes you’ll be going through, and the curriculum you’ll engage in. The way the program is set up, students will often take two classes per semester, and everyone begins with the core research class, uses of communication and research, which is CMGT 540. Then also the core management theory class, which is managing communication 500. What I want everyone to understand about these courses is they’re not all theory based. These are designed to be applied immediately to your places of work. I know that our alumni will be able to speak to that.

Neil Teixeira:                      What we tell all of our incoming students is we expect that you’ll be able to take what you learn in class and begin applying it to your place of work, your professional environment within a matter of days, and we mean that quite literally, and we have students who email us throughout the semester saying, “I know you told me this. I didn’t quite believe it, but let me tell you that what I learned in class last week came up in a meeting, and I was able to speak intelligently about it, using some of the things that we learned in class.”

Neil Teixeira:                      That’s something that I want everyone here to takeaway is that this is an applied program. Theory and research is at the foundation of how we understand complex problems. However, the application of the theory and their research is how we solve those problems, and that’s what this program will focus on. Some of the other courses include strategic corporate communication, which is a course that helps you develop communication plans, and address different stakeholders. We have communicating strategy and change management course, so if your organization is going through some major changes right now, that might be a really helpful course for you to either help your team go through that change or just help you understand the framework in which organizations process change.

Neil Teixeira:                      We have courses in integrative marketing communications, and online marketing communications of development and analysis, global marketing communication. There’s one course in there that has kind of an interesting name communication attitudes, values, and behavior. That’s our persuasion course. That course looks at campaigns, persuasive campaigns. That could be commercial advertisements, political campaigns, nonprofit campaigns. Understanding how we affect and move people to make decisions. I think that’s a really valuable course, as well. Again, a very applied curriculum.

Neil Teixeira:                      You will take eight courses drawn from this batch of courses, depending on when you start the program, different courses will be available in different terms, but the focus is strategic organizational communication, marketing, and PR communication, and then communication for data driven decision making … With that, I’d like to introduce our first alumni guest speaker. Her name is Angelyssa Granillo, and she has just recently graduated from the online MCM program. I’ll give her a moment to introduce herself. Angelyssa?

Angelyssa  G:                     Hi, everyone. My name is Angelyssa. As Neil said, I just recently graduated from the online MCM program, and I am currently an account manager at Idea Hall, which is an integrated PR marketing and advertising firm in Costa Mesa, California. Currently, in my role I oversee various accounts in the business to business, and business to consumer arena. Primarily in the commercial real estate and hospitality industry.

Angelyssa  G:                     What my day to day looks like is working with architects, developers, and builders in the hospitality arena, working to think strategically and come up with plans to help them better promote their business projects and services in Southern California. We do that through PR, social media, and advertising. The MCM program has really allowed me to take my strategic thinking to the next level, allowing me to work on really exciting accounts. Since being in the program I was actually able to take on this new management position that I’m currently in, and it’s been exciting taking what I learned in the program, and implementing it into my day to day tasks.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you so much, Angelyssa. I’m going to introduce our next speaker, and if you could just hold on tight we’ll get to our next set of topics and questions … Our next alumni guest speaker is Mark Carpenter, also graduated recently from the online MCM program. He is the sports director at KRON-TV in San Francisco, a title that he just recently earned. Mark, welcome. Please introduce yourself and let us know about how that happened.

Mark Carpenter:              Yeah. Thank you very much, Neil. Good morning everyone. Yeah. I’m the sports director at KRON-TV, it’s a local television news station based in San Francisco. I was recently promoted to sports director, and a lot of my time spent in this program, and my supervisor seen that, that had a lot to do with my change in position at the station. Basically, my day to day looks like, I manage a department of about six people, and we are in charge of covering all the teams throughout the bay area.

Mark Carpenter:              We’re talking about two college teams, Warriors, two baseball teams, two NFL teams, hockey teams, soccer teams, so kind of the day to day is organizing all that, seeing where are the stories, what kind of practices are we doing? Which athletes are we interviewing, and kind of packaging that content in a way which is consumable for our views across the bay area, and creating engaging stories. My motivation for getting into the program is that there’s a lot of changes happening in the broadcast journalism industry, so I felt that there was a great opportunity to be a part of what’s happening throughout the industry, and we’ll dive into that more as we go into the presentation …

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you so much Mark. Welcome to both you and to Angelyssa. We’re going to move onto the next topics. What I’ll be doing is asking you some questions about your own experience as a way to share with our audience how you made choices, or how you experienced the program. I’ll start off with you Mark, you were just [inaudible 00:15:16] on it. Why did you choose USC Annenberg as where you wanted to go get a masters in communication, or [crosstalk 00:15:24]-

Mark Carpenter:              Yeah. No, exactly. I was fortunate enough to get a job in broadcasting right out of my undergraduate degree, and so I had some years spent in the industry. I didn’t plan ongoing back to school, originally, but serving the technological landscape and looking at broadcasting as a whole, the industry is in a state of massive flux at all levels. Local, regional, national. Executives have admitted that they don’t know what the future is going to look like. TV’s, cellphones, computers how is it going to work out?

Mark Carpenter:              Within the business, people are being asked to do more, embrace new technologies, and with that I saw an opportunity to find a position that allows me to be at the forefront of how those decisions are made. USC’s communication management program was the perfect fit, because the comprehensive curriculum combined with world class faculty, and it really speaks directly to concepts that allow for high level management, and what it takes to join the executive ranks. One of the most fascinating aspects is that we’re able to work in this program while also working on your career and applying those concepts back and forth simultaneously.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you so much, Mark. Angelyssa would you like to answer that question about why you chose USC Annenberg to get a masters, or why you chose to get a master in communication management.

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah, of course. Piggy back of off what Mark was saying, similarly I was not originally planning to pursue a masters degree, but as the communication landscape continues to evolve, and new technologies are playing a part in how we communicate, I realized that I wanted to learn more about that, and how my position could evolve from somebody in a PR position to a broader communication management role. That’s truly why I sought out the opportunity to pursue a masters degree.

Angelyssa  G:                     Then when looking into different schools, I know that USC carries great weight with its name, and has great faculty, and I just did my research and I did also look into other schools, and other opportunities. One thing I found was that I wasn’t getting the same attention, and help, and communication from some of the other programs and schools as I was with USC’s admission counselors, and admission team, and so I felt that if I was going to really take on the responsibility of a masters degree that I wanted to be with a top school and a team that really values me as part of the program, and so that’s why I chose USC.

Neil Teixeira:                      Fantastic. Before I move on to the next topic, I would ask if you were to be able to provide to our current interested students, or current applicants, something to help them make that decision making process, what would it be … Angelyssa or Mark, either one of you can take that question, but if you provide a piece of advice for making a choice across schools, what was some of the reasons why you chose USC? Angelyssa, I think you briefly touched on that. Mark, any thoughts?

Mark Carpenter:              Yeah. I mean, I would say that from the jump that USC’s process was just fantastic, and I felt like they really took a genuine interest in me, in helping me get into this program, and seeing, and talking to me, and getting to know me, and seeing, like okay, what is your current position? How would this program help? You have an advisor throughout the process that will help you with your statement, your purpose statement, and your vision statement, and why you want to get into the school, how would the program really help you? They really take a genuine interest in looking at you, because you have to look at it as it’s a two way relationship would USC work for you? Would you work for the USC model?

Mark Carpenter:              Going back and forth like that and seeing how the advisors really see how they can help you, and making this work was really the most attractive part of this process, and it really made you want to be a part of a family, not just another student in a program. Okay? You’re in this cohort, too, and it’s also small groups, which makes it so nice to work and feel like your being paid attention to, essentially, and that the faculty will be taking a genuine interest in your success in this program.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you so much, both, Mark and Angelyssa. That’s actually an interesting segue into our next topic, which is the MCM experience online. Mark, you briefly talked about groups, I think we’ll touch on that in just a moment. What was it like taking classes online, Mark? What were some of the technological things that you may have encountered that you liked, didn’t like? What was the overall feel of being an online student in the MCM program?

Mark Carpenter:              I would say that one of the things that USC makes sure to do is right off the bat you feel that you are really in a graduate program. Of course, as you’re applying for it, you know what you’re getting into, but one of the messages from the offset presented by Doctor Weintraub is you’re not getting a USC life version here, just because it’s online don’t think that you’re getting something that’s different from the on campus experience.

Mark Carpenter:              In many ways the online experience is I would say more difficult than an on campus experience because you are forced to engage with your classmates, you are forced to engage with your professors. Every discussion response is you can’t just say, “Oh, I agree with you, good point.” You have to give a comprehensive response and really dive into the analysis, and you are forced to commit, and you are forced to carve out time within your professional lives. Okay?

Mark Carpenter:              You go to work, are you going to be working on your school work before or after work? Your weekends, you’re going to be dedicating time for your weekends. Also, too you have to communicate with your group mates, a lot. There’s a ton of group work throughout this program, so you’re forced to engage, and carve out time, and work out a schedule to make sure that you’re able to balance everything. You’re really forced into it.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you, Mark. Angelyssa, same question. What are some of your thoughts about the online MCM experience? Ways in which you interacted with your classmates, or your faculty? Things that you definitely took away from that, that reinforced why you chose USC.

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah. Going into the online program I was a little nervous and hesitant about what this would entail, and how in touch with my professors, and other students I would truly be, but I soon found out that we were constantly connected, working on group projects and even individual projects, reaching out to each other, we were constantly in contact over text message, video chat, shared Google documents, you name it. We were always working together no matter if we were on the east coast, or west coast, or where we were located.

Angelyssa  G:                     Some of my group mates and I even took it upon ourselves to find out where some of us were located in Southern California, and met up at coffee shops to just kind of get that face to face interaction, so there is that opportunity to do that, and we sometimes met at campus, or local coffee shops in our area. Then working through the online program, everything was right there.

Angelyssa  G:                     It was super helpful to have the online resources, the toolbox, and all the different resources we can use for our projects, even the online library, and online library sessions were super helpful. It didn’t require me to go to campus, or lug around books, necessarily, but I was able to hop online, I had somebody through the library who could help me find the text that I was looking for, for a research paper, and just kind of work that way. That was super helpful.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thank you. One of the preconceptions that a lot of applicants have about an online program is that it doesn’t allow you to build the personal, professional connections, or the networking that you’d expect in a graduate program, since so much of graduate school has been touted as being about the networking. You addressed that, Mark, as far as the ability that you found, or didn’t find to network among your classmates, and your faculty at USC Annenberg online.

Mark Carpenter:              Yeah. One of the things that you learn at the beginning of the program is Doctor Weintraub discusses that. You’ll find that as opposed to an on campus experience, you’ll actually have a tighter relationships, and a closer network going through an online program, and you find that throughout your entire time in the curriculum, because you are forced to communicate with your groups mates. You’re seeing each other over and over, and you’re constantly exchanging text, scheduling phone calls, spending your weekends, you know, part of your weekends together, week in, week out throughout a semester, and so you form those bonds, because you realize you’re going through something difficult together, but it’s going to be something that’s extremely rewarding, and so you really take time to learn about each other, form personal genuine relationships.

Mark Carpenter:              I’m happy to say that I still keep in touch with my friends throughout the program. One of the really neat things is when you get toward the end of the curriculum and graduation weekend, you’re able to meet in person at a barbecue, at the program barbecue, and so you’re able to really meet in person, but you feel like you’ve known each other for so long already, and that’s because you have. You’ve been talking for so long for the last year and a half already, and so you really form some lifelong relationships.

Neil Teixeira:                      Angelyssa, anything you’d like to add to that?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah. Just to piggy back off of what Mark was saying. There were some of the friends that I made in the program that I wasn’t able to connect with in person right away, and we were constantly talking for the last year or so over video chat, but as soon as we saw each other and connected in person at graduation it was like they’re your best friend, and you’ve known them forever, but truly it’s the first time you’re interacting in person, so it seems kind of funny, you know, my family members and everyone else that was there, but to us it was really natural, and I really felt like I got to know everybody.

Angelyssa  G:                     A lot of it was work. We were going through something together, so you do talk about family, personal stuff with each other, you talk about work, and how this program applies to work, and learning about what everyone’s doing, because I personally come from a PR background, but I’ve worked with people that were in advertising, and marketing, broadcasting like Mark, and it’s really unique the friendships and relationships that you make, because everyone comes from different disciplines within the communication background.

Neil Teixeira:                      That’s a great point. Thank you for sharing that, Angelyssa. Angelyssa, then I’m going to ask a followup. You talked about engaging the program, and staying on top of the work, and managing a work load. Can you talk about how the learning management system allows you to stay focused on task, and manage your time?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah, definitely. One great resource that comes with the online program is a checklist, so for each week there’s physically a checkbox next to each task, and I would use that all the time to stay up to date with what I’ve completed, because if you’re doing the two course semester track things get really busy with work, and school, and personal life, so having that checkbox is really helpful to me. Then I also just used a lot of communication tools that were both provided through the program, and then also other online tools, like Google Docs, and Google Sheets, and all that to communicate with my other classmates.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Mark, could you talk about what it’s like to be in a live session with faculty, and your classmates? How that maybe helps bridge the face to face gap?

Mark Carpenter:              Live sessions are tremendous. You feel like you really are in a lecture hall, and you really are in a classroom with your classmates, and talking with a professor. The live sessions were so rewarding, because you’re able to really hear from the professors themselves on what the expectations are for the course, for the assignments for the week, for the projects coming up, and you’re also able to bond with your classmates, as well. The live sessions are also a way in which, you know we talked about the entire online experience, and carving out time.

Mark Carpenter:              Well, the live sessions are really a natural way to force you to kind of rearrange your schedule a little bit to make it fit, to make it work, because there will be times where live sessions are mandatory, so you’re going to have instances where it’s like, hey, I need to step away from the office for a little bit to attend this. You’ll find that the sessions are so valuable, because you’re able to ask the professor directly, and get a response immediately. Okay, what is the expectation for this week? What’s it going to look like? What’s the page limit? Even something like that. You’re able to have responses, and really have a discourse about how the course is laid out, how the assignments are, and that’s all built into the entire online experience, and the commitment to it as a whole.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thanks, Mark. Angelyssa, anything you want to add to your own experience with live sessions with your classmates?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah. Similar to what Mark said, the live sessions are a great resource for you, and a great time to ask any questions you have, but also what I found super helpful is that it’s a place where you can hear other peoples questions, because sometimes you don’t think of that, and you’re able to hear their questions, and the responses to those, and that helps you better handle the project that you’re working on, or assignment that you’re working on. I think just being able to connect with other people, and hear what’s on their minds was really helpful to me, to have those live sessions, whether they were weekly, or biweekly.

Angelyssa  G:                     Like Mark said, you do have to carve out time. Usually they were in a good timeframe where it’s after work, or whatnot, but there are some times where you do have to make arrangements, and I think that’s just part of the program, just learning how to pivot and balance everything. The first semester is really hard, because it’s a balancing act, but after that it does get a lot easier.

Mark Carpenter:              Neil, I would add something to that, as well. That you’ll find that in addition to the weekly live sessions with your professor you’ll find that you’ll be scheduling your own live sessions with your group, and while it is easy to try, and you think you can just email back and forth with each other, or just shoot a text, the live sessions are extremely valuable when it comes to group work, because you’re able to have that face to face communication, and really get on the same page, because in an online program there will be instances in which tone gets lost in digital communication. You don’t know how somebody said something, or wait they don’t want to work on this? When you’re able to meet face to face in a sense, you’re able to really hash out who’s doing what for the week, how the project was going to look, and really build something together.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thank you so much for adding that. Angelyssa, thank you, and Mark, thank you. Anything else?

Angelyssa  G:                     No. I would a 100% [crosstalk 00:32:45] agree with that, what Mark said. It’s really important to take initiative and set up your own group calls, and Skype sessions, or Google Hangout sessions, whatever platform you use. I think like Mark said it’s really hard to get lost, for communications to get lost through different platforms, so being able to talk through a camera can really help with your group project work.

Neil Teixeira:                      Fantastic. Thank you. One quick note about this, I know Angelyssa mentioned making arrangements for live sessions that may not be at always the best time for each individual student, the truth is most live sessions are recorded, in fact, all of them are recorded, almost all of them are optional in the sense that if you cannot attend you can watch the recording of them later. What I think is important to note, Angelyssa, and if you can confirm, most students find them so valuable they don’t want to miss them, they’d rather be there live than watch the recording later. There’s actually no way to attend, that watching the recording is going to be sufficient. Is that pretty much on par to your experience?

Angelyssa  G:                     Definitely. There were some times where I had a work event, or a meeting where I couldn’t make it, and I could shoot the professor a note, let her know that I have this work thing going on, that I will tune into the recorded version later in the evening when I get home. I would also communicate with my group mates and just say, “Hey, can you be sure that we ask this question during the live session?” Just keeping that communication with your professor, or the group mates is helpful, so you can get out of the live sessions what you weren’t able to, but as Neil said they are super important, so whenever I could attend I would make it a point to.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thanks. I’m going to go on and move to the next topic, which about our faculty, and also in some ways about our curriculum. I want to ask you both about your experiences with your faculty, and if you could recall any specific course, or element of a course, or assignment, or potentially just interaction with a faculty member that stands out in your mind as having an impact on your experience in the program, or an impact, a significant impact on what you do professionally. Mark, if you could start.

Mark Carpenter:              Yeah. As I mentioned earlier, the faculty really is world class. You’ll find very early on throughout this program is that they understand what you’re going through. They understand the requirements. They understand how difficult this program is. At that same time, they make sure, they understand that they need to be available, and to help ease your transition into this, to this difficult program. There were instances in each of my classes in which I was stumped on a research project, and I could reach out to a professor on the weekends, and I was able to get a response the next day, and clearing up my issue.

Mark Carpenter:              I want to point out Doctor Curtis, I had him in multiple courses, and he was just one of many professors that were so good at, “Okay. Let’s make a phone appointment to discuss this further.” Okay? If you’re confused about this, or you have a question about how to pursue something like this, okay, yeah, let’s carve out some time, let’s hash this out, because they really want you to succeed. Okay? Nobody wants to see you struggle through this program. They all want to see you succeed, and they’re so helpful in making sure that you feel welcome, and being available, and clearing up any confusion that you may have throughout the entire process.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thank you so much. Angelyssa?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah. I too had a great experience with the MCM faculty as Mark noted Doctor Curtis, and Doctor [inaudible 00:37:05], and Doctor [inaudible 00:37:07] and the others were just so great with the communication. When you would shoot them an email, and had a question, as Mark said, more than just responding to what you’re asking about they would offer the opportunity to jump a call with you, or on a video session with you, so that way they make sure you’re understanding the assignment, and that you’re not just trying to complete the assignment, but really, truly learn, and hone in on what it is that they’re teaching, so you can use it in your every day life. I thought that was super helpful, and it has really helped me take a lot away from this program.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thank you. Could you share a particular course assignment, or element of the MCM program that has made a lasting impact on you, professionally?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah. For me, it was the CMGT 502, which was strategic corporate communication, that was the course when we learned how to put together a strategic communications plan from start to finish. We were given a puzzle by Doctor Weintraub, and the staff for that class, and taught how to put together the different pieces of the puzzle, whether it be the environment piece, or the stakeholder analysis piece to create a truly successful strategic communication plan.

Angelyssa  G:                     That is something that I actually printed out, and I have with me today at my desk, and I use it at work as I come up with these plans for my clients. I think it’s super helpful to know what pieces go together, and I’m learning that in the program. We did it over and over again. I think we did about five plans throughout the course, and by the time I was done with the final assignment, I really felt that I mastered the strategic communication plan, and able to work on those in my job is something that is reflected in the work that I’m doing today.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you. Mark, how about you? Anything specific to the course, or faculty member, or an experience that has made a lasting impact on you professionally?

Mark Carpenter:              Yeah. The course that really stands out to me was CMGT 508, communicating strategy and change, and this was the course in which you have the opportunity to center your final project around an initiative happening at your own place of work, and what was really fascinating about this is that you’re taking all the concepts that you’ve learned throughout the semester, and even earlier in the program, and it forces you to go to your supervisors and say, “Okay, well what is happening? Is there something at our workplace, or something that you would like to initiate that you would like to see changed, and something implemented,” and you’re able to work with them hands on and really see directly, “Okay, well, how do you want to approach this? How are you approaching it? How many employees is this going to effect,” and it’s cool in a number of instances.

Mark Carpenter:              One, because you’re able to apply all your coursework to your own workplace, and really see how it affects your professional life. Also, too your supervisors and your coworkers are able to see directly how the program has already made an impact on you, and they’re able to see, wow, you’re approaching this with a completely different frame of mind here, and you’re really able to have the opportunity to offer some valuable insight and contribution. It’s a project where you don’t need to wait until the very end, or after you’re done with the program to start applying these. It allows you to do something realtime, and really see how changes unfolding right in front of you at your place of business.

Neil Teixeira:                      Fantastic, Mark. Thank you so much. I’m going to move onto the next slide, and we’ll probably stay on a similar track. I want to ask about some of the practical applications of our program to your career. In that same vein, can you talk about some of the ways in which maybe faculty were able to help connect ideas in class to your professional environment, or ways in which like Mark, this question is for you Angelyssa, first, like Mark, you were able to apply something from your professional environment as a case study in your class?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah, definitely. Something else that we worked on throughout the program was the research and analysis, and doing surveys, and that was something that actually I was working on at the same time at work. One of my clients asked that we do this national survey, and that we come up with the questions, and that we have strategic thinking behind the questions to get as many participants as possible, and that was something we were learning at the same time in the course.

Angelyssa  G:                     How to best position survey questions to get respondents to participate, and how to host focus groups, and so that was super helpful that I was doing that at the same time in work and school, and was able to talk about what I was doing at work with my group mates, and with my professor, and get some insights there. Then also take that back to my colleagues at work and talk about this is the strategies that I’m learning in the program, and this is how we could apply them to create a successful survey for our clients, so it really went hand in hand. It was a unique moment, learning moment, for me. I really took a lot away from that.

Neil Teixeira:                      Thank so much, Angelyssa. Mark, I know you kind of answered that question already a little bit, but I’ll ask one level further. Given that your background, both academically and professionally was in journalism, and this is not a journalism program, specifically, how did you find the applicability of the coursework to what you’ve been doing on a day to day basis?

Mark Carpenter:              It’s been so valuable, because what’s happening, I mean, the changes are happening in realtime as of now. For example, in broadcast journalism there’s a push to go more mobile, and the understanding is that viewers aren’t consuming their news with appointment viewing anymore. Okay? No one is no longer sitting down and saying, “Okay, I have to watch the 5:00 news. I have to watch the 6:00 news.” What’s happening is that media executives are saying, “Okay. We need to find ways to make our product consumable 24/7 through our phones.”

Mark Carpenter:              As a result, there are initiatives unfolding throughout the industry in which we’re trying to see, to embrace new technologies, and there have been instances in which there have been new technologies unveiled at our work to see how they’re being effected, and what kind of resources are needed, so you’re constantly talking with your supervisors, you’re constantly put in positions in which you’re managing your day to day skills, and also figuring out, okay, how are we going to embrace this new future opportunity? Okay? How are we going to adapt to these new endeavors, and so that project was really cool.

Mark Carpenter:              I also want to add that something valuable, that was extremely valuable throughout this program is that you’ll find really early on that it takes you out of your comfort zone. I’ve spent my career working in broadcasting, and journalism, that kind of background, but you’ll take courses in this program that makes you work with marketing, and public relations, and there was a course in which you have to come up with a marketing plan for an actual company.

Mark Carpenter:              My group, we worked on a project for Marriott, and you’re developing, you’re spending the entire semester developing a marketing plan. I knew nothing about marketing going into it, but then walking away from it, and going through that entire course you’re like, wow, you’ve learned some really new skills that you didn’t even think that, you know, how could you apply this to your career, or how could you apply this to your program? It really was valuable to have that.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Thank you so much, Mark. Angelyssa, one final question. How immediate were you able to apply what you learned in the program to what you did professionally?

Angelyssa  G:                     Almost every time it was immediately, or instinct as I was learning in the program I was applying at work the next day. Like I mentioned the strategic communication plan, that something that I told my boss about like, “Hey, we’re working on strategic communication plans, I know there’s one coming up for this client. I would love to take the first stab at it, and just really apply what I’m learning.” I think something that I learned to do throughout this program to is just kind of, and this depends on your workplace, but don’t be afraid to let your managers know about what you’re learning about at school.

Angelyssa  G:                     If they’re open to that, if their open to your insights, and what you’re learning, it’s a great opportunity for you to directly apply what it is you are taking away from the program. I had this relationship with my manager where I’m able to do that, and it’s really great, because every time I’ve learned something or she might as me, “What are you learning? Great. How can we apply that here?” And I’m able to apply it directly in my workplace. That whole process was really great for me.

Neil Teixeira:                      Fantastic. Thank you, Angelyssa. I’m going to ask both you and Mark to stay on the line as we move through the next couple of slides on our upcoming admissions, and I wanted to thank you so much for your responses to these questions. Hold on, we’ll have Q&A and I may call on you there to answer some perspective student questions. Thank you so much …

Yesenia M:                          Thank you so much.

Neil Teixeira:                      Yeah. Thank you, Yesenia. I just wanted to reintroduce you. Yesenia, will briefly talk about our admissions.

Yesenia M:                          Thank you so much, Neil. As far as admission requirements, it’s pretty straightforward, you will want to complete your application online, and what you’ll need is all of your official transcripts from all colleges that you attended. You will want to statement of purpose. A writing sample. Your professional resume. Two letters of recommendations. GRE or the GMAT is required for the program.

Yesenia M:                          However, please keep in mind that students that have a certain amount of full-time work experience can potentially qualify for the GRE waiver, so that’s something that your enrollment advisor can go over with you in detail. Then also as far as specific questions on admission requirements, that’s what your enrollment advisor is here for, so any specific questions whatsoever, we’re more than happy to go over any of the requirements more in detail.

Yesenia M:                          Admission tips, as well, pretty straightforward. Deadlines are quickly approaching, so you just have to keep in mind that the holidays are coming up, so it is extremely important for you to reach out to your enrollment advisor as soon as possible. Together we’ll be able to work on a plan that ensures that you will be able to meet all the requirements needed for admission. Providing time in order for you to be reviewed for the spring semester. Just so you know, classes do being January ninth, and there’s still time to apply. The main thing is just be proactive and reach out to one of us, so that we can help you get started.

Yesenia M:                          Now, we’ll try to go answer a lot of your questions. There were a few good questions, so again, please remember if you have any questions, please type in the Q&A box, and we’ll try to get to as many as possible. If we don’t get to your question, don’t worry we’ll be sure to reach out to you and answer that, directly. The first question that I have, Neil, “Are there any exams, and if so how are they taken?”

Neil Teixeira:                      That’s a great question. In truth, there are no what you’d consider midterm or final exams. Some of our courses have quizzes that are meant to be low value quizzes to make sure that you’re understanding the material. It’s an assessment tool that helps our faculty stay abreast of how students are learning, but it’s not meant to be a large evaluation of your ability. Most of your final projects, and midterm projects, and major assignments are going to be papers, so written papers, presentations, and those can be both oral, or they might be done via video, or that you might pre-produce some of your presentations to share with your class, but we put a high emphasis on your ability to communicate orally, and in writing.

Neil Teixeira:                      If you feel like you’re not the best writer right now, I promise that when you are done with this program you will be a much better writer, not just academically, of course academically you’ll probably be a much stronger writer, because the program does require you to learn how to write from an academic perspective, but in general you’ll be able to organize and synthesize data, and to put that into writing so much more effectively than you probably are now. It’s just one of the cornerstones of our program, and I think probably Mark and Angelyssa could attest that yes you’ll be doing a lot of writing, whether it’s a paper or maybe just even your discussion board posts, you know writing those out also takes time and thought, and you’ll become more practiced at it, and faster at it. Good question.

Yesenia M:                          Thank you so much for that. It looks like we have a few students that are looking to maybe make a career change, or are new professionals, so their question was, let’s say they don’t have experience in the field, are they still able to be successful in the program?

Neil Teixeira:                      What we’re looking for is not years and years of experience, although we do have students who are maybe doing a career transition, and they’ve been working for 20 or more years. We have some students who are coming in as retirees, who are really looking at just gaining new skills, and applying them through personal projects, or maybe even through consulting. We also have a lot of students who are just starting out. Meaning, they’re in their first or second year of employment. They are what you’d consider early career professionals. They are maybe making those initial first steps deciding what trajectory they want to have, professionally, or what field they really want to work in.

Neil Teixeira:                      Within the communication field, there are so many different industries that you can make your way into, you know, marketing, sales, advertising, PR, sports media, all kinds of other stuff. What we want to see is a balance, and in some cases it could be heavily skewed towards one side, but at least some balance, two sides, of academic experience, you know, your undergraduate institution, and some professional experience. Meaning, if you’ve been working for a year or two, that’s great. If you’ve been working for many, many years, even better, we can get a sense of your already established career trajectory.

Yesenia M:                          Thank you for that. Another great question. “Do online students have the same access to campus resources as on campus students?”

Neil Teixeira:                      That’s a real good question. On the whole, yes. As an online student, you’ll get access to a USC card, that card is your ticket to accessing most of the USC buildings and resources, libraries. You are eligible to get discounted tickets for USC football, and other types of athletic events. You’re able attend events on campus. You’re able at Annenberg to attend any of our Annenberg events. There are so many things that are a part of the campus experience that if you’re local, and in the online program you can essentially take advantage of the best of both worlds.

Neil Teixeira:                      You get the flexibility and interactivity of being an online student, and then you get all the on campus stuff. For those who are remote, meaning there’s really little chance of you being able to come out to USC to regularly take advantage of the resources, we try to make as much of it available to you virtually. For example, our USC libraries host training sessions, and support sessions, and we have a dedicated librarian for the Annenberg school, and they’re there to help you navigate the library resources.

Neil Teixeira:                      If you find that some resource that you need for your paper, or project, or any kind of classwork is not available online digitally, but is available say on book stack here at USC, USC libraries will send that to you via mail with postage prepaid for return, so that you can read that book, use it for the semester for your project, and then mail it back to USC no charge to you, postage prepaid. That’s how much we try to make sure that you have access to those resources. That we’ll take a book off the shelf, mail it to you, and have it paid, so that you can mail it back without any charge to yourself.

Yesenia M:                          Great. Thank you for that. Another student wants to know, “How USC ensures that students stay up to date with the latest trends?”

Neil Teixeira:                      Our courses are constantly being revised. After every single course offering, there’s a revision process where our faculty will work instructional designers to update the curriculum. That means that if we have a course that runs every semester, that course is going through a revision every semester. Now, some changes could be more minor from term to term, but the idea is that these aren’t static courses. We didn’t develop them back in 2011, and let them sit.

Neil Teixeira:                      They’re being updated by our faculty with a team of instructional designers, and media producers to keep the content as up to date and relevant as possible. In addition, we’re constantly looking at ways in which we can add new courses, new areas of specialization potentially to give our students the leg up they need in the professional realm.

Yesenia M:                          Thank you, Neil. A very common one that we always get is, students are working full-time, so they want to know what the workload is like, how many hours per day, or per week, perhaps, that they’re spending in the classes. This one maybe perhaps, obviously Neil if you can help us, but also Angelyssa and Mark, you know, maybe tell us what your workload was like a little bit more.

Neil Teixeira:                      Yeah. I’ll take it to start. Then I’ll ask Angelyssa and Mark to maybe provide a little perspective. What I tell students is if you’re taking two courses this semester, which is what we recommend, just so that you can get through the masters program faster, is that consider it a part-time job. The reality is in order to be an effective student, in order to get passing grades, we’re not talking A grades, but in order to get passing grades, and be an effective student, you’re probably going to dedicate somewhere between 10 to 12 hours per week, per course.

Neil Teixeira:                      We’re talking at least 20 hours a week where you’ll be involved with some element of your course. It could be reading. It could be writing. It could be working a group project, just communicating through team and your instructors. Every little bit, if you add that all up, we’re talking at least 20 hours for two courses and maybe more. I say maybe more, because it depends on each student. Some students really want to get the A. They want to not just master the learning, but they want to showcase how they can apply it, and some students are very grade driven, and I appreciate that, so if getting the A is important to you, you probably will have to put in extra effort to get the grade that is so desirable to you.

Neil Teixeira:                      That’s what I generally let students know. Consider it a part-time job. The reality is going to graduate school is a sincere commitment, and you are looking at USC, because you believe that, that commitment is going to be worth something. That it’s going to be legitimate. That it’s going to be respected. In some cases it’s going to be admired. What I want you to take away is that comes with a lot of work. You’ll be balancing your professional life, of course, and your family life, but it is manageable, and our faculty, and your classmates will help you through it.

Neil Teixeira:                      Just so that you guys get a sense of how much we work to get our students through the program, if you finish your first three weeks of class as a student in the MCM program, nine out of 10 students finish the program in under two years. The other 10% or so finish a little bit longer, because life gets in the way from time to time. You know, you might have some significant life issues. We have a lot of students who actually have babies while they’re in the program, or get married, or divorced. We haven’t had anyone get married that I know of among students in the program, but we have had a baby between a couple of students in the program.

Neil Teixeira:                      There’s intimate connections, and lots of events that happen, and we’re happy to work to make sure that students are able to succeed. If it takes a little more time, that’s okay, but what I want you all to understand is that if you finish, like if you start the program essentially, and you make it through the first few weeks of course, and you’ve committed that this is the right program for you, and you’re going to take the first semester and complete it, nine out of 10 students finish the program right where we want them to finish in under two years. Mark, Angelyssa, you want to add anything about the commitment to the program, and why you guys chose to stick through the commitment, even though it’s a challenge?

Mark Carpenter:              Oh, yes. It’s definitely a commitment, and the program really finds a way right from the jump to make you realize how much of a commitment it is, because you’re going into the program thinking okay this is going to be a feeling out process here in the first couple of weeks. Okay? How much work are you going to get? Believe me, you get a ton of work, and yes it’s a part-time job, and there will be instances in which it feels like a full-time job.

Mark Carpenter:              I took two courses throughout the entire program, and was very fortunate to get through in less than two years. I was extremely grateful that, but there are times when you’re in the middle of it, taking a full course load, you’re like, wow, this is going to eat up your weekend, and you have to be ready for that. You have to be ready to adjust your work schedule. I would say on average maybe about 20 to 30 hours a week there would be times where there’s more, because you have projects coming down the pipe.

Mark Carpenter:              I was one of those that was very grace driven, and so like Neil had mentioned, there will come a cost to that where it’s like, okay, you’re going to work harder for this, because you want to rock this assignment, not just get it done, you want to own it. You can gauge it out a little bit, but you’ll find in the first three weeks or so just how much it takes. I would say be prepared, and this is what I found with a lot of classmates, is you’re going to find that you’ll dedicate at least a day and a half or so of your weekend, like if you were to wait until the weekend to start the work, you’re going to dedicate a day and a half or more of your weekend to doing work.

Neil Teixeira:                      If I could just interrupt. We try to encourage all students to take incremental portions of their work throughout the week, and get it done, like they’re reading, or there’s discussion assignments, or some of the elements of the paper, so the idea is time management is key. We don’t want students ideally to wait until the weekend to start working on their courses, because then it does feel like you have this insurmountable mountain of work to get through the weekend as Mark pointed out.

Neil Teixeira:                      We also want you to know that should you chose to start with just one class to get a sense of how the program flows, that option is available to you. You can start with just one course, and make sure this is the right program for you, and that this is going to be, and we hope it will be, but that this is going to work for you and your schedule. Angelyssa, anything else you wan to add?

Angelyssa  G:                     I think Mark pretty much covered it, but I think it’s really just a balancing act in learning how to balance your personal life, and your work life, and school, and just learning when is the best time for you to work, and carve out time, so there were times where I got up early in the morning before my 8:00 a.m. start time, and did some reading or responded to discussion posts.

Angelyssa  G:                     I often spent some time at a nearby coffee shop during my lunch hour and did some more project work, or after work, whatever it be, but as Neil mentioned it’s not a great idea to wait until the weekend just because a lot of the projects do require thinking, a lot of reading, strategy building, and you don’t want to wait until the weekend to do that. Also, the way the program is set up is that there are some deadlines that are throughout the week, like smaller deadlines to get you prepared for the bigger assignments that’s do over the weekend. That was kind of helpful, because it makes sure that you’re not cramming all the work into your two day weekend.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. I know we’re running a little long here. I just have so many good questions. I want to answer a couple more of them. Yesenia, I would to take a question for Mark and Angelyssa about what it feels like to be a part of the Trojan family, but before that, anything else Yesenia that you saw as a top [inaudible 01:03:58] question?

Yesenia M:                          No. I think we got to most of them, and the ones that we didn’t, if we didn’t answer you question we will be reaching out to you in the next few days. I’m sorry, just based on time we couldn’t get to all the questions, but we will be sure to reach out. Thank you.

Neil Teixeira:                      Great. Mark, Angelyssa, how does it feel to be part of the Trojan family? What impact has that had on you?

Mark Carpenter:              It’s amazing to be a part of the Trojan family, and to be a part of something that you feel is bigger than yourself. One thing that I kind of want to share that I learned, and something that was so important throughout this entire experience is that the most valuable and significant concept I learned, and I’m so grateful for is that this program prepares you to not just be a manager, it prepares you to be a leader. Okay? You have to understand that being in charge is not just telling people what to do, where to go, and it’s about the human aspects. Okay? Building connections with people, seeing what they like, what they don’t, utilizing their skillset in the best way possible.

Mark Carpenter:              For example, a concept that you’ll learn are Kotter’s Eight Steps for Successful Change, and how naturally people are resisting to change, because it’s new and uncomfortable, but you learn how to go about introducing these new initiatives. Setting a foundation, providing clear direction, allowing for discourse, and letting people know how they fit into a bigger picture and play. This change for you, this will be a lifestyle change. It will be uncomfortable at first, but then you’ll see how rewarding it is, and how valuable it is, and once you get through it there is no doubt, absolutely no doubt that you will leave this program as a leader, and an agent of change that has the ability to impact so many people.

Neil Teixeira:                      Wow. Thank you, Mark. Angelyssa?

Angelyssa  G:                     Yeah. It’s great to be a part of the Trojan family. I definitely feel like I took away some strong relationships from this program, which professors and group mates and group members that I’ve worked with I continue to text many of them even some of us exchange text messages about job openings or, “Hey. I know you work with this company, let me know if there’s some opportunity for me,” there’s just so many connections that you make with people, whether they’re close or far away.

Angelyssa  G:                     I’ve also heard people saying, “Hey, so and so flew into town,” so they made sure to contact that person and get coffee with them, and see what their up to. It’s just really amazing how strong of relationships you build in this program given that it’s all online. Then as Mark was saying, you really do take away some strong leadership skills, and you learn more than just communication management principles, but truly how to be a leader. Here at my work, I feel like I’m always recognizing things that we learned about change management in the program, and I’m able to apply that, and just take on a larger role, and this has just been an awesome experience

Neil Teixeira:                      Thank you so much. Thank you to you both so much for your participation today and for helping enlighten our perspective students on the program. I know that so many of you have other questions that you asked. We have them all logged. We will have an enrollment advisor followup with you to answer those questions. Some of them are specific to you, or maybe more technical in nature about the program, and the curriculum.

Neil Teixeira:                      We’ll have an enrollment advisor either Yesenia, or we have Phillip as well. Their information is on the screen right now. If you don’t have it already, please take it down and feel free to contact us, today. We will make sure that we have your answer followed up with, and that we can answer any other questions you have, so you can get started on application for spring. Thank you so much to everyone for their participation, and attendance in today’s MCM Student Experience Webinar …