MBAA Revolt … er Reform at GWU School of Business

by on February 26th, 2013

About four months ago when the whole country was embroiled into the perils of the final phase of the presidential election campaign, something even more significant, albeit unnoticed by the general public, was happening at GW School of Business MBA program.

October was the season for election of the board members to the MBA Association – MBAA. During my three years at part-time MBA program at GW I was aware of the existence of such organization. From time to time I was receiving the emails from the MBAA with invitations to participate in election of the new board, or to occasional events sponsored by the Association.

But frankly, I never paid much attention to those invitations. As for voting – in most cases I did not know most of the candidates as they were all first year full-time Global MBA students and I would not have any classes in common with them. As far as events concerned, I thought at the time that I did not have time for extracurricular events. So in my personal MBA experience MBAA was too distant and irrelevant to my immediate needs. The same attitude was prevalent among most, if not all of my part-time MBA classmates.

To be fair, the MBAA had a designated slot on the board for a part-time MBA representative, along with one representative each for Accelerated MBA, and online Healthcare MBA programs. S0 those slots somehow got filled each year. But this was as far as the participation of part-time MBA students in the MBAA extended. The representatives of part-time programs were supposed to present the interests of the whole part-time MBA student body.

I actually remember that during the information session for the part-time MBA program at GWU that I attended prior to becoming a student, one of the students speaking with us was a representative of the Professional (part-time) MBA in the MBAA. He was complaining that the interests of part-time programs cannot be properly represented at the MBAA board, because the board was overwhelmingly dominated by the Global MBA students who were better organized, had more time, and were more motivated to participate in the work of the Association.

This disproportionate representation was even more peculiar in the light of the fact that the part-time MBA students, including Professional and Accelerated programs, actually make up probably more than two thirds of the total MBA student body at GW Business School. Arguably, cumulatively they also pay significantly more in tuition than the Global MBA students.

This status quo with MBAA representation make up has been probably ever since the Professional MBA was launched at GW School of Business. That is until this year.

In post My part-time MBA Heroes that I wrote back in summer I was raving about the 2014 part-time MBA students. I mentioned then that their weekly fellowship and libations spill over to other areas of their interactions with the school administration, faculty, etc. I called them the anomaly at the time and they proved me right yet again.

The election process for the new 2013 MBAA board was going at full speed in October 2012 and election was held on November 1-2. As I was talking with some of the part-time MBA students during that time (I was on campus once a week for the class I audited in fall, and I was also occasionally crashing on their happy hours) I knew that there was a big campaign going in the Business School that was under the title “Reform MBAA” and lead mostly by the 2014 part-time MBA students. When the election took place and the results were published, for me it was really mind-blowing. The part-time MBA students took all but two seats on the MBAA board! Moreover, the president of the MBAA is  also a part-time MBA student.

I bet that GW School of Business is probably the only one among the business schools in the country that have both full-time and part-time MBA programs, where part-time students managed to organize themselves and win the MBAA board so overwhelmingly.

The joy of winning in election has already grown old for the new MBAA board. But as I interact with them on occasion I see that they are up to a great start.

I have been long astonished by what these guys are accomplishing in their part-time MBA experience. As I mentioned to some of these students, I maybe started my MBA some 15 years too late, but I definitely graduated two years too early. Ironically, now that I graduated I know most of the current MBAA board members personally and better than I ever knew in my own MBA years ;-)

I am planning to post interview with some of the MBAA members in my future posts. In the meanwhile, you can check out their new website – GW MBAA – for current news and updates in GW MBA programs.

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