MBA Student Handbook - Tips for a Successful Experience
Advice from Recent Graduates
The Willamette MBA is a demanding and rewarding professional and academic experience. it will require you to learn new concepts, apply what you learn to organizations, develop new professional and leadership behaviors, and effectively manage your time and energy: all critical skills for current and future leaders. Recent graduates offer the following tips for academic success at the Atkinson School:
- Study in groups of two to six students to benefit from the support and expertise of your student colleagues.
- Seek assistance from faculty, staff, fellow students and University resources.
- Plan your time. Atkinson courses requires a consistent effort and pace as opposed to concentrated study for short periods of time. Understanding today's lecture, formula, or case usually depends on mastering the previous assignment
- Avoid getting bogged down in one class and letting others slip. Understand the benefits and limitations of dropping or withdrawing from a course. You may withdraw from a course any time prior to the final class meeting of that course. Seek advice from the professor, your faculty advisor or the Associate Dean/Director of Admission if you have questions.
- Use the tutors.
Pursue the Tools of Knowledge, Experience and Career Management
The Willamette MBA is a graduate professional degree. A professional degree requires a different approach than an undergraduate degree. A successful MBA experience requires professional growth in three areas: knowledge, experience and career management.
Knowledge is important ...but it's not enough by itself.
The best way to be sure you meet your career goals is to fully participate in all aspects of the MBA program.
First year MBA students will be assigned an advising team consisting of a faculty advisor who will work with professional and academic topics, and a peer career advisor who will help with activities related to career planning, the internship search, and other activities of the career management program. Although advisors are assigned for first year students, all students are always welcome to seek advice from any member of the faculty, staff or administration.
Second year MBA students do not have formally assigned faculty or peer advisors and are always welcome to seek advice from any member of the faculty, staff or administration. In addition, the Atkinson School Recorder will assist second year students with graduation audits
All MBA students will work with the Career Management staff for career advising.
All MBA students are encouraged to contact the Associate Dean/Director of Admission, Recorder or other members of the staff for questions about academic regulations, non-academic policies, procedures and campus resources.
Students are encouraged to utilize the tutor program and to talk with the instructor of any course in which they are experiencing difficulty.
The tutor program is available for core courses. Tutors are second-year students who specialize in tutoring specific subject areas. Each tutor is available for a minimum of four hours per week of regularly scheduled sessions for drop-in assistance. In addition, tutors will arrange individual appointments with students who need individualized tutoring. The names of the tutors and their hours for tutoring will be announced at the beginning of fall and spring semesters.
Students are expected to utilize tutors in a manner that falls well within school and course policies in regard to collaboration, academic honesty and ethical behavior. The tutor's job is to help the student understand the concepts and processes involved in the course so the student can successful complete their own work. Tutors may not provide the answers to homework problems or do homework for a student.
Questions about the tutor program should be addressed to Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean/Director of Admission.
Students are expected to be professional and proactive in discussing difficulties with course concepts, completing course work as assigned, grades, and other issues with the faculty member.
The accepted process for discussion of course issues at the Atkinson School is as follows. First, talk to the faculty member involved in the concern. If talking to the faculty member does not solve the concern, then the student should talk to Associate Dean/Director of Admission, Judy O’Neill. If talking to Judy O’Neill does not solve the concern, then the student should talk to Dean Debra Ringold.
Disability and Learning Services
The Willamette University Disability and Learning Services office facilitates reasonable accommodations for students with a qualifying disability or temporary medical condition and provides academic assistance on an individual basis to any undergraduate or graduate student who requests it.
Students desiring information regarding Disability Services may go to www.willamette.edu/dept/disability and follow the procedures listed.
Students who have a documented disability requiring accommodation should contact the Office of Disability and Learning Services at 503-370-6471.
Communicate Your Concerns
Students are expected to be professional and proactive in discussing their concerns. The accepted process for communicating your concerns at the Atkinson School is as follows. First, talk to the student, faculty or staff member involved in the concern. If talking to the faculty or staff member involved does not solve the concern, then the student should talk to Associate Dean/Director of Admission, Judy O’Neill. If talking to Judy O’Neill does not solve the concern, then the student should talk to Dean Debra Ringold.
Every Atkinson School course is evaluated to stimulate improvement in the quality of teaching and learning in the MBA program. The information provided by students helps pinpoint specific strengths, weaknesses, and potential improvements. Students are encouraged to discuss a course with the professor at any time and do not have to wait until the conclusion of the semester to provide input about a course.
Course evaluations are administered online near the end of the semester to ensure as many students as possible complete and return the evaluations. Students are notified in advance when course evaluations will be available.
Results are distributed to the faculty member after the recorder receives final grades for the course. Original copies of the evaluations are kept on file for three years by the dean and remain confidential.
In accordance with the School's Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures, course evaluations are made available to the Personnel Committee in assessing the faculty member's contributions to the School's mission. During regularly scheduled personnel reviews, the faculty member is invited to respond to the evaluations by explaining actions he or she has taken or plans to take to improve the course. These reviews also influence decisions to retain, promote, tenure, and allocate resources to the faculty member. The School treats the course evaluations seriously.
Requests for Exceptions to Academic Policies or Procedures
Students requesting an exception to academic policies or procedures must submit a written request and rationale for the request. The proposal should be directed to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission (email firstname.lastname@example.org) for review. The following are required of all written proposals.
- The student must explain the request in detail
- The student must provide information about any discussion or tentative agreements that may have occurred between the student and a faculty member (if any)
- If a tentative agreement has already been made with a faculty member, the student must provide the signature of the faculty member involved or the faculty member must send an email directly to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission discussing their level of support for the proposal and any other comments or suggestions
- The student must state a clear rationale for the request as to why it is the best alternative for their educational and career goals
If the proposal is not approved, the Associate Dean/Director of Admission will notify the student via email.
If the proposal is tentatively approved, the student must complete an interview (in person or on the telephone) with the Associate Dean/Director of Admission to discuss the implications and regulations governing the requested exception and any future implications of the exception.
Following the interview, the student must sign in writing that they understand and accept the exception that has been made and the conditions and regulations governing the exception. The signature is required for the exception to be implemented. Failure to provide a written statement accepting the conditions and regulations governing an exception voids any tentatively approved exception to policy or procedures.
Students should note that the following basic requirements of the MBA degree are never modified:
- Satisfactory completion of the minimum number of credits required for graduation
- Satisfactory completion of required courses (or substitute courses approved by the dean)
- Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in Willamette MBA course work