Boston College MHA Program Virtual Information Session

Assistant Director Emily Raviola along with three students currently enrolled in the BC MHA program use this virtual information session to provide information and insight into the program.  The MHA program is part of the Woods College of Advancing Studies, one of the oldest colleges at BC. In keeping with BC Woods College tradition,  the Master of Healthcare Administration Program serves the needs of busy working professionals who are ready to further their careers, doing the important work of training the next generation of healthcare leaders.

The webinar serves to help prospective students learn more about the MHA program and provides an opportunity to hear from students of different professional backgrounds who are in various stages of degree completion. The end of the webinar takes the time to answer viewer questions. Maybe you’ll see your question here and find the answers you are looking for.


Melissa: Hi everyone! Thank you for joining us for today’s webinar. Today we are excited to present Boston College’s MHA virtual information session presented by Assistant Director Emily Raviola. We are also excited to have some current MHA students with us.

Just a few notes before we get started: If you have any questions during the presentation please type them into the Question, or Q&A box on your WebEx control panel. We will be answering your questions at the end of the presentation with the time we have left. If, by chance, we miss your question, or we do not have enough time to answer it, we will personally message you after the webinar.

Now without further ado, we will turn the presentation over to Assistant Director Emily Raviola. Emily?

Emily: Thank you so much, and hello everyone. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to learn about the Boston College Healthcare Administration program. We’re really delighted to share a little bit more about the program, particularly to expose you to some of our current students who are here with us today.

I am Emily Raviola and I help run the program. I bring 10 years of public health non-profit management and fundraising experience, as well as tenure at Boston College. I’ve been here since 2013 and it’s a real privilege to be a part of the University.

It’s really exciting to be positioned within the MHA program, there’s a real opportunity here to support our students, both in their career growth, as well as their abilities to help transform healthcare, make healthcare as a sector more efficient.

We’re excited to be addressing the needs of such an important sector of our nation’s economy so that the healthcare sector is about 20% GDP, and we’re training the next generation of healthcare leaders, so we think we’re doing some pretty important work here at Boston College.

We have three current students, so I want to make sure I give them some time to introduce themselves. So, they’re here to provide you with just a little bit more insight into what it is like to be a Boston College MHA student. They are from various backgrounds and they are also in various stages in the program. So let each of them speak to their own experience.

So, I will call on each of the students, and if you could please just tell your name and where you currently work, and maybe where you are in the program, that would be terrific.

So why don’t I start with Rebecca Sear.

Rebecca: Hi everyone, I’m Rebecca, I currently work at Brigham’s women’s hospital as a senior project manager in the finance department. I am currently in my last class right now, and I am so excited.

Emily: Thank you Rebecca. And Basel Tarab, can we have a little bit on you?

Basel: Yes, hi, my name is Basel Tarab and I am a physician by training and I came here from Syria. Currently, I work in Boston’s Children’s Hospital as a patient’s relation specialist. I’m also a member of the Ethics committee of Boston Children’s. I have been in Boston College MHA program for a year, and I still have three years to go.

Emily: Ok, thank you so much, both to Rebecca and to Basel, we may have one more joining, Andrina, and we’ll let her introduce herself when she gets on. Thank you so much, and what we’ll start to do is just go through some details about the program, hear a bit more from our students and then we’ll make sure to spend plenty of time on Q&A.

So, the Boston College MHA is housed in the Woods College of Advancing Studies. There’s a number of particular, or unique colleges here on campus, and they are all part of the BC experience. Woods College is one of the oldest colleges here at Boston College. And we’re very focused on preparing degree programs that really serve the needs of busy working professionals.

The Woods College has always assisted working professionals completing their degree aspirations. We’re very focused on creating programs that help students balance work and life. We’re pleased to be offering a rigorous academic program that is in a fully online format. Again, we’re focused on enabling our students to balance work and career and we feel our program is well-designed to do that. We are at Boston College which is based on a Jesuit tradition, so there’s a very strong focus, not only on intellectual development and formation, but also on personal formation. We’re very much focused on the whole person, the whole student.

Our faculty are committed to helping our students blossom into the full potential that they can be, to help them realize their dreams. So, we very much take pride in focusing on the lives of our students by supporting their growth and development. We have top notch academic quality and we bring on faculty that are really leaders in their field. So, I’m excited to tell you a little bit more in detail about our program.

I do want to call out that the Boston College community is a very strong one. There’s a network of alumni that is around 180,000 strong, and we are very much a community that stays connected whether you are currently taking classes or whether you’ve obtained your degree.

So, let me just back up and take a moment to ask our students some questions. So, Rebecca I will start with you, and if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us a little bit about you chose to come and get your master’s two years ago, now. And why you chose the BC MHA program over other programs.

Rebecca: So, I chose to pursue a Master’s in healthcare administration because I had some experience working in healthcare administration, but I definitely wanted to expand my knowledge and learn more about the system. For me it was the right time, they really offered everything I was looking for, including the ease of classes at home and some emerging programs. I chose to do a master’s mostly to invest in my future and just really expand my opportunities.

Emily: Wonderful. Thank you, Rebecca. Basel, can I ask you to answer the same? Tell me why you chose to go for your master’s at this time, and what it was about the BC MHA versus other programs that made you come here.

Basel: Yes, well as I said, I have a medical background, I’m a physician by training, and I can’t deny that there is a gap between physicians and administrators. And I feel that I needed that science behind administration to be able to advance in my career, to have a better, and a global understanding of the healthcare system that I work in. So, it was very important for me to have that science, to equip myself and advance in my career.

The reason why I chose Boston College over other programs is because I did a big search compared to programs and I found that Boston College, in addition to having great network of alumni that I could connect to- and as you all know, connections are very important in our industry. I also found that I needed the program to accommodate my time, but most other colleges don’t have live sessions, Boston College has live sessions which is a great opportunity to learn from it, and it’s a new program. It’s very promising program.

I asked around, all people said that it is a great program to join. And I truly find it very accurate.

Emily: Basel thank you so much, it’s wonderful to hear. When we first launched the program, when we were carefully designing it, we were very careful to design the program in a way that it aligns with the current and future needs of the healthcare sector.

So, we’ve developed an industry advisory board comprised of industry leaders from across the healthcare landscape. So, including hospital executives, insurance company executives, patient advocacy groups, physician management groups, consultants all focused on health care. And what we did, we have a competency-based program so our students are busy mastering that set of competencies that we carefully developed. And we keep these competencies fresh and circle back with our board periodically just to make sure that our program remains entirely relevant, entirely responsive the trends and the current and emerging sort of realities that are facing this sector.  We’re very proud of that.

We’re also very focused on aligning our program with the Gold standard of accreditation and healthcare administration. We are currently in the process of submitting a full application to CAHME [Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education]. In the meantime, we are accredited by our regional body, [NEASC – New England Association of Schools & Colleges]. So we expect to have exciting updates on all of that soon.

I wanted to just pause again to talk through a little bit about how our program is designed. And we have, as Basel referenced, our online format so that we make the program accessible to the working professional. So I wanted to just tell you a little bit about what that looks like, and then I’m going to hear a little bit more from our students.

So we have what we call synchronous class sessions, so we have our students and our faculty meet every week for a two-hour period in a virtual classroom. There’s a ton of exchange both between the students and the faculty, and also across the peers, or network of students. That really enhances learning, and also enhances the connectivity between the MHA community, there’s just a wonderful robust learning that happens in the classroom setting.

So let me pause again and just ask our students, and I’ll start again with you Rebecca, if I may.

Rebecca, how do you find, or what is your experience in the program, in balancing the personal, the professional and the academic work you’ve been doing. How has that been?

Rebecca: Personally, for me, I think the flexibility of the program is really achieved. You can really attend the class wherever you are, you can do the work at your own pace, and also it’s very similar to being in a live classroom where there are presentations by not only the professor, but students as well. We can do projects together, activities in the classroom, see each other face to face, really get to know each other. It’s the same web format each time so it’s super easy really with minimal technical difficulties. Overall, I think it’s really suited my lifestyle of working a 40-hour job and trying to pursue a master’s degree.

Emily: Thank you so much Rebecca. And then Basel, if you wouldn’t mind also just sort of talking about the balance between professional, academic, personal, and also just talking and giving the participants of this webinar a little more sense of what the live sessions are like, I would really appreciate it.

Basel: Sure, absolutely. When I first joined the program I was really worried that I would not have a good balance between life and studying. You know I’m a professional who works 40 hours a week, at least. That was the biggest piece I was afraid of. However, I joined the program and found that, really, I’m working on my own pace. We have set timelines so we have to meet that, but the professors are very accommodating when it comes to emergencies, and overall they are extremely, very responsive and that has really made it much easier for me. I found that it is something that could be achieved, the life and work balance.

The live sessions was actually the reason why I wanted to join the program, it’s very interactive. I’m someone who learns more from interactions with other students and the professors, so it provides me with a great opportunity to ask all my questions, and if there’s something I don’t understand then I ask about it, I inquire about it, and we exchange expertise and opinions.

So it’s very eye-opening, it’s really just like a normal campus, but it’s online. So I’ve had some sessions when I was walking to the train, or sitting in my office, or at home, so it’s really convenient.

Emily: Thank you Basel. Andrina, I believe you’re on. Our third student participant. And so if you are on, you can please just introduce yourself, let us know both where you work, what your role is, and also how long have you been in the BC MHA program, that would be a wonderful starting point.

Andrina: Hi everybody, my name is Andrina. I joined the MHA program last year in 2017 in the Spring term. I’m working as a project manager at HMS in Denver, MA in healthcare IT providing services to health plans. So that’s a little bit about me.

Emily: Thank you so much Andrina, and welcome.

I will also ask you two follow-up questions that Rebecca and Basel just shared there. Can you share with the participants here today how you find the program in the context of your ability to balance your personal and professional life? Just talk a little bit about how that’s worked for you when you started taking courses in our program.

Andrina: Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience. The online program, I think it’s been very helpful to balance my work and family life. It’s very demanding, so it’s not something to be underestimated in terms of the amount of work that you have on a weekly basis…on a daily basis. But it’s definitely a good tool, and a good way to approach classes that you don’t need to be anywhere physically, in your work, in your house, or at home. You know, I think it’s very convenient for people who work and have other responsibilities.

So that was a huge thing for me in order to make the decision to join the program, and it’s been very hard work for me, and it’s not to underestimate. That’s what I wanted to say. Because people can sometimes say, “Oh, it’s online, it shouldn’t be that hard.” It’s a lot of work.  It’s just convenient, right?

Emily: I appreciate hearing that from you Andrina. Yes, we do pride ourselves for designing a rigorous curriculum for our students, so thank you for sharing that aspect of your experience.

One more request Andrina. Could you share just what the live sessions have been like for you? Maybe focusing on the ability of how you could connect to your faculty, or the other students. Just to shed light on those sessions, for our participants today would be great.

Andrina: Sure. The tools that we use are very easy to use and are very collaborative. We have the teachers, the instructors doing their presentations that we can also see [on our camera], that we can interact. You can see everybody on their own cameras.  It’s a very good classroom environment what we have.

In general, I think that the communication with the faculty and the cohort is also very open.  [The faculty] is always very responsive to any questions that you have, to any help that you need. I think we have been very lucky, I think.  I know that where I come from, in my classes that I took last year. We have also created a good friendship and partnership with everybody. There is an innovation weekend that is happening this weekend. I went there [to campus] last weekend  It was a great opportunity to be on site and meet people and strengthen the connections that you have with them. Those [innovation] classes are a very strong tool that we have.

Emily: Thank you so much. I appreciate that insight.

And just moving along a little bit, I just wanted to focus on this slide to just explain as an upper and applied degree program. So, we have designed the entire curriculum to be adaptive to the professional setting.  We have assignments that mimic professional contexts so that you can basically study and have the experience of the classroom, and then turn around and apply what you’ve been learning in your professional setting.

So, a little more about the nuts and bolts of the program. We have three terms, so there’s three entry points for every year: Fall, Winter, and Spring (or Summer, if the entry point is in June). We offer a series of 13 courses that comprise 46 credits, and most of those are in a 4 credit/8-week format.  They run for a consecutive 8 week period.

Each course has a two-hour long live session scheduled during the weekdays evenings, usually from 6:30 to 8:30 or so. And it’s all Eastern time at this point.

If the students go straight through the entire series of courses, they can complete the program within two years. Some students choose to accelerate, some choose to take longer. We are a bit flexible, which can help students depending on their contracts.

As I mentioned earlier, we are a competency-based program, and again, those competencies are very much formulated by leaders in the field of healthcare. So, when our students graduate they’re tooled up and skilled in the areas that current employers are looking for.

A very important and unique offering that we have is that every student who is enrolled in our program has access, as part of the program, to an executive coach.  The executive coach is an optional part of the program, but it does come with your matriculation. And basically, students work with our coach in a variety of ways. They can get assistance with basic professional fundamentals such as getting assistance with their resume or networking strategies. They can do some sort of deeper probing on what their strengths and weaknesses are, what their passion is, and how they can better align their professional aspirations and professional contracts to achieve what they aspire to achieve.  There’s a ton of really exciting progress that students make both tactically, but also in this sort of broader understanding of themselves, and where they hope to go, and what they hope to achieve. And that is often leveraged by the executive coach, as well as the faculty.

Boston College also prides ourselves in selecting faculty that will really take time to help students develop themselves.  I’m going to pause here and just talk a little bit with our students about their experiences of professional development during their tenure on the program. And I’ll also pause and take one question per student.

So, Rebecca, if I could ask you to tell me about the role that you had when you first entered the program. And then just tell us about where you are today and a little bit about that experience.

Rebecca: Yeah, definitely.  My growth through this whole process has been absolutely tremendous, and the MHA program has really contributed to that a lot. I started out as a practice assistant and I was at Brigham Women’s.  I had basically just started my healthcare management career there and I was given some small leadership roles throughout different projects. However, after a year there I wanted something different.  Then I joined the Brigham Women’s partner hospital as an operations

coordinator where I was given the opportunity to work with five different ambulatory departments. It was more of a management role with quality improvement projects. I was honestly able to use whatever course I was in at that time as assistance in whatever I was doing. If it was analytics, I was able to use Excel and really apply it to the work I was doing as an operations coordinator.  They really saw a lot of growth and potential, so I was then encouraged to apply in the finance department as a senior project manager, which is where I am now. Because previously I was involved with a finance project.  I think even the finance course through the MHA program really helped to develop my skills involving healthcare money transactions, what’s going on behind the scenes, insurance contracts, etc.  So that’s where I stand and I’ve been there for 6 months. I absolutely love it, and every day I’m learning something new and I’m really able to apply a lot of the theories and stuff that I’ve learned at the MHA program into my daily life.

Emily: Wonderful. Thank you so much Rebecca for sharing a little bit about your past. Basel, may I ask you to talk a little bit about your professional development accomplishments you’ve had since being admitted to the program, and how you may have experienced the MHA program as sort of leveraging your ability to take it to the next level.

Basel: Sure, so basically the MHA program so far has equipped me with the tools and the language to be able to communicate effectively with various staff in the hospital. Also, it gave me an understanding how to really have a global understanding of the issues. Since I joined the program, I was chosen as the employee of the month at Boston Children’s in the month of June.  One achievement that helped me be chosen is due to the extra knowledge I’ve gotten from the program.   It really made me be presented as somebody who really understands things rather than just following orders and performing well.  I feel I became a resource for people. When they have a difficult situation, they come to me.  I think the program really helped me in getting equipped for that. The other achievement is that I became a student representative member on the board of ACHE, or American College Healthcare Executives. I was nominated by Boston College and I served on the board a whole year. This gave me a great opportunity to connect with people. Also, it introduced me to a level of CEOs and administrators and I met with them several times and saw how they really manage and discuss things.  This also has been a major step in my career, just to be exposed to this level of conversation, and to connect to this level of people.

Emily: Thank you so much Basel. And that reminds me to highlight that we really see the Boston College MHA as being a connector between our students and this professional society.  Basel was talking about the American College Healthcare Executives, so there’s often opportunities to attend events.  We really try to connect our students to provide access where they might not have known about events or conferences, and periodically these have scholarship opportunities. We’ve always got our eye on that, making opportunities available to our students. Andrina, I’d like to ask you to speak a little bit, if you would, about your work with the executive coach, and if you would recommend working with the coach for any students who are to enter the program.

Andrina: Absolutely, I recommend working with them 100%. I have been working with her for the last year, we meet on a weekly basis.  First of all, there are several goals that I needed to set up with my career.  In my case, I moved from managing a company back in my home, Venezuela.  I was coming in 2015 to a project manager role that was a step down on my career.  It was very difficult for me to find my way and to look for other opportunities. I didn’t really know how to navigate in the healthcare industry, or who were the key players. I was kind of very narrow in my way of thinking, and my executive coach has really guided me on how to target my next big thing that I want to do, and also how to get there.  Focus on my skills, focus on what I need to bring to the table, a lot of networking, how to do that networking. Because one of the good things, and the things I really didn’t understand until I entered the program, was that a program like this gives you is not only the academic side, but also useful connections you can make.

The executive coach has given me a lot of good information and how to leverage that, and how to connect to people, how to make the most of my time in looking for new opportunities, and how to make my career grow. It’s been a long process.  It’s not easy. Sometimes there are students who are very focused, and they already know what they want.  I have actually seen myself figuring out how to, and even define want I want to do, so the executive coach helped me through that process.  I have opened great connections.  I’ve met great people and it’s been very very helpful.

Emily: Thank you so much Andrina. I just want to reiterate for the folks who are on the webinar today, that the coach can really assist students with fundamentals, or go deeper and really help people have insights to how to leverage their careers and their impact in the sector and beyond.  I think that the really exciting offering that we have here at BC MHA. I also wanted to speak briefly about the immersion event. Our program is offered fully online.  There is a two credit course that is offered in the Summer time, annually. And it’s a really exciting time when we bring our students to campus. We are excited to be offering the next innovation course this weekend, and we have both prior participants and current students who are in the innovation course coming together here to Boston on Friday.  We’re really looking forward to that. There is a whole weekend of activities, with exposure to leaders in the field. This year it’s focused on healthcare IT, and it’s a wonderful time to get our students together, to do some wonderful networking, and to also advance our students’ understanding opportunities to really transform the delivery of healthcare in our country.  For Andrina and also Rebecca, who have already participated in our Immersion course, if you might each say a few words about your experience. I’ll start with you Rebecca. What was most memorable about the innovation course you took last year, and how did it help spread your wings?

Rebecca: So one of the most memorable things about the immersion course was definitely being able to freely talk and socialize with everyone there. It was a great networking opportunity to meet others in the Boston area, and also others from across the United States. I really enjoyed the interactiveness of it. We looked at real-life cases, we did a simulation project where we took on an executive role.  For me it was really just being able to connect with everyone, network, and being involved for a whole weekend.  It was great.

Emily: Thank you. Andrina, would you like to add a few comments?

Andrina: Well, I totally agree with Rebecca. We worked together on that event and it was a great opportunity to meet everybody. We had great case parties that we analyzed and discussed together. We had a final presentation on a project that we had to work on the whole weekend, and we had a panel who arrived and voted and decided who was the best project and why. It was a great opportunity, a learning experience, so I really enjoyed it. It was wonderful.

Emily: Thank you so much. And Basel is about to embark on his innovation weekend so we’ll look forward to hearing back on his experience coming up.  To move on, I just wanted to share with you a little bit about our courses.  Our program is very much designed like an MBA program, but entirely focused on healthcare.  You go through the series of courses on the healthcare sector, and all led by faculty who have academic jobs, but who also are administrators or have a background working in the field.  We’re pleased about that.  I would call on Rebecca, if you could just tell us what your favorite class was, and what the most challenging class was for you so far.

Rebecca: So probably one of my favorite courses was actually the Innovation course, the Immersion weekend course. It really made me look at the way healthcare is moving, and the future of healthcare. It really motivated me to come up with new ideas and be creative. It was looking at stepping out of the box, as opposed to just the norm. I loved the creativity of that course, and I think the most challenging was Analytics. It was very very new.  It’s a lot to do with Excel but the professor was amazing and would always offer extra help. Afterwards, we could ask him anything and he was always there to help us. It was just a very detailed course which was difficult.

Emily: Fantastic. Analytics courses are very much focused on enabling students to make management decisions based on analytics, rather than becoming analysts per se. And we’re really focused on the management aspect of data. I’m going to move on, in the interest of time, to make sure we have lots of time for Q&A at the end.  I wanted to overview just a little bit about what it takes to apply to the Boston College MHA. We try to make the application process as streamlined as possible, so there’s no application fee. You actually don’t need to submit a standardized test score. We do require students to submit transcripts.  We look for GPA around 3.0. We also like to have our students have a degree of professional experience so that they can bring that into the classroom and enhance the learning that happens in the classroom setting. And we define that quite broadly. People can have managing experience, budgets, projects, and so we’re enthusiastic about interpreting that broadly. If you were applying to our program and have below a 3.0 we encourage you to take standardized tests. There’s always a chance they can strengthen an application. And we have upcoming deadlines, our next start is August 27th.  If you’re interested in applying, there’s still plenty of time to give an application in and fill it in time for that start date. We have a very interesting group of students starting next month. So just to briefly summarize our tuition and fees, our tuition is $1,144 per credit.  Again, there’s 46 credits in the program.  And we do have a number of partnerships with local healthcare institutions. Both local, and actually beyond local. We are expanding our offerings of a discounted rate.  Therefore, if we have a relationship with your employer, there’s often a $100 discount off the per credit fee. We have a Financial Aid office here, so many students take advantage of financial aid loans.  We’re happy to walk you through that and connect you with the Financial Aid office should you be interested in learning more. I want to really thank each of our students – Rebecca, Basel and Andrina – for taking the time to be with us here today, and provide really useful insights into the program.  I’m going to pass it back to Melissa for questions. We’re happy to take some time to answer them. Thank you.

Melissa: Thank you so much Emily, that was fantastic. I learned so much about the program. We will go ahead and take some time for questions. Just a reminder, please be sure to type your questions into the question box in our Q&A section in your control panel. This is different from the chat box.  The first question is, “So just to clarify, is there still time to join on August 22nd if I were to start my application in the next week or so?”

Emily: Yes, absolutely.  I say that’s nearly an easy target to hit. I would recommend you connect with our application specialist, the number and contact information is up on the screen. The first thing to do is request your transcripts and request your letters of recommendation. And those are generally the pieces that take the longest, but it’s very realistic to get a full complete application in to be reviewed in time for the August start.

Melissa: Fantastic! So, another application question. What is the application review cycle, when will I hear back whether or not I’m admitted?

Emily: Wonderful.  We actually review applications every two weeks, so depending on when your application is complete, we would review it in the next cycle and the cycles occur twice a month. And then we generally let students know the following week.

Melissa: Fantastic! Let’s see, here’s one about live sessions. At what time are the live sessions typically held?

Emily: Great.  They vary slightly. They’re all in the evenings, all on weeknight evenings. Generally between 6:30 and 7:00 pm is start time.  They run for two hours.

Melissa: And another question regarding live sessions. Is it video or just a voice conference?

Emily: They are actually both video and voice. We very much prefer students to be on video and the faculty will be on video. We use the Zoom platform, and we can actually do a little breakout so students can meet in groups, and the professor can literally pop into the group and talk to a subgroup of students.  There’s a lot of flexibility with Zoom platform.

Melissa: Perfect.  What are you looking for in the personal statements?

Emily: Thank you so much.  We’re really interested in understanding where a person’s coming from, a little bit about their background and their professional experience. But even more importantly where they’re looking to go.  Why they are choosing the MHA program or how they want to make an impact with their career.  We’re really looking for the trajectory and intention to serve in the field of healthcare.

Melissa: Fantastic. So just so we’re clear, the GRE is not required?

Emily: That’s correct, we don’t require the GRE.  But if the GPA is below 3.0, a student should consider taking the GRE test because the scores, if they’re strong, could help the whole package. We very much look at the entire package so we’re not entirely focused on the GPA, but we want to make sure that the students we do admit will excel in the program.  If you have a GPA that’s below a 3.0 you could consider taking the GRE, and if the applicant does well it can always serve to strengthen the application package.

Melissa: Excellent. Another application question. What type of work experience are you looking for?

Emily:  We actually are looking very broadly. We originally were very focused on the healthcare sector and what we found was that a lot of applicants are interested in transitioning from other sectors into the healthcare sector, particularly as there’s such a rise in job growth in the healthcare sector.  We found people were trying to transition over for example from IT into healthcare, and we wanted to open the doors up for people from various sectors to move into healthcare.  While the majority of our students do already work in the field of healthcare, we are actually very interested in supporting the skill sets of those who are transitioning into the field. While we’re looking for two years of experience, and some management experience which I discussed a little bit, we’re quite flexible with our interpretation of what’s relevant.

Melissa: Excellent. Let’s see, a question about the actual classes. How big are the class sizes typically?

Emily: Our classes are typically full at 25, although I would say the average class size right now is 15 students.  From my perspective it’s quite an intimate educational setting, which I think is quite valuable.

Melissa: Wonderful. Here’s a great question that I feel a lot of people can relate to. Do any of the current students on this call have children at home? I’m curious how they can manage 40+ hours for their careers, children, and also course work.

Emily:  I will turn that one over to the students.

Andrina: Well, it’s a challenge. I have four teenagers so it’s hard, it’s difficult.  I have friends from my cohort who have small children, younger children. It’s challenging.  It requires a lot of discipline, focus, and a lot of help, you know, maybe from your significant other or family members who can help. Because it does require a lot of work. sometimes night work and on weekends. And it’s a sacrifice for the whole family, I have to say. It’s not only for you. But if you have some help, that’s super helpful.

Emily:  Thank you. And yes, many of our students have children.  In fact at our May graduation, I was able to take adorable pictures of two little children of a nurse in our MHA program.  So that was really fun to see. Her little ones who had been at home while she had been studying. We also have lots of students who are about to become parents.  There’s all sorts of focus in the program and they’re all able to make it work.

Melissa: Excellent. That was a fantastic question. Moving on, let’s see. What are some ways that students manage financial planning for this program?

Emily: Well we recommend that the students work directly with the Boston College Financial Aid office because there are loans. So many students take advantage of those. We also have periodic scholarship opportunities, but really it’s the student’s direct access to the Financial Aid office that is most useful in this context. We can provide more information about the office, and more information about what’s available. But the best thing to do is get online with them, or to get on a call with BC Financial Aid.

Melissa: Wonderful. What is the percentage of applicants that get accepted? For those that are not accepted, why are they not accepted?

Emily: There is a variety of reasons that we don’t accept applicants. Number one, we want to make sure students are able to excel academically in our program.  We are very careful to look at prior academic experience and that is a bar we set pretty high for our potential applicants, or applicants who are potential students. We also are very interested in the whole person here at Boston College. We want to understand the prior experiences, how they might have formed this individual, and where this individual aspires to go. We are a university that very much prizes service to the community, service to other human beings, and so we’re very much interested in supporting students who aspire to serve in the field of healthcare in whatever context they wish.  There’s a variety of things we’re looking at when we look at the whole application package. I would have to report back on the exact numbers. We haven’t actually run those in a few cycles. And so there’s been a lot of activity here, and I just want to get you a really precise answer. I’m happy to follow up on that in the next few weeks.

Melissa: Excellent question. This next one, “What is the cost of the program, and are there any scholarships available for this program?”

Emily: Right, so the per credit cost is $1,144 and so the full cost is around $50,000. It’s not a small price tag. We think that the Boston College education is really an exceptional educational experience, one that leaves a mark of a lifetime.  While we do have a Financial Aid office that can assist with financial planning, we also try our very best to connect students to scholarship opportunities. There are a range of opportunities, some of which are available through Boston College.  The MHA program offers periodic scholarship opportunities by application. We also have a Christos Spellos program which is new as of this year that students can apply for annually. And we look for outside associations for an additional scholarship opportunities.  For example, the Massachusetts Association of Healthcare Executives offers an annual prize or scholarship award.  We very much try to put our students front and center of these types of opportunities, and we’re happy to be in dialogue with our students about how we can best support their needs and their financial planning.

Melissa:  Fantastic. And I know we have a lot of questions in the queue, and I apologize if we don’t get to them today, but we will be sure to reach out personally to any question.  With the time given we’re going to answer just a few more.  Let’s see. What has the passing rate for your program been so far?

Emily: We’ve just graduated our first cohort, and everyone went through with flying colors, we’re delighted to say. We generally see students succeed.  I think we have a strong admissions committee that makes sure to open the gated to the right folks. And so that has, I think, panned out for us. Everyone in the program is doing very well. We have had a student not make it through a particular course but everyone is on track to graduate. Whether there’s an on course delay for a student who had a really hard time in a particular course, whether it was quantitative or not, most students are trending very positively.  I know that we’re getting close to an hour, but I just want to take a moment to thank Rebecca, Basel and Andrina for sitting through this hour and providing a little more texture to the participants so that they can better understand what the BC MHA is all about. I just really want to thank you for making the time to support the program and for your wonderful sharing of your experiences.

Melissa: Absolutely, you’ve all been amazing. And I just want to ask one last question to squeeze that one in. About how many hours per week would you say students dedicate to their coursework?

Emily:  We very carefully design the program with the goal of aiming about 20-25 hours for the coursework per week. And the students can give me a reality test.  But we’ve conducted surveys and that hits the mark. Happy to have students weigh in.

Basel: Hi, this is Basel.  It really varies and depends on each course. There are courses where you spend only 16 hours, or even if you are really good in that subject, then 10-12 hours. But there are courses that require 30 hours of work.  It really depends. But overall, I think that 22 hours is a good average, and I would say even a little bit less. It really depends on each course.

Emily: Thank you.

Melissa: Excellent. Well I can’t thank everyone enough for tuning in today for the wonderful presentation by Emily and our student. Our questions have been excellent.  We really appreciate you all being here and I hope you enjoyed learning about Boston College’s online MHA degree program. Please be sure to send any additional questions to the contact information on the screen. If we do not answer the question, we will be personally reaching out to you, no need to worry. Thank you again for joining us today, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.

Emily: Thanks everyone.