Completing WGU's MBA in Health Administration program in 6 MONTHS

WGU's competency based, regionally accredited MBA program

I'm only going to be talking about my personal experience completing a graduate program in 6 months on this blog. I began the program August 1st. and am hopeful to complete it by January 27th.  Check out my other blog titled, "Western Governors University" under Beaut on a Budget to learn more about the school that I took my program in. According to WGU's website about 18 percent of students complete the Masters of Business Administration program within a year, with the average ranging two years. Further research led me to Felix Wong's blog in which he gave a lengthy analysis of how he completed the MBA program within 6 months. Being the overachiever that I am, I concluded that if Felix could complete the program in 6 months than maybe I could complete the program within the same time frame.

MBA in Health Management coursework:

This program is completely competency based, i.e. if you know it and can demonstrate such than you can move on with the program and pass the course. There are three types of MBA programs offered by the school: Information Technology Management based, traditionally based, and Healthcare Management based. If you have no experience in business management this program may take longer than 6 months. I can honestly say I used a lot of my current experience and applied it to the required papers and assessments. Below is review of almost all of the cases except the two last bolded ones.... can't give everything away ;)

I began the program August 1,2016 and completed it by Jan 21, 2017:

  • Managing Organizations and Leading People – C200
  • Managing Human Capital – C202
  • Marketing – C212
  • Accreditation Audit – AFT2
  • Global Economics for Managers – C211
  • Accounting for Decision Makers – C213
  • Ethical Leadership and Skills – C206
  • Financial Management – C214
  • Data-Driven Decision Making - C207
  • Service Line Development - AMT2
  • MBA, Healthcare Management Capstone - C219

Managing Organizations and Leading People – C200 (17 days to finish) 

This course was extremely informational b/c it gave tips and theories to being a more effective manager. There was a course introduction and pacing guide, spanning the class into 6 weeks to complete. I didn't use the study guides or suggested time frame evidently. I referenced the number of day's Felix Wong took to complete the course and divided the topic segments by that. For example, he took 15 days to complete a course, there were 45 topics to discuss in the class, I reviewed 3 topics per day. My take away from the course was to look at the solution to a problem, rather than the problem itself. Take the blame away from employees and look at actions you could've taken as a more effective manager. Now, the concepts, theories, etc. are more detailed in the course & I quickly realized two things about this program. MBA = research + analysis + papers. There was no assessment, to pass this class I wrote two mini Harry Potter books dealing with leadership development, SWOT, effective communication, leadership styles, employee personalities, etc.

TIPS: I would recommend using the WGU writing center as a reference to see how your doing with proofreading. I used them prior to paper submissions until I was able to mentally apply the counselor's guidance when I proofread my own paper. There you can also find an APA guideline which is the standard format for all papers submitted in the program. 

Managing Human Capital – C202 (19 days to finish) 

This was basically a crash course on Human Resources and the legislation that has had the biggest affect on the workforce and employers. The course also went over effective strategies managers could implement to motivate employees and tie performance to incentives. My takeaway from this course is that human capital is the most expensive, yet best investment an employer can make. If training and development is lacking than employees will not be competent in performing job functions. If the culture and moral of the organization is negative, expect a high turnover. The best investment is aligning employees with promise for leadership tracks. Like the old saying goes "it's cheaper to keep her". There were no essays for this course but an awfully hard assessment of about 70 questions. 

TIPS: I can honestly say you need to read the book! Take the pre-assessments the 3 times they are allowed and anticipate the final assessment to be much harder! If you are struggling with the pre-assessment do not take the assessment because after thee 2nd time you have to pay. The course mentors were helpful in answering the more difficult concepts for this course. Also, after each pre-assessment there is a coaching report with concepts to focus on. 

Marketing – C212 (21 days to finish)

I guess I should start off by saying I HATE MARKETING, I HATE SALES, I HATE SELLING THINGS... OH YEAH I HATE MARKETING. Unfortunately, what I have come to realize is that to be a successful business person, you must also be a great marketer. The course did a review on communicating in the marketing world, the importance of developing a customer relationship, how to perform market research, identifying your target market, and creating a successful strategic marketing plan. My take away is that marketing is even harder than I thought! However, the key is to identify your market, understand their needs, and than advertise and brand your product to meet those needs. There was only one paper in the class and no assessment, now the paper was extremely hard. You basically had to create a product and service from scratch and create a strategic marketing plan to sell to an international target market. 

TIPS: Look at the course chatter, some of the questions you have other students have already asked. You can create a completely new product or offer a product that is already available but altered. I would create an outline definitely before even starting the paper and run it by a course mentor. Also, study and identify your target market first and than create a product based on your findings.  

Accreditation Audit – AFT2 (15 days to finish) 

So this class had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR papers to complete prior to passing. It was an extremely exhausting process, especially because the topics were soooo boring. But when is accreditation, let alone the Joint Commission's standards any fun? I think what was easiest for me is that being in the health field, you already have to know this stuff. In addition to being in health management, my dual role is the Ethics & Compliance offer. I am also on the Quality Committee for my division. In other words, the papers although tedious were doable because I already knew a lot of the information. I also didn't read the book, hence the reason I finished so fast. Instead I review The Joint Commission website sections that were relevant to the essay requirements. My take away was that accrediting was as boring as I remember. However, the processes are put in place because an accident has had happened. Patient safety should always be the first concern and even though it may seem tedious, it does save lives.

tip: Don't over analysis what the class is asking you to explain. a lot of the information you need is in the joint commissions website. when selecting which compliance issue you want to address, go for the one that has the biggest issues and several discrepancies. remember you have 4 papers to complete and if you have no idea on the joint commission's standards, etc. it will be informational.

Global Economics for Managers – C211 (18 days to finish)

This class required an assessment to pass, the chapters in the book were reader friendly. I personally like the reading format of Cengage MindTap, the platform for the material presented. Complete the homework and assessments at the end of each chapter and the pre assessment prior to taking the final assessment. I also made flashcards of the key terms in the chapters and studied those before the test. The class took longer for me because of all the information I needed to remember and its not particularly healthcare specific (i.e. nothing relating to my current roles).

tip: this class is not too hard, there is a lot of information and definitions so focus on those prior to jumping into the exam. pay attention to the different global organizations and the trading regulations for each as well. read the entire book as even the smallest topics from each chapter popped up on the assessment. great class to understanding how international trade works and why it is important. 

Accounting for Decision Makers – C213 (21 days to finish)

I have always hated accounting, therefore it's no surprise that this class was harder for me than the others. However, in the world of business accounting is a necessary evil. This course was an assessment based class, i.e. take the pre-assessments and look at the course chatter for tips from other students. Focus more so on the concepts of accounting than the formulas themselves. Although the basic accounting formulas were asked on the assessment (assets = liabilities + equity) the questions focused more on the concepts of accounting. Understand how to the balance sheet, income statement, state of cash flows are used in business. What account types go into cash from investing, operations, and financing. Focus on what is an account receivable, account payable, depreciation and how such accounts negatively or positively affect the books. 

tip: read the book, at the end of each segment there are short quizzes to test what you know. Take the quizzes and review them again before taking the assessment. Everything on the assessment is similar to the questions asked at the end of each segment from the book.

Ethical Leadership and Skills – C206 (13 days to finish)

If your in a management or leadership position in any field, this course will seem like a repetitive team training on the importance of doing what is right for the company. Ethics. Everyone should behave in an ethical manner when at the workplace. This course required two papers about ethical dilemmas and how they would be handled by the management team at a company. Overall, not a difficult class.

tip: look at ethical situations from the perspective of the business owner. How would you feel about the culture of your business?  

Financial Management – C214 (14 days to finish)

I absolutely hated this class. I thought accounting was bad, this class was worse. I made the mistake of thinking that I could use a lot of the same accounting formulas I learned in financial management. Nope. Although accounting and finances are described interchangeably both the disciplines are completely different. So that you understand how difficult this class is, it is the ONLY class in which I failed the assessment the 1st time and had to retake it a 2nd time. Not only did I fail, the 2nd time I just barely passed by literally a point. My advice to you is to definitely take the pre-assessment all times offered and go over the quizzes at the end of the chapters in the book. The assessment does have a lower curve than the other ones (they probably realized everyone was failing miserably). There are study guides with a practice test and common formulas found under the Course Tips, use those as study material as well. I may well have also done poorly because I tried to speed through the class and thus I didn't take many notes. 

tip: I still hate finance, but if you stick to the formulas and understanding how each concept is correlated to the other you will do ok. take the quizzes, the study guide, the mock test, the pretest, take it all. i'd give more advice but seeing as i barely passed i do not see myself as a viable source of information.  

Data-Driven Decision Making - C207

This is basically a fancy way of saying "upper level statistics". The class has a lot of information but the book is extremely user friendly. If you complete the little quizzes at the end of each section and the chapter assessment you should be fine. The class has two essay components and an assessment. The first one is basically an outline that need's approval for a statistics based research paper you must complete. Once complete you write the paper, analyze a set of data, and use a statistical method to detect future trends in the future data.

Tip: dont overthink the essay portion, especially which statistical method you will use. There is a video in the course tips that will tell you word for word how to submit and what information to include in the 1st assignment. For the assessment, take the pre-test twice in the book as well. The assessment concentrates more on understanding the methodology of statistics versus actually data computing.  

How did I finish so fast?! Long hours, early mornings.... stay tuned next week for my break down of the a course, i.e. what was expected, how long I took on each course, and how I applied my current work experience to tasks. Completing the above courses has given me the confidence that my 6 month goal may indeed be attainable.