Submitted Fall, 2004
The MBA Program Assessment Plan calls for the use of both direct and indirect measures of outcomes.
All MBA students must take a capstone course (BMGT 892 - Administration Policy) at the end of their program. In the course, the students will be required to complete a paper analyzing business situations. The Assessment Plan requires these papers to be copied prior to grading by the instructor and given to the Director of the MBA Program. Following the end of the semester, twenty percent of the papers are to be randomly selected and evaluated by an Assessment Sub-Committee of the MBA Program Committee using the Written Paper Rubric.
This part of the assessment was not completed. During the prior year, the professor of the capstone course was replaced in the last few weeks of the semester. So, this was the first time teaching the class for the current professor. In addition, this was the first year that a similar direct measure assessment was being completed in the business undergraduate course by some of the same professors. And as they reported, in addition to being a learning curve year, it seemed to be a high cost, low return exercise. That is, it took a great deal of time for results that were pretty much reflected in the indirect measures.
At this time, the plan is to perform the direct measure assessment in BMGT 892 during the 2004-05 academic year. Based on the results of that assessment, decisions will be made as to future direct assessments.
MBA Student Survey
A survey (.pdf) was given at the end of the spring 2004 semester to students in the capstone course.
Student Outcome 1
Eighteen students completed the MBA Survey in the capstone course in the spring. All were asked to indicate their agreement (or lack of) with 28 statements covering the knowledge, skills and values they should have obtained in the Program.
Findings - Overall, students noted that they had acquired the knowledge and skills in 75 % of the areas. In four of the remaining seven areas, their perceptions were between 'neutral' and 'agreement.' Those areas were: plan projects, manage projects, identify & address ethical concerns, and understand global markets and trade. Their reponses were only 'neutral' for three areas: perform financial planning, perform statistical analysis, and negotiate & manage conflict. See Table 1 (.pdf).
Recommendations - Since this is the first time teaching this course for the new professor, these results may or may not be a representative sample. That is, more than one year's results will be needed in order to understand if there are any areas of concern.
However, during the prior year, students also indicated some concern in the financial and statistical areas. This would indicate there may be some deficiencies in those areas. But, there was a change in the professor teaching the graduate finance course (BFIN 809) during the spring semester. Only time will tell on the results of that change.
Student Outcome 2
The students were also asked to indicate those abilities and skills that they felt were very important for success on the job. They were told to circle any of the 28 numbers that applied.
Findings - Communications and problem solving/critical thinking skills topped the student's lists. The need to perform financial planning and statistical analysis were rated lowest. See Table 2 (.pdf).
Recommendations - Two of the lowest areas (financial planning and statistical analysis) are two of the areas that alumni indicate little to no need in order to be successful on the job. Perhaps students perceptions about learning are influenced by what they perceive will be important in a job setting. The results will continue to be monitored.
MBA Alumni Survey
A survey (.pdf), which was basically identical to the MBA Student Survey (see Appendix B), was sent to MBA alumni that graduated three years ago (all MBA alums who graduated in the year 2001). A total of 16 surveys were mailed to alumni (addresses were unavailable for two other alumni). Only five of the surveys were returned. In addition, one letter was returned as undeliverable since the person had moved.
Alumni Outcome 1
The same objectives were covered and the same scale was used. And, they were asked to respond the same way that students were. That is, they were asked to indicate their agreement (or lack of) with 28 statements covering the knowledge, skills and values they should have obtained while in the MBA program.
Findings - All alums agreed that they had acquired the knowledge and skills in all of the areas, except that their responses were more towards 'neutral' with respect to performing statistical analysis. See Table 3 (.pdf).
Recommendations - Although this information will be discussed, a sample of only two years coupled with the fact that only five alumni responded, precludes much in the way of major changes. More data needs to be collected next year to see if similar results are obtained.
Alumni Outcome 2
The alumni were also asked to denote those abilities and skills that were important for success on the job. Again, they were asked to circle the number for any of the 28 statements that applied to them.
Findings - Much like the MBA students, alumni see communications and problem solving of major importance on the job. At the bottom of their list was the use of financial planning. See Table 4 (.pdf).
Recommendations - As before, this is too small of a sample to use as a basis for change. Results of the next survey will be compared to these results to see if there are areas to be addressed.
Use of the Results
The results of the assessment will be distributed and discussed with the appropriate parties in the College. However, given the lack of direct measures (as noted above) and only two years of data for the indirect measures, probably not much action will be taken with respect to the results at this time.
Assessment of the Assessment Plan
The assessment plan will be reviewed by the MBA Program Committee following the acceptance of this report. The objectives will be reviewed. And, probably, a few of the statements on the survey instruments will be reviewed and/or rewritten. However, major changes in the assessment plan are unlikely pending the gathering of further data next year.