Webinar - A Discussion with our Faculty

A Discussion with our Faculty

Date: 3/11/2014


  • Dr. Michael Nichol, Director, Graduate Programs in Health
  • Yesenia Monarrez, Enrollment Advisor

Originally Aired 3/11/14

Yesenia: Hello, everyone, good morning, good afternoon.  My name is Yesenia, and welcome to today’s webinar.  We will actually be discussing the Executive Master of Health Administration program today, along with our program director, Dr. Nichol.

Dr. Nichol: Good afternoon or good morning, depending upon where you are.

Yesenia: Just a few things, what to expect, really, throughout the whole webinar.  Just so you know, you are in listen-only mode.  You’ll be able to ask questions by typing them in the Q&A box.  You should all be able to see it, so please feel free.  Then also keep in mind that a copy of the presentation and the recording will be available later on this week.  For the agenda, today we will actually be going over a few important questions that we do receive from prospective students quite often, on a daily basis, really just regarding the faculty and the online experience.  We will also discuss how the online students network and what the residencies entail, as well as different career outcomes that you can expect as a student.

We’ll be able to go over enroll requirements, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to apply, and then, of course, we’ll be joined by Dr. Nichol, who is the program director, and we will also be going over any additional questions at the very end of the webinar.  As I mentioned, our presenter today is Dr. Michael Nichol.  He is the director of graduate programs in health for the USC Sol Price School.  His area of expertise is oriented towards cost effectiveness in healthcare, which involves a variety of issues related to healthcare cost and utilization, as well as identification of particular types of preferences that people have within the system.

He also happens to be a research fellow at USC’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.  What’s something important to note about the Leonard Schaeffer Center is that it really has helped contribute to USC being No. 4 on the U.S. News and World Report for healthcare policy and management.  Hello, again, Dr. Nichol.

Dr. Nichol: Hi, how are you doing?

Yesenia: Doing good.  Okay, just a few things that we’re gonna be discussing here.  We’ll start off with the first topic, a very important topic, faculty and the online experience.  Dr. Nichol, can you basically just tell us what – you’re teaching a course this semester, for example.  What does a typical week look like in your class?

Dr. Nichol: Thanks a lot, Yesenia.  The typical week in the online hybrid program that we’ve got involves students that are going to be reading material related to the topic of the week.  They get an overview around that, and then they actually do some of the reading associated with the specific components.  Then they frequently will have one or more blog postings that they need to do around particular questions that we may have.  What this actually does, because of that kind of a discussion that occurs by the students that are in the class, they get to know one another pretty well, particularly from the standpoint of the different experiences that they have had within their professional lives and the organizations that they work in.

So they share a lot of that perspective through those blog posts.  What is interesting is, as we go through those blog posts, to see how the material that they’ve incorporated changes the way that they look at particular situations within the organizations or situations in their career that they use as examples in those posts.  In addition to the blog post or discussion point that they have, they’ll usually have an additional assignment, which that assignment, they’re expected to be able to integrate the material around a particular question.  So, for example, we had a posting not too long ago, an assignment where they needed to look at their own organization’s performance appraisal system.

It was fascinating to see how they then looked at the material that had been presented in class and were critiquing their performance appraisal system, identifying areas of strength, and also identifying areas of weakness, ways that they needed to see some improvements and how they might be able to interact, particularly with folks that they supervised or that supervised them.  So they’ve got those two components that generally occur in every week of the class, and then we’ve got a web session.  I have a web session tonight that we will be conducting on that particular class.  That is done in a highly interactive format.  It’s really intended to be a time for us to explore some of these areas, both their assignments, as well as the blogs and the material that they’ve read.

I will usually introduce a whole series of questions.  It’s probably one of the most Socratic learning environments that I’ve seen in my career because it really allows us an opportunity to explore these areas because they’ve all done the work.  They already know the material, and they’ve thought about the material; they’ve reflected on it.  So we end up with a fairly robust discussion that occurs throughout the weekly sessions.  The weekly sessions run an hour to an hour and a half on the web.  I think that’s about the right time frame.  If we need to go beyond that because of issues that come up, that’s something that we may do, as well, but these are scheduled in times every week.

Yesenia: Perfect, thank you.  Another question that I often get, I always get students who are saying how would I interact with the other students in class, the concern that there’s not enough interaction.  If anything, I tell them that there’s probably more interaction in the online classes just because you’re in your classes much more often than once or twice a week.  How would you compare the interaction of the online classes compared to a typical campus setting, would you say?

Dr. Nichol: The interesting thing – when we first started this program a little bit over a year ago, I was very skeptical that there was going to be much interaction that would occur in this type of an environment.  What this basically shows me is that I don’t understand how these types of social environments have evolved within the context of the web environment.  The interaction that occurs is probably deeper than it does within classes.  One of the things that happens across these particular classes is that not only do the students go through a discussion associated with a particular assignment, for example, but what I commonly will see in postings is a student who reaches out to a particular member of a class and says we’re having this particular issue in my organization.

Have you gone through that in your organization, and how did you handle it?  The context sometimes shifts, and the depth of the interaction actually has been surprising to me.  The other thing that we’ve been doing is we’ve actually had multiple cohorts in a particular class.  Sometimes there might be a Cohort 4 or a Cohort 3 that both of those cohorts are taking the same class, and we’ll mix them up in the class.  While sometimes students go well, I really feel most comfortable with my own cohort, what that does by mixing them up is that it gives them the opportunity to network across a much broader set of peers, so that really gives a much broader network than they would have if they stayed only within their own network.

So actually, the interaction that occurs in the class between their peers, I think, ends up probably being deeper than what you see with an in-class experience.  In the in-class experience, frequently what happens is you have some discussion that occurs on breaks, for example, or around particular assignments, but a lot of times, people are getting to the class from work.  They’ve had a long day.  They’re ready to leave class as soon as they’re finished, so there’s not as much of the opportunity and the networking that we see within the context of the online class.

Yesenia: Right, thank you.  No, I have to agree with that.  I still have students to this day that reach out to me that are just saying how close of a relationship they’re building with the students.  Just goes to show you you can really build relationships, no matter where everyone lives.

Dr. Nichol: The great thing is that you don’t see – if we took this within the contrast of an in-class campus setting, you’re dealing with folks that come from all over the country.  Consequently, you get an entirely different perspective.  Some of you may find this amusing.  One of the second classes that we had, one of the second web sessions that we had in my class this semester, we ended up spending about 10 or 15 minutes talking about what the difference is between kind of an East Coast perspective and a West Coast perspective.  Everybody was laughing because the contrasts are really quite dramatic, and yet you wouldn’t necessarily get that within the context of this type of an executive program unless you were able to bring in people from both geographic areas.

Yesenia: Right, I completely agree.  As far as quizzes, exams, students always kind of tend to wonder the program is online, but is there any quizzes or exams?  How would you say that works out?  How are they administered, as far as exams and different quizzes?

Dr. Nichol: I’m trying to think whether or not we’ve got any classes that actually do exams.  I don’t believe that we do.  Almost everything is based off of the weekly assignments, the blog posting that people do, where they’re dealing with a discussion room, and then also particular papers or presentations.  We do have students make presentations within that web environment, and they also do group papers, but I don’t believe that we’ve had any where they actually are doing exams or quizzes.

Yesenia: Okay, thank you.  Then as far as the faculty, students always love to know how involved are the professors?  Are they easily accessible?  How would you mention the interaction between the professors and the students?

Dr. Nichol: Let me give you a couple of examples.  Just this morning, one of my present students emailed me and said would it be possible for us to talk about career paths and some of the options that I might have?  We’ve got another – I’ve got an appointment set up with them next week for us to talk directly around this.  It just so happens that he’ll be in town, and it’ll be an opportunity for us to do a face-to-face, but I also do that on telephone interactions, or also just through some of the email or web interactions on coursework.  The other thing that’s interesting, we’ve had a number of our students now that have received some outstanding recognition.

For example, Pamela Schweitzer, who’s one of the persons in our first cohort, has just recently received the federal Pharmacist of the Year award from the American Pharmaceutical Association, and she was actually on the West Coast, so we had an opportunity to interact around that particular award and some of the new career opportunities that she’s going to have moving forward.  Those types of interactions occur commonly.  Students are generally pretty comfortable reaching out to the faculty about some of their present situations and some of the things that they’re trying to accomplish.  Faculty have been awfully responsive around that because I think the faculty really enjoy that type of interaction.

Another place where that occurs is in the in-residence sessions.  We’ve got two 5-day sessions.  The faculty meet with the students during that time.  Even if the faculty are not teaching a class during that particular semester, they will frequently interact with that group that’s here in town by coming to particular evening sessions or coming to afternoon sessions or lunch sessions to be able to talk with students that are very much interested in getting some direct participation.

Yesenia: Not to mention the background that our professors have, some of them are very outstanding backgrounds within house for so many years.

Dr. Nichol: Yeah, we actually have – we’ve got a combination of professors that may be full time at the Price School and have been dealing with a variety of healthcare research issues and policy issues for a long period of time.  Then we’ve also got adjunct professors that are participating in the community.  We’ve just got a stellar group of folks that are doing the teaching.  The great piece is that most of these faculty know what the students are looking for around the particular content areas, and they’re able to also provide practical examples that are occurring within their own organization.  so to be listening to – to be involved in a health IT class with a couple of chief information officers for large organizations, I think, really helps out and provides a great context.

The other thing that I don’t even think that Yesenia knows is that we have recently hired – just came out with the announcement around that – recently hired two new faculty that we’re very excited to have join us, Paul Ginsberg, who is the president of the Center for Health Systems Change in Washington, D.C., has just joined our faculty as a first holder of the topping chair.  He will continue to live in Washington, D.C.  He’s got an international reputation and a fantastic reputation between both Democrats and Republicans from the standpoint of policy analytic issues that are really relevant around healthcare.  Paul’s joining us and will be teaching an EMHA class.

I’ll be meeting with him in the next couple of weeks to outline that.  The other thing we just hired an individual, Alice Chen, who is actually a junior faculty member, but just to give you an idea about the caliber of individuals that we’ve got in the program, Alice has both a bachelor’s and a master’s in applied mathematics from Harvard.  She’s picking up her – finishing her PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, probably the preeminent econ program in the world, and she’s also picking up an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the same time.  On top of that, she’s a concert pianist.  She always makes me feel inadequate when we interact because she’s got an international reputation as a concert classical pianist, as well.  That’s the kind of faculty that you will be interacting with at the program.

Yesenia: Very exciting.  Next, we’ll actually go ahead and move into the networking and the residency.  I know that you just touched a few points on the residency.  If everyone can see, actually, the picture that you’re seeing that’s being displayed, that’s actually our very first cohort for the online program.  Dr. Nichol, can you tell us the primary purpose – what would you say the primary purpose would be for the residencies?

Dr. Nichol: The residencies are an opportunity for us to try to integrate the material that’s being presented within the classes.  Obviously, the projects that we identify in the classes really demand that students are gonna be able to draw the connection between the conceptual material that they’re discussing and also practical applications.  But the great piece about the in-residence session is that it really requires students to be thinking about specific case-related contexts and be able to demonstrate that they’ve integrated the material that they have obtained through the course material.  It allows us to do a lot of scenario building in that process.  It also allows us to be able to bring leaders into the program for them to be able to integrate with.

For example, in each of the sessions that we have done, Leonard Schaeffer, the namesake for the Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, does an afternoon session with students.  They always get a big kick out of that, given the kind of role that Leonard has had within the context of healthcare reform.  We also bring in a number of folks – other individuals that have national and international reputations that are able to bring current information to the students along the lines of these types of broader areas that we want students to be able to integrate.  It’s really interesting, too, that the – in the discussions that I’ve had with our students around the in-resident sessions, frequently they go this is fabulous.

We’re getting so much out of this.  One of the cohorts actually said we’d like another one.  I thought we pretty much had the sweet spot because I realize that everybody is very busy with their professional and personal lives.  Coming to Los Angeles can certainly – it makes it tough for you to set aside a full week.  But I went back to them and said what about the possibility of us doing an optional in-residence series in Washington, D.C.?  It just so happens that we’re in the process of starting to plan just such a session for January 2015 – Paul Ginsberg would be a key player in that role.  Dana Goldman, also, from the Leonard Schaeffer Center, would be a key player, as well – with the idea that we would be able to bring people in and spend a couple of days with policy analysts, and also policy makers.

I think that we could put together a program that people would be very excited about.  Again, our anticipation is that this is the type of thing that would be optional, and I would anticipate that we’re gonna be making this available to our alums, as well.  But I expect that this is gonna be a uniquely USC experience and be able to build on many of the connections that we’ve got within Washington, D.C.  We do have a Washington, D.C. office for USC, fully staffed, and a facility there, as well.  So these are the kinds of things that I think students get a great deal of networking opportunities, as well as content opportunities, that allows them to find out what’s actually going on in the contemporary environment.

Yesenia:Thank you.  Then as far as – obviously, you already spoke about the residency, but can you tell us a little bit more about what students really can expect throughout the residency?  For example, even accommodations, are they there for the entire five days?  Is it always Wednesday through Sunday, those kind of questions?

Dr. Nichol:Let me go from the back end here.  Yes, it’s always Wednesday through Sunday.  Again, the reason for that is because we’ve got a whole sequence of learning experiences that students have through that process.  It always ends with a set of presentations that the student groups are responsible for, and we’ve got a panel that provides criticism of the approach that the groups take.  Yes, we end up with that particular time frame.  We have found that it works very, very well.  In terms of accommodations, we have set this up so that the students are in downtown LA.  We’ve got arrangements with one of the hotels there that gives them a bit of a break.

We’re right now in the process of doing the planning regarding the scheduling, with the objective of being able to have the dates set up two years in advance, so students are – when they come into the program, they will know when their residencies are.

Yesenia: Perfect, thank you.  Then also, very important, as far as networking, students are always concerned I’m not at the campus.  How do I exactly network?  How do you feel that the students can use the network in order to help them with their careers, would you say?

Dr. Nichol: There are a bunch of networks that are within the Trojan family environment.  I think that we’ve been in the process of even building out greater involvement just recently.  One of the things that we do within our MHA program, both the EMHA, as well as the MHA, is we maintain a program-specific LinkedIn network.  We have not just – not too long ago, we were identified as one of the largest LinkedIn networks within the health management area, and that’s going to expand, I think, fairly dramatically on the near term because our development staff has gone out and identified another 2000 potential alums going back 15 years that we’re gonna be doing invitations to in the LinkedIn network.

That’s one of the ways that people can maintain communication.  We’ve already talked a little bit about how students go across cohorts within the EMHA program.  There’s another strategy that we’ve been working on.  The last in-residence session that we did about three weeks ago, we had a Friday mixer that – I learned a long time ago that the best way to get people engaged in networking is provide food, and then maybe party atmosphere.  But we had a mixer that actually occurred with our EMHA, as well as our MHA students.  You may have already noticed that our MHA students, generally speaking, are young.  They generally do not have much experience on the healthcare field.

That’s what distinguishes them from our EMHA students.  The event was an outstanding hit with both the MHA, as well as the EMHA students.  The interaction that was occurring there and the networking that was occurring there was really a wonder to behold.  We actually had – one of the local hotels that’s right across the street from Lewis Hall, the ballroom was completely filled up with our students and some of the discussions that they were having across these two very different kinds of student populations.  That’s developed into a very nice opportunity for some of the EMHA students to become mentors, and also to potentially sponsor residents for our MHA students.

That kind of networking actually is substantial.  Then obviously, the networking that can occur with some of the adjunct faculty and the connections that those individuals have, as well, becomes, I think, a really critical component.

Yesenia: Thank you.  Now we’re actually gonna move on to one of the most important topics – we’ve actually already received quite a few questions in the Q&A box – and it’s around career opportunities.  Dr. Nichol, what type of career opportunities would you say would be available for students once they complete their degree – not necessarily complete their degree, even, but by going for the MHA degree?

Dr. Nichol: What usually happens – the whole purpose of this degree should be to prepare our students for new roles within the healthcare delivery system.  Sometimes that means that they want to advance within their own organization, but sometimes it also means that they wanna go to an entirely new organization.  They wanna be able to demonstrate that they have particular skills, competencies, and talents that will prepare them for those new roles.  What I have seen so far – again, we’ve only had the program operational now for about a year and a half.  What I have found is that we’ve had a number of real clear success stories, where individuals that have been involved in the program really believe that they’ve gotten new career opportunities just simply because of their involvement in the program.

One of our first students, who is a physician, actually sent me an email message about three months ago and indicated that he had gotten a promotion into a CMO position –chief medical officer – for one of the largest hospitals within the Midwest.  His closing line was I would not have even qualified for this if I was not involved in the MHA program.  It’s been a really valuable experience for him, from that standpoint.  I’ve also mentioned that Pam Schweizer has certainly moved forward with regard to her career, especially around the management and administration side of things.  I know that she’s in line for some new opportunities, as well, because she’s got a solid foundation around management, as well.

There are those kinds of individual experiences that we can use to demonstrate that there’s some value associated with the program.  We don’t have enough additional statistics, just simply because of the sample size, to say okay, everybody moves up one position or two positions within the healthcare field within a year of graduating because we’re gonna have our first graduating class in May.  But what I’ve seen anecdotally, what I have heard from our student population is that the process of being involved in the EMHA program provides them with a career trajectory that would not be equaled if they were not involved in the program.

Yesenia:  Right.  Then one of my favorite questions, too, Dr. Nichol, has to be I’m looking at the MBA, and I’m looking at the MHA degree.  Why would students choose the MHA over the MBA?  Of course, this is students that want to stay in healthcare.

Dr. Nichol: Sure.  There are a number of really good MBA programs that do have a healthcare focus.  I think those types of programs are going to be able to provide a good preparation level.  The thing that you get out of an MHA, though – there are several things you’re gonna get out of the MHA that may be a little bit different than what you might see within the context of a business school environment.  All of our faculty are working in the healthcare field.  There are specific elements associated with the healthcare field that are different from some other industries.  For example, health finance, given the fact that we’re talking about a healthcare delivery system in the United States that’s 50 percent public and 50 percent private, health finance is kind of a different animal.

Issues associated with the actual accounting process is obviously very, very different within the type of field where you’ve got some entities that are not for profit private, some of are not for profit public, others are for profit.  There’s also the interconnectedness around some of the different levels of care that you get within the context of an MHA program that’s not quite as easy to be able to provide within the context of an MBA program.  I think that you’ve got to be very careful about looking at what the elements are.

We are coming out of a school of policy, so our focus tends to be around economics and the cost associated with care and different ways that you can manage the healthcare delivery system to be able to change the cost curve, how we’re gonna be able to build population management programs that will provide better outcomes within the context of our existing resources, and also the analytics associated with that whole evaluation of the healthcare delivery system.  Those are the things that we tend to focus on.  It really relates to the strengths that we see within our policy program.

Yesenia:  Thank you.  Now, actually, since we’ve covered those topics, what I want to go into is gonna be the enrollment requirements.  For those who are interested in the program, those interested individuals that have healthcare delivery system experience, it is important that all the students hold a bachelor degree that is regionally accredited with a GPA of 3.0 or better.  Other items that you’ll need will be letters of recommendation, which are critical – I think Dr. Nichol will agree with me – because we do anticipate that the individuals that write your letters will address the intent of which you will be able to move into a new executive or senior position as a result of obtaining this degree.  Did you want to elaborate on that a little bit, Dr. Nichol?

Dr. Nichol: Yes.  The letter of recommendation is really important.  There are a couple of things that we’re looking for for our students.  One, we want to know that the individual has some management experience.  The management experience generally focuses around issues such as direct supervision of other individuals, so the extent to which that individual is actually responsible for performance within the organization.  It also could result in budgetary responsibility, so the extent to which that individual actually manages a process within the organization that allocates resources.  Those are the types of things that we’re looking for.  The letters of recommendation should really address the capabilities that you have in some of those types of management functions, and also, something around career trajectory.

Let me give you a specific example.  One of our early applicants had a letter of recommendation from the administrator of a major facility.  That individual said this applicant is on a very rapid career trajectory, and I would anticipate that this person will be a leader within the field in a matter of years.

The great thing was that when I contacted the recommender, then, and said so what are some examples of why you would make that kind of a conclusion, she rattled off four or five areas where she had provided that individual with assignments that demonstrated her capacity to be able to learn quickly, to be able to be sensitive to the organizational context, and to be able to come up with solutions that fit within both the present environment, as well as some of the future environment evolution.  The extent to which your recommenders are able to provide that level of understanding of who you are and what you can do, I think, is really critical.

Yesenia: Thank you for that.  Then the next enrollment requirement, what you also need is gonna be a statement of purpose.  Basically, what you want to draw up in your statement of purpose, you should be able to give the committee an understanding of how this degree is gonna fit with your career objectives and how your experience has honestly helped prepare you for this type of program.  Of course, as always, keep in mind that we are looking for individuals that have experience already both within the healthcare delivery system, as well as supervisory experience.  So your resume should clearly define what your responsibilities are and include your management experience.

Of course, if you need any assistance with that, I’ll be sure to kind of work with you and try to help you as much as I could.  The next steps.  Basically, if you feel that this program is the right fit for you, it is important for you to reach out to your enrollment advisor.  Again, my name is Yesenia Monarrez.  I am always available, whether it’s through phone call or through email.  I’ll always reach out to you.  I know that there’s a lot of specific questions that students have, so please, if your questions aren’t answered here, I will be sure to reach out to you to answer those on a case-by-case basis.

Dr. Nichol:   Yesenia, actually, would this be a good time – I know – I’ve been monitoring the Q&A from folks.


Dr. Nichol: Let’s answer a couple of those questions right away.

Yesenia:  Yes, I was gonna go ahead and go there.

Dr. Nichol: Okay, good.  One of the questions was just in terms of the way that the classes are being – when they are actually being introduced.  They are almost always at night.  We, generally speaking, start the class sessions any time between 5:30 and 6:30 on Pacific Time.  The expectation is that would give people an opportunity to get through their regular work day, and then be able to join on the web sessions, but they’re almost always at night.  Then one of the other quick ones that I can answer is whether or not the diploma shows Executive Master’s of Health Administration.  It does not.  It actually just shows Master’s of Health Administration.  That’s the way that it’s organized here at USC.

Again, part of the distinction here is that we’re bringing in applicants that have a good deal of experience within the healthcare field, so the reason why we’ve got fewer units in the executive than we do in the MHA is that these individuals don’t have to go over – our EMHA students do not have to go over some of the basic kinds of classes.  They’re living those virtually every day.  Then the other question is whether or not this is a two-year program.  We’ve set this up in such a way so that if you’re taking six units a semester, you can finish in two years.  If you take less than six units, then it will take you longer.  The two in-residence sessions, the first one is generally conducted – it’s mostly the second semester of the program – I’m trying to think here where it would be.

If you start in the spring, the in-residence session will occur, actually, in your third semester, early in the third semester.  Then the second one occurs as a Capstone, so that will occur in either your fifth or your sixth semester, depending upon when you start.  If you started in the fall – let me count here.  Wait a second.  Generally speaking, if you start in the summer or the fall, you’ll be, actually – we’ll be conducting the Capstone experience – the Capstone in-residence in conjunction with commencement.  For example, we’ve got our first cohort graduating in May, and they will be in-residence during commencement, so they’re actually gonna be able to walk with our regular graduates.

So that’s one of the things that we think is always a very exciting time and one that would work very well.  Let me see if there’s anything else on here that I can respond to.  Application versus acceptance ratio.  That is a really intriguing question.  One of the things that we try to do is work with Yesenia to identify individuals that are most likely to be accepted in the program early.  I actually provide consultation to Yesenia on a weekly basis around applications, so you get a pretty quick read with regard to whether or not it looks like it’s gonna be a good fit for you.  We go through an application process virtually throughout the year.  There are a couple of key deadlines associated with each semester.  She’ll be able to fill you in on that directly.  Let me see here.  I think we’ve touched on –

Yesenia:   There’s a good one.  Dr. Nichol, there’s a good one that just came through.  Is the GRE or GMAT required?

Dr. Nichol: No, it’s not required.  That’s because we’re anticipating that you’ve got extensive experience within the healthcare field and also have management background.

Yesenia: Correct.  Then I also wanted to go over the residencies.  You had mentioned that there is a residency fee, so I wanted to kind of take that time to go over those fees at this moment.

Dr. Nichol: Yes.


Dr. Nichol:  Because we’ve got two in-residence sessions, they’re essentially incorporated as laboratory fees that will occur with the first class, the 520 class that occurs, and then the Capstone class, which is the 515 class in the last semester.

Yesenia:  Thank you.  Then just so everyone knows, the current tuition is $1,536.00 per unit, and the EMHA program has a total of 36 units.  If anyone’s really kind of asking themselves when should you start applying, the answer is honestly as soon as possible.  Once you do submit your application, it really doesn’t take a long time for you to have a decision.  We’re talking about, I would say, two to three weeks for you to have a decision, in terms of whether or not you’re accepted into the program.  I know a few students are concerned whether or not they can qualify for the program.  That’s my whole role here is to really help you determine – we’ll look at your background.

We’ll look at your experience.  We’ll take everything into account and really help you determine if this is, indeed, the right fit for you.  At this moment, I think we covered most of the questions, hopefully, but again, I will be available offline.  I would like to thank everyone for their time.  I know you’re extremely busy, but of course, thank you again for your time.  Hopefully, you’re excited about the program as much as we are.  Dr. Nichol, do you have any final thoughts for the students?

Dr. Nichol:  No, we’re looking forward to hearing from them after the webinar about any additional questions that they might have.  Yesenia will provide you with a great deal of background.  We coordinate weekly.  If there are some particular issues that need clarification on my end, we try to get back to you as quickly as we possibly can.

Yesenia:  Yeah, so thank you everyone, and have a great day.

Dr. Nichol: Thanks very much.

Yesenia: Thanks, Dr. Nichol.

Dr. Nichol:  Bye bye.

Yesenia:  Bye bye.

[End of Audio]

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