Meet the MBA Program Director: Post University's Dr. Donald Mroz
Dr. Donald Mroz is Director of the MBA Program at Post University. An educator with a life-long passion for learning and teaching, Mroz talks about his love of education and his surprise at finding online education so completely rewarding.
Q: How did you get into this profession?
A: I have actually been in the profession of education for most of my career. I started out teaching secondary education, then moved to the private sector, heading the leadership education program for Mazda Motors (USA) Corp. From there I was a co-founder of an organizational Development Consulting firm (in partnership with my wife) for 22 years where we worked with companies around the globe undertaking many educational and consulting opportunities. For eight years prior to coming to Post University, I was an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan and a visiting lecturer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I so enjoyed teaching at all levels, that when the opportunity at Post came up I knew it was for me. Prior to being the director, I was a program manager here at Post for a year, teaching in the MBA program.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I have numerous degrees, with a bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University, a master's degree from Eastern Michigan University, and then a second master's degree from The Fielding Graduate University. My PhD is in human and organizational systems also from The Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Q: What are some of the advantages of online education versus on-campus educations? Any cons you can think of?
A: The obvious advantage of online education is, of course, the flexibility it provides, particularly in programs like ours that are asynchronous, which allows students to be online at their discretion. Students have the opportunity to work more at their own pace (within limits) and have much more interaction with other students and faculty than in a more traditional, on-ground program. As for cons--I would have to say simply not having face-to-face interaction is sometimes missed, but I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Q: What kind of student best thrives in an online setting?
A: Great question--I would have to say that a student who has self-discipline and has a good degree of self-motivation. Although there is a great deal of interaction, it is very different than a traditional program.
Q: How has a tough economy, like the one we're in now, affected the decision to get an MBA?
A: Well, my sense is, and what I have heard from many students is that they see this as an opportunity to be very prepared when the economy does bounce back. Even if it takes longer than what is projected, students truly understand the necessity to be as prepared and educated as possible due to increased competition and fewer opportunities for advancement.
Q: What should students expect when applying to business school?
A: Another very good question--I think students should expect a good degree of rigor and that the work is not going to be easy. The cases we present are difficult, the course load is relatively heavy, and the expectations are high. The business school (MBA) should prepare them to think more critically, be more innovative in their thinking, and gain a business savvy they may not have had prior to entering the program.
Q: What does your school look for in candidates?
A: Well, our MBA Program has been developed for people who are already out in the work world; our program requires a minimum of three years experience. Depending upon one's undergraduate grade point, we may also require some managerial experience. We also look for good thinkers and people who are open to new ideas. Innovation and creativity are hallmarks of our program, and I think coming in with an open mind is very important.
Q: How does someone determine if business is a good career choice?
A: First of all, the term "business" is very broad, therefore that, in itself, can mean many things to many people. Traditionally we might think of business as working in a corporation, or starting a business (entrepreneurship), and both would be correct. If we are talking entrepreneur business than one must be creative of course, but also willing to put in long hours, and be a self-starter, possibly wearing many different hats at the beginning of any new venture. Risk-taking, leadership, a good working knowledge of organizations and their respective structures are all good attributes to have or to be willing to strive for when undertaking a degree in business.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about getting an MBA you'd like to clear up? Anything you hear from students about how the process was easier/harder than they thought?
A: I'm not quite so certain about misconceptions, but a couple of things I experience from students are: 1. Even if they have work experience they often believe they are going to whiz right through the program, and often find it to be much more difficult and time-consuming than expected. 2. Often students believe that just by attaining the degree, they are automatically going to attain a new, much higher position. I think sometimes there is a view that by simply having the title MBA, one has become privileged and the new job will just come.
Q: What advice would you give to those considering business school?
A: Make certain one understands that it is going to be a lot of work and that critical thinking is a high expectation. Also, that it is going to take a good amount of time and focus to graduate from any program. There are no guarantees, but for those truly committed students who want to excel there are benefits and rewards.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: We were just talking about this in our office today. Seeing a student have an "Ah Ha" moment, and really "getting" a concept is worth its weight in gold. For me it is also having students contact me after they graduate to share successes or ask for input on a difficult issue. The connections that are made are very important, and although it sounds like a cliche, making a difference in someone's life, even a little, goes a long way. In addition to all of that, helping to build a learning community is a wonderful place to be and knowing that we all see the world so differently, and have had so many different, previous learning experiences makes this a constant challenge/opportunity.
Q: What is the most challenging?
A: The most challenging for any teacher, regardless of level is always getting through to each student. It really does not matter whether it is online or in the classroom, understanding that people learn in different ways, at different rates means that we have to try many different methods.
Q: What has been the most surprising part of your job at Post University?
A: Prior to coming to Post all of my teaching was face-to-face, which I very much enjoyed. I never realized that I would enjoy teaching online as much as I do. Secondly, our program is growing faster than I expected, which is also a very pleasant surprise. I think I have wonderful colleagues here. Not a lot of disruptive egos, but rather people who really want to help students. In addition, I get great support for our program; that, too, surprised me. I know organizations can be very hierarchical and full of bureaucracy, but for the most part we have been able to avoid this, and it has been a surprise and a pleasure.