Advice From Our No. 1-Ranked MBA Program

We wouldn’t have been able to achieve the 2017 No. 1 ranking in enrollment for MBA programs by the Albany Business Review without two things: our expert faculty and our talented students.

So in honor of our nearly 500 current students and more than 700 alums, we wanted to tap the expertise of our deep roster of faculty members to provide some of their educated insight across a variety of topics to help you take the leap to an Excelsior MBA, thrive in the online learning environment and find the right job after graduation. Learn more about our MBA programs here.


Gary Stroud (Adjunct Business Faculty since 2014):

Getting an advanced degree is quite an accomplishment. According to the Census Bureau, 8% of people 25 years old or older get a master’s degree. You are in the minority in the USA. You set yourself apart from the ordinary. Your legacy is being created.


Dr. Jan Tucker (Adjunct Business Faculty since 2012):

Undergraduate curriculum is focused on knowledge acquisition while graduate programs focus on knowledge transfer. In the Excelsior MBA program, instructors act more like a ‘guide on the side’ versus a ‘sage on the stage’. We facilitate the MBA programs to focus on critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving by using case studies and critical review assignments that address relevant issues facing businesses today. Our goal is for the Excelsior MBA graduate to be positioned as a strong, analytical leader who can address the issues facing business in the 21st century!


Dr. Cory Kanth (Adjunct Professor of Economics since 2016):

Why does an advanced degree feel so rewarding?

An advanced degree demonstrates to yourself and employers that you have advanced analytical and technical skills that are relevant and of great “currency” in today’s world, where individuals with the widest ability to solve problems of ever-evolving natures and of great complexity hold the keys to professional success.

No. 1 tip for juggling grad school with work/family:

Try to complete assignments prior to their due date. Family and work bring adult learners unexpected events “in the moment,” and it is easiest to handle academic responsibilities when your mental focus is not stretched by competing or emergency demands of children, loved ones or professional responsibilities. “Done before it is due” should be your maxim.

Why it’s never too late to change careers:

Changes in technology move quickly, imposing new and varying demands for skills and knowledge. No area is immune from this, and the hallmark of the future will be our ability to adapt and to apply analytical skills that machines perform relatively poorly. These skills – whenever they are acquired – will safeguard your future. It is never too late to develop abilities that expand the range of opportunities available to you.

Networking advice to maximize the grad school experience:

Most employment is the result of knowing the right person or being aware of an opportunity. Do not undervalue opportunities to become acquainted with what your peers are involved in. These connections may place you in just the right spot at the right time to take advantage of something important for your future, – that you would not have come across otherwise.

How to find the best job opportunity after graduation:

Do not rely solely on large agencies that disseminate employment listings online. Check listings for employers in your area, or in areas you would be interested in living. Take advantage of employment fairs. Actively let friends and colleagues know you are in the market, since they may pass along promising items. Acquaintances can really help assist you in finding employment. Also make sure your resume follows suggested guidelines for your field and is tailored specifically to highlight abilities or experience that an employer advertises their interest in, demonstrating your “fit” and allowing you to rise above other applicants with parallel skills.

Why choose an online education:

Online education offers students a surprisingly social and non-intimidating environment. Online classrooms facilitate supportive interaction between students, and students and professors. Online discussions allow students to examine course content critically, and to determine for themselves how and where these concepts are practically relevant, enhancing memory storage. Content is analyzed critically for its relevance and application. Students are pushed to relate and draw associations, heightening their ability to recall course content. Students may role-play and consider situations from multiple perspectives relevant to their functioning practically as a professional, expanding their ability to apply prior knowledge and to marshal current concepts appropriately.

Adult students have substantial prior knowledge, and their awareness and understanding of new content expands and grows more detailed as they choose aspects of the course content to focus on or investigate, allowing incorporation of previous experience, and triggering of greater interest. Role-centered activities typical to online coursework allow instructors to strengthen students’ efforts to apply domain-specific knowledge, expand their critical understanding of content, and develop leadership skills and creative and critical thinking skills as they develop arguments and presentations. Interaction with peers is a significant factor assisting students in developing the self-regulation necessary for working with others effectively. Online courses like those offered by Excelsior College foster knowledge acquisition, appropriate and varied application of knowledge in environments found in a real-world context, retention of knowledge, and development of personal skills necessary for personal and professional success.

How to thrive in the online college environment:

Students should take advantage of opportunities for social interaction central to online coursework. Online classrooms foster mutual support. Each person’s voice is valued and contributes positively to the experience of the whole class. All activities foster analysis and consideration of multiple perspectives. As students support each other actively in their learning, they grow personally, academically and professionally in the process.

Differences between undergraduate and graduate study:

Graduate school combines knowledge acquisition with knowledge and skill application in a way that undergraduate work does not. Undergraduates are not often asked to apply their skills and knowledge in a practical context, nor to perform tasks that would be required of them in a professional, real-world environment. Graduate students actively consider real-world application of their skills. They also investigate multiple approaches to real-world problems critically and analytically.

What types of students are most successful in Excelsior’s graduate programs?

The most successful students take responsibility for their learning by taking advantage of all resources offered to assist them in their coursework, including peers and instructors. Students that actively seek guidance when they have questions are usually the most successful. Whether a student is struggling with technology or course content, instructors are employed to provide support, but they also enjoy interacting with students and applying their knowledge to assist others in moving forward. Fellow students feel a sense of collegiality in an online classroom and are very willing to offer advice and direction. The most successful students will also be those who manage time effectively and are organized in their approach to moving through course material.

Keys to standing out in the Excelsior graduate application process:
Reflect on how the program you are applying to is ideally suited to where you want to be in the future. As you present yourself, choose your words or inclusions to illustrate why you would be a good fit for the program and how it relates to your career aspirations. Consider yourself as a brand and “market” yourself, emphasizing character traits, achievements and experiences that make you unique, illustrate your commitment, tenacity, responsibility and ability to overcome problems, adapt and serve others. These qualities correlate with personal and professional success and assure the school of your ability to succeed in the program.

What’s most rewarding as a graduate school faculty member at Excelsior?

The most rewarding aspect of serving as a graduate school faculty member at Excelsior is the opportunity it offers to support students as they develop the skills, knowledge and personal and professional attributes that will better their lives and serve as the “capital” they will build upon for the rest of their lives. Excelsior College is focused on the educational growth of its students, and every aspect of the college supports this. I love being a part of that effort and seeing the impact as students benefit from Excelsior’s unique and cutting-edge programs and instructional techniques.