Online business graduate students now have services available similar to those of a residential undergraduate student. Propel is a new service offered by Kelley Direct, the Kelley School of Business’ online MBA program. In addition to their classes, online students are now supplied with academic and career advising for success in their current or future careers.
Executive Director Terrill Cosgray said the two different types of students in Kelley Direct are accelerators and transitioners. Accelerators are looking to advance in their current careers, whereas transitioners are searching for a new career pathway.
“What Propel aims to do is to help them achieve whatever their goals are, whether they’re transitioning goals or accelerating goals, while they’re in their program, as well as following their completion of the program,” Cosgray said.
One of the requirements of the program is students have at least five interactions with academic career coaching. In coaching sessions, students talk with their coaches about their goals and what they want to accomplish after graduating.
“There’s no formulaic timeline to making a transition or accelerating,” Associate Director Megan Alwine said. “We sort of meet them where they are.”
Historically, in online programs, students don’t have a lot of resources, Chair of Kelley Direct Ramesh Venkataraman said.
“We are kind of the pioneers in launching this,” Venkataraman said, “That’s actually one of the reasons why we are excited about it and why it’s very important.”
Kelley Direct has been in operation for 17 years. In that time, the program has established Kelley Connect Week for online students to spend a week together and learn what they will need to know. Students oftentimes don’t realize how much they learn during the week, Alwine said.
“That’s the only real assessment point we have is some anecdotal evidence that things went more smoothly for our students during Kelley Connect Week,” Cosgray said. “We won’t really be able to access this program until we’re certainly at the one year point and fully at the two year point.”
Propel is still new to the school, and so far, the program seems to be successful, Cosgray said.
“We care about our students,” Cosgray continued. “We want to make sure that when they get a Kelley degree, they’ve gotten everything we can possibly give them to succeed.”