How Do We Choose Who Teaches Our MBA Courses?

How Do We Choose Who Teaches Our MBA Courses_

Pictured: Some of the instructors in the ACHS MBA program

In this article, Senior Admission Advisor Molly Sykes speaks with the Dean of Business Dr. Susan Marcus to get all the details about the instructors for our MBA program.

Molly Sykes, Senior Admissions Advisor: Hi, Susan — thanks for answering some of the questions we are getting from prospective students. We often hear questions about the instructors. Who are they? Do they have experience teaching students who may be mid-career and out of school for a while?


Susan: Thank you, Molly — that’s a great question, and certainly one I would be asking. I can tell you from my own experience as a mid-career “nontraditional” student, it matters! I had a mix of tenured professors, and also those who taught because they were passionate about the topics and had a “day job” in their professions. In other words, they were not career academics. Some of my best learning experiences were with the part-timers who were actively engaged in their professions.

They brought their real-time experience into our learning community. They taught the curriculum while asking “how does this work in the ‘real world’” and the answer was sometimes it doesn’t! Those reality checks were so important. I also noticed a difference in the way they communicated and interacted with us. Many of the tenured professors seemed more interested in maintaining distance and a power differential rather than engaging and making sure we understood the material. This had the effect of adding stress and anxiety, especially in the quantitative subjects. 

Molly: Yes, we get questions about whether there are lots of courses with statistics and such, and whether students need a background or undergraduate degree in a quant subject in order to do well in an MBA program. What would you say to that question?


Susan: The answer, in a word, is no. While some schools do require an undergraduate degree in a business-related field, or a certain number of years of job experience in a business environment, we do not require either. We also do not require applicants to take the GMAT exam and achieve a certain score in order to be admitted. Research shows a GMAT score is not a predictor of student success. And if it does not serve that purpose, why would we ask applicants to incur the expense, not to mention the anxiety?


Molly: Makes sense. Could you say more about the instructors and their teaching style? Maybe a little about how you recruited them and the selection process?



Susan: We did local recruiting based on my connection to another institution that had a very large MBA program (and with about one-half of the courses offered online). Although that institution had regional accreditation, only 50% of our instructors were required to hold doctoral-level academic credentials. Our accrediting body here at ACHS requires that 100% of our instructors have doctorate degrees. This meant we had to do some additional recruiting, which we conducted on a national level.

We found some excellent, very student-centered people who were outstanding in their content areas and also shared our passion for business conducted with an emphasis on sustainability and wellness. Our instructors, especially in the quantitative topics, were recruited and hired specifically because they have proven track records teaching their topics in ways that are accessible to students, whether the class is online or in person. This entails using an array of resources geared to various learning styles. And equally important is their demeanor. If they lack the social and communication skills to engage with students and bring the concepts to life, or cannot apply the material in a context that is relevant, then the learning experience will be a lonely one for students.

Each of our candidates were invited to do live, interactive teaching demonstrations via Zoom, similar to the Zoom sessions instructors conduct in all of our classes. We hired only those who conveyed expertise with their subject, both academically and based on current professional experience, and a demeanor that showed us they view themselves as partners with students in the learning process. While working with them on course development and in the selection of materials, we’ve come to know their guiding ethic is centered on student success. It is literally how they measure their own success!

Molly: That sounds great, Susan! Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share about the instructors?



Susan: They are each amazing in their own way and each brings a global perspective to their work. Our Business Law professor writes wonderful novels and has done extensive pro bono work related to immigration. Another is an expert in sustainable agriculture, with an undergraduate degree from Cornell and business and family ties to Japan.

Our quantitative topics professor recently completed his dissertation bridging two areas of expertise, finance and economics, entitled, Millennial Students’ Awareness of Retirement Issues, Their Retirement Preparedness and Future Expectations.

Our professor for courses in organizational effectiveness and human capital has professional and family ties to Togo in W. Africa, launched and oversees several nonprofit organizations focused on leadership and community development work, and has a multi-decade career in US government. As I said, they are amazing!

Molly: Thanks, Susan! Can prospective students contact you with other questions? 



Susan: Absolutely! They can reach me at I can even take them on a brief tour of some of the MBA course online classrooms!

If you’re ready to apply to an online MBA program with ACHS, you can start your application here. If you’re interested in starting out with a single business course, start your single course application here.

Still wondering what to expect during the application process? An admissions advisor is happy to speak to you at a time that works for you. Schedule an appointment with an admissions advisor here.

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Watch for our final blog in this series entitled, What is an MBA Capstone and how do I produce one? And if you have any questions, leave us a comment on the blog.

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

American College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

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When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.