In this article, Dean of Admissions/ Military Education Coordinator Amanda Heller speaks with the Dean of Business Dr. Susan Marcus to get all the details about what an MBA Capstone is and why it’s important.
Amanda Heller: Hi, Susan! One of the questions we hear a lot is about the Capstone. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Susan Marcus: Sure! One thing is certain: students don’t get out of the program without it! Seriously, it’s 100% relevant and student-driven. We actually provide a document that states the learning outcomes, and each student fills it in describing how their capstone project will demonstrate mastery. That is all we care about: that students demonstrate mastery of the course learning objectives (which for this class are the same as the program-level learning outcomes), and work on a project that is meaningful to them.
You’ll see what I mean by our BUS 598 Applied Capstone course description: In the capstone course, students identify, examine, and apply the practical connections between the MBA program, their personal and professional lives, organizations, their communities, and the triple bottom line perspective that includes financial, environmental, and social impacts. Using skills and competencies that demonstrate mastery of the MBA program learning outcomes, students identify a project in which to apply their learning. Employing a variety of tools, students demonstrate their ability to synthesize and apply theory to create an implementation plan for improved organizational performance and make a contribution to the literature on sustainable business practices.
This is the outcomes document I was referring to:
BUS 598 Capstone Course Learning Outcomes Matrix
The ACHS MBA program Capstone project is designed to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course learning outcomes in a context that is relevant to students’ current and future professional goals and interests. As such, you are at liberty to select a project topic and scope, subject to approval by your Capstone course instructor. Once you have selected a project topic, use this matrix in combination with other project proposal assignments to demonstrate how course learning outcomes will be met. Include 1) the aspect or component of your Capstone that will reflect these learning outcomes, and 2) the actual evidence (text, charts and visuals, artifacts within appendices, etc.) within the project itself that demonstrates mastery.
|Learning Outcome||Component Showing Mastery||Evidence Provided|
|Demonstrate an understanding of domestic and international business leadership, professional best practices, and sustainable business management.|
|Using a global mindset, formulate core business functions in a global or local community business environment, incorporating sustainability principles that support the health and wellness of a community and optimize sustainability and wellness outcomes.|
|Improve organizational proficiency in the management of technology.|
|Design methods for the analysis of complex data to produce performance improvements consistent with sustainability values.|
|Generate research that contributes to the literature on sustainable practices in a global or local community business environment.|
Amanda: It sounds like your goal for this Capstone experience is for it to be relevant for students, and could even be a project they actually implement. Is that correct?
Susan: Exactly right, Amanda! If the project is not important to the student, our view is why devote time on it during this culminating assignment in their MBA program?
We actually invite students to begin thinking about their Capstone project from the very first course, Organizational Leadership & Effectiveness. We ask them to reflect on their specific interests, which might include research, structural change to bring about diversity, equity, and inclusion, leadership development, change management related to sustainable practices, or general organizational effectiveness. We ask students in that initial core MBA class to create a portfolio using Google Sites, and begin to think about which of their assignments and projects throughout the program will result in artifacts they will want to refer to in their Capstone, and beyond. This might be the Risk Management Plan they produce in Business Law, a Sustainability Report created in Accounting & Financial Management, a performance dashboard in Business Analytics, or their marketing plan in the Marketing & Communications course. The portfolio becomes an outward-facing resource they can use for professional development purposes.
The Capstone can be anything from a business plan to a strategic change initiative. It might be a comprehensive Sustainability Plan for an organization, or a Health and Wellness Audit. As long as students have a solid roadmap for demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes discussed above, we’re good.
Students receive heavy coaching during the course of their work in the Capstone class, and have reading and discussion assignments in support of their project work. They submit components of the project at certain points in the semester for feedback which can be incorporated into their final version. There is also an opportunity for peer reviews, and students present their projects during the final week of class. There is plenty of celebrating and a few surprise visits that week, too!
Amanda: Thank you, Susan! Can you be reached directly with other questions?
Susan: By all means! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much for this opportunity to describe and discuss the ACHS MBA Capstone experience!
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.
If you have any questions, please 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.
This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.
We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us.
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.