I needed to do my own due diligence before I could fully committing the time, energy, and money into a school that I'd never even heard of before...and that name? After reading the history of WGU, I understood the rationale behind the name, but it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. The fact that a bi-partisan group of governors conceived of the idea of a fully online, accredited school that emphasizes competency rather than time in class, is inspiring.
I tried a traditional MBA program a few years ago, and despite liking the professors and other students, it just didn't fit right. I hated the stress of rushing to leave work, knowing that I was going to sit on the freeway for an hour or more, to try and make it to class on time. I have a relatively short attention span, and a semester (nearly 4 months) is just too long. The idea of being able to work at my own pace was extremely intriguing to me.
After about a week of mulling and researching, I decided that it didn't hurt to request more information. Within an hour of submitting the short questionnaire, I'd received two phone calls and two emails from enrollment counselors. This kind of "attention" was very suspicious to me. Were they trying to give me the hard sell? All I really wanted was a brochure to be sent to my house, showing me basically the same information that is on their website, along with a impressive looking letter from someone with a "Dr." in front of their name and an impressive title, with a faux handwritten signature in blue ink. The emails, nor the phone messages were identical. (In my past, I have worked at call centers and everything was regimented, which is why this was such a surprise.) Both the emails and the phone messages asked me to call them back so that we could further discuss my interest in WGU.
At this point, the school really started to lack in it's appeal. Sure, it's nice to be pursued, but only if what (or whom) you're pursuing, is also desirable to other people. Since they hadn't done anything but be too friendly, I decided to call the first person who emailed me. Also, if this return call was part of some interview disguised as a test to determine if they would be willing to take my $$, I wanted to be somewhat prepared. I started writing down some questions and answers to possible "interview" questions.
My initial impression of my enrollment counselor, Jay, was that he doesn't do his job very well. When I told him why I'd called, I got the impression that I was supposed to drive the conversation. I was not prepared for this, despite having some questions and answers written down. All this was, was my attempt at still remaining in the running (...towards becoming America's Next Top Model) to getting in to graduate school.
The conversation was so awkward at first. He wasn't asking questions, and I really didn't know what I didn't know since I'd just spent a week scouring the internet. Finally, once we established that his parents live in Dallas, I live in Austin and I like running, and he likes mountain biking, we broke the ice.
Since that initial conversation a week and a half ago, we have spoken two more times on the phone, and all calls have averaged about an hour. I'm letting my guard down, not feeling so defensive, and talking to him like a friend. It's because I've never felt like Jay had an agenda, i.e. separating me from my money, that I've learned to trust him. Not once have I ever felt like he was trying to give me the hard sell, which I was kind of expecting. He seems to answer my questions open and honestly. I've even asked him personal questions about how he handles his own WGU MBA coursework while working full-time, and having a family. I appreciate that he's willing to let me make the right decision for myself.
After that first conversation, and after re-hashing everything that Jay and I had spoken about, with my husband, I decided to go ahead and pay the $65 application fee and apply.