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Academic achievement was examined across several variables. The associations between academic achievement and gender or ethnicity is evaluated in the respective sections. 


The mean GPA for graduates of the MBA program at Virscend is 3.81. The median GPA for graduates of the MBA program at Virscend is 3.8.  The distribution of students GPA is provided in Table 1. Given the varied grading practices from different schools, it is hard to find comparison numbers to compare against. However, a journal article from 2010 reviewed 850 MBA graduates and found that the national median GPA for graduates of MBA programs is 3.60. 


In this section, achievement across the program and courses are discussed. Further study is needed in regards to the outcome mapping and exit exam scores. More course-based insight will be provided in an upcoming update, using assessment reports, teaching evaluations, and student surveys. 

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The average GPA of individual graduates have risen each year, with only 42% of students receiving a 3.75-4.0 in 2017 to 85% in 2020, see Table 2. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as marketing tactics and stricter scholarship adherence. The marketing tactics have evolved since the inception of VU. Most of the students come from internal referrals, whether that be faculty, staff, alumni, or current students. Faculty claim that the previous cohort (graduated in 2021) was the best one yet and attest that the 2018 cohort (graduated in 2019) was the most challenging to work with. Since the scholarship agreement was implemented, there have been six (6) graduates beneath the 3.5 GPA threshold. However, the policy was not enforced. Students can petition to remain with their full scholarship based on the circumstances surrounding their achievement. 


Each course was analyzed for the overall grade breakdown, see Table 3.  


The most drops from the program occurred in MBA500 (2), MBA501 (3), and MBA505 (2). MBA501 is the most challenging course according to the VU students, so it is unsurprising that it has the highest drop rate in the program. 

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The comparison between the results of the exit exam and outcome mapping scores, shown in Table 4, present interesting findings. Outcome mapping is the perception of learning from the prospective of the faculty member, as they are rating on a rubric the competency of a PLO based on one signature assignment. The exit exam was written by faculty and taken by graduating students. 


The program learning objectives (PLO) were also evaluated using the exit exam and outcome mapping initiatives, as demonstrated in Table 5. 

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Retention has been gradually rising and drops from the program have decreased, aside from the 2019-2020 cohort, see Charts 1 & 2. The 2019-2020 cohort struggled in this program overall, as corroborated by faculty feedback. The graduation and retention rates are outliers when compared to the progress of the other cohorts. This cohort was recruited using connections within the Chamber of Commerce, marketing at malls in the area, and referrals. 


The student that began in 2018 was previously on leave and rejoined the program in Spring 2021. The other 13 students have been continuously working towards their MBA with no leave. Only one part-time student has graduated from the program thus far, but seven (7) part-time students are making good progress towards their degree. For context, full-time is one year to complete the MBA program, part-time is 1.5-3 years. 

Out of the 65 students that have started the MBA program at VU, 45% have graduated, 26% have dropped from the program, 22% are currently enrolled, and 8% are on leave. Please see Table 6 for the status of all students with the graduation and retention rate for each enrolling student.

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Ethnicity is very difficult to study at this time at Virscend University, as the overwhelming majority of students have been Asian (60%), see Table 7. This is higher than the percentage of the surrounding community, which is 43% Asian. Due to the relatively small and unbalanced population, none of the statistics that could be performed would be significant. 

Given the population of Irvine, our Hispanic, Mixed Race, and African American populations are appropriate, see Table 8. However, since we now offer virtual learning, we should expect a more representative sample from each demographic.

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Asians have been enrolled at a higher rate every year since the inception of VU. This could be due to recruitment strategies, such as referrals from faculty, alumni, and administrators. See Table 9 for the ethnicity breakdown for each enrolling year since the program began in 2017.

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VU students are all high achievers. Six students have dropped from the program since its inception due to low GPA (which means the student lost their scholarship). The ethnicities of these students were varied, which means that ethnicity was not a common factor, see Table 10.


Asian students seem to have the most variance in their GPAs, with six students between the 3.0 and 3.5 threshold (no other ethnicities have any students in this range); however, this is difficult to assert given the disproportionate population. 

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Course grades were studied in conjunction with ethnicity. In MBA502 Management Strategies, 8/27 (30%) students have received a B in the course and all of these students were Asian, see Table 11. Again, this may not be indicative of anything besides a disproportionate population, but should be monitored over time to ensure it is not systemic. The other nine courses had nothing of concern in terms of ethnicity.

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The Asian and Caucasian demographics both have similar graduation rates, 58.1% and 52.8% respectively. Every student that identifies as a Mixed Race has graduated (N=4). VU has not yet had a Hispanic graduate (N=6); however, 50% of these students are still active in the program. Survey data does not indicate that the Hispanic population feels discriminated against or disadvantaged, but further study is needed. See Table 12 for the ethnicity distribution amongst graduates. 


  • Brainstorm marketing campaigns that target a wider demographic of potential students, including African Americans and Hispanic groups. 

  • Identify reasons that Hispanic population is graduating at a lower rate than other ethnicities. 

  • Ensure that Hispanic students have the support they need to be successful.



VU has a fairly equivalent division between males (44.6%) and females (55.4%), see Table 14. This is unique when compared to national averages, where females only represent 44% of MBA students. VU is committed to inclusion of all genders; one student indicated in an anonymous survey that they identify as a non-binary, which VU supports completely. Since the survey was anonymous, this study cannot associate any particular student with this preference. However, enrollment documents were edited for the 2021-2022 academic year to include non-binary as an option. 

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More females were enrolled in the first and second year of operation than males, see Table 16. These numbers began to even out with time and are now essentially equivalent. Marketing seems to be reaching both genders.

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There are no significant differences between gender and achievement in the overall program. However, In MBA650 Project Management and Internship, 63% of males receive an A whereas 94% of females receive an A; this is close to significant (N=29, P=0.096).


Since the first graduating cohort, there has been more females graduating than males in all cohorts except for the most recent; however, this finding is insignificant (p=0.203). 66% of VU graduates are female. This is unsurprising, given that more females enrolled than males in the first two years of operating. 


Ensure all enrollment documents have options for non-binary genders

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For the sake of this study, colleges were combined into groups. The groupings can be seen in Table 18.

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As you can see in Table 19, a large majority of our students (44%) come from CSUs, which is unsurprising given that most of the faculty at VU also teach at CSUs (specifically CSU Long Beach). CSUs are highly competitive and students that were educated at these institutions seem prepared for the rigorous MBA program. There is little variance in the achievement, graduation, or retention rate when compared with the undergraduate colleges.

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For the sake of this study, academic majors were combined into groups. The groupings can be seen in Table 20.

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As you can see in Table 21, while we have a large proportion of students that majored in Business Administration (18.5%) and business related majors (12.3%), a large group of VU students are from social sciences (21.5%). This is aligned with the national averages of MBA programs, see Table 22. However, VU is enrolling science and engineer majors at a lower rate than the national averages. There is little variance (p=0.238) in the achievement, graduation, or retention rate when compared with the undergraduate major for the overall program. The two classes with the most variance based on major is MBA502 Management Strategies and MBA501 Decision Technologies and Statistics; however, this finding is insignificant (p=0..909 and p=0.82 respectively). For MBA501, the outcome mapping analysis and student evaluations corroborate the findings of this study. 


Provide additional resources for MBA501 for students that do not have a strong mathematical background

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