Sam Houston State University's Strategic Audit | Free Essay Example

Sam Houston State University’s Strategic Audit

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Topic: Education
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The Sam Houston State University (SHSU) offers its MBA program as part of courses for its College of Business Administration (College of Business Administration, 2015). The university boasts of small classes that improve the personal education environment for students and help in boosting interaction and overall experience. All courses at the college pass accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This report will focus on all the courses and the MBA program as the main case for review.

Mission and vision analysis

The university has a 130-year heritage of preparing students for meaningful lives. Its motto of “the measure of a life is its service” propels students to engage in research and innovative ways of doing things. It also encourages students to offer volunteer services. The motto also provides room for additional student and faculty engagements that qualify for meaningful service.

The SHSU seeks to become the best online university in Texas. Based on its progress in providing an online course, it should realize the mission soon. The overall university mission is to provide high-quality education, scholarship, and service to qualified students. It does this to provide benefits to regional, state, national, and international constituencies. The overall mission is broad, thereby allowing it to capture every element of SHSU activities and strategic plans. However, its broadness also makes it vague, as it does not specifically direct actions at the University of a particular course, other than the provision of worthy education (Institutional mission statement, 2015).

The SHSU’s vision is to become the best at educating the Texas workforce. Also, the university has five values that drive its vision. The values make practical applications of the vision statement, thereby allowing the students, faculty, and other stakeholders to participate effectively in the realization of the vision. The values are excellence in academics, effectiveness in student success, efficiency in operations, loyalty to traditions, and dedication to innovation.

The following table shows whether the mission and vision statements are catering to important factors for the university’s strategic success.

Table 1: Vision and mission analysis.

Customers Yes
Products or services Yes
Markets Yes
Technology No
Concern for survival, growth, and profitability Yes
Philosophy Yes
Self-concept No
Concern for public image Yes
Concern for employees No

External Audit

The existing strategies for SHSU include specific course goals and overall university objectives. The key external factors that affect the University MBA program’s success include opportunities for growth and the threats to the program arising from events and policies outside the control of the school. As a state university, there is support from the government, which is an opportunity for sustaining operations and assisting in other strategic development initiatives (Fuller, 2014). The university also has a chance to receive philosophical, developmental, and in-kind support from private endowments and charities.

Its association with them can help enhance the relevance of its MBA program through faculty, course, and student partnerships. Student exchange programs are also a significant opportunity as there are other universities in Texas with considerable success in their MBA programs, such as Texas A&M University and The University of Texas. Besides, the growth of technologies, access, and scope make the online full-time education system and opportunity for the university to capture many of its mission and vision elements in actual practice and improve its relevance to students and many other stakeholders. Finally, the university has an opportunity to develop a strong relationship with business societies so that its MBA becomes remarkable within and beyond Texas.

The university is facing some threats, which include the possible reduction of government assistance. It can affect the cost of programs and cause increases in fees and other course-related charges. There is an inherent public perception of the university being good in its criminal justice program, which can overshadow any gains made with its MBA program. On a lesser scale, the university may not enjoy an adequate perception of being inclusive for international students or non-conventional students not fitting the overall student demographic characteristics.

External Evaluation (EFE) matrix

Table 2.

EFE
Key External Factors Weight Rating W. score
Opportunities
Government support 0.10 4 0.4
Endowments and charities support 0.20 3 0.6
Strong relationships with business societies 0.10 4 0.4
Exchange programs 0.15 4 0.6
Online fulltime education 0.05 2 0.1
Threats
Reduced demand for MBA 0.10 3 0.3
Negative publicity on course strengths 0.15 2 0.3
Competition from other Texas universities 0.15 1 0.15
TOTAL 1.0 2.85

Internal Audit

The key strengths of the MBA program at SHSU are the university’s brand reputation and the high graduation rate. The ability to offer courses with the flexibility of the online format is a strength that supports the overall value of being efficient in operations and seeking effectiveness in student success. Allowance for students to pursue courses without having to enroll in physical classes makes the MBA program responsive to today’s students’ needs of juggling several activities and responsibilities while studying. It is also accommodative of many students who are beyond the traditional learning age as young adults.

Another significant strength factor is the enrollment ratio for the program as an indication of its market success. The MBA program fills up quickly when an enrollment opportunity is available, which shows that it serves clients who have a high demand for such a course. This is even though the MBA does not rank very highly as compared to the peer university-MBA programs in Texas (Sam Houston State University, 2015). Overall, there is a high demand for the program, and the SHSU provision of MBA courses positions it correctly to capture the growing demand. The MBA continues to gain from proper development structures and curriculum designs due to the abundant pool of staff that has experience in teaching and coordinating various university activities. The emphasis on the university’s vision to support the growth of individuals also increases the focus on students and workers as stakeholders. Eventually, this contributes to a better faculty, which translates to improvements in online and offline courses.

A significant number of faculties have received prestigious awards, and they provide mentorship to other faculties such as those in the MBA program so that they can also aspire to excel. The presence of a college of business administration dedicates resources for business-related education, which is a significant boost for the MBA program. The university runs an exchange program with 35 other universities in 14 countries, which advances the opportunity for students to enhance their learning experience. It makes courses at SHSU, including the MBA, attractive. The waiver of GMAT qualifications requirements for students proceeding to graduate studies from undergraduate courses at SHSU is a factor that makes the MBA attractive for internal undergraduate students who have high GPA scores. The SHSU MBA is available through traditional and online learning, with the option of combining the two such that students can get the benefits of both delivery options.

Despite its growth prospects and internal strengths, the SHSU’s MBA program is expensive, especially the online course. Students have to pay fees indiscriminately. Students taking online courses pay for the same costs as those taking offline courses, even though they utilize fewer resources. The faculty delivering MBA online is also accustomed to the educational traditions of the university that dwell on traditional classroom styles. This is inconvenient for many online MBA students. Another weakness is the generational outlook of many staff. While being experienced in the program is a plus, it also serves as a gap when staffs are not cognizant of the need to be updated and in touch with variations in their student demographic characteristics.

The online framework for course delivery is not getting sufficient help from the faculty. Many employees in the MBA program are directly opposed to an exclusive online course delivery format and express their preference for the face-to-face format. This affects students’ trust and faculty commitment. When left unchecked, it can lead to reputation problems for the university as students opt for other universities. The need to pay for services that a student is not going to utilize in the period needs review. Also, the high distance-learning fee imposed on online students is not justified, and it negatively affects the MBA program’s reputation.

Internal Factor (IFE) matrix

Table 3.

IFE
Key External Factors Weight Rating W. score
Strength
The brand image of the university 0.10 4 0.4
Online courses 0.20 3 0.6
Qualified faculty 0.10 4 0.4
Exchange programs with 35 universities in 14 countries 0.15 4 0.6
College of business administration 0.05 2 0.1
Weaknesses
Expensive 0.10 3 0.3
Faculty negative attitude on online learning 0.15 1 0.15
Lack of mix in generations in faculty 0.05 1 0.05
Unnecessary fees 0.10 1 0.1
TOTAL 1.0 2.7

SWOT Analysis

In summary, the greatest strengths of the SHSU MBA course are an active faculty and staff, as well as the online course option. The presence of a college of business administration also provides sufficient resources for business-related courses. It can improve the overall reputation of the SHSU MBA program to match the status of other programs in the university such as its criminal justice program. The university’s value of innovation is right. However, its other value of supporting traditions may not work well in a dynamic educational environment where student needs continue to vary. The biggest threat is the high fees and faculty not willing to embrace online teaching methods

Opportunities exist in the growth areas of the course, where the university can be aligned to the needs of the market. It can utilize government and other organizations’ support to increase the student programs as part of the MBA course to justify the high fees. Additional accreditations could help to address reputation issues affecting the MBA course. On the other hand, an existing threat is a potential decrease in demand for MBA courses, which will increase competition for the current providers and expose other weaknesses of the SHSU MBA program (Buggs, 2006).

Recommendations

The recommendations follow four potential strategies for dealing with the weaknesses and the current threats, as well as enhancing the strengths of the MBA program and improving it by capturing all available opportunities. They follow SO, WO, ST, and WT strategies.

SO

The SHSU MBA course can detach its online course from the traditional course so that there are different intakes and calendars. This will minimize enrollment challenges for many students and improve the popularity of the course, thereby increasing the potential for growth in the fulfillment of the university’s values.

WO

The MBA program can use assistance in the faculty to take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration with other universities and partnerships with business and charitable organizations for funding and program support. Business leaders and staff from other institutions can participate in exchange programs to help enrich the SHSU MBA program and improve its reputation.

ST

The university should increasingly urge the government to support its programs and work with its value on operation efficiency, given that students perceive the course as expensive. This should lead to the differentiation of various fees, such as students only pay for what they need and use.

Another recommendation following the strengths and threats focus would be to have mentorship programs for the MBA faculty so that they learn to appreciate the online course delivery format. They can also unlearn several philosophies that hamper effective teaching with a dynamic student population. They can also get advice from award-winning faculties from other programs and schools in SHSU, who help develop the brand image of the university.

WT

The university must reduce its fees to address the threat of reduced demand and its weakness of being expensive in its MBA program.

Conclusion

I was privileged to have firsthand experience, as a graduate student at the SHSU MBA program who was taking 90 percent of the course online. Nevertheless, the issues highlighted in this report’s analysis are valid. Overall, the university needs to consider reducing the fees for its MBA program to match the actual expenses that students and the university incur on the course. It must also look into the issue of faculty being out of touch with the online program from a philosophical perspective.

References

Buggs, S. (2006). Raising the bar in the MBA race. Web.

College of Business Administration. (2015). Web.

Fuller, M. B. (2014). A history of financial aid to students. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 44(1), 42-68.

Institutional mission statement. (2015). Web.

Sam Houston State University. (2015). Web.

Appendices

EFE matrix

EFE
Key External Factors Weight Rating W. score
Opportunities
Government support 0.10 4 0.4
Endowments and charities support 0.20 3 0.6
Strong relationships with business societies 0.10 4 0.4
Exchange programs 0.15 4 0.6
Online fulltime education 0.05 2 0.1
Threats
Reduced demand for MBA 0.10 3 0.3
Negative publicity on course strengths 0.15 2 0.3
Competition from other Texas universities 0.15 1 0.15
TOTAL 1.0 2.85

IFE matrix

IFE
Key External Factors Weight Rating W. score
Strength
The brand image of the university 0.10 4 0.4
Online courses 0.20 3 0.6
Qualified faculty 0.10 4 0.4
Exchange programs with 35 universities in 14 countries 0.15 4 0.6
College of business administration 0.05 2 0.1
Weaknesses
Expensive 0.10 3 0.3
Faculty negative attitude on online learning 0.15 1 0.15
Lack of mix in generations in faculty 0.05 1 0.05
Unnecessary fees 0.10 1 0.1
TOTAL 1.0 2.7

SWOT matrix

Strengths Weaknesses
  • The brand image of the university
  • Online courses
  • Qualified faculty
  • Exchange programs with 35 universities in 14 countries

College of business – increases student opportunities and reputation for the MBA course.
administration – improves focus for MBA program

Expensive – students feel that the costs are not justified
  • Faculty’s negative attitude to online learning

A lack of mix in generations in faculty – affects the faculty’s comprehension of students’ demand
Unnecessary fees – online students pay for offline facilities not used.

Opportunities Threats
Government support – helps makes courses affordable and increases resources for course delivery
Endowments and charities – fund specific aspects of the MBA program
Reduced demand for MBA – will expose weaknesses of the program
  • Negative publicity on course strengths – affect students’ enrollment
  • Competition from other Texas universities