By Jenica Acome, MBA’20
I initially began my online MBA program to advance my career at my current company. I knew that for at least the short-term I’d be staying put but had looked around and seen some of my peers advancing a little more quickly than I was. The online MBA helped me in several ways:
- It gave me focus and drive that I may have been a little lax on prior to beginning,
- It showed my coworkers and managers that I was driven and eager to learn, and,
- The courses and associated readings and work gave me more of a 10,000-foot view of looking at business problems, enabling me to bring a fresh perspective to the work I was doing by being challenged to think about things differently and outside of the box.
Since starting the program, I’ve moved roles in the company once and have been promoted twice.
During my undergraduate degree, I had the option of finishing a semester early or doing a semester abroad. I chose to end early, and while financially this has continued to make a lot of sense, I’ve always felt a pang of regret at not traveling abroad. When looking at MBA programs I knew I wanted one that was online, but I wanted one with in-person and international components. The immersion courses offered through Kelley Direct’s online MBA were a huge selling point for me. I traveled to Vietnam last spring and participated in a networking weekend in Chicago.
I have gone to Bloomington for both Kelley Connect Weeks (one of two intensive seven-day, in-person courses where we work in a team to develop a solution to a business challenge facing a real company) and will be traveling to India this spring. These experiences have not only given me the “do-over” that I missed out on during my undergrad, but they’ve also allowed me to learn so much about different businesses and cultures, and most importantly connected me to my fellow students, who are so diverse in where they live or have come from, and the work they do. The connections I’ve made with my classmates during these experiences are ones that I will take with me for years to come.
I started my online MBA journey in the fall of 2017, beginning with Kelley Connect Week in August before fall classes began. I’m nearly done with the program, currently taking two of my final three classes, ending in spring 2020. Throughout the program I’ve had a routine of doing two classes, then one, then two, and so on, to keep me on track with my initial goal of completing the program in two and a half years. At my company, our busy seasons tend to be spring and fall, so I’ve tried to coincide those periods with one class quarters. This schedule has allowed me to build in some easier quarters to give myself a bit of a break. I’m immensely glad I had the foresight and that Kelley allowed me to have this flexibility because it has really saved my sanity throughout the program as I’ve continued to work full time.