Laura Fooks, MBA’20 is based in Denver where she works as the co-founder and Chief Encouragement Officer at Light Speaks Loudest—a subscription box service designed to inspire confidence in teen girls and help them build empathy toward others and grow their spirituality.
Why did you pursue an online MBA? I knew I wanted to get an MBA so I would have a better foundation as an entrepreneur. I specifically pursued an online program because I didn’t want to commute to classes after my full-time job and wanted flexibility in my geographic location.
Why did you choose Kelley Direct? Although I grew up visiting IU for basketball games and hearing about the incredible business program (my parents are Kelley alumni from long ago), I didn’t ever think I’d be a student here. When I began researching online MBA programs, I noticed that Kelley kept making the top of the list in rankings and tended to be more affordable than other options. Plus, I loved the opportunity to connect in person during Kelley on Campus week while still maintaining the overall flexibility of an online program.
How would you describe your experience in the program? I had a fantastic experience during my 22 months in the Kelley Direct program. The professors are extremely talented at what they do and truly care for their students. The class that stands out to me most is the incredible negotiations class I took with Dr. Carolyn Goerner. Dr. Goerner is a talented instructor who truly radiates joy within the virtual classroom. Although she teaches the subject matter from a business perspective, I’ve found it super helpful in my personal relationships, too!
What experiences (Kelley On Campus, global and domestic immersions, etc.) did you enjoy most? Kelley on Campus was my absolute favorite. My group grew really close right away and became some of my closest friends throughout the program. We even keep a group text going to this day!
How did you build your network in an online program? Most of the classes include group and interactive components that make it easy to feel like you’re constantly growing your network while meeting new and interesting people.
How did you balance your coursework with working, family, etc.? An MBA program requires a huge amount of discipline and commitment, so to be honest, this component was really tough for me while working full-time and trying to maintain a solid family life. Luckily, Kelley Direct is made for working professionals, so the structure and professors lend themselves to helping students succeed. Plus, the most valuable thing I learned while in the program was to ask for help when I need it.
How did Kelley Direct impact your career? Did you advance or change jobs? Kelley Direct gave me the education and confidence I needed to leave my full-time job and start my own business, Light Speaks Loudest. Being able to serve teen girls in this way has been a decade-long dream of mine, so I’m extremely grateful to the Kelley team for helping me prepare and see it through to reality.
What sets the Kelley Direct Online MBA apart from other programs? While many schools found themselves scrambling over the past year or so to transition to online education due to the pandemic, the Kelley Direct team already had it down pat. The structure truly sets students up for success, and the professors are some of the most brilliant, kind people I’ve met.